A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (9/30)
“All bets are off in bankruptcy” (9/30)
“The only cure for presidential fever is embalming fluid” (9/30)
Apple Store (2000s) (9/30)
“Fail fast, fail often” (business adage) (9/29)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from August 02, 2009
“Stock to a cook is voice to a singer” ("Chicken to a cook is like a canvas to a painter")

"A chicken to a cook is like a canvas to a painter” is a modern interpretation of a statement in Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s The Physiology of Taste (1825). The usual English translation is: “Poultry is for the cook what canvas is for a painter.”

“Stock to a cook is voice to a singer” is a similar phrase, almost always credited to “Anonymous.” Several websites claim that “Broth to a cook is voice to a singer” is a Chinese phrase, but citations are needed.


Wikipedia: Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1 April 1755, Belley, France – 2 February 1826, Paris) was a French lawyer and politician, and gained fame as an epicure and gastronome: “Grimod and Brillat-Savarin. Between them, two writers effectively founded the whole genre of the gastronomic essay.”
(...)
His famous work, Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), was published in December 1825, two months before his death. The full title is Physiologie du Goût, ou Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante; ouvrage théorique, historique et à l’ordre du jour, dédié aux Gastronomes parisiens, par un Professeur, membre de plusieurs sociétés littéraires et savantes. The book has not been out of print since it first appeared, shortly before Brillat-Savarin’s death. Its most notable English translation was done by food writer and critic M. F. K. Fisher, who remarked “I hold myself blessed among translators.” Her translation was first published in 1949.

Google Books
The Physiology of Taste:
or, Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy

By Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Translated by M. F. K. Fisher
1949 (Originally published in 1825)
Pg. 78:
Thus bettered, poultry is for the cook what canvas is for a painter, or the cap of Fortunatus for a conjurer; it is served to us boiled, roasted, fried, hot or cold, whole or cut up, with or without sauce, boned, skinned, stuffed, and always with equal success.

Google News Archive
6 November 1984, Toledo (OH) Blade, “Plucking The Best Meals From Today’s Chicken” by mary Alice Powell, pg. 29, col. 2:
CREATIVE COOKS continue to agree wit Jean Brillat-Savarin, a 19th-century French writer, philosopher and gourmet, who wrote, “A chicken to a cook is like a canvas to a painter.”

Google Books
March 1985, Texas Monthly, pg. 225, col. 1:
If, as Brillat-Savarin said, “A chicken to a cook is like a canvas to a painter,” that dish corresponded to a totally white canvas.

Google Books
The Perdue Chicken Cookbook
By Mitzi Perdue
New York, NY: Pocket Books
1991
Pg. xi:
Jean Brillat-Savarin, the famous French gourmet, once said, “A chicken to a cook is like a canvas to a painter.”

Google Books
A Cup of Comfort Cookbook:
Favorite comfort foods to warm your heart and lift your spirit

By Jay Weinstein and Colleen Sell
Avon, MA: Adams Media Corporation
2002
Pg. 9:
Stock to a cook is voice to a singer.
Anonymous

Google Books
Cooking for Company:
All the recipes you need for simple elegant entertaining at home

By Nicole Aloni
New York, NY: HP Books
2003
Pg. 83:
Stock to a cook is voice to a singer.
-- Anonymous

eSoupSong
Proverbially Soup
(e-SoupSong 34: February 1, 2003)
(...)
“Broth to a cook is voice to a singer.” (China)

Taste of Home Community
Poll_KY_of_the_Purple_Ilk
03-13-2003 5:12 AM
(...)
Comments: In Guangdong (Kwangtung) province in the South of China, there is a saying that “Broth to a cook is voice to a singer.”

The Old Foodie
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Soup for the singer.
“Anonymous” once said: “Stock to a cook is voice to a singer”, which is indisputably true.

Kimberly Belle
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Take Stock, Chicken That Is
(...)
If stock is to a cook what opera is to a singer, then homemade stock is Puccini.

Whisk: a food blog
Friday, April 18, 2008
Fumet de poisson (Fish stock)
(...)
Stock to a cook is voice to a singer.
Anonymous

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, August 02, 2009 • Permalink