By Kenneth James
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Then followed a salad, fruit and finally coffee and cognac. '18 Lunch he nearly always produced from the leftovers from dinner of the previous evening. 'Certainly,' he says, 'I reached heights never before attained when it came to using up scraps. ' He went on, 'As for ourselves - Bouniol, Fagette, his assistant and me - we lunched much as the officers, for example, on superb gratins of poultry scraps with chopped macaroni bound with a few spoonfuls of bechamel. One day there was great jubilation among us select few when I managed with great difficulty and at high price to acquire some little pike fished from the Moselle.
The immediate problem was what to do about the piece of beef which Auguste had reserved for his piece de resistance the next day. With the enemy all around them, as he put it, they were likely to be moved out at any time; setting up his kitchen with its stove was out of the question. 'My decision was quickly taken', he reports. ' They immediately set about constructing a primitive spit of thick branches cut from the railway's hedge, and started a midnight cooking session. The fire and the smell of roasting beef gathered spectators, but their intense interest soon had Auguste and Jeremie drawing protective sabres.
They sued Boulanger, but he won the case. 1 By 1789 there were about fifty such establishments in Paris. 26 ESCOFFIER Then came the French Revolution and the cultural changes in its wake, and the restaurant idea really caught on. Ten years later there were five hundred restaurants in Paris, and they later spread across France, Europe and the world. The soup remained the distinctive feature of that first restaurant, and the idea of a speciality in such establishments persists. The restaurant with social grace did not appear in France until after the Revolution.