Gourmet - Encyclopedia

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GOURMET, a French term for one who takes a refined and critical, or even merely theoretical pleasure in good cooking and the delights of the table. The word has not the disparaging sense attached to the Fr. gourmand, to whom the practical pleasure of good eating is the chief end. The O. Fr. groumet or gromet meant a servant, or shop-boy, especially one employed in a wine-seller's shop, hence an expert taster of wines, from which the modern usage has developed. The etymology of gourmet is obscure; it may be ultimately connected with the English "groom" (q.v.). The origin of gourmand is unknown. In English, in the form "grummet," the word was early applied to a cabin or ship's boy. Ships of the Cinque Ports were obliged to carry one "grummet"; thus in a charter of 1229 (quoted in the New English Dictionary) it is laid down servitia inde debita Domino Regi, xxi. naves, et in qualibet nave xxi. homines, cum uno gartione qui dicitur gromet.

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