Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine eBook

William Carew Hazlitt
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine.

Among the gastronomical enlargements of our literature in the latter half of the last century, one of the best books in point of classification and range is that by B. Clermont, of which the third edition made its appearance in 1776, the first having been anonymous.  Clermont states that he had been clerk of the kitchen in some of the first families of the kingdom, and lately to the Earl of Abingdon.  But elsewhere we find that he had lived very recently in the establishment of the Earl of Ashburnham, for he observes in the preface:  “I beg the candour of the Public will excuse the incorrectness of the Language and Diction.  My situation in life as an actual servant to the Earl of Ashburnham at the time of the first publication of this Book will I trust plead my Apology.”  He informs his readers on the title-page, and repeats in the preface, that a material part of the work consists of a translation of “Les Soupers de la Cour,” and he proceeds to say, that he does not pretend to make any further apology for the title of supper, than that the French were, in general, more elegant in their suppers than their dinners.  In other words, the late dinner was still called supper.

The writer had procured the French treatise from Paris for his own use, and had found it of much service to him in his capacity as clerk of the kitchen, and he had consequently translated it, under the persuasion that it would prove an assistance to gentlemen, ladies, and others interested in such matters.  He specifies three antecedent publications in France, of which his pages might be considered the essence, viz., “La Cuisine Royale,” “Le Maitre d’Hotel Cuisinier,” and “Les Dons de Comus”; and he expresses to some of his contemporaries, who had helped him in his researches, his obligations in the following terms:—­“As every country produces many Articles peculiar to itself, and considering the Difference of Climates, which either forward or retard them, I would not rely on my own Knowledge, in regard to such Articles; I applied therefore to three Tradesmen, all eminent in their Profession, one for Fish, one for Poultry, and one for the productions of the Garden, viz., Mr. Humphrey Turner, the Manager in St. James’s Market; Mr. Andrews, Poulterer in ditto; and Mr. Adam Lawson, many years chief gardener to the Earl of Ashburnham; in this article I was also assisted by Mr. Rice, Green-Grocer, in St. Albans Street.”  Clermont dates his remarks from Princes Street, Cavendish Square.

While Mrs. Glasse was still in the middle firmament of public favour, a little book without the writer’s name was published as by “A Lady.”  I have not seen the first or second editions; but the third appeared in 1808.  It is called “A New System of Domestic Cookery, Formed upon Principles of Economy, and Adapted to the use of Private Families.”  The author was Helene Rundell, of whom I am unable to supply any further particulars at present.  Mrs. Rundell’s cookery book, according to the

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Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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