The supermarkets seemed a bit quiet in February, with nothing much of interest or exciting to talk about, therefore I thought by way of a change something a little different might appeal . . .
|Vicomte de Mauduit|
I have always loved books and there is nothing I like doing more than spending an afternoon going around charity shops or second-hand book shops to see if I can find old recipe or cooking books. Most of the time they are mass produced or poor quality but every so often something out of the ordinary appears. One such book which I would put under the category strange is The Vicomte in the Kitchen written by the Vicomte de Mauduit and published in 1933.
There were second, third and fourth impressions published in each of the subsequent years before in 1937 the First Cheap Edition was published! Needless to say my copy is one of the cheap editions . . . hardback but with paper quality that feels almost like the texture of blotting paper (if you are old enough to remember blotting paper).
The Noblesse Oblige written by Frances, Countess of Warwick in her final paragraph wrote:
I envy the Vicomte de Mauduit his knowledge and enthusiasm; I will ask my cook to follow in his wise footsteps. Every man who tries to raise the standard of our cookery deserves well of our country, and the Vicomte de Mauduit will strengthen the entente cordiale.
The Introduction written by Elizabeth Craig, a more familiar name in cooking, goes on to say:
Let me introduce you to The Vicomte in the Kitchen, and his cuisine, which is after my own heart.
Few cookery books written in English interest me. They are usually too much alike. But The Vicomte in the Kitchen is full of original touches. It is a book neither the cook nor the gourmet can ignore.
Every woman who covets the title of a perfect hostess will find it her right hand. Every woman who is content to be a perfect housewife will find it invaluable.
I congratulate the Vicomte de Mauduit on his latest achievement. If the British housewife takes it to her heart there will be no more dull meals. The Vicomte sees to that.
I will not quote the whole of the Preface by the author but one paragraph does strike a chord:
Cookery, in my opinion,should not only be regarded as an art, but as the finset art. It should be on the curriculum of every school, and should,I think, take precedence over algebra, and even over sport.
So what about an example or two?
There are no lists of ingredients in the recipes and I have typed them in the style they appear in the book. And do not worry . . . no sparrows were harmed in the making of the first recipe.
Melt one tablespoonful of butter in a frying pan, when hot add three tablespoonfuls of minced beef, three tablespoonfuls of minced bacon, three tablespoonfuls of minced pork, and three tablespoonfuls of minced mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and one teaspoonful of chopped tarragon. Mix well together with the yolk of an egg, then boil the leaves from a heart of small cabbage, or lettuce; after ten minutes of boiling strain them and stuff each one with some of the mixture. Roll and tie like beef olives.
In another saucepan melt one tablespoonful of butter, add the "sparrows", move them about till well browned, then pour in three tablespoonfuls of good brown stock, cover and simmer for one hour and a quarter. At the end of that time, stir in three tablespoonfuls of thick cream for three minutes, then serve as an entrée hot with the sauce, or for hors-d'oeuvres allow to cool in its sauce.
(MOGUL CHICKEN PILLAFF)
In a large saucepan melt one ounce of butter and fry in it two small sliced onions and a little sliced garlic. Stir till golden, but do not allow it to brown, then stir in a few chopped almonds (blanched), cloves, raisins, peppercorns and cinnamon, also a soupçon (ever so little) of powder of chillies, and salt and cayenne.
Now cut up a young tender chicken, and fry it in the mixture till nearly cooked, when you add half a pound of rice which has been well washed and soaked. Add some good stock to cover the rice well over one inch above it, and simmer gently till the rice is palatable.
I have not tested either of the recipes but if someone would like to have a go I would love to hear how they turn out.