|From: Monique's Passions|
"In Balzac’s Omelette: A Delicious Tour of French Food and Culture with Honoré de Balzac, author Anka Muhlstein regales readers with anecdotes and excerpts from the great French writer’s life that underscore the importance of cuisine in his oeuvre. [...]
During creative periods—which were often, as he had to write to fend off creditors—he stinted himself for days, subsisting on water and fruit. Muhlstein writes how on certain occasions Balzac breakfasted on 'a boiled egg … or sardines mashed with butter.' Come evening, he might nibble 'a chicken wing or a slice of roast leg of lamb.' To keep the creative juices flowing, he ended his meals with 'a cup or two of excellent black coffee without sugar.' These productive phases saw Balzac practicing austerities that would befit the strictest cloister, but once he sent the proofs to press he would race to the nearest eatery to down 'a hundred oysters' and chase them 'with four bottles of white wine.' And these delicacies were merely hors d’oeuvres. Subsequent courses consisted of 'twelve salt meadow lamb cutlets with no sauce, a duckling with turnips, a brace of roast partridge, a Normandy sole.' Dessert followed, as did 'a special fruit such as Comice pears, which he ate by the dozen.' He usually sent the bills for these orgiastic bouts to his publishers."
— Christine Baumgarthuber, The New Inquiry