14 May 2009

The French Cook

Louis Eustache Ude wrote one of if not the first French cookbook to be published in English. The French Cook was published in Philadelphia in 1828. It is a comprehensive collection of French cooking, including a whopping 99 sauces. It takes time to make 99 sauces!

Ude gives this advice about cooking:

"Cookery is an art which requires much time, intelligence, and activity, to be acquired in its perfection. Every man is not born with the qualifications necessary to constitute a good cook. The difficulty of attaining to perfection in the art, will be beat demonstrated by offering a few observations on some others. Music, dance, fencing, painting and, mechanics, in general, possess professors under twenty years of age, whereas, in the first line of cooking, pre-eminence never occurs under thirty."

For small dinners of 4 to 6, there are no less than 12 to 16 dishes served in two courses. Here is an example of how one set’s a table for a small get-together.

With all that food one is bound to have leftovers, so you will find recipes that begin, for instance, “If you have any roasted plovers left and are short of an entrée….”

I don’t know about you but I NEVER have any plovers leftover as they are snapped up first thing!

Here is a recipe for one of my favorites, ox-tail. Of course, I like my ox tail served over grits, but a Hochepot might work. According to Ude, it’s not the most beautiful dish he ever served!

Ox-tail in Hochepot

The beef-tail being a very plain and common dish, is seldom sent up otherwise than as a tureen. This dish has a detestable appearance, but when well drest is delicious eating. It requires to be well done, and is excellent either with peas, or as a haricot with turnips.

Ladle it over grits and it will look just fine!! In fact, those leftover plovers will be lovely with a side of grits, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin