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The Banquet
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The importance of the banquet in the late Renaissance is impossible to overlook. Banquets showcased a hostu2019s wealth and power, provided an occasion for nobles from distant places to gather together, and even served as a form of political propaganda. But what was it really like to cater to the tastes and habits of high society at the banquets of nobles, royalty, and popes? What did they eat and how did they eat it? In The Banquet, Ken Albala covers the transitional period between the heavily spiced and colored cuisine of the Middle Ages and classical French haut cuisine. This development involved increasing use dairy products, a move toward lighter meats such as veal and chicken, increasing identification of national food customs, more sweetness and aromatics, and a refined aesthetic sense, surprisingly in line with the late Renaissance styles found in other arts.
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A history of cooking and fine dining in Western Europe from 1520 to 1660

About the Author

Ken Albala is an associate professor of history at the University of the Pacific. He is the author of Eating Right in the Renaissance and other books.

Reviews

"The Banquet is the first book to describe developments in the realm of courtly feasting on an international scale. Few specialists in this field have so broad a knowledge of the literature in so many languages, and few have read so widely and thoughtfully. Intelligently written and original, this book is a pleasure to read." Barbara K.. Wheaton, author of Savoring the Past

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