Viva la France! Let us eat like Queens!
A historical review of French Cookbooks and French Queens
History lessons on French Queens, based on French cooking manuscripts available at the time. Let us eat like queens.
Monday – Joan I of Navarre. She was the Queen Consort to Philip IV of France, who was emotionally dependent on her. Mother of the She-Wolf of France (Isabella, Queen of England) and the last Capet King, whose death started the 100 Years War. She had her first child at 15, raised and led an army at 24, and died at 32.
Period Manuscript: Enseignements qui enseingnent a apareillier toutes manieres de viands. Early French cookery book from 1300, well used as it’s covered in food stains. Considered to be the oldest cookbook in France. Cooks comments – this cookbook is almost entirely nothing but meat. I had to use other non-French recipe books to help fill out the menu.
Here’s a recipe from Monday:
Grilled Pork Chops with Green Garlic and Onion Gravy
Original translation found here (c) 2005 Daniel Myers, MedievalCookery.com, Lines 13-18
4 pork chops
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp ground pepper (or to preference)
1/2 tsp grains of paradise (or to preference)
corn starchGrill pork chops. While the pork chops are grilling, add the garlic, onion, together in a pot and fry in olive oil until slight brown. Add spices to the pot and then add enough water to make it a bit wet. Make a cornstarch slurry and use to thicken until it because more of a sauce. Serve with the pork chops.Discussion: The recipe calls for pork loin but pork chops are cheaper and easier to cook in the woods on a grill. Cornstarch is not period; however, we had gluten-free folks for dinner so compromises were made. The grains of paradise are not required. You could try other spices like ginger or long pepper. This sauce was very well received by the diners.