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p-fst-servng-msg - 9/19/14


Comments on how feasts were served in period.


NOTE: See also the files: French-Tbl-Srv-art, 14thC-Kitchen-art, Fd-Service-MA-art, feast-serving-msg, ME-feasts-msg, Medievl-Feasts-art, Serve-H-Table-art, Servng-Roylty-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 10:59:53 -0400

From: Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] French vs Russian Service


David/Cariadoc wrote:

<<< But 14th and 15th c. medieval meals were not served all together but

in courses, so I'm not sure exactly what and when "French service"

was. >>>


I think I found a decent reference while waiting for a new muffler for

the car.  I'd brought my copy of Jean-Louis Flandrin's "Arranging the

Meal - A History of Table Service in France", (translated by Julie E.

Johnson), 2007, University of California Press.  Here are some excerpts

that might shed light on French vs Russian service.


Page 48: "...the sequence of dishes in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century

meals is not easy to grasp: it clearly differs from both our own custom

and that of the 'French-style service' practiced in France between the

seventeenth and nineteenth centuries."


Page 122: "Until the first half of the nineteenth century, French

service divided the meal into three or four sequences, each of these

'courses' containing numerous dishes.  The dishes were not presented to

each guest, and it was not expected that everyone eat from every dish.

Everything was placed on the table and guests helped themselves

according to their fancy, just as in today's buffets.  French

commentators generally maintained that this method was more luxurious

than the much more costly Russian service, and that it was the only way

to accommodate the guests' range of tastes, long believed to depend on

personal temperament and physiological requirements.


"But French service also had its drawbacks.  For Grimod de La Reniere,

in 1805, "A glance at this multitude of dishes satiates rather than

tempts; and...the overabundance of choice is so confusing that the

appetite wanes and the dinner gets cold before one can make up one's

mind.  We have seen...how detrimental symmetry is to fine dining.  But

formal dinners force the sacrifice of one for the other, and there is no

way to serve a forty-place table one dish at a time."  (My note: The

symmetry that is being referred to is the custom of following designs in

cookery books for setting out a table, the dishes being placed in

geometrical and symmetrical order.  This basically is post-SCA time.)


Page 94: "While more pleasing to the eye, the French tradition had a

drawback: dishes to be eaten last remained too long on the table and got

cold, despite the use of dish-warmers and covers.  To avoid this

problem, Russian service placed on the table only could dishes that

could wait, while hot ones were passed around to all the guests

immediately after being carved in the kitchen....This Russian service,

which apparently came to prevail in France only during the second half

of the nineteenth century, was already being discussed fifty years

earlier."  (My note: Flandrin then cites mention in an 1804 publication

that "Germany, Switzerland, and most of the north" were using The

Russian style."


Does this give you an answer, Your Grace?


Alys K.



Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 11:09:55 -0400

From: Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Polish Banquets - 16th-18th Centuries


Greetings!  While looking through Jean-Louis Flandrin's book ("Arranging

the Meal") mentioned in a post I just sent to the list, I found a

chapter at the end entitled "Polish Banquets in the Sixteenth,

Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuries.  Flandrin writes, "My objective

is to single out what surprised foreign, and particularly French,

travelers about these banquets and what struck them as typically Polish

manners.  The chapter runs from p. 118-125.


Quickly scanning the beginning parts, it was noted by Hauteville that

much meat and little bread was eaten.  French travelers noted the

absence of any soup.  Apparently there was soup in the general diet (a

beer soup in the morning), but no soup with dinner or supper.


Impressing the French was the variety of sauces: sauces with saffron,

cream, onion, prune juice, all containing "a lot of sugar, pepper,

cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, olives, capers, pine nuts, and

currants.  These sauces were generally intended for first-course meats -

presumably boiled - but were interchangeable, not specific to a

particular meat."


For people with an interest in Polish foods in the 1500s-1600s, you

might want to see about borrowing this book from a library.


Alys K.



Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 14:15:15 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Polish Banquets - 16th-18th Centuries


The book is up on Google Books for searching and viewing.

I reviewed it several years back and noted at one time it was on sale if you ordered directly from the UC Press.


Even better, Amazon says they have copies ---  25 new from $6.97 which  

would be a great bargain.

For more see http://www.medievalcookery.com/books.html




On Oct 14, 2010, at 1:17 PM, Sam Wallace wrote:

<<< Alys,


Thanks for the mini-review. I will dig up Flandrin's book as soon as I

can. I was wondering about the references it gave for the Polish

Banquet section, particularly those prior to 1600.


Guillaume >>>


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org