Some Notes on the History of the French Cuisine. Carlos Mirasierras.pdf


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Some Notes on the History of the French Cuisine. From the Middles Ages to late 20th century. Carlos Mirasierras

Artificial freshwater ponds (often
called stews) were used held
carp, pike, tench, bream, eel,
and other fish. Poultry was kept
in special yards, with pigeon and
squab being reserved for the
rich. Game was highly prized, but
very rare, and included venison,
wild boar, hare, rabbit, and birds.
Kitchen gardens provided herbs,
included some as rare today as
tansy, rue, pennyroyal, and
hyssop. Spices were treasured
and very expensive in those days

they
included
pepper,
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and
mace. Some spices used then,
but no longer today in French cuisine are cubebs, long pepper (both from vines similar
to black pepper), grains of paradise, and galingale. Sweet-sour flavors were commonly
added to dishes with vinegars and verjus combined with sugar, or honey. A common
form of food preparation was to finely cook, pound and strain mixtures into fine pastes
and mushes.
Visual display was prized. Brilliant colors were obtained by adding, for example, juices
from spinach and the green part of leeks. Yellow was obtained from saffron or egg yolk,
red came from sunflower, and purple came from Chrozophora tinctoria or Heliotropium
europaeum. Gold and silver leaf were placed on food surfaces and brushed with egg
whites. One of the grandest showpieces of the time was roast swan or peacock sewn
back into its skin with feathers intact, the feet and beak being gilded. Since both birds
are stringy, and their taste is unpleasant, the skin and feathers could be kept and filled
with the cooked, minced and seasoned flesh of tastier birds, like goose or chicken.
The most well known French chef of the
Middle Ages was Guillaume Tirel, also
known as Taillevent. Taillevent worked in
numerous royal kitchens during the
fourteenth century. His first position was
as a kitchen boy in 1326. He was chef to
Philip VI, then the Dauphin who was son
of John II. The Dauphin became King
Charles V of France in 1364, with
Taillevent as his chief cook. His career
lasted sixty-six years, and upon his death
he was buried in grand style between his
two wives. His tombstone represents him
in armor, holding a shield with three
cooking pots, marmites, on it.
Medieval cuisine includes the foods,
eating habits, and cooking methods of
various European cultures during the
Middle Ages, a period roughly dating from the 5th to the 16th century. During this
period, diets and cooking changed less across Europe than they did in the briefer early
modern period that followed, when those changes helped lay the foundations for
modern European cuisine. Cereals remained the most important staples during the
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