Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Seven Sages of the Kitchen.


I crave your indulgence as I stay with the same wonderful source of stories that I have used for the last couple of days. There are still many delights in The Greedy Book; a gastronomical anthology (1906) by Frank Schloesser. For example, the author tells us of the Seven Sages of the Kitchen – an inspirational group of beings about whom I was totally ignorant, until I read this book. Now that they and I are acquainted, I will pay them due homage, and am sure I can count on you to do the same.

“According to the old Greek authorities, the original Seven Sages of the kitchen were:Agris of Rhodes, who first taught the bone method of dressing fish ; Nereus of Corinth,who made the conger a dish for the gods; Orion, who invented white sauce; Chariades,who achieved yellow sauce; Lampriadas, who discovered brown sauce; Atlantus, whomade the most perfect restorative; and Euthynus, who cooked vegetables so exquisitely that he was named Lentillus. These several gentlemen, combined into one, would not be all too learned in the niceties of gastronomy to be able to put together a modern dinner menu. Nowadays we want something more than mere quantity. The Gargantuan repasts of our forefathers are not for us. In those days, maybe (or perhaps not), unlimited exercise, hunting, and the like made these gross meals comparatively; but we live in more delicate times, and want our viands fewer innumber and more carefully cooked, with less added flavour and more of their own natural
juices.”

I realise that serious scholars of ancient Greece may question this information, and indeed, may ask for details of the original source material – but ‘Bah!’ And ‘Humbug!’ are all I have to say to them.

Today’s recipe is in honour of Lentillus. May his believers go forth and multiply.

Lentilles Fricass├ęs.
Fricasee of Lentils.
This dish is meant to be prepared with fresh lentils, which cannot be easily obtained in England (the fresh ones are brought from abroad,) although cultivated in several parts of this island.
I hope I shall not be thought partial, by the notice already taken; but, without prejudice to several shop-keepers, and corn-chandlers, who, for the sake of a little more gain, will impose some of English growth for foreign, which are mostly sold at the Italian shops, much larger, and of better colour and taste, the hint becomes necessary. Prepare sliced onions, as in the last for beans, and put the lentils ready boiled and drained thereto, with broth, butter, pepper, salt, and a sprig of savory, which you take out before you serve; reduce the sauce of a good consistence, and add a little vinegar when just ready.—They are done in Ragout the same as the white beans, with cullis, gravy, and proper seasoning.—It is mostly the colour that distinguishes between the name of ragout and fricasee; the first being made brown with cullis, the last white, with cream, &c. &c.
The Professed Cook (1812) by B. Clermont.

3 comments:

srhcb said...

I don't know about where you live, but I see an awful lot of gross people plodding about in these parts. oc

srhcb said...

It's an awful lot of trouble to leave a comment.

Just sayin ...

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Steve - Sorry for the late answer, I do read and reflect on all comments, I just don’t always find the moment to respond, then before I know it, a week or half a lifetime have passed!
As to your question - there are plenty of greedy and gross here too.
And I am sorry for the comment struggle - it is out of my hands as I rely on Blogger, and thats how they mandate it. Wish I was more cyber-indpendent.