Jim Chevallier's Web Site



Chez Jim is Jim Chevallier's Web site. If it is difficult to define, well so, say some, is Jim.

The two largest groups of visitors to this site have typically come for the free original monologues and the film finance information. More recently, many have been drawn by information about the origin of the baguette, (one of the first of an increasing number of items here about bread and baking). Some are also drawn by bits of information on figures such as Tim Leary, the Beatniks and Louise Nevelson. But since its earliest incarnation in 1996, the site has also included genealogy information, looks at Paris and samples of fiction and poetry. In subsequent years, it has grown to reflect new interests, including self-publication of several books, further travel (cross-country, up to Northern California and to Saigon, among other places) and the 18th century in France (including information on the Bastille and a number of 18th century recipes).

NOTE: Many of the page formats reflect the changes in the site over the years, and its generally eclectic nature. To thine own selves be true...

DISAMBIGUATION: Looking for a different
Jim Cheval(l)ier?
Have you received SPAM from It was NOT sent from this site. Unfortunately, forging a domain is easy, and, so far as I know, impossible to prevent. Sorry...

Where did the CROISSANT come from?
Read about kipfeln, viennoiserie and even the baguette in:

For more about the book and August Zang, click HERE.


- October 2016

Just back from Cuba! Where a bread historian naturally enough would go to study bread, bakers and bakeries in Havana. For some glimpses of the trip, see this video and the photo montages here.
See it now, before the first Starbucks.

- September 2016

Modernist Bread is now available for pre-order: "Although Modernist Bread will now be arriving on shelves in May 2017—later than we originally anticipated—it will be gorgeously illustrated, including modern scientific research and rigorously tested techniques and recipes. We have collaborated and consulted with 75 industry leaders around the world, including historians Jim Chevallier and....".

- March 2016

New book contract! Coming.... well, not soon, a book on the history of the food of Paris. Stay tuned...

- December 2015

Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover's Companion to New York City, just published, includes two contributions by Jim Chevallier.

- August 2015

Cited in the French newspaper Libération:"It is starting in 1920, according to the writer Jim Chevallier, that our first baguettes appear, the very image of the purity of flour.” La victoire croûte que croûte.

- April 2015

In the Smithsonian Magazine's inaugural edition of their Journeys Travel Quarterly:“The croissant began as the Austrian kipfel but became French the moment people began to make it with puffed pastry, which is a French innovation,” says Chevallier. “It has fully taken root in its adopted land.” To read more, visit:

Is the Croissant Really French?: A brief history of the croissant – from kipfel to Cronut.

- July 2014

Hold Chez Jim in your hand! For several years now, most books from Chez Jim Books have only been available as ebooks. But here's a surprise: people are buying print books again! And so for the first time a number of Chez Jim books are available in print: original works like Paris Poems, Bullies: Monologues on Bullying for Teens and Adults, and About the Baguette: Exploring the Origin of a French National Icon and translations such as A Tour of Two Cities: Eighteenth century London and Paris compared and How to Cook an Early French Peacock: De Observatione Ciborum, as well as a number of extracts from Le Grand d'Aussy's work - The Well-Set Table in France: Furniture and Settings for Meals from the Gauls to the Eighteenth Century, Eggs, Cheese and Butter in Old Regime France, Catholic Fasting in France: From the Franks to the Eighteenth Century and Feasts and All Their Finery: Elegant Dining in Old Regime France.

- December 2013

Want to party like it was 1455? Or 1378, or 1565, or 1668? The kings of France and a duke or two put on some memorable feasts in these years and Le Grand d'Aussy goes into great detail about these and other glories of French dining in the centuries before his time (the eighteenth century). These are some of the liveliest chapters in his three volumes of food history and now they are available in English:

- November 2013

Sort of a food history blog When you're writing two books - one on early medieval food, the other on the history of French bread -, you get a lot of leftover tidbits you'd like to share. So why not put them in a blog? Say, a blog called Les Leftovers: sort of a food history blog"

Subjects so far have included aqueducts under the Franks, a soup served to Gregory de Tours, snails found in tombs, shifts in French bread and the evolution of courses in early French table service. So if this is the kind of thing that interests you, come take a look.

- July 2013

Quoted in the New Yorker! In Bill Buford's Notes of a Gastronome "Cooking With Daniel" in the July 29th New Yorker one finds the following quote "The food historian Jim Chevallier points out that the word 'Vegetarian' didn't exist yet." A brief, but flattering, mention.

- April 2013

Coffee came to France in 1638. And then? Essentially, it disappeared. Le Grand's tale of how it reappeared - more than once - before finally taking hold as one of France's favorite drinks is only part of what he discusses in a long section on non-alcoholic drinks in France. Before sodas and milkshakes came lemonade and rissolis, and other drinks long forgotten today. This new translation gives English speakers a chance to read one of the classic accounts of how all these drinks took hold in France.

- December 2012

What was the first true American bread? How did American bread get to be so bad? What does 'biscuit' mean?
The answer to the first question is corn bread (which was once eaten in all the early states); the answer to the second is long, and starts at the end of the nineteenth century and continues through various developments into the Forties; the answer to the third depends on the era and the country. All of these and other questions are addressed in Jim Chevallier's articles on Bread and Biscuits in the second edition of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, now available:


- August 2012

Once pork fat was considered appropriate for Catholic "meatless" days...
This is only one of the peculiar facts uncovered by the eighteenth century writer Le Grand d'Aussy in his exploration of Catholic fasting in France, now available in English:


Have you ever wanted to gild a peacock?
They did in fourteenth century France, but a "golden peacock" (or, if you prefer, swan) is only one of a number of dishes described in this little known predecessor to Taillevent's Viandier:
How To Cook a Golden Peacock: Enseingnemenz Qui Enseingnent à Apareillier Toutes Manières de Viandes - A Little-Known Cookbook from Medieval France


- April 2012

What was REAL medieval food like?
Most of what people think they know about medieval food comes from a few centuries at the end of the period, when Taillevent's famous cookbook (The Viandier) appeared. So what happened to all those other centuries? Find out here:
French Food Before Taillevent.

Duels, Assault and Domestic Violence in Pre-Revolutionary France, the third volume of the Old Regime Police Blotter is now available:

A woman who killed three men in a sword fight; drunken musketeers assaulting passers-by; a wife whose husband brought his mistress home and beat her when she objected.... More colorful characters and dramatic vignettes from Old Regime France.

- January 2012

France was barely born when a Greek doctor wrote a Frankish king a letter, telling him what to eat. A letter in Latin.
Now available in English:
Or visit this page for some samples.

- September 2011

Love wine? Love history?
Love the history of wine?
Here's one of the few comprehensive histories of wine in France, from the Gauls through the eighteenth century, in a new translation:

- May 2011

Now available:

Thirty TV Type Scenes for Two People

on Kindle and Barnes and Noble ebook

See TV Type Scenes for more.

- August 2011

Samples from BULLIES - a new monologues series for teens and adults - are now up.

- October 2010

Like bread? Read French?
Check out the new Dictionnaire Universel du Pain:

Dictionnaire universel du pain

With articles on Austrian bread, the baguette, the croissant, pain de fantaisie, porteuses de pain, Viennese baguette and bread, viennoiserie and Christophe-Auguste Zang, signed....

Jim Chevallier

- August 2010

The latest addition to the site: a look at

18th century French breads.

Here are other recent changes:

BESIDE BOLIVAR: the Edecán Demarquet

And, inaugurating the bread and baking theme:

The origin of the croissant
Ten Fun Croissant Facts
About the Baguette
Last Updated November 2, 2016