Friday, June 27, 2008

Macaroni, Unusual.

June 27 ...

We have had a macaroni previously on this blog – a story that specifically addressed the problematic definition of the word, as well as commenting on the history of macaroni cheese, and giving Mrs. Beeton’s recipe for macaroni pudding. We have also had at least one nineteenth century menu which included the very popular macaroni soup. We have had vegetarian Macaroni Italian Fashion , and even macaroni specifically for the Pope. Macaroni has played a supporting role in a lot of other recipes on this blog too.

Just when you think there is nothing more to be said on the subject of macaroni, up pops this recipe:

Macaroni Cordial.
This favourite French liqueur is very little known in England. The secret of making it is, even in France, confined to a very few persons. We have, however, obtained the genuine receipt, which is as follows: - Infuse, for fourteen days, in nine pints of brandy, one pound of bitter almonds, with a small quantity of Bohemian or Spanish angelica root beaten together; shaking frequently the vessel which contains all these ingredients. At the expiration of that time, place the whole contents in a cucurbit; and, distilling, in balneo mariae, five pints of spirit thus impregnated with the flavour of the almonds and angelica, make a syrup with five pounds of sugar, two quarts of eau-de-mille-fleurs, and three quarts of common distilled water. This being mixed with the spirits, add thirty drops of the essence of lemons ; after which, filter it through blotting-paper. This operation is readily performed: and the liquor, having once passed through, becomes a delicious cordial, of the most brilliant clearness ; charming, at the same time, both the taste and sight.
[A Modern System of Domestic Cookery: Or, The Housekeeper's GuideM. Radcliffe 1823]

Presumably this name is related to the use of ‘macaroni’to mean (in English), a foppish, “Continental” invention.

My long-standing intent to make up a glossary for the strange words appearing in this blog never seems to eventuate – or at least, the time required doesn’t. For today only, I will offer a glossary-on-the-fly:

A Cucurbit (you thought it was a gourd, didn’t you?) is “a vessel or retort, originally gourd-shaped, used in distillation and other chemical (or alchemical) processes, or for keeping liquids, etc., in; forming the lower part of an alembic.” [OED]

Balneo Mariae: a water bath.

Eau-de-mille-fleurs: a perfumed water, so called because it supposedly contained the scent of a thousand flowers, (but in practice, usually orange, lavender, and fennel)

Monday’s Story.

Food & Finance.

Quotation for the Day.

I love strong tasting dishes: macaroni prepared by a good Neapolitan cook. Casanova.


Anonymous said...

"Balneo Mariae" sounds an awful lot like Baine-Marie. Any connection there?
Just found your blog by the way; very interesting.
Doug from "up there"

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

It is funny how a word can create such a strong association - as I was reading the description of the cordial, I was picturing a shot glass full of curly pasta!

The Old Foodie said...

Hello anonymous from "up there". I think you are right. I wonder why the author didnt write it in "English"? - I guess everyone likes some jargon in their profession!
t.w. - I had exactly the same image. I wonder if I can find a Macaroni Cake for you?