A Brief History of French Cuisine
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Service en confusion
Getting the food all at once. Style of service during French medieval banquets.
Did they have utensils in during the medieval French period?
No, ate with thumb and 2 fingers. Used daggers as knives. Pie crusts were as serving platters as they were not fit for eating.
What kind of sauces were served in French medieval cuisine?
- highly seasoned an thick
- heavily flavored mustards
When did pie crust stop being just platters for holding food?
Late Middle Ages when fats were added to crust for a flakier texture and deemed crust edible.
Issue de Table
This would be similar to our modern day dessert. However, sugar as we know it is not yet available. Therefore, it consisted of dragees, aged cheese and spice wine.
What is dragees?
Spiced lumps of hardened sugar and honey?
What 2 factors varied the ingredients in French medieval cuisine?
- Season - spring, summer, & autumn afforded abundance while winter meals were sparse.
- Church calendar - the Catholic Church heavily influenced the culture. There are days where meats were not allowed to be eaten.
What types of preservatives were used during medieval French cuisine to keep food during the winter months?
- Beef was salted
- Pork was salted and smoked
- Bacon and sausages were smoked in the chimney
- Tongue and ham were brined and dried
- Cucumbers were brined
- Greens packed in jars with salt
- Fruits nuts and root vegetables would be boiled in honey
- Whale, dolphins, and porpoise are considered fish and were salted to be eaten during Lent.
Were there fish farms in medieval French times?
Yes, artificial freshwater ponds also called stew held carp, pike, tench, bream, eel, and other fish.
How were poultry kept in medieval French times?
They were kept in a special yard.
Were pigeon and squab common food in medieval French times?
No, they were reserved for the elite.
Did they eat game in medieval French times?
Game was highly prized, but very rare, and included venison, wild boar, hare, rabbit, and birds.
How did they obtain spices in medieval French times?
Kitchen gardens provided herbs, such as tansy, rue, pennyroyal, and hyssop.
What spices were used in French medieval times and were they common?
Spices were treasured and very expensive. They included pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and mace. Cubebs, long pepper, grains of paradise, and galengale were used then but no longer today.
What were added to French medieval cuisine for the sweet-sour flavors?
Vinger and verjus (sour juice from underriped grapes)
What was the common food preparation during French medieval times and what was the purpose?
Food were finely cooked, pounded, and strained into fine pastes and mushes. It was believed to be beneficial to make use of nutrients.
How were displays during French medieval times?
Visual displays were prized. Natural food coloring were added for brilliant colors.
What is the real name of Taillevent?
What time frame was Taillevent alived?
- Born 1310 or 1312 and died 1395 at the age of 85?
- 14th century
What was the most important contribution of Taillevent?
- Wrote the first professional cookery book in France entitled "Le Viandier" around 1375, 1380 and 1381.
- Head of the Royal Kitchens of Charles VI.
Who wrote "Le Viandier"
What does Taillevent literally mean?
How did Taillevent start his career?
Worked as a kitchen boy responsible for turning spits in the kitchen of Jeanne d'Evreux (1310-1371), Queen of France.
What is Les Halles?
Les Halles along with Les Megisserie and markets along Rue Mouffetard were markets and were important to food distribution
Who regulated the guild system?
The guilds were regulated by city government as well as by the French cown. A guild restricted those in a given branch of the culinary industry to operate only within that field.
What are the two basic groups of guilds?
Those that supplied raw meats and those that supplied prepared food.
What kind of guilds are in the group that supplied raw meats?
- Grain merchant
What kind of guilds are in the group that supplied prepared foods?
- Pastry cooks
- Sauce makers
What are the two guilds that offered both raw materials and prepared food?
- Charcutiers - Only ones that can deal with pigs. Prepares bacon, sausages, and pate.
- Rotisseurs - Purveyors of roasted meat dishes.
- Both guilds would supply cooked meat pies and dishes as well as raw meat and poultry - caused issues with butchers and poulterers
How did Catherine de' Medici influence French cuisine?
- 1533 married King of France and brought Italian chefs with her from Florence.
- No dried sausages prior like salami or proscuitto
What is La Varenne's contribution?
- Credited with publishing the first true French cookbook. (book includes the earliest known reference to roux using pork back fat.)
- Established the foundations of Haute Cuisine during the 17th century.
- Recipes and technique aimed to create lighter dishes and modest presentations of pies as individual pastries and turnovers.
Who wrote Cuisinier Francois?
La Varenne. This book includes the earliest known reference to roux using pork back fat.
Who wrote Le Parfait confiturier?
La Varenne - updated and codified the emerging haute cuisine standards for desserts and pastries.
Who as Francois Vatel?
- 1631 - April 24, 1671 - was the maitre d'hotel of Nicolas Fouquet and Prince Louis Ii de Bourbon-Conde (Chateau de Chantilly)
- Incorrectly credited with creating Creme Chantilly
- Committed suicide by running himself through with a sword b/c distraught with lateness of the fish (held of Friday).
Whole banquet and event. More than just a meal. Put together by the Maitre d'hotel.
What was Francois Massialot's contribution?
Wrote Le Cuisinier roial et bourgeois in 1691 during the reign of Louis XIV. Contained menus served to the royal courts in 1690.
Who wrote Le Cuisinier roial et bourgeois and what is its importance?
- Francois Massialot
- First book to list recipes alphabetically. The recipe for marinades were first seen in print.
- Definitions were added to later edition.
How are royal cooks exempt from guilds?
Royal cooks received special privileges by association with the French royalty.
Who is Marcus Cavias Apicius?
Considered to be the author of the first cookbook written in Latin. He is Roman and most of the recipes are no longer used.
What was the major contribution of Marie Antonin Careme?
- During the French revolution in the late 18th century he was known for his pieces montees (extravagant constructions of pastry and sugar architecture).
- Developed the primary sauces.
- Souffles appeared in his writings for the first time
What is Pieces Montees?
extravagant constructions of pastry and sugar architecture
How did French cuisine change during the French Revolution?
- Guilds are abolished. Chefs could now produce and sell any culinary item he wished.
- They are no longer under a king or lord.
Who wrote L'Art de la Cuisine Francais au Dix-Neuvieme Siecle?
Marie Antonin Careme
What is Jules Gouffe's major contribution?
- pupil of Careme at 16 and apprentice for 7 years
- 1840 opened a shop on Rue du Fauborg Saint-Honore and sold it at 1855
- 1867 became chef de bouche at the Jockey Club
- Works translated by his brother into English
What is the literal translation of Le Cordon Bleu?
The Blue Ribbon
What the is the orgin of the name Le Cordon Bleu?
extravagant and luxurious banquets known cordons bleu thrown by an elite group of French knights. After the banquets were over, it became synonymous with excellence.
What magazine was the early manifestation of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school?
La Cuisenaire Cordon Bleu founded by Martha Distrell in the late 19th century began offering special lessons by some of the best chefs in France that turned into to the school in 1895.
Who managed the school until 1984?
Who is the current owner of Le Cordon Bleu?
Andre Cointreau, a descendant of both the Cointreau and Remy Martin dynasties.
What is Georges Auguste Escoffier known for?
- brigade system
- worked with Cesar Ritz
- wrote Le Guide Culinaire in 1903
Who wrote Le Guide Culinaire?
Georges Auguste Escoffier
Who embraced service a la russe?
What is nouvelle cuisine?
new cuisine rebelling the orthodoxy of Escoffier's cuisine
Who were the chefs of the nouvelle cuisine in the 1960's?
Paul Bocuse, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Michel Guerard, Roger Verge, and Raymond Oliver
Who ran the Pyramide restaurant?
What is the formal of the nouvelle cuisine?
- 1. Rejection of complicated cooking
- 2. Reduced cooking time for more natural flavor and favored steaming.
- 3. Freshest ingredients possible
- 4. Shorter menus
- 5. No strong marinades
- 6. Stopped heavy sauces
- 7. Used regional dishes as inspiration
- 8. New technique and equipment
- 9. Pay attention to dietary needs of guests
- 10. Inventive
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