Partridges a leau beniste, or Holy Water.Take Partridges and rost them, and when they are rosted, cut them into little pieces, and put them into a Dish with a little fair Water and Salt, and make them boyl a little, and serve them away.
I presume ‘a leau beniste’ is ‘à l’eau bénite’, which does mean Holy Water (when it is not a brand of Belgian Beer. Seriously. What a marketing idea.)
I know that ‘fair Water’ simply means pure clean water. It does not, as far as I am aware, imply any degree of holiness.
Roast partridges are probably heavenly, but not as heavenly as if they had been stuffed with foie gras and truffles, and basted with butter and ancient cognac as they cooked, and followed with chocolate and champagne.
Not having access to the original French text, and in any case being illiterate in French, I don’t know if this is a translation error or not.
So, tell me the connection between this recipe and Holy Water, please.
Quotation for the Day.
A cook, when I dine, seems to me a divine being, who from the depths of his kitchen rules the human race. One considers him as a minister of heaven, because his kitchen is a temple, in which his ovens are the altar.
Marc Antoine Desaugiers (1772-1827).