Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Etiquette and Food of Louis XV

He who receives friends and pays no attention to the repast prepared for them, is not fit to have friends.


Dining in the Reign of Louis XV

Louis XV of France's reign, from 1723-1774, managed to bridge the dazzling opulence of his predecessor to the tragic exorbitance of his successor. Reflecting changes during his reign, were the culinary offerings of the kitchen of Louis VX .

According to The Physiology of Taste, by Brillat-Savarin, in 1825, "The reign of Louis XV was no less happy for gastronomy. Eighteen years of peace healed painlessly the wounds made by more than sixty years of war; wealth created by industry, and either spread out by commerce or acquired by its tradesmen, made former financial inequalities disappear, and the spirit of conviviality invaded every class of society. It is during this period that there was generally established more orderliness in the meals, more cleanliness and elegance, and those various refinements of service which, having increased steadily until our own time, threaten now to overstep all limits and lead us to the point of ridicule."
The French born, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, gained his fame as an epicure and gastronome and helped found the genre of the gastronomic essay. He made famous the aphorism, "Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are." He believed that food defined a nation and wrote of the food in the reign of Louis XV. 
A Samplng of Brillat-Savarin's French Food Etiquette of the Era:
  •  A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman who has lost an eye.
  • A cook may be taught, but a man who can roast, is born with the faculty.
  •  The most indispensable quality of a good cook is promptness. It should also be that of the guests.
  • To wait too long for a dilatory guest, shows disrespect to those who are punctual.
  • He who receives friends and pays no attention to the repast prepared for them, is not fit to have friends.
  • The mistress of the house should always be certain that the coffee be excellent; the master that his liquors be of the first quality.
  • To invite a person to your house is to take charge of his happiness as long as he be beneath your roof.
And a 1740 Sample Menu for Ten
  • 1st course: the bouilli (meat with its broth); an entree of veal cooked in its own juice; an hors d'oeuvre.
  • 2nd course: a turkey; a plate of vegetables; a salad; a creamy pudding 
  • Dessert: some cheese; some fruit; a jar of preserves.
  • Plates were exchanged only three times, after the soup, at the second course, and for dessert. 
  • Coffee was very rarely served, but quite often there was a cordial made from cherries or garden pink, still something of a novelty then."
"Supper" was was not the main meal of the day, but a meal served later in the evening.
Supper eaten by Louis XV at the Chateau in September of 1755
The Soups
  • Two oilles: One of large onions, One a l'espagnole
  • Two potages: One de sante, One of turnip puree
The Entrees

  • Small pies a la balaquine, Rabbit fillets a la Genevoise, Filet mignon of Mutton with sauce piquant, Fillets of Pheasant en matelote, Quails with bay leaves, Turtle doves a la vinitienne, Partridges a l'ancient salmy, Small garnished Pigeons, Blanquette of Fowls with truffles, Marinade of Campines, Fowl wings en hatelets, Leg of Veal glazed with its own juice, Minced game a la turque, Sweetbreads St. Menehould, Rouen Ducklings with orange, Halicot with dark veloute sauce.
Four Releves
  • Roast Mutton of Choisy, Rump of Beef a l'ecarlate, Sirloin, minced with chicory, Caux Fowls with raw onion
Four Main Entremets
  • Pheasant pie, Jambon de Perdrouillet, Brioche, Croquante
Two Medium Entremets — Roasts
  • Small chickens, Campines, Ortolans, Thrushes, Guignards, Red-leg Partridges, Pheasants, Rouen Duckling
Sixteen Small Entremets
  • A Coffee Cream, Artichokes a la galigoure, Cardoons a l'essence, Cauliflower with Parmesan, Eggs with partridge gravy, Truffles a la cendre, Spinach with gravy, Cocks' crests, Animelles, Green beans with verjuice, Ham omelette, Turkey legs a la duxelles, Mixed ragout, Chocolate profiterolles, Small jalousies, Creme a la genest.

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