Early French Cookery introduces the general features of the food prepared for wealthy French households at the end of the Middle Ages. The volume presents over 100 recipes, drawn from actual medieval manuscripts, together with preparation instructions. The authors help place these enticing recipes in context through a short survey of medieval dining behavior, and they give practical menu suggestions for preparing simple meals or banquets that incorporate these delightfully tasty dishes.
Chapters include an overview of early French culinary traditions, foodstuffs that were used, and methods of preparation. Early French Cookery also discusses the equipment of the kitchens and dining rooms that were used, and characterizes those who prepared the food and those who consumed it.
The recipes are set out in a modern format, with quantities given in both metric and standard U.S. measurements. Recipes are grouped by category: appetizers, vegetables, fish dishes, desserts, and so forth.
Early French Cookery concludes with a fascinating look at a day in the life of a contemporary master chef at a duke's court. We watch Master Chiquart organize the purchase, storage, preparation, and serving of the food consumed by a duke and his dozens of family members, courtiers, staff and servants--and all done without benefit of grocery stores, refrigeration, labor-saving electric appliances, or running water.
Early French Cookery will be of interest to a wide variety of people, from those who like to hold unusual parties to those who are interested in the economics of the middle ages.
D. Eleanor Scully is an occasional lecturer at the Stratford Chef School and advisor to Wilfrid Laurier University on Medieval and Renaissance cooking and customs. Terence Scully is Professor of French Language and Literature, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. [via]