The Great Hall
History of Cuisine in the European Tradition The Great Hall: History of Cuisine in the European Tradition
By Alexander Montgomery Brooks III (Alexanderbrooks) on Sunday, February 07, 1999 - 07:20 pm: Edit

What do any of you know about the effect of journeys of discovery (Marco Polo, Columbus, de Gama,etc.) on the dishes prepaired by chefs in those days. Did Catherine deMedici really create French Cuisine after bringing her cooks to Paris? What did Europe eat before there were potatos, tomatos, squash, corn?
I read somewhere that Italians used to eat pasta sauceless, with their hands before tomato sauce was invented in the 1800's: then they invented the 4-tine fork.
As Cuisine Minceur and Things Raspberry gain prominance in our World, I find I am more interested in these ideosyncracies of the History of Food. Do you have any suggestions where I could find out more about things like these?

By Hans (Hans) on Monday, February 08, 1999 - 07:44 pm: Edit

This is from the book "Food in History" by Reay Tannahill ISBN # 0-8128-1437-1. It's a little disjointed but covers the subject well.

The history of pasta is not easy to disentangle. There are unsubstantiated claims for its exsistence during Etruscan times and again during the Ostrogothic period. But the most popular story is that it was introduced into Italy by Marco Polo, who is said to have brought the idea from China. Certainly, the Chinese noodle, developed centuries earlier, was an idea, which could be expected to recommend itself in other regions where wheat was grown. It made a change from pancakes and breads, could be eaten hot, and kept its flavor and texture better than many grain products when dried.
At least fifty years before Marco Polo even left Venice on his travels to the East, however, both Indians and Arabs were already eating noodles, and from the Arab lands to Venice in the later Middle Ages was a very short step. It is possible that pasta may have been introduced to Italy by this route, perhaps as early as the eleventh century. Once established in the great trading cities -Venice, Florence, and Genoa-it may have been spread gradu-ally through the country by the agency of domestic servants. In the late thirteenth and, more particularly, in the fourteenth cen-tury, many rich Italian households numbered Mongol (or "Tar-tar") slaves among their possessions. Sinicized Mongols working in Italian kitchens would have been able, on request, to produce a dish of noodles to grace their masters' tables.
The most common name for pasta in the later Middle Ages seems to have been "macaroni," although this now means the tubular as contrasted with the flat type. There has always been some confusion in identifying the original Italian forms.

Message in 3 parts due to board limitation

By Hans (Hans) on Monday, February 08, 1999 - 07:47 pm: Edit

The fourteenth-century English Forme of Cury gives a recipe for macrows"-an anglicized plural of "macaroni -which pro-duces a poached paste of the flat noodle type; the recipe even recommends serving it strewn with morsels of butter and accom-panied by grated cheese. But what was the macaroni described by that occasional monk Teofilo Folengo in the sixteenth cen-tury, when he said that the artificial language known as Macaronic Latin-a mixture of Latin and Italian-was so called because it reminded students of Venetian macaroni, "a kind of coarse, rough rustic pudding made of flour, cheese and butter"? Was it merely that Brother Teofilo was fallible on the subject of food, or did the Venetians simmer their pasta in the Arabic fashion (with un-Arabic additions of cheese and butter), using comparatively little liquid and leaving the mass to settle for an hour after cooking?
By the eighteenth century and the days of the pilgrimage to Italy, macaroni was firmly established in European mythology. Middle-class tourists of mature years might scorn it as they scorned most other foreign food, but the adolescent aristocrats who were dispatched, complete with tutor and chaplain, to complete their education, were not so insular. So bored did their less traveled contemporaries become with "Italian" manners, antique busts, sketches of ruins, and poems in praise of pasta that boastful young Grand Tourists became generally known as "macaronis."

By Hans (Hans) on Monday, February 08, 1999 - 07:50 pm: Edit


When Catherine de Medici arrived from Florence in 1533 to marry the heir to the French throne she took with her a number
of Italian chefs and pastrycooks. They, and the staff of Marie de Medici, who went to France at the end of the century as the
bride of Henry IV, introduced not only the new Italian style of cooking to that country, but also such vegetables as artichokes,
broccoli, and savoy cabbages.
Nevertheless, in 1877, the Venetian ambassador to Paris still could not bring himself to enthuse about French food. The peo-ple, he reported, were quite immoderate, eating four or five times a day as and when they felt inclined, consuming very little bread or fruit, but a great deal of meat. "They load the table with it at their banquets," he said. They "ruin their stomachs and bowels by eating too much, as the Germans and Poles do by drinking too much."
By the mid-seventeenth century, however, things had changed for the better, and the Franco-Italian cuisine, which had been
slowly evolving was codified by Pierre Francois de la Varenne.*
La Varenne frowned on spices and on thick meat-and-almond mixtures. He recommended sauces based on meat drippings,
com-bined merely with vinegar, lemon juice (still an expensive luxury in France), or verjuice (the juice of sour grapes, or
sometimes of sorrel, green wheat, or crab apples). He provided sixty recipes for the formerly humble egg, treated vegetables
as food in their own right, made much use of the globe artichoke, described stuffed mushrooms, and even had a kind word
to say for truffles.

By Hans (Hans) on Monday, February 08, 1999 - 07:56 pm: Edit

Beginning of my five cents.
The Italians were introduced to a lot of interesting foods by the Arabs, with whom they traded, namely Ice Cream, Sponge Cake, Marzipan etc. (biscotti).
Potatoes are a fairly new introduction and the European populace used to eat gruel, kind of like the English still eat today and call Porridge, made from a variety of grains. Unfortunately the Quakers brought that garbage over here and got the South hooked on it in the form of Grits.

This 2 KB limitation has got to be what I call P.I.T.A. I leave it up to your imagination to figure what that stands for.Wonder if this board lets me post the word Cocktail?!
Yup, it will. Thank you George.

By M. Lynn Miller (Gumboyaya) on Wednesday, February 10, 1999 - 12:53 pm: Edit

Sorry Hans, you are wrong about grits.
Grits are made form corn-a staple of Native American Cultures. Immigrants to N. America took corn back to Europe where Italians fell in love with a dish similar to grits and renamed it Polenta.

By Hans (Hans) on Wednesday, February 10, 1999 - 03:02 pm: Edit

How could I be wrong about Dixie Super Glue?
Not all things that rotate in this world are improved upon. Just look at the hotdog that used to be an honest Frankfurter.

By Anonymous on Friday, February 12, 1999 - 12:23 am: Edit

Hans, would you have a recipe or technique for Frankfurters used by street vendors in Germany whereby they insert a Frankfurter into a hole in a bun and, hmmm, I'm trying to remember what my girlfriend who visited there said--I think it also was large enough for some sort of relish or something? She remembers it as being very delicious--nothing at all like American hotdogs.

By Southern (Southern) on Sunday, February 14, 1999 - 05:02 pm: Edit

One morning, a robber entered a local diner and snarled, "Gimme all your money!" Unimpressed, the old cook pointed to a vat of steaming grits and replied, "If you don't get out of here RIGHT NOW, I'm gonna throw 'em on you!" Now, as all real Southern folks know, cooked grits can get very hot while sitting on the stove for hours and, what's more, they *stick* to whatever you throw 'em at. Recognizing that he was being threatened with no less than second- to third-degree burns over most of his body, our hero slunk back out the door and has not been seen around these parts since ...

By Marty on Sunday, May 09, 1999 - 09:27 pm: Edit

I am a student at Johnson and Wales in Norfolk, Va. and am looking for information on Escoffier. I have his history, where he worked, how he got started, etc., however, I am looking for information about the involvement he had training the chefs for the Titanic.
I am also trying to find his obituary and maybe a picture of his you have any idea at all how I can find this information? Any help would be appreciated.

By JoancieB on Tuesday, September 07, 1999 - 03:11 pm: Edit

Can anyone give me the real name of the art of extremely fancy garnishing, (it's French) and where I could obtain a book or information on it. I've seen flower bouquets that looked almost real! Thanks.

By Chefluc (Chefluc) on Tuesday, September 07, 1999 - 11:59 pm: Edit

Name is "Historier" Is it what you are looking for ?
From chefluc

By Karin on Monday, September 20, 1999 - 10:42 am: Edit

I am looking for information about: Bistro(t)
its history, typical menus, present situation, literature, articles, most famous...anything related is very much appreciated.

I found this forum by accident and reading through the messages I learned that there are many knowledgable -food loving- people responding. Hopefuly someone can help me!
Thanks in advance

By Karin on Monday, September 20, 1999 - 10:46 am: Edit

I am looking for information about: Bistro(t)
its history, typical menus, present situation, literature, articles, most famous...anything related is very much appreciated.

I found this forum by accident and reading through the messages I learned that there are many knowledgable -food loving- people responding. Hopefuly someone can help me!
Thanks in advance

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