The more I read about seventeenth-century académie culture the more I see tumblr BNFdom
The more I read about seventeenth-century académie culture the more I see tumblr BNFdom
I just saw something yonic and it made me realize I have NEVER SHARED THE GLORY THAT IS THE LOGO OF THE UNIVERSITÉ CATHOLIQUE DE LYON.
Okay let me back up a second.
So from September 2008 to July 2009 I lived in Lyon, where I got a DALF level C1 via the Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises which, to my sorrow (to my sorrow I am François born in Paris near Pontoise *ahem*), is affiliated with the Catholic University of Lyon.
Yep, you heard it, this anticlerical sumbitch spent some time at a Catholic institution.
Anyway, I just wanted to show you guys what the Université Catho’s logo is. Ya ready for this? Below the cut because a) surprise and b) NSFW, in my opinion.
"I got on the anon meme" I whisper
The Trial, by F.K.
Just wanted to mention that I was 11 when I read those words for the first time.
when ppl ignore the fact that joly uses a cane and erase it completely in fics/art *looks into the camera like im on the office*
You’re aware that walking sticks were a fashion accessory in the nineteenth century, right? Marius and Combeferre also have canes, and that’s just naming some of the Amis…
You are 100% correct to be suspicious. Taken literally, what Hooper said there was “He ate well, although his diet was unbalanced and too high in carbohydrates”. In other words, if Jackman actually ate to lose weight, he ate less than a 19th century convict. At least, that’s very likely.
To give you some numbers
I have info on the rations from 1817, which is close enough:
917g of fresh black bread (or 700g of sea biscuit), 30g of cheese, 120g of dried beans, 4.9g of olive oil (or 8.82g of butter), 48cl of wine and 10g of salt. As you can see, there’s enough carbohydrates, but there might be a lack of proteins and there’s definitely a lack of vitamins.
Later on, convicts got fresh vegetables and meat on Sundays, but that was the 1830s and 40s, so Valjean didn’t profit from that.
To your third question. Is that a lot? Let’s try and find out, shall we?
My first impulse was to try and put it into numbers. How many calories does this have? And how many does a person need?
That was harder than imagined, because the food energy of something like bread, cheese or dry beans varies strongly with the type. Therefore, there’s always an upper and a lower border. The values I found (several sources spread over the entire internet) in kcal per 100g are:
Black bread: 210-350
Dry beans: 272-473
Olive oil: 930-950
That gives the total ration somewhere between 2420 and 3987 kcal. If you’re like me and have no feeling for how much a calorie is, here are Kilojoule: 10067kJ-16693kJ. You’re welcome.
The problem with the amount of calories needed is that I quite simply cannot find two webpages that agree. One did ask me the ask amount of hours spent doing a certain task and gave me values of up to 7000kcal in case I weigh 90kg, but that webpage, to make up for it, didn’t take age into account, which, according to some other webpages, can make a difference of as much as 25%. I quite simply have no idea what to believe anymore. Also, while it originally seemed to make sense to peg hard labour as the maximum amount of physical activity, I then remembered one of the most common complaints about hard labour from the time: it was a common claim that free workers actually worked harder than convicts. So should I bring this down to not-quite-as-hard physical activity?
The webpages that agreed slightly pegged the daily requirements somewhere between 1500 and 3600 kcal, depending on weight and age. I used the extremes of 50kg/90kg (arbitrary) and 16 years/70 years of age (actual age minimum/maximum after 1791). Should this be correct, then the calories found in that diet are anywhere between “just alright for a middle aged man of mean weight” and “definitely enough for everybody”. Should the other mentioned website be correct with its claim of 3700-7100kcal, then the rations would only have been sufficient for the smallest convicts in Toulon.
Clearly, that approach is getting us nowhere. So let’s try and get a feeling for ourselves…
I weighed the near fresh loaf of black bread I got yesterday and as you can see it weighs about 780g. I put the bread knife for scale, because the blade happened to be 19cm long and that amused me. A slice of this bread weighs about 50g and my scales aren’t precise enough to show a difference between this slice and the slightly larger next slice. A little back-of-the-envelope calculation revealed that the full loaf weighed approximately a kilo. So, take the loaf you see there and imagine that you add the three slices I cut before the picture was taken. You should be close to a day’s bread ration.
Beans were a little harder, simply because I don’t have any. So here’s a picture from the internet with a line drawn. Left of the line should be close to 120g of dry beans.
Now let’s take a picture of 30g of cheese. It’s on the bread slice for scale. This is a cheese from the island of Mull, so definitely not what French convicts got, but I don’t think that there are huge differences in density of hard cheese (as long as there are no holes, but that’s Swiss cheese).
Since I’m nearly out of olive oil, I went for approx. 9g of butter. Again, the preciseness of my scales makes that about +/- 5g, but I guess that’s close enough. So here’s a picture of that little piece of butter joining my lunch.
I guess you don’t need a picture to imagine 48cl of wine. Imagine half a litre-bottle.
Finally, here’s 10g of salt. If you think that’s a lot, keep in mind that you probably eat much more salt every day without noticing.
Now put that together. I guess you will agree with me that it seems like a lot of food. It’s about six slices of bread per meal, plus two meals with an okay amount of soup and a little cheese. The salt and olive oil where most likely put in the soup as well.
Finally, as an experimental physicist, my solution for everything is experiment, in other words, try it out. And I actually did that one some time ago… Because I asked myself exactly the same question when one of these “behind-the-scenes” videos was first published.
The boundary conditions: I was 23 at the time, therefore my requirements are still among the highest. It would also have placed me in the tied second most common age group (31-40 was most common and 21-30 and 41-50 have very similar numbers) in the bagne. I’m 1.75m, therefore quite a bit above average height for the time and also, I presume, above average weight. I don’t drink, so wine got substituted with grape juice. And I was a pretty useless cook then, so I took bean soup from the can and therefore weighed off 120g of “wet” beans, rather than dried beans. Finally, the physical activity aspect. The best I could do was leave a week’s worth of household and garden chores for a single day and top it off with two hours Judo practice.
The result? No chance. I was left with about 600g of bread that I just couldn’t eat anymore. Maybe that is still down to the lack of appropriate physical activity, but I actually have a hard time imagining the amount of activity needed to make up that much food.
There you have it. Three different attempts at trying to get an idea how much food there was. As a final word, I should add though, that everybody who ever visited the bagne usually commented that the food was decent. No mention ever of it being not enough (unless you count Claude Gueux, which is a different story).
This is amazing. I’m really glad they asked you and not me, because mine would have been been factually accurate but extremely dull: I would have provided the correct quantities of each food, but not pictures, and I wouldn’t have been able to speak from experience…
There are times in fiction where a forçat is said to not have enough food—for instance, the really big guy in Le Bonnet Vert who tries to supplement his rations with money made from selling crafts. There’s also the lyric “Avec ce produit d’l’aubaine, nous nous arrosons l’gosier” which suggests that crafts really were used to buy extra rations (although it could be out of a desire for better-quality food, rather than hunger).
In any case, I think it probably was a lot of food, and goes a long way towards explaining some things that might otherwise not make sense. For instance, Alhoy says that convicts would sometimes play with the children of guards and “share their bread” with them; my first response was, “Seriously? He’s gonna let that kid have his food?” But if the total bread ration is a huge-ass loaf like that, I can see why he wouldn’t object to breaking off a piece during lunchtime.
Just one more point as a proto-doctor here—the metabolic rate (and sodium consumption) are both greatly affected by temperature. I don’t know what the heating and working conditions were like, but the basic idea is that you’ll need to burn more calories to maintain homeostasis (/proper body temperature) in the cold than in the heat. And in the heat you will need more salt to replace the salt lost in sweat. Both vary on an individual basis of course. As an example, I am a small person (5’2” or 1.57 m) without much fat who therefore doesn’t sweat much in the heat (I don’t overheat easily) but also has to burn many more calories in the cold (not enough insulation). I would estimate that my body requires an extra 500-700 calories a day for 2-3 hours spent in intense exercise (cross-country skiing, for example) in the cold (below freezing), and that’s *with* proper clothing. I have a pretty fast metabolism, so the average person might not need as many calories to compensate, but the principle’s there. 2400 calories (your low end) would be insufficient for hard labor outside in the cold for multiple hours per day, but 3900 (your upper end) would probably be sufficient with a few exceptions. As to the vitamins, was the wine red or white? Red wine, because it contains the peels of the grapes, will have many more vitamins than white.
Another good point! (Someone has also pointed out that daily exercise will affect the metabolism differently than exercise once a week.) The average temperature in Toulon has gone up since Valjean’s time, but let’s say it’s a warm-to-hot, dry climate. (Brest is cold and damp, but that’s not where Valjean was. OTOH, if we’re interested in history, then it’s relevant…)
To answer your question, the wine would have been very cheap, low-quality red wine.
so my dog took a crap on the rug and then fell asleep in my bed
at this point I’m not even trying anymore
Wow… I missed quite something that was going on during my night.
Indeed, I was gonna tell you next time we talked, “So, Hernaniste picked up your ask, and…”
caerdroia said: i mean, y’all are quality. hot damn.