Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Way of Ordering a Dessert or Regalio

A Banquet of Sweet-meats is said to be dress'd upon a Level, when disposed of upon China-dishes, and Machines made of Wood, or Osier-twigs, having a great Board in the middle, in form of a Square, or Hexagon, … or else it may be fill'd with altogether with China-dishes; that in the middle being rais'd higher than the others; upon which several small Pyramids are to be erected, of an exact Proportion; so that the same sorts of Comfits, and the same Colours may appear on every side, at the opposite Angles. Lastly, a Row or Border of raw Fruits may be made round about the Dishes, upon every Board to garnish the top, and the whole Dessert is to be set out with Flowers, Greens, and other Ornaments, according to the Season.

I am getting ready for next year's Ladies' Tea at rendezvous [ONWPR & EPR], acquiring China-dishes [import porcelain or local faïence in imitation of] and trying out recettes for sweet-meats.

Image Source & Text: The Court & Country Cook, François Massialot, 1702, p. 125-130.

As an aside: Notice the folds in the tablecloth--these are the result of either being folded in a clothes press or having been ironed in .

Caterers still make use of this idea for our luxury tables at very special events.

Image Source:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Chopped Meat Pie - The Beginning of Tourtière

Another manner of making a chopped meat torte.
Choose the flesh of calf or capon, or another good Meat, remove the skin, the nerve, & the bones, then chop this flesh well & fine, & pound in a mortar; add there a little fresh cheese, & as much old cheese which is rasped or cut very finely, add approximately six well beaten eggs, & as much as needed ox marrow, or fat which is cut thinly, mix these things together & season them with a little salt, & a little [mixed or pastry] spices or powdered cinnamon. Put a bottom crust of puff paste in your tourte plate, spread your meat mixture evenly, & cover it with a lid of puff paste; make a small hole in the middle, & cook this torte sufficiently.

This would appear to be the beginnings of the French or Canadiene's tourtière, or meat pie. Janna includes two recipes that are pretty close and will give you proportions of ingredients. Using quatre épices, a mixed or pastry spice, will insure unique flavor and keeping abilities, as these pies are often served cold or at room temperature.
Autre maniere de faire une tourte de viande hachée. Prenés à discretion de la chair de veau ou de chapon, ou d’autre bonne Viande qui soit boüille, ostez la peau, les nerve, & les os, puis vous hacherez cette chair bien mennë, & vous la pillerez enfuite dans un mortier; adjoûtez y un peu de fromage frais, & autant de fromage vieil qui soit raspé ou decoupé bien menu, mettez y aussi environ six oeufs bien battus, & autant qu’il sera besoin de moësle de boeuf, ou de panne de porc qui soit coupée menuë, mes ez ces choses ensemble & les assaisonez de sel bien menu, & d’un peu d’épisse ou de canelle en poudre. Lors que vostre appareil sera prest, vous mettrez dans une tourtiere une abesse de paste fueilletée, garnissez-là suffisamment de vostre farce ou appareil, puis vous la couvrirez d’un couvercle de pâte, faites-y un petit trou au milieu, & faites cuire cette tourte suffisamment.
Le Cuisiniere François: Le Patissier François,
La VeRenne. Chez Jacques Canier, Paris, 1680, p.210.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Serving Plates

A dish of hors-d'oeuvre used at table, funished internally with roots or other artificial similar things, among which one intersperses some natural [foods].
Diderot, Fayencerie, Ouvrages, Pl. III, Fig. 55: Un plat de hors- d'oeuvre à l'usage des tables, garni intérieurement de racines ou autres choses semblables artificielles, parmi lesquelles on en mêle de naturelles.

It would appear that our modern glass and pottery relish plates, trays and dish sets are a direct result of this idea.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blanket Prizes - Copper Cup Classic Invitational

Michigan Treenware was pleased to be included in prize choices for the annual Copper Cup Classic Invitational shooting match at the Eastern Primitive Rendezvous. Two of our small cherry bowls/trenchers were purchased by participants as their contribution on the blanket.

Image Source Granny Lin

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Reproductions for Reenactments

A poêlon is a ceramic frying-pan, a smaller version of a poêle documented in Diderot on the section on faïence and as seen in Chardin's painting, Poêlon et Oeufs, 1733. This is a reproduction by Michel Nichol, Collection Nouvelle-France, made for my friend, Sarah.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Plum Tarte

A little crackling crust and a custard of eggs, sugar and cream to bake the few plums I could find this year … miam, miam.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pets de Putain, de Nonne & Old Farts

Since mostly men wrote cookbooks of old, I assume the scandalous names of Pets de Putain [farts of a whore 17thC] or Pets de Nonne [farts of a Nun 18thC] can be chalked up to little boy humor, AKA old farts. They've even titled a lovely jacket or demi-robe as Pet-en-l'air [fart in the air]. Bad jokes aside, these tender and crusty pastries are a real treat.

Farts of whore.
Make your fritter paste stronger than usual [thicker than one would use for including items such as apples, vegetables, marrow, etc.], by the means of an increase in flour & eggs, then stretch [drop from a spoon or use a syringe] the dough [into] large or thin [pieces], & as soon as they will be cooked [deep-fried] serve hot with sugar, & water of scent [flower water–orange, violet, etc.].
40. Pets de putain.
Faites votre paste de beignets plus forte qu'à l'ordinaire, par le moyen d'augmentation de farine & d'œufs, puis les tirez fort menus, & lors qu'ils seront cuits servez les chauds avec sucre, & eau de senteur.
Le Cuisiner François, La Varenne. Chez Pierre David, Paris, 1651, p. 103.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Butterflied Chickens - Poulets en chauvres-souris

I can understand how one could see these flattened whole chickens as Bats--today we call it butterflied, spatchcock [if the breast bone is removed, not just flattened].

Butterflied Chickens. You have hen chickens which you draw [disembowel] and clean [pluck and singe], the head above the stomach, the legs on the inside, you beat them & break the large [breast] bone, put them in a pan with oil, sweet herbs, season with salt and pepper, lemon section, & you roast them; when they are white [flesh is set and no pink juices exude when pierced with a skewer], being cooked, serve with a sauce of your imagination, or green [without sauce as it comes from the pan with its own juices]. Young partridges, Quails, Pheasants, & the Pigeons are done in the same way.

Poulets en chauvres-souris. Vous avez des poulets que vous appropriez, vous les troussez en poules, les pates dessus l'estomac, les jambes en dedans, vous les battez & cassez les gros os, les mettez dans une casserolle avec huile, fines herbes, assaisonnez, tranche de citron, & vous les faites griller, qu'ils soient blancs, étant cuits, une sauce à votre fantaisie, ou verte, servez. Les Perdreaux, Cailles, Faisandeaux, & les Pigeons se font de même.
Le Cuisinier Gascon. A Amsterdam, 1740, p. 64.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Campain-oven or Tourtière

The Campain-oven is a portable Oven made of red Copper, three or four Inches high, of a convenient length, and raised a little upon Feet, so that a Fire may be kindled underneath, as occasion requires: The Cover or Lid of it ought to have Ledges, to hold Fire likewise, when it is necessary to put some on the top, or on both sides: This Cover must be taken off from time to time, to see whether that which is contain'd in the Oven be sufficiently bak'd or brought to a good Colour. For want of such an Instrument, the Kitchen-oven of Masons-work, or some other may be us'd, accordingly as a convenient opportunity may be found; or else a Silver-dish and certain large Baking-pans that are order'd almost in the same manner.

The Court & Country Cook, Massialot. 1702, p. 9 [New Instructions for Confectioners].

Some tourtières were lined with tin and could be used as a baking pan itself. Others were not lined and were used with an inserted baking pan of ceramic or metal.These little ovens could be used in the fireplace off to the side with some coals both under and on top to control the cooking temperature and even browning of the item inside. They would work equally as well in a campfire setting.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Asperges confites. Pickled Asparagus

Hors d'œuvre were such a popular appetizer in the 18thC that special faïence plates were created for their service. Here you see an interpretation of the plate[*] from Diderot's Encyclopaedie, 1762-1777.

Pickled asparaguses. Take smallest; cut the white; & cut them in several pieces. Have coarsely crushed salt & cloves; make a layer in a well glazed pot. Make various layers of asparaguses, & the same seasoning, until the pot is full; pour good vinegar above: cover your pot well; & to draw them, when you need some, serve with a silver spoon, & never touch there [the pickle brine] with the hand, for fear of making the brine spoil; what happens inevitably without this attention.

Asperges confites. Prenez les plus petites; coupez le blanc; & coupez-les ensuite en plusieurs morceaux. Ayez du sel & du girofle grossiérement concassé; faites-en une couche dans un pot bien vernissé. Faites divers lits d'asperges, & du même assaisonnement, jusqu'à ce que le pot soit plein; versez dessus de bon vinaigre: tenez votre pot bien fermé; & pour les tirer, quand vous en aurez besoin, servez-vous d'une cuiller d'argent, & n'y touchez jamais avec la main, de peur de faire fermenter le mêlange & de le gâter; ce qui arriveroit immanquablément sans cette attention.

Dictionnaire Portatif de Cuisine, d'Office, et de Distillation. Chez Vincent, Paris 1767, p. 55-56.

[*]55. A dish of hors-d'oeuvre for use at tables, furnished internally with roots or other artificial similar things, among which one serves some natural items.

55. Un plat de hors - d'oeuvre à l'usage des tables, garni intérieurement de racines ou autres choses semblables artificielles, parmi lesquelles on en mêle de naturelles.

How to Cook Asparagus

Friday, July 27, 2012

Duties of the Cook

In some kinds of houses there is sometimes a cook, & often there is only one cook which must know all about meat, because it is she which goes to the valley, with butchery & for the grill room, and the market for fast days, it is also necessary that she knows how to make a good soup, to disguise all kinds of viands, to make of them ragouts, in the same way fish & eggs; & all kinds of vegetables for the other days; as also not to be unaware of the manner of making some compotes & some other trifles for the dessert. She must hold well always her crockery proper & quite clean, as well as the kitchen, & unnecessarily not lavish wood & coal, and the other things she handles. She must be quite wise & of clear conscience in the accounts which she returns of her expenditure, to be neither quarrelsome nor a flatterer, to apply only to the wishes of her master & mistress, & serve always thus & at the hours that they prescribe. It is still her duty to clean [the stairs &] dining room for eating, to hold the whole well proper, & to try to make a profit of the house.
De la Cuisiniere. Dans ces sortes de maisons il y a quelquefois un cuisiniere, & souvent il n’y a qu’une cuisiniere qui doit sçavoir se connoître en viande, parce que c’est elle qui va à la vallée, à la boucherie & à la rotisserie, ainsi qu’au marché pour les jours maigres, il faut aussi qu’elle sçache faire une bonne soupe, déguiser toutes sortes de viands, en faire des ragouts, ainsi que du poisson & des œufs; & toutes sortes de legumes pour les autres jours; comme aussi ne pas ignorer la maniére de faire quelques compotes & quelques autres bagatelles pour le dessert. Elle doit tenir toûjours sa vaisselle bien proper & bien nette, ainsi que la cuisine, & ne point prodiguer inutilement le bois & le charbon, non plus que les autres choses dont elle a le maniment. Elle doit être encore bien sage & de bonne conscience dans les comptes qu’ele rend de sa dépense, n’être ni querelleuse ni flteuse, s’appliquer uniquement à consenter son maistre & sa maistresse, & les server toûjours ainsi & aux heures qu’ils luy prescivent. Il est encore de son devoir de bilayer la montée & la sale à manger, de tenir le tout bien proper, & de tâcher sur tout à faire le profit de la maison.
La Maison Reglee et l'Art de Diriger la Maison d'un Grand Seigneur et Autres, etc. Avec la veritable methode de faire toutes sortes d'essences d'eaux et de liqueurs fortes et rafraichissements a la mode d'ltalie, Audiger. Paris, 1692, pp. 133-134.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stag in a Ragoo

When I cleaned out my freezer today, I found one last package of venison--freezer-burned, and before my husband could find out, I also withdrew a package of fat, frozen from when we last made pickle [corned] beef. I chopped the fat into cubes, added a splash of oil to the marmite and began rendering the fat for flavor and moisture. After browning the venison very well, I deglazed the pan with vermouth, covered the meat with broth, added three bay-leaves off my laurel tree, 2 zests of lemon, several sprigs of fresh thyme, one small nutmeg grated, salt and pepper. When it had simmered for three hours, I added 2 cups of grated carrot and 1 large onion chopped. At the end of 30 minutes, I added 2 tablespoons of flour to the ragoo to thicken it and served it up on a bed of sainserelle from Le Cuisinier Gason [noodles similar to bigoli, passatelli or spätzle] made of parmesan and breadcrumbs bound with an egg cooked in boiling, salted water. He never knew.

Having larded a piece of Stags-flesh with thick slips of Bacon, season’d with Pepper and Salt, let it be fried in Lard: Then let it boil for the space of three or four Hours in an earthen Pan, with Broth or Water, and two Glasses of white Wine, season’d with Salt, Nutmeg, a Bunch of Herbs, three or four Bay-leaves, and a piece of green lemmon. When it is ready, let the Sauce be thicken’d with fried Flower, and add Capers and Lemmon-juice as it is serving up to Table.

The Court & Country Cook, François Massialot, 1702, p. 248.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Omelets of green Beans and other Things, with Cream

Let your Beans be shell'd, slipt out of their Skins, and fried in good Butter, with a little Parsley and Chibbol: Then, having pour'd in a little Milk-cream, let them be well seasoned, and soaked over a gentle Fire. Let an Omelet be made with new laid Eggs and Cream, and let some Salt be put into it according to discretion. When it is ready, dress it on a Dish, bind the Beans with one or two Yolks of Eggs, turn them upon the Omelet; so as they may stick to the side of it, and bring it hot to Table.
Omelets of the like nature may be made with Mousserons, Morelles, common Mushrooms, green Pease, Asparagus-tops and Artichoke-bottoms, white and black Truffles, Spinage, Sorrel, & all with Cream; but ‘tis requisite that they be cut into small pieces. A very great quantity of Omelets may be thus disguised, and these little Cream-sauces may serve to fill up your Plates or Dishes, garnishing them with small Garnitures such as fried Artichokes, Bread-toasts, Puffs, Fleurons [flower-shaped piece of pastry], Feuillantines [wraps or bowls of puff paste], Artichoke bottoms fried in Paste, and others of the like nature that shall be judg'd requisite; and taking care that all be serv'd up hot to Table.

The Court & Country Cook, François Massialot. 1702, p. 169.

Cases of puff paste may be baked and filled with cream sauce and vegetables or left-overs--garnish with the tops of the cases. Two make a satisfying light lunch. From the scraps you can fashion fleurons or flowers or just bake the bits themselves for a garnish over the cream sauces. It's amazing what flavor and texture those little bits of paste provide.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter - de l'Hiver

December, January & February, Winter months, can only be enjoyed with stockpiles from the Fall, by the provisions & the abundance of all that it provided us for the necessities of life; like Bread, Wine, Vegetables, & all kinds of Fruits; Meat, Poultry, Game & Fish, all are the same. These two last seasons, which can be good times, should not be separated by change, because we have in the Winter almost all that we have in the Fall.

As we finish up those last tidbits from our larder, let's look forward to the delights of Spring--putting in our potagers and throwing wide the windows and doors for a good cleaning!

De L'Hiver

Les mois de Décembre, Janvier & Février, qui comprennent l'hiver, ont entierement rapport à l'Automne, par les provisions & l'abondance de tout ce qu'elle nous a fourni pour la nécessité de la vie; comme Pain, Vin, Légumes, & toutes sortes de Fruits; Viande, Volaille, Gibier & Poissons, tout est de même. Ces deux dernieres saisons, qui sont dans le tems de la bonne chere, ne doivent point être séparées par des changemens, parce que nous avons dans l'Hiver presque de tout ce que nous avons dans l'Automne.

La Cuisiniere Bourgeoise, Suivie de l'Office. 1771, P. 8.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Limonade de Vin

meyer lemonI managed to grow just two lemons on my Meyer Lemon tree this year. And here is the perfect recipe for this bounty--I shall have a taste of summer in this very cold month.

Wine lemonade

Put in a pot two pints of wine, a wine bottle of water, Zests of two Lemons, & also the juice which you express: Then put in nine or ten ounces of Sugar, more or less according to whether you like it sweetened, or according to the quality of the wine. Let it infuse approximately half an hour; then strain, & put it in bottles. When you want to drink some, chill it.

Limonade de Vin

Mettez dans une terrine deux pintes de vin, une chopine d'eau, les Zests de deux Citrons, & aussi le jus que vous exprimez: Ensuite mettez-y neuf ou dix onces de Sucre, plus ou moins selon que vous l'aimez sucré, ou selon la bonté du vin. Laissez-la infuser environ une demi-heure; ensuite passez la à la chausse, & la mettez dans des bouteilles. Quand vous voulez en boire, faites-la rafraîchir.


Nouvelle Instruction pour les Confitures, les Liqueurs, et les Fruits, François Massialot. Chez Claude Prudhomme, Paris, 1716, p. 305.
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