LA VARENNE.   FRANCOIS PIERRE     Rare English translation of 'Le Cuisinier Francois'
Prescribing the way of making ready of all sorts of Meats, Fish and Flesh, with the proper Sauces, either to procure Appetite, or to advance the power to Digestion: with the whole skill of pastry work. Together with a Treatise of Conserves, both dry and liquid, a la mode de France. The second Edition, carefully exami-ned, and compared with the originall: and purged throughout. from many mistakes, and defects; and supplyed in diverse things, left out, in the former impression. With an Addition of some choice re-ceits of Cookery lately grown in use among the nobility and gentry by a prime artist of our own nation. (a single long line) Written in French by Monsieur De La Varenne of Uxelles, and now Englished by I.D.G. (a single long line) London, Prinet for Charles Adams, at the Talbut neere St. Dunstans Church in Fleetstreet. 1654.
A 2nd EDITION: 124 x 78 mm. Inside the front cover, this copy's important provenance: André L. Simon & Eleanor Lowenstein's jointly engraved book-plate. 1fep with the engraved frontispiece laid down nicely on the verso. Title page. [1] A2-3 Epistle Dedicatory. [1] 16 p To the Reader. (1&2)3-297. [1] 1fep. Closely trimmed in places, occasionally just touching a headline, signature mark or catchword with no loss. The last page laid down with a small 1" diagonal piece of the top corner missing with loss of text. Very lightly age browned throughout. Fully bound in dark blue morocco with gilt borders to covers. Original spine with gilt lines and tooling laid down expertly. Text block edges in red. Oxford p.23-24 Wing L625. Cagle 818, a 3rd edition. EST records only 5 copies in public holdings. This is a very nice rare cookery book with a fine provenance.
- At CooksInfo online - we can see some well-researched biographical details of La Varenne's life. La Varenne was considered by some to be a founding father of French cuisine. He was an important bridge between the predominately flesh based old style and a more contemporary thoughtful approach to French cooking. He was the first to introduce in print, bisque and bechamel sauce, and his work contains the first usage of the terms, bouquet garni, reductions and mille-feuille. It also includes an earlv form of hollandaise sauce. A bizarre recipe for a 'Potage of Tortoise' is included. One of the notable key points of this book and La Varenne's cookery is found on page 220. He lists 20 vegetables; "that may be found in gardens, which one may use on occasion to serve up with first courses, the inter-course of Fish dishes, other flesh dishes, and in Lent", In the old style French cuisine, vegetables were not considered part of the French diet until Nicolas de Bonnefon's book 'Le Jardinier Francois' first published; 1651, (see item 11294 on this site) detailing the large gardens at Versailles where we get the clear impression that de Bonnefon's book detailing Louis X1V's great interest in growing all types of produce, especially vegetables, which would have had a huge impact on the French Aristocracy and their cooks, and ultimately filtering down to all levels of French cooking. La Varenne proves himself to be a truly progressive Chef incorporating very interesting innovations into his great book. He passed away at Dijon; 1678. Leaving behind one of the most important cookery books detailing French Cuisine in its earliest development. Originally pub; in French, titled 'Le Cuisinier Francois', Paris 1651. The first English edition was pub: London 1653. This is a rare unrecorded 2nd of 1654. There is a later 3rd edition 1673. There are copies at Leeds University, Nat.Library of Scotland, The Wellcombe Library, Huntington Library and Wellesley College.

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ref number: 11338