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Food in the Brazilian empire: elements for studying dietetics, chemical and medical questions and the physiology of taste


The aim of this study is to understand the dietary habits current in Rio de Janeiro at the time of the Brazilian Empire (1822-1889) through contemporary discussions on science, its relationship to alimentation and implications on issues related to taste and gastronomy. An analysis of documents written at that time such as medical dissertations presented to the Faculty of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro (from 1832 onwards) and (19th century) Brazilian cookbooks and treatises on gastronomy and taste published in France shows that the choice on what ought and ought not be eaten, beyond a matter of taste, was related to issues on hygiene and nutrition, in tum intimately related to chemical notions. It further allowed identifying aspects of community, such as the presence of traces of older dietetic notions, which were not erased by the new knowledge on alimentation brought by chemistry and experimental physiology. (AU)

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