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Round boi

This picture tickled me, for some reason. It’s by Paul Gavarni (real name: Hippolyte-Guillaume-Sulpice Chevalier, hoo boy!), 1804-1866. French. Brittanica calls his late work ‘bitter‘.

Title: Revers des Médailles (1842) or Reverse of the Medal.

Caption, as near as I can make it (it’s faint): dangereux effet des pates orientales, lelles que le Rachaoul ou le Nafe d’Arabie, sur des organisations trop delicates or (as Google Translate would have it) dangerous effect of oriental pasta, such as Rachaoul or Arabian Nafe, on too delicate organizations.

Not actual pasta, I don’t think. Some kind of sweetie. I only found one reference to Rachaoul and it was a translation of a French pamphlet on agriculture from 1836:

The edible merchants [of Paris] also devise a substance called tapioca, which they advocate almost as much as the famous Rachaoul, which fattens the odalisques of the seraglio; but the tapioca itself is nothing other than cassava, which does not fatten negroes much.

The crack about negroes is not as strange as it looks, I don’t think. Cassava was a staple in Africa and Africans were, by and large, not fat.

As for Arabian nafe, no idea. Knafeh, maybe? Anyway, it’s something he eats with a spoon from a jar that comes out of a cabinet, so early Victorian pudding cups, at a guess.


Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: July 20, 2021, 8:17 pm

Nice post. Thank you. Lot to think about.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: July 20, 2021, 11:06 pm

He’s quite an interesting artist.. thanks for turning us on to him.


Comment from durnedyankee
Time: July 20, 2021, 11:58 pm

Wow indeed.

Interesting to see the various outfits the period inhabitants of Paris/France had. And to be sure were being worn in other places as well.

Good he was young during the reign of the Corsican Fiend enabling him to miss out on the fun to be had from Austerlitz to Waterloo and probably ensuring he lived to put pencil or ink to paper instead of becoming fertilizer for some foreign field.

Comment from Oceania
Time: July 21, 2021, 4:10 am

Succumbing to the Rigors of Time

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: July 21, 2021, 10:54 am

If he was alive now, he could do one of the dangers of all you can eat buffets.

Because that sort of figure can be readily seen in such places.

Sign say, All you can eat, NOT YOU EAT ALL!

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 21, 2021, 4:24 pm

@durnedyankee—Funny you should mention all-you-can-eat buffets. Sean of the South posted about church buffets today, and it’s mighty tasty reading.


Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: July 21, 2021, 9:27 pm

Cassava is a staple in Africa now, but I don’t think it was then (1840). It’s a New World plant that was brought to Africa by Portuguese colonials. And in 1842, the French hadn’t had much contact with black Africans yet.

Cassava was huge in the New World, and was consumed by the natives and then by black slaves in French and other colonies.

Incidentally, cassava takes a lot of preparation to eat safely. Raw cassava contains traces of cyanide. Some African cultures started growing and eating it without adopting the elaborate processing used by New World natives. They get chronic cyanide poisoning.

Even in the New World, there are problems. There have been cases of starving Venezuelans eating raw cassava and dying of cyanide poisoning.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: July 22, 2021, 10:39 am

@Deborah – ah, church suppers.
As children we were often dragged to church suppers during summers with the GP’s in Maine.

Ungrateful little wretches were we, I’d PAY triple to be able to do that again now.
Baked beans, casseroles, salads, home made breads. Sigh.

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