Friday, December 09, 2005

Pottages for the King’s Dyet.

Today, December 9 …

A new employee started on this day in 1674 in the Kings Privy Kitchen. Charles II had appointed a “French Cooke for the making of Pottages for our Dyet”.

Too many years of dull Puritan rule had made England yearn for European fun and fashion in all things. Now it had Royal affirmation. There would be no resisting the extravagance of the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, particularly at Versailles. The Frenchification of English food was inevitable, even if it remained controversial and in some quarters, resented. In 1747, Hannah Glasse said “So much is the blind Folly of this Age, that they would rather be impos'd on by a French Booby, than give Encouragement to a good English Cook!”

In the year of the appointment of Charles’ cook, “several approved cooks of London and Westminster” published a book called “The English and French cook … ”, which described “the best and newest ways of ordering and dressing all sorts of flesh, fish and fowl”, which was “full and plain so that from the Maid to the Master Cook, all may reap benefit”. It has a selection of “potages and soops” that would put a modern cookbook to shame, so what to choose for you? Potage made from quails, larks, thrushes, tortoises, or “farced” (stuffed) barnacles? “An excellent Potage to cleanse the blood”? “Potage without the sight of Herbs”?

I was tempted by the recipe for a pottage made from “lamb’s purtenances”, but they seem to be in short supply these days, so a Lenten pottage (from frogs), and a very modern-sounding raspberry soup will have to do.

Potage of Frogs.
Having broken their bones and trust them, blanch them, and drain them very well, then lay them into a Dish till you have made some Pease-broth, fry into it a little minced Parsley with Butter; having boiled a while , put the Frogs into your broth, but take them out presently, then allay a little Saffron, and put it into your Pot, having soaked your Bread, garnish it with the Frogs.

Pottage of Rasberries.
Take the yolks of half a dozen Eggs, and allay them with the juyce of a pint of rasberries, then put over a pottle of Milk, and when it boils, pour in your ingredients aforesaid, stir it very well, season with a little Salt, then dish it and garnish it with Rasberries.

On Monday … First catch your cockatoo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

eww that sounds really really gross