You have all heard of blancmange – the dish literally translated as ‘eat white’ that once upon a time (in the Medieval era) was the pale and elegant fusion of chicken, almond milk, and fragrant spices which somehow over the centuries morphed and degenerated into the artificially coloured and flavoured chilled gelatine and cornflour ‘thing’ served at children’s parties.
Perhaps, like me, you have never heard of jaune mange (eat yellow) before? I love it when ignorance is exposed. Especially my own. I came across the phrase somewhere in my recent wanderings, and want to share my findings with you.
Without searching exhaustively, the first reference I came across is in Charlotte Mason’s The Lady’s Assistant for Regulating and Supplying Her Table, in 1777.
Charlotte gives general directions on how to colour blancmange green (juice of spinach), red (cochineal, steeped in a bit of brandy), and yellow (saffron). She also gives a specific recipe for Jaune Mange – a delicious sounding orange custard set with isinglass (the old-fashioned gelatine).
Boil one ounce of isinglass in three quarters of a pint of water, till melted, strain it; add the juice of two Seville oranges, a quarter of a pint of white wine, the yolks of four eggs beaten and strained, sugar to the taste; stir it over a gentle fire till it just boils up; when cold put it into a mould or mould: if there should be any sediment, take care not to pour it in.
Quotation for the Day.
Chopsticks are one of the reasons the Chinese never invented custard.