The physiology of taste, by Brillat-Savarin

Meditation XV.

Haltes De Chasse.

AMID all the circumstances in life, when eating is considered valuable, one of the most agreeable is, doubtless, when there is a pause in the chase. It alone may be prolonged the most without ennui.

After a few hours exercise, the most eager huntsman feels a necessity for rest. His face needs caressing by the morning breeze: he halts, however, not from necessity, but by that instinctive impulse which tells him that his activity is not indefinite.

Shade attracts him, the turf receives him, the murmur of the rivulet advises him to open the flask he has brought to revive himself I with. * Thus placed, he takes out the little well baked loaves, uncovers the cold chicken some kind hand has placed in his havresack, and finds the piece of gruyere or roquefort, which is to represent a dessert.

[* For such purposes, I prefer white wine; it resists heat better than any other.]

While he makes these preparations, he is accompanied by the faithful animal God has created for him; co-operation has overcome distance. They are two friends, and the servant is at once happy and proud to be the guest of his master.

It is an appetite equally unknown to the worldly and devotees: the first do not allow hunger time to come: the second never indulge in exercises which produce it.

The repast being prepared, each has its portion; why not sleep for a while? Noon is an hour of rest for all creation.

The pleasures are decuples by being shared with friends. In this case, a more abundant meal is brought in military chests now employed for both purposes. All speak of the prowess of one, the messes at the other, and of the anticipations of the evening.

What if one should come provided with one of those vases consecrated to Bacchus, where artificial cold ices the madrin, the strawberry, and pine-apple juice, those delicious flavors which spread through the whole system a luxury unknown to the profane.

We have not, however, reached the last term of progression of pleasure.

Ladies.

There are times when our wives, sisters, and cousins are invited to share in these amusements. At the appointed hour, light carriages, prancing horses, etc., hearing ladies collect. The toilette of the ladies is half military, and half coquette. The professor will, if he be observant, catch a glimpse of things not intended for his eye.

The door of the carriages will soon be opened, and a glimpse will be had of pates de Perigord, the wonders of Strasburg, the delicacies of d’Achard, and all that the best laboratories produce that is transportable.

They have not forgotten foaming champagne, a fit ornament for the hand of beauty. They sit on the grass — corks fly, all laugh, jest, and are happy. Appetite, this emenation of heaven, gives to the meal a vivacity foreign to the drawing-room, however well decorated it may be.

All, however, must end; the oldest person present gives the signal; all arise, men take their guns, and the ladies their hats– -all go, and the ladies disappear until night.

I have hunted in the centre of France, and in the very depths of the departments. I have seen at the resting places carriage loads of women of radiant beauty, and others mounted on a modest ass, such as composes the fortunes of the people of Montmorency. I have seen them first laugh at the inconveniences of the mode of transportation, and then spread on the lawn a turkey, with transparent jelly, and a salad ready prepared. I have seen them dance around a fire lighted for the occasion, and have participated in the pleasures of this gypsy sport. I am sure so much attraction with so little luxury is never met with elsewhere.

Les haltes de la chasse are a yet virgin subject which we have only touched, we leave the subject to any one who pleases to take a fancy to it.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31