Après Moi, Le Dessert
NEW FOR THIS EDITION:
Over 100 recipes for soups, stews, salads, sweets, even... mock fish (made from vegetable paste). The ingredients include not only root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, sunchokes, etc.) but leafy vegetables such as sorrel, spinach, purslane, chicory and chard, and various legumes such as beans, lentils. And peas. Lots and lots of peas — the French loved peas —, and onions.
The selection of the recipes in the book was inspired by this original Old Regime menu:
Here is the second of two recipes given for the item "A soup of Lentils in oil,
garnished with fried bread.":
(* indicates a recipe found elsewhere in the book)
Here is one for artichokes:
A Utility Dish section gives recipes for stocks, sauces, doughs, etc. - for example:
And, even if they weren't a dessert (this was an entremets, or "dainty-dish"), the apple beignets finish things nicely - especially when presented as "jewels":
The collection ends with an essay:
Vegetarians in Old Regime France
which explores a variety of topics:
From the essay:Were there vegetarians in eighteenth century France?
In attempting to answer that question, the first thing to point out is that, though vegetarians have existed since classical times, the word itself arose in the nineteenth century (in England). Still, the concept of a vegetarian diet was known in France at this time, and was called (by Rousseau among others) a “Pythagorean diet” (Pythagoras having been one of the earliest recorded vegetarians).
The question might then be restated as “were there people in eighteenth century France who (willingly) followed a Pythagorean diet?”
The most meaningful answer is “Too few to speak of”. Yes, the greater part of the population mainly ate vegetables, but not by choice. Others did so under some measure of constraint, be it medical or religious. This leaves the extremely rare cases of individuals who adopted eccentric diets, often without meat, but also without vegetables, and whose reasons for doing so typically remain obscure.
As it happens, two prominent figures from this period are often included in lists of famous vegetarians: Rousseau and Voltaire. Why? The simplest answer is that both wrote scattered passages which can be interpreted as favoring vegetarian principles. But writers write many things, and only sometimes live by them... [Continued in the book...]
Carnivores meanwhile might still want to take a look at:
All translations copyright 2009 Jim Chevallier.
Please do not reproduce or post elsewhere without prior permission.