The Sole English Editions of Massialot's Two Classic Cookbooks

COOKING. FOOD & DRINK. Massialot, François, (ca. 1660-1733)

The court and country cook: giving new and plain directions how to order all manner of entertainments, And the best sort of the Most exquisite a-la-mode Ragoo’s. Together with new instructions for confectioners : Shewing How to Preserve all sorts of Fruits, as well dry as liquid: Also, How to make divers Sugar-Works, and other sine Pieces of Curiosity; How to set out a Desert, or Banquet of Sweet-Meats to the best advantage; And, How to prepare several sorts of liquors, that are proper for every Season of the Year. A Work more especially necessary for Stewards, Clerks of the Kitchen, Confectioners, Butlers, and other Officers, and also of great use in private Families. Faithfully translated out of French into English by J.K.

London: printed by W. Onley, for A. and J. Churchill, at the Black Swan in Pater-Noster-Row, and M. Gillyflower in Westminster-Hall, 1702

$10,500.00

18.8 x 12.3 cm. [48], 276, 130, 20 p. With 9 added engraved plates. Collation: [a]-[b]2, [aa]-[bb]2, B-Z8, Aa-Dd8, Ee4, Ff1. Without the advert leaf Ff2.

THE FIRST (AND SOLE 18th C.) ENGLISH EDITION OF BOTH WORKS. A translation of "Le cuisinier roial et bourgeois" and "Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liquers, et les fruits".

Bound in contemporary sprinkled calf, paneled in blind, with decorative ornaments. Corners lightly bumped, hinges just starting, small dent to edge of upper board. A clean copy with all 9 engraved plates and only the faintest of dampstains at the end. "New instructions for confectioners" and "New instructions for liquors" have separate pagination. Eight of the plates show table settings. The ninth plate shows a table laden with confections.

"François Massialot was at home in all three culinary métiers: cuisine, pâtisserie, and confectionery, which made him a rarity in any generation in any country. Even today, only a few outstanding cooks are equally proficient in the patient exactitude demanded by pastry and sugar work and the hurly burly of savory cooking, and in the days of the open fire, mastering both disciplines was even more difficult… 

 

"The same classic preparations that appeared in the books of Lune and La Varenne turned up forty years later, modernized and refined in Massialot's 'Le cuisinier roial et bourgeois' (The Royal and Bourgeois Cook, 1691) and 'Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs, et les fruits' (New Instruction for Preserves, Liqueurs, and Fruits, 1692). Massialot's originality of presentation and voice of authority confirmed him as a worthy successor to La Varenne and Lune, destined to influence cooks well into the next century. By this time, many recipes were standardized, using similar, though not necessarily identical, ingredients and steps. Massialot extended the culinary structure already defined as French, building in recipes that were to become classics, many of them still familiar, such as bisque d'écrevissesboeuf à la moderagoût de champignons, and a crème brûléewith more than a page of instruction that not could not be bettered today… 

 

"Massialot was also the first cookbook author to present his information as a dictionary, a concise, easy-to-reference style that became popular among Enlightenment writers in the eighteenth century. Early editions of 'Le cuisinier roial et bourgeois' give lists of potages, entrees, and entremets, streamed alphabetically without seasonal distinctions. Massialot also moved beyond the aide-mémoire style of La Varenne and Lune to write recipes in substantial detail…

 

"Massialot belonged to the sought-after group of independent Parisian cooks who catered to an impressive clientele, including the royal family. His opening menus in 'Le cuisinier roial et bourgeois' served both to advertise and endorse his skills. For example, his staggering menu for 'Grand Repast in the month of May' consists of two gigantesque courses and requires a minimum of 128 serving dishes plus individual plates for the diners. Eighteen cooks and stewards with eighteen aides were needed in the kitchen to prepare the meal, and the batterie de cuisineincluded sixty small casseroles, ten large round casseroles, ten small round casseroles, ten large marmites(cauldrons), ten small marmites, and thirty spits for roasting meats. Even the wealthiest Parisian residence would hardly have had all these items hand, confirming that such a feast would require a caterer. A smart businessman, Massialot added the snobbish detail that this meal was hosted at Sceaux, just outside Paris, by the marquis de Seignelai, son of the king's minister Colbert, for "Monsieur and Madame" (the king's brother and his wife) and many distinguished guests.

 

Confections: "Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs, et les fruits":

 

"At the beginning of the seventeenth century in Europe, sugar had been transformed from a favorite flavoring to a lead ingredient. French consumers could not resist it, and cookbooks soon appeared that were devoted to sugar work or confectionery, the latter defined as a 'delicacy that is sweet, is usually eaten with the fingers, and keeps for some time.' At the turn of the eighteenth century, sugar supplied the largest part of Parisian grocers' income…

 

"Massialot's 'Le cuisinier roial et bourgeois' (1691) was already influencing the future course of French savory cooking. In 'Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs, et les fruits' (New Instructions on Jams, Liqueurs, and Fruits, 1692), he does the same for confectionery, writing with an authority that breathes hands-on experience. In over four hundred pages, he defines the scope of this new métier, covering confitures(preserves, particularly jams), chilled drinks based on flowers and fruit, Italian liqueurs (hinting at the Italian origin for this new art of confectionery), meringues, marzipans and caramel candies, and candied flowers and fruits; he ends with some neat little salads that feature preserves, including cornichons. Citing earlier works on confectionery, he declares he need no longer defend 'the offering of tasty delicacies,' and he lays out a tempting array of these treats in an illustration at the end of his book, arranged platters or piled in pyramids and all bite-sized for easy eating."(Willan, The Cookbook Library, p. 168-173)

A.W. Oxford, English cookery books to the year 1850, p. 47-48; Vicaire, 574; ESTC T120659