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The upper classes of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries enjoyed a refined cuisine. Every official event became the pretext for sumptuous feasts where the courses were abundant and the servings enormous:charcuterie hors d`oeuvres and delicate French-style soups were followed by numerous meat and fish dishes, vegetables purees, intricate sweets and fruit, all presented with the utmost care, particularly in the rapidly spreading restaurants. However, the food of the common people remained frugal and monotonous, based on bread and vegetable soups, beans, cabbages and potatoes. Cheese and eggs were widespread as were polenta and pasta made from flour and eggs.