Monday, July 24, 2006

Dining with Marie Antoinette.

It is some time since we had a theme for the week, so it is time to address that deficit. A perusal of the Recipe Archive shows that there has not been, to date, an Old Foodie story with a recipe for duck. This seems an oversight of enormous proportions, given that it is a favourite food of the The Old Foodie Spouse, so as compensation we will have “Duck and Dessert” this week.

We start with a very classic duck dish, enjoyed by Marie Antoinette at her little place called the Trianon, in that carefree time before she lost her head.

Today, July 24th …

On this day in 1788, this was dinner at the Trianon:

Le riz
Le Scheiber
Les croutons aux laitues
Les croutons unis pour Madame.

La pièce de bœuf aux choux
La longe de veau à la broche.

Les pâtés à l'espagnol
Les côtelettes de mouton grillées
Les hatelets de lapereaux
Les ailes de poulardes à la maréchale
Les abatis de dindon au consommé
Les carrés de mouton piqués à la chicorée
Le dindon poele à la ravigote
Le ris de veau au papillote,
La tête de veau sauce pointue
Les poulets à la tartare
Le cochon de lait à la broche
La poule de Caux au consommé
Le caneton de Rouen à l'orange
Les filets de poularde en casserole au riz
Le poulet froid
La blanquette de poularde aux concombres.

Les filets de lapereaux
Le carré de veau à la broche
Le jarret de veau au consommé
Le dindonneau froid.

Les poulets
Le chapon pané
Le levraut
Le dindonneau
Les perdreaux,
Les lapreaux


Did she chose the “Le caneton de Rouen à l'orange”? Citrus had been a common flavouring for all sorts of dishes from medieval times, whether lemon, citron, or orange, but the original, bitter “Seville” orange seems to have a special affinity with duck. Naturally, only the best duck would have been served to the Queen, and the ducks in France are the heavy big-breasted birds from Rouen.

The French cook François Menon’s book “The professed cook; or the modern art of cookery, …." was translated into English, and this recipe is from the 1769 edition:

Canetons de Roüen à la Broche.
If you would have it for a First-course Dish, give it a few turns with Butter, in a Stew-pan over the Fire, wrap it up in Paper to roast; it must not be too much done; serve with a good Consumee Sauce, chopt Shallots, the Juice of an Orange, Pepper, and Salt: if for a Second-course Dish, roast it without Paper crisp: also serve with Juice of Seville Orange.

We don’t know what sweet things the Queen enjoyed at the dinner, but this recipe from Menon’s book has the right name!

Crème à la Reine. Queen’s Cream.
Boil a Pint of Cream to half reduced, with fine Sugar, Orange-flower Water; when half cold, mix with six Whites of Eggs well beat up; bake it between two very moderate Fires, and to remain in its natural Colour.

Tomorrow: St James the Great.

Quotation for the Day …

When there is no more cookery in the world, there will be no more letters, no quick and lofty intelligence, no pleasant easy relationships; no more social unity. Carême.


pinkfleur said...

Hello !
I write to you from Japan.
I am interested in Marie-Antoinette so your article is good for me.
May I write about this menu at my blog?
I could not get "Menon's book", although I would like to read it...
Would you do me a favor?

Thank you very much.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello pinkfleur. You are welcome to use the menu and the blog article. I am delighted that is is useful for you.

pinkfleur said...

Hello Madame.
I am glad to hear that.
Thank you for your kindness and I appreciate it.
Thank you very much.