CHEZ JIM
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Articles in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America



The second edition of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America includes an article on Bread and another on Biscuits by Jim Chevallier. The first explores a number of aspects of American bread, including the importance, early on, of corn bread throughout the early colonies and how, starting in the late nineteenth century, the standard American bread became so bad. The second explores all the different meanings of the word "biscuit", starting with its origin as "twice-cooked" (bis cuit) bread and moving through its different meanings in England and America to the appearance of mixes to make what was already a quick bread even quicker.

Articles in the Dictionnaire universel du pain

Dictionnaire universel du pain


Jean-Philippe de Tonnac's new "Dictionnaire universel du pain", published by Robert Laffont (October 14, 2010), includes a number of articles by Jim Chevallier, notably those on the baguettte and the croissant. (See: Autriche; Baguette; Croissant; Pain de fantaisie; Porteuse de pain; Viennois (Pain et baguette); Viennoiserie; Zang (Christophe Auguste).)

Baguette. – The baguette is at once a bread and a symbol. In English, the baguette has often been called "French stick" and until recently, the idea of eating such “sticks” seemed to characterize the French. In English-speaking countries, to indicate that a character is French, it remains sufficient to show him with a beret on his head and a baguette in his hand. In France, the baguette, as common as it is, is not precisely defined. Neither the form nor the weight of the baguette are regulated....

Croissant – The modern croissant is a pastry created from a risen puff pastry dough, often but not always in the shape of a crescent. During the last decades of the twentieth century it has often been made in various shapes and with various other products added (ham, almonds, etc.)
Let us say right off that this roll was not invented during the siege of Vienna (nor of Budapest), even if this version of its origin – disproven since the nineteenth century – remains by far the most widespread. Nor did Marie-Antoinette, though she might have had some made for herself, introduce it into France, where it was unknown until well after her death.
On the other hand, the croissant is indeed of Austrian origin, having begun as the French version of the kipfel, a roll which has existed in Austria since at least the thirteenth century. The kipfel was surely not the first crescent-shaped bread. Already, since this shape can suggest either the moon or the horns of a bull, it is likely that such breads were made in antiquity....

Translated excerpts from the French articles


Paper in Consuming Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

The paper "The Queen's Coffee and Casanova's Chocolate: The Early Modern Breakfast in France" (191-208) appears in the following work:

cover



Consuming Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century: Narratives of Consumption, 1700-1900 by Tamara S. Wagner and Narin Hassan, Lexington Books (March 28, 2007)

Breakfast, for its very marginality, has proven a particularly fruitful point of entry into a truly intra- as well as interdisciplinary inquiry into the representations of food. When it is visible or even discussed in fiction, is the symbolic potential of breakfast as the first meal of the day, served at so many different hours of the morning (as a notoriously flexible and extendable time of day in tin itself), per definition different from that of other meals? What can this tell us about the function of consumption in fiction more generally? How did cultural discoures of "the long nineteent h century"affect representation of consumption and not only of breakfasts? The initial discussion of these and related questions ont the 18C-List Server in the spring of 2003 was initiated by Jim Chevallier, whose essay on the cultural and social history of breakfast in eighteenth-century Europe now forms an important contribution to this collection.
from the preface (vii-viii)



Reviews

The following are available on Project Muse, for those who have access:



L’Europe de Gutenberg: Le livre et l’invention de la modernité occidentale (review)

Libraries & the Cultural Record - Volume 43, Number 2, 2008, pp. 242-244

Today the ubiquity of the printed word -- on cards, cups, T-shirts, well beyond the sphere of literature -- seems almost like that of grass or leaves, a natural phenomenon. And yet mass printing and the social, political, and other developments resulting from it have all grown from the work of one man, working in the midvalley of the Rhine within a few short years: "To the degree that we can reconstitute the facts, Gutenberg . . . began to print in Mainz, starting...
Dictionnaire des femmes libraires en France (1470-1870) (review)

Libraries & Culture - Volume 40, Number 1, Winter 2005, pp. 97-98

This is largely a book about widows - not only before the French Revolution, when women were limited to taking over a deceased husband's business, but often after as well. The brief (nineteen pages) but useful introduction paints a poignant picture of aged women requesting licenses to open bookstores only because they had no other means of support. Before and after the...
The Spoken Word: Writers. Historic Recordings of Writers Born in the 19th Century (review)

Libraries & Culture - Volume 40, Number 1, Winter 2005, pp. 98-100

Despite a decidedly plain cover, this somewhat sedate collection might well have found a wide audience for one simple reason: it includes a rare reading from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien himself. Brief as it is, it captures both his evident delight in storytelling and the distinct...
Lumières du Nord: Imprimeurs, libraires, et "gens du livre" dans le Nord au XVIII siècle (1701-1789), Dictionnaire prosopographique (review)

Libraries & Culture - Volume 38, Number 4, Fall 2003, pp. 412-413

Frédéric Barbier, a director of research at France's National Center of Scientific Research (best known by its French acronym: CNRS), has written a number of books and articles on books,...


Anthologized Monologues

Professor Gerald Lee Ratliff has included two monologues from this site (Sister Santa (see below) and Groaning up) - along with works by Chris Durang, Wendy Wasserstein, and Arthur Miller - in Millenium Monologs:

cover

Another brief but entertaining script that asks the ultimate philosophical question, "What's so great about growing up?" This character has an amusing point of view and offers an ingenious response to the age-old question.
(229)

And Sister Santa yet again in Young Women's Monologs from Contemporary Plays:

In this dark parody of the Yuletide hero Santa Claus, Sister Santa is a feisty and sour holiday elf.
(203)

and in Audition Monologues for Young Women: Contemporary Audition Pieces for Aspiring Actresses

There are no warm moments of holiday cheer or yuletide songs here as Sister Santa hands out one gift-wrapped insult after another and taunts the startled children standing in line for a glimpse of jolly old Saint Nick.
(142)



Photographs in The Wines of Chablis and the Yonne

By Master of Wine Rosemary George, Sotheby's; 2007 edition (October 1984), reissued 2010. The book is on the wines and winemakers of the area and includes photographs from several sources. Those of the winemakers are by Jim Chevallier.

Jim Chevallier deserves special thanks for giving up a weekend in November, when Chablis is cold and grey, to photograph growers in their even colder cellars.
(Acknowledgements)



Broadcasts on WCAS 740 AM, WBZ-FM and WBUR-FM

In another life, as a radio announcer/producer in the Boston/Cambridge area.

WBZ-FM: “The Boston Folk Scene” (public affairs show)

WBUR-FM: “The Folk Show” (eclectic traditional and modern folk mix)

for NPR (national distribution): “The Eistedfodd” (documentary on folk festival)

WCAS:

Live At Passim's” (acoustic live broadcast from Passim's coffeehouse; similar to MTV's “Unplugged”; acts included Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, Tom Waits, Ry Cooder and Jimmy Buffett.)

Produced several live broadcasts, including

  • Bravo Boston” (live jazz broadcasts from Copley Square)

  • Cambridge River Festival (live broadcast)



Awards:

BHV (Paris) Concours Photo 1981 – Third Prize (photography)

Asia Society Haiku Contest 1987 – Runner-Up (poetry)