Monday, October 05, 2015

A Funeral Procession for a Cook.

I have a piece of fun for you today. We have had a few heavy-duty topics over the last week, so it is time for a laugh. I retrieved the following satirical piece from the Early American Newspapers database a very long time ago, but unfortunately omitted to record the actual newspaper. I do have the date however – the article was dated 30 June 1803.  I would love to know the background to the story – I am sure it is a story in itself! 

Funeral Procession of Bonaparte’s Cook.
The First Consul, impressed with a deep loss in the death of this favorite domestic, and anxious to show the world he knows, as well as Moreau, or any man in France, to appreciate the service of his household officers, has decreed funeral honours to his cook, as follows:

Scullions of the Palace, to clear the way.
Marrow bones and cleavers, muffled.
Under Cooks, bearing the Great Knife, sheathed.
Others, with tureens and dishes empty.
The Salt Box of State, borne by four.
Cooks to Foreign Ambassadors, bearing the implements
of modern cookery.
The Hearse.
Eight principal Cooks, for pall bearers, supporting a tablecloth.
Servants, two, and two, bearing the implements of ancient cookery.
Mamelukes, carrying the ladle and kettle.
French Officers from Egypt, bearing monuments of ancient Egyptian cookery.
Delegates from the Beef steak Club in London.
An allegorical personage to “signify Good Living,” bearing garlick and frogs for sacrifice.
Under Cooks, trailing the gridiron of the deceased.
Kettle drums and sauce-pans, muffled.
Cooks, Under-cooks, Scullions, Helpers, Dishwasher, &c. to close the procession.

The recipes for the day are from Cookery for English Households. By a French Lady (London, 1864)

Grenouilles (Frogs).
I shall venture to give receipts for cooking frogs, although I know that English people have very strong prejudices against this dish, for to express their contempt for French people they frequently call them frog-eaters and even toad-eaters; we plead guilty to the first offence, we are innocent of the second, and if my readers find courage enough to try the dreadful experiment of frog-eating, I fancy that they might become as barbarous as the French.
None except river frogs are to be used; it is easy to know them by their green colour and black spots; the hind part only is employed, the rest being cut off. Young frogs taste like young chickens, old ones like thread. In the French markets frogs are sold ready for cooking, that is, skinned.
Grenouilles a la poulette.

Have some boiling water into which you throw the thighs of the frogs, previously skinned, let them remain a minute, take them out and throw them into cold water; drain them and put them in a pan on a slow fire, with six ounces of fresh butter, a handful of mushrooms, some parsley, a little garlic, thyme and bay-leaf, salt and pepper. Sprinkle a tablespoonful of flour, and a wine-glass of white Burgundy or white Bordeaux; let it boil slowly for half an hour. Take the pan off the fire and dish the frogs; take the parsley, thyme and bay-leaf out of the pan; add a liaison to the sauce (see Liaison, No. 66), to thicken it, and pour it upon the frogs.


Isabella said...

...So you cook frogs like you would chickens? :-) All the spices and ingredients look the same to me.

Anonymous said...

I hope someone is able to track this down (I didn't succeed) - this sounds remarkably like a satire, and I'd love to know the context.

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks Sandra. I too am sure it is satire, but without knowing the day to day details of the Napoleon vs England saga, I dont think I will be able to find out. I hope someone can enlighten us!

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Isabella - a lot of recipes for frog are essentially the same as those for chicken - the size and appearance of the of the piece of meat, and the basic flavour are very similar, so it makes sense.