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George H. (George Herman) Ellwanger.

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THE PLEASURES OF THE TABLE ***




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[Illustration: THE PLEASURES OF THE TABLE]




BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR


"The Garden's Story, or Pleasures and Trials of an Amateur
Gardener." Illustrated by Louis Rhead.

"The Story of My House." With a frontispiece by Sidney L.
Smith.

"In Gold and Silver." Illustrated by A. B. Wenzell and W.
Hamilton Gibson.

"The Rose." By H. B. Ellwanger. Revised edition, with an
Introduction by George H. Ellwanger.

"Idyllists of the Country Side." With a title-page by George
Wharton Edwards.

"Love's Demesne: A Garland of Contemporary Love Poems Gathered
from Many Sources."

"Meditations on Gout, with a Consideration of its Cure through
the Use of Wine." With a frontispiece and title-page by George
Wharton Edwards.

[Illustration: "A SA TOUTE-PUISSANCE!"

From the painting by Gabriel Metzu, 1664]




[Illustration:

THE
PLEASURES
OF THE TABLE

AN ACCOUNT OF GASTRONOMY
FROM ANCIENT DAYS TO
PRESENT TIMES.

WITH A HISTORY OF ITS LITERATURE,
SCHOOLS, AND MOST DISTINGUISHED ARTISTS;
TOGETHER WITH SOME SPECIAL RECIPES,
AND VIEWS CONCERNING
THE AESTHETICS OF DINNERS
AND DINNER-GIVING.

BY
GEORGE H. ELLWANGER, M.A.


NEW YORK
DOUBLEDAY PAGE AND CO.
1902
]




Copyright, 1902, by
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO.

[Illustration:

FANTAISIE CULINAIRE: LE POISSON PRÉVOYANT

By A. Thierry]




[Illustration:

TO HER,
TRUE COMRADE, WHOSE
VERSANT TOUCH AND ARTFUL
HAND HAVE KEENED MY
ZEST FOR GASTRONOMIC LORE,
THIS VOLUME IS DEVOTEDLY
INSCRIBED.
]


"Gasteria is the Tenth Muse; she presides over the enjoyments
of Taste."

BRILLAT-SAVARIN.

"The History of Gastronomy is that of manners, if not of
morals; and the learned are aware that its literature is both
instructive and amusing; for it is replete with curious traits
of character and comparative views of society at different
periods, as well as with striking anecdotes of remarkable men
and women whose destinies have been strangely influenced by
their epicurean tastes and habits."

ABRAHAM HAYWARD.




_INTRODUCTORY_


_It is far from the purpose or desire of the author to add another to
the innumerable volumes having practical cookery as their theme - the
published works of the past decade alone being too numerous to digest._

_The following chapters, therefore, though touching upon the practical
part of the art, will be found more closely concerned with the history,
literature, and æsthetics of the table than with its purely utilitarian
side. Indeed, a complete manual of practical cookery is one of the
impossibilities, for no person would have the patience to compile
it; and even were such a work achievable, few readers could find
sufficient time for its perusal. A glance at the portly "Bibliographie
Gastronomique" of Georges Vicaire, in which English contributions
to the subject are so meagrely represented, will suffice to show
the difficulties such a task would impose. To classify properly the
multitudinous dishes which, virtually identical, figure under so many
different names, would of itself require years of severe application
and laborious research. It may be observed, notwithstanding, that the
world stands much less in need of additional inventions as regards the
utilisation and preparation of foods than of an expert anthologist
to garner the most worthy among recipes already existing in such
bewildering profusion._

_In the succeeding pages the writer has drawn from many sources, both
ancient and modern - wherever an anecdote which is not too familiar has
been found amusing, or an observation has been deemed pertinent or
instructive. An occasional recipe has been given, and the sweet tooth
of femininity has not been neglected. The hygiene of the table has
likewise been considered, and some pernicious customs in connection
with dining have been plainly dealt with. There are also some allusions
to wines with respect to their complementary dishes, although wine is
so important a subject as to call for a volume by itself._

_It has not been deemed advisable to pass the cookery of the entire
globe under review, even in a cursory manner. To devote separate
chapters to Scandinavian, South American, and Oriental dishes, or
even to purely Spanish, Mexican, and Russian food preparations, were
both needless and cumbersome. The best have been embodied in the
cosmopolitan kitchen; and the rest, for the most part, require the
atmosphere of their native surroundings to be appraised at their proper
value. It is with the French that the annalist of the table has chiefly
to deal._

_Necessarily, in treating of what Thomas Walker has termed "one of the
most important of our temporal concerns," many gastronomic expressions
and names of dishes, and not a few observations relating to the table,
which would lose their piquancy or precise colouring on translation,
have been retained in the language in which they originally appear.
"Les quenelles de levraut saucées d'une espagnolle au fumet," "les
amourettes de bœuf marinées frites," "l'épaule de veau en musette
champêtre," "un coq vièrge en petit deuil," for example, while
natural and comprehensible in French, would sound somewhat bizarre
as "Forcemeat balls of leverets sauced with a racy Spanish woman,"
"the love-affairs of soused beef fried," "a shoulder of veal in rural
bagpipes," and "a virgin rooster in half-mourning." And surely, in
reviewing the aide-de-camp of the cook, it becomes obligatory to employ
a French term upon occasion, and equally seemly to address him now and
then in the classic tongue of the kitchen._

_The principal meal has chiefly been considered, as through this to
the greatest extent depend the health and frame of mind that determine
the actions of man from day to day. It will, accordingly, be an entrée
compounded of numerous flavourings, or a braise with its "bouquet
garni" that has simmered gently over the smothered charcoal, rather
than a familiar pièce de résistance which the reader is invited to
partake of and discuss at his leisure._




[Illustration: TABLE OF CONTENTS]


CHAPTER PAGE

INTRODUCTORY ix

I COOKERY AMONG THE ANCIENTS 3

II WITH LUCULLUS AND APICIUS 24

III THE RENAISSANCE OF COOKERY 49

IV OLD ENGLISH DISHES 80

V L'ALMANACH DES GOURMANDS 112

VI A GERMAN SPEISEKARTE 145

VII THE SCHOOL OF SAVARIN 175

VIII FROM CARÊME TO DUMAS 199

IX THE COOK'S CONFRÈRE 229

X AMERICAN _vs._ ENGLISH COOKERY 248

XI AT TABLE WITH THE CLERGY 280

XII SUNDRY GUIDES TO GOOD CHEER 315

XIII OF SAUCES 344

XIV THE SPOILS OF THE COVER 354

XV TWO ESCULENTS PAR EXCELLENCE 383

XVI SALLETS AND SALADS 409

XVII SWEETS TO THE SWEET 428

BIBLIOGRAPHY 447

INDEX 469




[Illustration: ILLUSTRATIONS]


"A Sa Toute-Puissance!" _Frontispiece_
From the painting by Gabriel Metzu, 1664

PAGE

Fantaisie culinaire: le poisson prévoyant iv
By A. Thierry

Le Cuisinier xi
After the engraving by Mariette

FACING PAGE

A Bacchante 3
From the stipple engraving in colours by Bartolozzi,
after Cipriani

Portrait du Gourmand 24
After Carle Vernet

Le Livre de Taillevent 49
Facsimile of title-page of the edition of 1545

The Cries of Paris: "Old clothes, old laces!" 69
Facsimile of an old French plate

First of September 80
From the engraving after A. Cooper, R.A.

The English Housewife 94
Facsimile of title-page of the edition of 1675

"Un Viel Amateur" 112
A. B. L. Grimod de la Reynière, né à Paris le 20 9bre, 1756.
From an old print

Le Premier Devoir d'un Amphitryon 121
Frontispiece of the fifth year of the "Almanach des Gourmands"

Les Méditations d'un Gourmand 132
Frontispiece of the fourth year of the "Almanach des Gourmands"

The Chef 145
From a print after an old Dutch master

The Bird of St. Michael 160
From the etching by Birket-Foster, R.A.

Promenade Nutritive 175
Frontispiece of "Le Gastronome Français" (1828)

"Pour voir de bons refrains éclore, Buvons encore!" 186
Frontispiece of "Le Caveau Moderne" (1807)

Alexandre Dumas 199
From the etching by Rajon

"L'Art du Cuisinier" (Beauvilliers') 213
Facsimile of title-page, 1824, Vol. II

Day's Closing Hour 229
From the etching by Charles Jacque

"First Catch Your Hare!" 248
From the engraving by J. W. Snow

"Rôti-Cochon" 261
Facsimile page from volume, 1696

Non in Solo Pane Vivit Homo 280
From the original oil-painting by Klein

La Contenance de la Table 296
Facsimile of title-page (early part of sixteenth century)

"Enfant, tu ne dois charger
Tant de la première viande
Se plusieurs en as en commande
Que d'austres ne puisses menger."

Promenade du Gourmand 315
Frontispiece of "Le Manuel du Gastronome ou Nouvel Almanach
des Gourmands" (1830)

La Table 331
Frontispiece of the Second Canto of "La Conversation" of the
Abbé Délille, 1822

A Supper in the Eighteenth Century 344
From the engraving after Masquelier

The Spanish Pointer 354
From the engraving by Woollett, after the painting by
Stubbs, 1768

Partridge Shooting. I. La Chasse aux Perdrix 364
From the coloured print after Howitt, 1807

Partridge Shooting - September 375
From the coloured engraving by Reeve, after the painting
by R. B. Davis, 1836

Truffle-hunting in the Dauphiné 383
From the Salon picture after Paul Vayson

"Nouvel Manuel Complet du Cuisinier et de la
Cuisinière" 397
Facsimile of frontispiece, 1822

The Wounded Snipe 409
From the engraving after A. Cooper, R.A.

"Après Bon Vin" 428
From the engraving by Eisen in the Fermiers-Généreaux edition
of the "Contes et Nouvelles" (1762)

Le Pâtissier Français 442
Facsimile of title-page of the edition of 1655

[Illustration: LE CUISINIER

After the engraving by Mariette]




THE PLEASURES OF THE TABLE




[Illustration]




COOKERY AMONG THE ANCIENTS

"L'art qui contient toutes les élégances, toutes les
courtoisies, sans lesquelles toutes les autres sont inutiles
et perdus; l'art hospitalier par excellence qui emploie avec
un égal succès tous les produits les plus excellents de l'air,
des eaux, de la terre." - FAYOT.


Cookery is naturally the most ancient of the arts, as of all arts it
is the most important. Whether one should live to eat, is a question
concerning which the epicure and the ascetic will hold widely varying
opinions; but that one must eat to live, will scarcely admit of
controversy. The man who is wise in his generation will be inclined
to choose a happy medium. Or perchance the French axiom that we only
eat to live when we do not understand how to live to eat, may somewhat
simplify the matter. As it is largely through food and drink that man
derives his highest mental efficiency and physical well-being, as
equally through improper diet accrue countless bodily disorders, it
would appear that the proper choice and preparation of aliments and the
selection of beverages should receive the profound consideration of
every one.

In few of the arts has progress been more apparent during modern
times. The mechanic has improved its accessories until the utmost
perfection would seem to have been attained, medicine and chemistry
have endeavoured to determine what elements of our daily dietary are
injurious to certain individuals or to all, volume after volume has
been written upon the subject, while the grand army of cooks has been
busy in inventing new combinations or in resurrecting forgotten recipes.

And yet the digestive ills of humanity have continued to multiply, even
though there are over six-score ways presented by a single author of
serving the rabbit, and a competent priest of the range can utilise the
egg in hundreds of different forms. Is it that with greater variety in
our aliments, a greater number of ailments is a necessary sequence, and
that as mankind increases in culinary knowledge digestion decreases in
power? It is an olden adage that too many cooks spoil the broth; and
it may be worthy of consideration whether a superfluity of dishes is
not responsible to a considerable degree for the furtherance of various
stomachic maladies. Or, on the other hand, is it that with the trebled
facilities of locomotion supplied by modern science, and the closer
confinement of indoor pursuits, the cause may be largely ascribed to
lack of exercise and insufficient oxygenation?

[Illustration: A BACCHANTE

From the stipple engraving in colours by Bartolozzi, after Cipriani]

However this may be, the art of cookery is far less generally
understood than its great hygienic importance demands, while the art of
dining is understood only by the relatively few. As M. Fayot observed
to Jules Janin, "Without doubt, Monsieur, as you have often said, it
is difficult to write well, but it is a hundred times more difficult
to know how to dine well." Or, as Dumas has expressed it, "To eat
understandingly and to drink understandingly are two arts that may
not be learned from the day to the morrow." He himself was a striking
example of the accomplished _bon vivant_, and his marked intellectual
superiority over his son may be readily attributed to his greater
knowledge of dining.

Where, indeed, more than at the well-appointed dinner-table may one
echo the sentiment of Seneca, "When shall we live if not now?" "An
empty stomach produces an empty brain," observes the author of the
"Comédie Humaine"; "our mind, independent as it may appear to be,
respects the laws of digestion, and we may say with as much justice as
did La Rochefoucauld of the heart, that good thoughts proceed from the
stomach." It is, however, a source whence our joys and sorrows both may
spring. Neglect and indifference may impair its action to destruction;
but, humoured kindly, it ever guides us in paths of peace. In a healthy
and a hungry state, it yearns for special gifts which gustatory edicts
demand, and rarely will confusion attend them when their bestowal is
flavoured with prudence. It is a faithful minister and discriminating
guardian, which rebels only when its functions are imposed upon; but
when they are, its resentment is thorough and relentless. Worthy then,
most certainly, of solicitous regard is the nourishment of an organ
which may shape our ends for weal or woe.

"Cookery," said Yuan Mei, the Savarin of China and author of
a scholarly cook-book during the eighteenth century, "is like
matrimony - two things served together should match. Clear should go
with clear, hard with hard, and soft with soft.... Into no department
of life should indifference be allowed to creep - into none less than
into the domain of cookery."

Concerning the art itself, it may be remarked that the French have
been to cookery what the Dutch and Flemish schools have been to
painting - cookery with the one and painting with the other having
attained their highest excellence. Rubens, Rembrandt, Teniers,
Jordaens, Ruysdael, Snyders, Berghem, and Cuyp may be paralleled
in another branch of art by Carême, Vatel, Beauvilliers, Robert,
Laguipière, Véry, Francatelli, and Ude. But, as in painting during its
earlier stages Flanders and the Netherlands owed much to the Roman
and Venetian schools, so in cookery the French are vastly indebted
to their predecessors and former masters the Italians, who, if less
distinguished colourists, were not to be despised as draughtsmen,
and who if by instinct not as skilled in the chiaroscuro of sauces,
were most dexterous in creating breadstuffs and pastry. Montaigne's
reference to an Italian cook of the period will be remembered in this
connection - one of the artists who had been employed by Cardinal
Caraffa who discoursed upon the subject in such rich, magnificent
words, well-couched phrases, oratoric figures, and pathetical metaphors
as learned men use and employ in speaking of the government of an
empire.

It is a long stone's throw from the first apple eaten in the Garden
of Eden - and this was a wild fruit, and not a Spitzenberg or a
Northern Spy - to a Chartreuse à la bellevue or that triumph of the
ovens of Alsace - the pâté de foie gras. The first dish of which any
record exists is the red pottage of lentils for which Esau sold his
birthright - a form of food still very common in Germany and France. The
first direct mention of breadstuffs in the Bible occurs in Genesis,
where Abraham tenders the angel a morsel of bread, and bids Sarah make
ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes
upon the hearth.

The primitive tribes and nations were content of necessity with the
spoils of the chase and the then more limited products of the vegetable
world; and long before John the Baptist's time the Hebrews lived to
no small extent upon locusts and kindred insects. In his enumeration
of the animal food which they might eat without rendering themselves
unclean, Moses specifies four insects of the locust family (Lev. x,
22). Some species of the _Locusta_ are yet esteemed a delicacy in the
East, these being cooked with oil, roasted upon wooden spits, baked in
ovens, or broiled. The Bedouins, who are ever on the march, pack them
with salt in close masses, carrying them in their leathern sacks.
By the Athenians they were usually roasted; and mention is made by
Athenæus of an _archimagirus_, or master cook, who, in his tour around
the ovens and stock-pots, enjoins one of his subalterns to take the
utmost precaution with them and see that they obtain only a light
golden hue.

Eggs, milk, rice, and honey, onions, succory, leeks, and garlic, the
leaves of the vine, radishes, and carrots, with other growths of the
garden, formed the staple articles of diet among ancient peoples.
Vegetable food was more common than animal, the latter being served
principally in the case of entertainments and special occasions of
hospitality (Gen. xviii, 7, 8). Instead of lard and butter, olive oil
was employed, and is still almost entirely employed by the Orientals.
Fish constituted an important article of diet, together with game,
lambs, and kids. Though not common, the flesh of young bullocks and
stall-fed oxen was highly prized (Prov. xv, 17; Matt. xxii, 4), the
shoulder being considered the choicest part. The master of the house
was the matador, and upon the mistress devolved the preparation of the
food. Among primitive cooks, Rebekah proved herself a performer of no
mean ability, as instanced by her dressing the flesh of a young kid
after the manner of venison, in order to obtain a father's blessing
for her favourite son. Roots, berries, fruits, and the quarry of
the bow and harpoon composed the fare of aboriginal man, and proved
all-sufficient. When the struggle for physical existence called
for strong exercise in procuring necessary food, little variety in
nutriment sufficed, at no loss of brawn and sinew.

With many savage races, bread-fruit, nuts, the plantain, the
cocoa-palm - known as the "tree of life" - with numerous other
food-yielding palms, served as a principal means of subsistence. The
first fruit-tree cultivated by man is said by all the most ancient
writers to be the fig, the vine being next in order. The almond and
pomegranate were cultivated at an early date in Canaan, and the fig,
grape, pomegranate, and melon were known to Egypt from time immemorial.
In Solon's law's, the olive, the fig, and the vine are enumerated,
as also the cabbage, crambe, or sea-kale, pulse of various kinds,
and onions. Cabbage and asparagus were known to the Greeks from the
earliest ages, and by them the chestnut, largely utilised for food,
was termed the "Oak of Jupiter." The original home of wheat and barley
is supposed to be Mesopotamia and the fertile plains of the Euphrates,
whence, after a period of cultivation, they spread eastward to China
and westward to Syria and thence to Europe. Among other food-stuffs
of the inhabitants were onions, vetches, kidney-beans, egg-plants,
pumpkins, lentils, cucumbers, chick-peas, and beans - with such fruits
as the apple, fig, apricot, pistachio, almond, walnut, and the product
of the palm and vine.

Coffee, of very remote use in Abyssinia, was unknown to the early
Greeks and Romans; they were, however, familiar with the cucumber,
cultivated in India for at least three thousand years. The cucumber
was also known to Moses and the Israelites, the patriarch referring to
fish and cucumbers, melons and leeks, as among the delicacies that were
freely eaten in Egypt (Numbers xi, 5). Various kinds of _Cichorium_,
or chicory, were familiar to antiquity, while _Lactuca_, or lettuce,
was extensively grown as a salad. The onion was a favourite with the
ancient Egyptians, garlic likewise being made much use of - a plant
denounced by their priests as unclean.[1]

Baking in ovens is of great antiquity, the ovens of old Egypt
being frequently represented in contemporary paintings. The table
appointments of Egypt are similarly portrayed in her paintings - the
guests of both sexes seated in gala attire, with jewelled fingers
holding the lily of the Nile or sacred lotus, while slaves, naked



Online LibraryGeorge H. (George Herman) EllwangerThe pleasures of the table; an account of gastronomy from ancient days to present times → online text (page 1 of 33)