A Merry Musketeer's Meal: A Baroque Menu
The jolly band of musketeers depicted
in Alexander Dumas' novels undoubtedly required a hearty supper after a
day of protecting their King! Our special "A Merry Musketeers' Meal" menu
includes several recipes that are authentic to the Baroque era.
The first spinach in Europe was the prickly seeded form. The smooth seeded form, which is universally
grown today, was known by the early 17th century. John Parkinson wrote in Paradisi in Sol (1629)
that there are three sorts of spinach, two prickly; the common spinach "being the lesser of
the two prickly sorts" and a smooth. He describes the smooth seeded spinach as having broader, rounder
leaves and also offers a tip on cooking, writing that "Many English have learned it of the
Dutch people" to steam it with butter. John Evelyn agrees with this method of using it as
a boiled salad in Acetaria (1699) writing: "of old not us'd in Sallets, and the oftener
kept out the better: I speak of the crude: But being boil'd... is a most excellent Condiment."
10 ounces spinach
2 tablespoons butter
5/8 cup currants
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 pound loaf of white bread or more, toasted (sippets)
1. Take 2-3 handfuls of washed spinach and place into boiling water until soft and tender.
2. Place spinach in a collander and drain water.
3. With the backside of a chopping knife, chop and bruise into small pieces.
4. Place into a "pipkin" with a good lump of sweet butter and boil over again.
5. Take a good handful of washed currants and add it to the mixture. Stir well.
6. Add as much vinegar as will make it reasonably tart.
7. Season it with sugar to taste.
8. Serve upon sippets.
Pottage with Whole Herbs
In addition to bread, the people of 18th century England ate a great deal of pottage, a
kind of soup-stew made from oats. There were many kinds of pottage, some with beans and peas added,
and others with turnips and parsnips. The following recipe uses mutton, veal or kid.
As a note, cook veal whole about 1/2 hour in enough water to cover. Vegetables should be added as soon as
water boils and is skimmed.
1 pound mutton, veal, or kid
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
3 1/2 ounces lettuce
1 1/2 ounces spinach
1 small endive (2 ounces)
2 ounces chickory
5 flowerettes cauliflower
2 small onions
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
6 slices of toast (sippets)
1. Cut mutton, veal or kid into edible portions.
2. Place meat in a pot with water. When ready to boil and well skimmed, add a handful or two of small oatmeal.
3. Place whole lettuce, whole spinach,
whole endive, whole chickory, whole leaves of cauliflower or the inward
parts of white cabbage, with two or three onions, into pot and boil until done.
4. Season with salt and as much vinegar as desired.
5. Cover meat with whole herbs and adorn dish with sippets.
Chocolate Brandy Dessert
In the Baroque Age, chocolate was considered a drink reserved for only the wealthy and powerful. Exotic recipes were
created for chocolate; oftentimes, it was mixed with eggs, and added to
coffee, tea and brandy. Chocolate was also prescribed as a medicine and
considered a generally nourishing tonic. The following recipe is a modern
concoction celebrating the Baroque Age's love of chocolate. Our recipe
3 eggs, separated
6 ounces plain chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons brandy
6 trifle sponges
1/4 pint whipped cream
1. Cream egg yolks with chocolate and brandy.
2. Whisk egg whites until stiff, and fold into the chocolate mixture.
3. Cut each sponge into 3 thin slices.
4. Cover the base of a glass bowl with
sponge, and pour over some chocolate mixture. Repeat the layers finishing
with the chocolate mixture.
5. Chill well and decorate with cream.