The French Cook
By Louis Ude
Lady Chesterfield called Louis Eustache Ude “whimsical, good-natured, exorbitantly vain,” but he must have been a spectacularly gifted chef, able to please the most sophisticated upper-class palates of the day. As expressed in his cookbook, originally published in 1813, when Ude was cooking for the Earl of Sefton in Liverpool (whose service he left when the Earl’s son put salt in one of Ude’s soups), his recipes definitely were not meant for everyday meals, but they do represent the epitome of classic French cuisine and food service. The book is peppered liberally with French terms (vocabulary provided) and with elaborate techniques that must have been in use in the most elegant kitchens (but not necessarily beyond the reach of less elite cooks). The word soufflé first appeared in English in Ude’s cookbook. Along with hundreds of classic recipes, the book includes precise table settings for each course of a meal and presents the bill of fare for dinners of four, six, and eight entrees serving from eight to twenty-four persons.
This edition of The French Cook was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the society is a research library documenting the lives of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection comprises approximately 1,100 volumes.
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