The Art of Dining, and the Art of Attaining High Health

With a Few Hints on Suppers

 Published in Philadelphia in 1837, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by a social activist of the time is a collection of articles from the weekly publication The Original divided into three parts: dining, achieving good health, and enjoying supper.

Published in 1837 in Philadelphia, The Art of Dining; And the Art of Attaining High Health was originally published as a series of weekly articles titled The Original by social-activist author Thomas Walker. The collection is divided into three parts pertaining to the art of dining, achieving good health, and enjoying supper. 

Of dining, Walker states, “we are ordinarily content with the standard of mediocrity….Anybody can dine, but very few know how to dine, so as to ensure the greatest quantity of health and enjoyment.” Walker continues the section with a detailed explanation and ramblings about the proper way to dine, showcasing a fascinating glimpse into the dining habits of the early 19th century. 


Although most of the tome focuses on dining, The Art of Dining; And the Art of Attaining High Health also explores achieving good health and enjoying supper. Of the first, Walker wisely states, “Content the stomach, and the stomach will content you,” and follows with advice still believed today, that eating natural, good food leads to good health. Of supper, Walker proclaims, “Dinner is a business; supper an amusement” and warns readers to not forgo this important meal. The Art of Dining; And the Art of Attaining High Health was written in the early 19th century, but Walker clearly expounds on ideas that are still current for “foodies,” food writers, and health food advocates of today.


This edition of The Art of Dining; And the Art of Attaining High Health was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes.

About the Author

Thomas Walker was born in 1784 near Manchester, England. He went to Trinity College in Cambridge and became active in township affairs. He was a prolific writer of his time, first publishing Observations on the Nature, Extent, and Effect on Pauperism and on the Means of Reducing It about social issues surrounding the poor. He also wrote Suggestions for a Constitutional and Efficient Reform in Parochial Government in 1834 and a weekly article The Original beginning in 1835. Many collections of The Original were published, including The Art of Dining and the Art of Attaining High Health in 1837, posthumously. Walker died in 1836 in Brussels at the age of 52. 

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