PPC 91 (October 2010)
Notes on Contributors
PAUL CLEAVE is an independent scholar living in Devon who is researching the history of modern tourism, particularly the culinary side of tourism, in Devon. JENNY KINGSLEY is an American writer and journalist living in London. ERIC PHIPPS is a former butcher celebrated for his stuffed chine. He lives and worked in Lincolnshire. A.R.T. KEMASANG is an Indonesian writer and researcher living in London. He is author of articles and longer studies on the history of tea and on the Chinese in Indonesia. PRISCILLA MARY IŞIN lives in Turkey and is an historian of Turkish food. She has edited and translated Friedrich Unger’s Confectionery of the Orient and contributed a piece to PPC 69 on the subject. WILLIAM SAYERS is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. He writes on medieval Western European languages and literatures. MARK DAWSON received his doctorate from Nottingham University for his study of the Willoughby family in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This book, entitled Plenti and Grase, has been published by Prospect Books. MALCOLM THICK is an independent scholar who has specialized in agricultural history. He has contributed to The Agrarian History of England and Wales and many other scholarly publications, including The Neat House Gardens and Sir Hugh Plat, both published by Prospect Books.
It is with much regret that I announce the death in June of one of the founders of Prospect Books, Jane Davidson. Our sympathies go to her daughters and grandchildren. A full notice of her life and achievements will be written for the next issue and readers might like to know that a memorial service will be held in the coming months. The best point of contact is through Caroline Davidson’s website, <www.cdla.co.uk>.
MEMORY IN THE FOOD BUSINESS, II
This might become a serial publication. As one gets older, the urge to write letters to the editor becomes stronger. In families, it might even be competitive. My wife has had some success with short contributions to the Guardian, even making their annual compilation of letters in 2008. I lag far behind, rejects outnumbering acceptances. A recent spousal triumph was comment on a remark by Jeanette Winterson that Fanny Cradock invented the prawn cocktail in the 1970s (a claim reinforced a month or two later by Nigel Slater who described it as having been around ‘for a good thirty years’). It dates, of course, from much earlier than that and Mrs Jaine was able to cite Alan Davidson, Gourmet Traveller and Marguerite Patten to push its origins as a standard item of fare back to the 1950s, with American antecedents between the wars. Nigel Slater caused a collective raising of eyebrows à propos carrot and coriander soup. He adverted to the Covent Garden Soup Company’s assertion that they invented the recipe in 1987. We knew that this was too late, for I had published a recipe (using only the spice, not the fresh green leaf) in 1986 and we had certainly been cooking the soup thus in the 1970s at the Carved Angel. None of us, including Joyce Molyneux, can quite recall whence came the idea. One thought was that it could have been from Colin Spencer’s vegetarian recipes that he used to publish in the Guardian (they were often very good). But memories are frail. Anther avenue, possibly more fruitful, was broached when we remembered that the chef Michael Waterfield (who once worked at the Hole in the Wall in Bath and then ran his own very successful restaurant in Wye in Kent called The Wife of Bath) introduced us to the dish Chicken (or on his case, I seem to recall, Turkey) aux trois épices, the spices being cumin, coriander and cardamom. Perhaps carrot and coriander soup was another from his spicy repertoire. Michael is the great-nephew of Janet Ross, author of Leaves from our Tuscan Kitchen, and it is his edition of this book that is currently available in the shops (Grub Street). If you look up her recipe for carrot soup, first written in 1903, you find that she does include coriander (though not so much as we used to add) in her seasonings. Two little instances of myth-making: the prawn assertion seems to be based on a Wikipedia entry and a TV episode of Hairy Bikers.
THE OLD CULINARY TEXT PROJECT
In the 1980s, when Alan and Jane Davidson were building up Prospect Books and PPC, as well as Alan researching and reading for the Oxford Companion, he conceived the plan of collecting photocopies of early cookery books. This would be a useful reference for himself and a helpful resource for people who found such texts difficult to locate, or access to the national libraries too complicated and inconvenient. Now that so much is available through the Internet, the exercise might seem supererogatory, but the deed was done and we have the texts. When Alan finished the Companion, he tidied up his library, if only to make room for materials for his new preoccupation with Hollywood. The culinary texts were generously given house-room by Fiona Lucraft in Cambridgeshire. She felt that they might be more accessible through the good offices of PPC, so I have taken them over and they were the first things to be moved to the new library built on the top floor of one of our small barns. I give below a short catalogue of the collection. It may still be true that people will find reference to one text or another really helpful in their research, so anyone is welcome to ask for one to be sent to them. My suggestion is that if a returnable deposit of £50 is made with each request, it will keep such transactions honest. The only cost will be postage.
Pre-17th century European cookery books and essays
- Essay on and some recipes from a 13th-C. north European cookbook (unbound).
- Arnald of Villanova’s Book on Wine. Translation from the German version: ed. 1478 (unbound). Essay and translation.
- Le Livre de Taillevent (14th C.), published 1615 (unbound).
- Libre de totes maneres de confits (14th C.) (unbound). Essay and some recipes.
- Das buch von guter spise (14th C.) (unbound). Essay and recipes.
- Kuchenmeisterei (1490) (unbound). Introduction only, with illustrations.
- Platine en franccys… (French text of ?De Honesta Voluptate, 1474) (comb-bound), published 1519.
- Le Grand Cuisinier de toutes cuisines, by Pierre Pidoulx, published (?) 1540 (comb-bound).
- Menu de la maison de la Reyne faict par Mons. Pinguillon, published 1562 (unbound).
- Epulario, or, The Italian Banquet, published 1598 (comb-bound), translated from the Italian.
- (Essay) Un Petit Traité de Cuisine (14th C.).
- (Essay) Deux Traités inédits d’art culinaire mediéval, by Marianne Mulon.
- (Article) Aliments et Recettes Culinaires des Byzantines, by E. Jeanselme and L. Oeconomus (1923).
- (Essay) A Medieval Sauce-Book, by Lynn Thorndike.
- Anonymous French thesis [?] on 15th-16th C. French cookery books.
17th and 18th century cookery books and essays in French
- Le Cuisinier François, by La Varenne, published 1651 (unbound).
- Le Nouveau Cuisinier, by Pierre de Lune, published 1662 (comb-bound, 3 copies).
- Maistre d’Hostel Royal, by Pierre de Lune, published 1662 (comb-bound).
- Le Cuisinier Moderne, by Vincent La Chapelle, published 1742 (comb-bound).
- French essay on 17th-18th century cookery books by Alain Girard.
- Paper given by Mons. Herbodeau to Oxford University (concerns food history).
French cookery books translated into English
- The French Cook, by La Varenne, translated by I.D.G., published 1653 (unbound, 2 copies).
- A Perfect School of Instructions for Officers of the Mouth, by Giles Rose, 1653 (unbound).
- The Art of Modern Cookery Displayed, by Menon, translated by a foreigner, 1767 (unbound).
- The Professed Cook, by Menon, translated by B. Clermont, 1776 (unbound).
- The Royal Parisian Pastrycook, by Carême, translated by John Porter, 1834 (comb-bound).
15th and 16th century cookery books in English
- A Noble Boke of Cokery, published c. 1500.
- The Schoolemaster or Teacher of Table Phylosophie, published 1583 (unbound), first treatise only, dealing with food and manners.
- The Widowes Treasure, published 1585 (unbound).
- The Good House-wives Treasurie, published 1588 (comb-bound).
- The Good Huswives Handmaid, published c. 1590 (comb-bound and modern reprint).
- Dyets Dry Dinner, by Henry Buttes, published 1599 (unbound).
17th century cookery books in English
- A Closet for Ladies and Gentlemen, published 1608 (comb-bound), first section only, containing all culinary receipts.
- The English Hus-wife, by Gervase Markham, 1615 (unbound).
- Murrel’s Two Books of Cookeries and Carving, by John Murrell, fifth edition with additions of 1638 (pasted-in book).
- The Ladies Cabinet Opened, 1639 (pasted-in book).
- A Hermetical Banquet, Drest by a Spagiricall Cook, published 1652 (comb-bound).
- The Ladies Companion, published 1653/4? (unbound).
- A True Gentlewoman’s Delight, by W.J., published 1653 (unbound).
- The Art of Cookery Refin’d, by Jos. Cooper, 1654 (bound, 3 copies).
- The Ladies Cabinet Enlarged and Opened, by Lord Ruthven, published 1654 (comb-bound, 4 copies).
- Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus, copied from a choice manuscript of Sir Theodore Mayerne, physician to the late King Charles, published 1658 (comb-bound).
- The Cook’s Guide, by Hannah Woolley, 1664 (comb-bound).
- The Ladies Delight, by Hannah Woolley, published 1672.
- The Gentlewoman’s Companion, by Hannah Woolley, 1675 (comb-bound).
- The Queen-like Closet, by Hannah Woolley, fifth edition, 1684 (comb-bound).
- Kitchin Physick, by [?]Thomas Cocke, 1676 (bound).
- The Compleat Cook’s Guide, published 1677 (comb-bound).
- The True Way of Preserving and Candying, published 1681 (unbound).
- The True Preserver and Restorer of Health, by G. Hartman, 1682.
- The Accomplished Ladies Rich Closet of Rarities, by John Shirley, published 1690?/1696? (bound).
- A Belfast Cookery Book of Queen Anne’s Time, c. 1711. Articles and recipes of Margaret McBride.
18th century cookery books in English
- England’s Newest Way, by Henry Howard, third edition, 1710- (pasted-in book and unbound).
- England’s Newest Way, by Henry Howard, fifth edition, 1713 (unbound).
- The Queen’s Royal Cookery, by T. Hall, second edition, 1719 (unbound).
- A Collection of Receipts in Cookery, by Mary Kettilby, second edition, 1719 (unbound).
- Court Cookery, by R. Smith, 1725 (unbound).
- The Industrious Country-Man and Virtuous House-Wife’s Companion, by James Dunbar, published 1737 (unbound).
- The Compleat City and Country Cook, by Charles Carter, second edition with large additions, 1736 (unbound).
- The London and Country Cook, by (the late?) Charles Carter, ?third edition, 1749 (fragile book and photocopy).
- The Family Magazine, by ?Arabella Atkyns, 1741.
- The Accomplish’d Servant-maid, by Eliza Johnston, 1747 (comb-bound).
- Bradshaw’s Valuable Family Jewel, by Penelope Bradshaw, 1748 (unbound).
- A New and Easy Method of Cookery, by Elizabeth Cleland, 1755 (pasted-in book).
- The British Housewife, by Martha Bradley, 1756 (bound, second volume only).
- A Collection of the most approved receipts in Pastry, published in Aberdeen, undated (unbound).
- The Art of Confectionary, by Edward Lambert, c. 1744 (comb-bound).
- The Compleat Confectioner, by Hannah Glasse, c.1760 (comb-bound, 3 copies).
- Art of Cookery or The Compleat-Housewife, by Alice Smith, published in 1760 (unbound, incomplete).
- Primitive Cookery, 1767 second edition (comb-bound, 2 copies).
- Madam Johnson’s Present, by Madam Johnson, 1769 fifth edition (pasted-in book, pages missing).
- The Practice of Modern Cookery, by George Dalrymple, 1781 (comb-bound).
- The Universal Cook, by Mrs Maria Stanhope, 1783 (comb-bound).
19th and 20th century cookery books in English
- A New System of Domestic Cookery, by a Lady, by Mrs Rundell, 1806 (unbound).
- Charitable Cookery, by Alexis Soyer, c. 1840 (unbound).
- The Whole Art of Curing, Pickling and Smoking Meat and Fish, by James Robinson, 1847 (comb-bound).
- The Gourmet’s Guide to Rabbit Cooking, by an Old Epicure, 1859 (unbound).
- A Practical Cookery Book, by Mrs Haldane, 1936 (unbound).
Cookery books from the rest of the world
- The Young Housekeeper, by William A. Alcott, 1838, Boston (unbound).
- The Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning, by Ellen H. Richards, 1882, Boston (comb-bound).
- Cookery for the Many, by an Australian Aristologist, 1864 (comb-bound, 2 volumes).
- Arte Cisoria o tratado del Arte del Cortar del Cuchillo, 1766 (unbound, pages 28-53, 122-129 and 196-197).
- Yuan Mei?, ? edition (unbound).
- Turkish Cookery Book, by Turabi Efendi, 1864 (unbound).
- Koge-bog, Anon., 1616, first printed cookbook in Denmark.
- Vasa Qver, by Marta Maria Stephensen, 1800, first printed cookbook in Iceland.
MORE ON FRANCE
I received the following comment on my own reflections on our last visit to France from Barbara Santich, after she had stayed in Paris last summer. It shows that not all is lost, to some at least, although to my way of thinking, lip-service is not the same as doing the right thing. ‘Whether returning to the family beach house or to a country you’ve come to know over many years, it’s always comforting and reassuring to find things the same as when you last left them. In the 30 or so years I’ve been visiting, living and working in France, I’ve always been impressed by how little things change – give or take a few minor variations, such as yellow plastic brooms replacing the traditional straw ones of the street-sweepers. ‘French food markets are as captivating as ever and, at first sight, changeless – the same mix of stalls with the same fruits and vegetables, the same cheeses, the same charcuteries. Differences are microscopic; the strawberries might have different names and fish now carry labels to indicate that they’ve been line-caught and where. More stallholders proclaim organic origins and, in deference to doctors, sausages now come in ‘extra-maigre’ or low-fat varieties. ‘In the specialist shops, too, change is minimal. Butchers display the same cuts of meat, the only innovation being greater emphasis on quality and provenance. At the charcuterie, exotic imported hams – Parma, San Daniele, Iberico – complement the traditional jambon, pâtés, terrines and rillettes. Fruiterers today stock fresh ginger as a matter of course, together with a more diverse selection of fresh herbs, while goat and sheep cheeses have a larger presence in crèmeries. Boulangeries, especially those proclaiming artisan status, now offer the superior ‘baguette traditionelle’ as well as the ordinary baguette and their range of rye, wholemeal and multigrain breads is more varied. ‘Strolling along the streets and pausing to read the menus of every little café, I’m gratified to find the same dishes: Epaule d’agneau haricots blancs; faux filet sauce au poivre, frites, salade; cuisse de canard confit maison, pommes sautées à l’ail; filet de sole meunière, épinards à la crème; tarte de jour; mousse au chocolat; crème brulée. Individuality and ingenuity might reign in restaurants, but these are ordinary establishments with menus for less than A$30. ‘Occasionally there’s evidence of more contemporary trends – tartares, often of salmon, tuna or other fish, and crumbles, apple or rhubarb. Surreptiously sneaking in are ‘les woks’, the French version of a stir-fry, as in Wok de volaille aux legumes croquants, spaghetti – Stir-fry of chicken and vegetables with noodles (the incongruity of the Italian term is disconcerting). ‘In general, though, it’s a relief to discover that memories will not be challenged and everything is still in its rightful place. The superficial impression is that French eating habits have hardly evolved over thirty years. ‘Yet behind this façade of constancy some quite significant changes have taken place, not so much in what the French eat but more but how. Of these, perhaps the most obvious is the enthusiasm for convenience in the form of ready-to-cook, ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat products. ‘Indeed, statistics show that between 1974 and 1998 the time women spent on cooking, housework and laundry decreased by almost an hour to about 2.5 hours per day (over the same period men’s time on these tasks increased, on average, by 10 minutes). The embrace of convenience is also reflected in ownership of microwave ovens, now standard in over 80 per cent of French households (compared with about 95 per cent in Australia). ‘Of course, the option of buying a dish ready-made has always been available in France, at least in the cities where charcuteries and traiteurs have traditionally offered a selection of freshly cooked dishes. Surfacing from the Métro in Rue de la Roquette, I would be greeted by warm aromas wafting from the strategically situated rôtisserie: roast chickens, pork loin, boned leg of lamb, beef and veal, together with gratin dauphinois, pommes dauphine, gratin de courgettes. But there’s a price to pay for this instant gratification – up to A$22 for a roast chicken, about A$3.50 per serving of mashed potato or spinach. ‘Supermarkets offer far cheaper alternatives: fresh, frozen, sous-vide and tinned. At a large Carrefour hypermarché (58 checkouts!) on the outskirts of Paris I could buy two servings of fresh salmon quiche with broccoli for about A$8.70 while a frozen Parmentier de canard – a kind of shepherd’s pie made with duck – cost A$10.00 for a double portion. Single-portion dishes cost as little as A$3.50. Those preferring to cook their own can take advantage of an extraordinary array of convenience foods, from rounds of cooked polenta and buckwheat pancakes to frozen vegetables in imaginative combinations, such as a légumes à la catalane mix of cauliflower florets, flat beans, sliced eggplant, strips of red pepper and mushrooms. ‘The success of the Picard chain repudiates the stereotype of the French housewife shopping daily for fresh food in local markets. While there are other frozen food supermarkets, Picard dominates. From its first store in Paris in 1974, the chain has today expanded to 766 stores in France and supplies 20 per cent of the French market for frozen foods, including ice-creams. Its catalogue of over one thousand items includes raw ingredients – seafood, meat, fruits and vegetables – but perhaps the largest growth has been in ready-made dishes, including selections of Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese and Mexican dishes. ‘As its preparation becomes more simplified so, too, does the meal. At midday less than 40 per cent of French, mostly in the 50-plus age group, adopt the standard formula of entrée, main course and dessert, with optional cheese course, and even fewer in the evening. The younger generation prefers two courses, typically main course and dessert, though 5 per cent of French are content with a sandwich at lunchtime. Main course-plus-dessert predominates among evening meals as well, and again it’s the under-50s who are leading the trend. ‘The current crop of French cookbooks seems similarly to have abandoned the traditional meal model. The comprehensive volumes which offered recipes for individual courses and complete meals have given way to specialist publications focusing on particular categories of dishes, often of the quick-and-easy variety. The Hachette Pratique series includes books on soups and gaspachos, tians and flans, crumbles and tatins, while Marabout’s titles include Super Salades Gourmandes, Cuisine Express et Gourmande, Poulet Vite Prêt and Wok Facile. ‘So where does this leave the French claim to have its gastronomic heritage recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage, especially as this is based not so much on the attributes of French cuisine as on the norms associated with eating: mealtimes, the structure of meals, the role of bread, the importance of the table as a site of sociability and pleasure. If successful – and the application is endorsed by President Sarkozy – France will be the first country where gastronomy is officially acknowledged as an expression of culture comparable to architecture, theatre and cinema. ‘Despite all the changes of the last thirty years, it seems the French still believe in and respect their eating traditions, many more than actually practise them on any one day. And one of the strengths of the French model is its capacity to accept change and incorporate variation. Whether simmered over grandma’s stove or purchased from Picard, a sauté de lapin still belongs to the traditional repertoire. Exotic cuisines can be accepted without renouncing French, and simplified meals can be adopted without challenging the primacy of the formal entrée-main dish-cheese-dessert pattern. ‘In its definition, UNESCO recognizes that intangible cultural heritage is constantly recreated – in response to changes in the environment, for example – while still providing communities and groups with a sense of identity and continuity. Can France satisfy these criteria? With its application due this month, it should not be too long to wait for the verdict.’
AND THEN ON SPAIN
Our youngest daughter Frances spent the last academic year teaching infants in Pamplona as part of her degree studies at Leeds University. We went over to see her in the spring and delighted in the unlimited supplies of wine from the Rioja. Alas, we have now drunk the last bottle. I was very interested by her tales of domestic life in the apartment she shared with three Spanish girls and she has kindly written a short note about their kitchen activities for our enlightenment. Names have been changed. ‘My past visits to Spain have only consisted of the sunny and ever tourist-invaded Barcelona, and a camping tour of the south-east coast. So before I moved there for eight months last September, my mind was awash with romantic images of outdoor café life, eating local tomatoes soaked with extra virgin olive oil and drinking a fine Rioja. ‘However, I was going to Pamplona, Navarre. Deep in land-locked northern Spain, it boasts an altogether heartier version of Spanish cuisine. Navarre itself produces some delicious (and fantastically cheap) wines, but my sunny streets were replaced by low-lit bars, as the icy cold Navarran winter descended on the city. ‘I liked the food, but in a disinterested way that perhaps comes of being the daughter of an enthusiast. However, in Spain it is impossible to avoid the issue and most introductions to natives were quickly followed with a comparison between the food of Britain and Navarre, the latter always being the better, of course. ‘My main insight into domestic Spanish cuisine was through the three girls I shared a flat with during my time there. We each cooked and ate differently, and to begin with most of my efforts induced a wrinkled nose and exclamations of “¿Que es? Ughhh…” Being someone who generally eats meat only when it is cooked for me, I was scorned within the kitchen; my food was very much alien to them, and I often had to explain the origins and ingredients of things such as porridge, just so they did not think I had entirely made it up. ‘My documentation of Isabella’s, Conchita’s and Consuelo’s eating habits is just that; I hold no superior knowledge of northern Spanish gastronomy and all that I do know was through simple observation. ‘Consuelo, a scientist, rarely cooked for herself and brought most of her meals from her family home, neatly stacked in little Tupperware boxes. This initially surprised me at her age of 28, and here I could surely digress into comments on the Spanish family: I think this habit is more relevant to that than to the food. Puré de verdures (a thick soup of puréed vegetables) was a staple of her diet. She was also the most culinarily adventurous; the only one who would try a curry I cooked or the hummus I triumphantly bought home one day after finding it on the top shelf of ‘El Corte Inglés’ (Spain’s largest department store), and actually her eating habits differed little from my own. ‘All three girls ate a large lunch and smaller supper, something that I adopted myself after a few weeks there. It seems in Spain somehow impossible to start cooking an evening meal before nine o’clock, and Consuelo used to sup on the most delightful little plates of puré followed by one chicken wing and a pot of fresh cheese and honey. ‘Conchita, on the other hand, cooked all her meals in the flat. It was real food, and she spent long periods meticulously chopping mushrooms and prawns into tiny pieces, generally to mix them into a béchamel sauce and pour over an awaiting piece of fish. She cooked well, as her mother would, I assume. (Although I had to physically remove myself from the kitchen when I saw her vegetables still happily boiling away after twenty minutes.) Her midday meal was one she spent time and care preparing. But healthy eating is not something that preoccupied them in a way that it does many educated Britons, and I have seen Conchita eat her way through a long sausage of rich, sweet morcilla (black pudding), carefully topping each piece with an individual slice of Laughing Cow cheese. In the evening she would drink a glass of Cola Cao, into which she poured piles of cereal over and over again. Cola Cao is a powdered hot chocolate drink, guzzled by children and adults alike across Spain. It has reached almost the same levels of popularity as tea over here, and when visiting friends’ houses I would invariably be offered a cup of the sweet milky drink. ‘Isabella interested me the most with her eating habits. Being a nurse, one might misguidedly have expected her to be the healthiest eater in the flat. However, a great dislike for vegetables, added to an addiction to Diet Coke, made this a challenge. Most of Isabella’s food met the deep-fat fryer before landing on her plate and generally her meals were varying themes on meat and potatoes. She sweetly used to worry about my lack of protein intake, while I would worry back about her vitamin deficiencies, offering her vegetables, always to be rebuffed with a untrusting “No, gracias.” Her attitude was echoed in the cafés and bars of Pamplona, where the pintxos (Basque for tapas) came fried with a side order of mayonnaise. At the four dinner parties that I attended during my time there the menus varied little, all serving the obligatory tortilla, jamón and croquetas. The food at these moments was passed around amid exclamations of “¡Qué rico!” and “¡Qué bueno!”, and eaten with lots of wine and conversation. It was made to be enjoyed, and it was. ‘Isabella and Conchita did not worry as I did about getting enough vitamin C or eating their five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Although in Spain packaged food has taken a similar place in the kitchen as it has in the UK, in many ways cooking has changed little over the decades. In more traditional areas such as Pamplona, the great influx of ethnic cuisine has not happened, and the population is confident in the richness of their own gastronomic heritage. This ethos is upheld by all: from the most expensive restaurants to the cheapest bars, right down to my own flat.’
Following our notice of his most recent book (Eat Up!, published by Kyle Cathie), I had a spirited response from Mr Campion which I print here: ‘The review was a very sloppy piece of work which suggested that I dined with 20 of my friends. If the writer had bothered to read the introduction, or indeed any chapter from start to finish, she would have learnt that the cooks that I visited were 16 strangers, and that dining with strangers was the premise of the book. I would be interested to know whether Ms Field tried any of the recipes before condemning them? She would have been hard pressed to have made, matured and tried the blackberry vodka she dismisses given the time of year. I may be relentlessly upbeat; I may need to be described as a “critic” – I don’t suppose a decade or so reviewing restaurants and writing about food and drink in the newspapers counts in the world of criticism hence the inverted commas – but I do make a point of visiting restaurants and trying the dishes before I write about them. Perhaps “reviewers” should read the books before committing their opinions to print?’
THOSE JURA WINES
We have had a good to-and-fro between William Woys Weaver and Gilly Lehmann on the medieval connections between Savoy and Cyprus and their impact on the grapes grown in that region of France and I shall print no more on the topic than a short communication from Gilly Lehmann on recent work relating to the origins of grape varieties in the Jura and Savoie. ‘On the Cyprus-Savoie connection and the grape variety Altesse, the website Vin de Savoie, I think basing its remarks on an unpublished paper given at the first general assembly of the Centre d’Ampélographie Alpine Pierre Galet by José Vouillamoz on 8 December 2007, says: “Origine: les traditions sont multiples. Elles rapportent que les premiers plants auraient été ramenés de Byzance en 1367 par Amédée VI, ou en 1432 dans la dot d’Anne de Chypre mariée à Louis II [sic] de Savoie. La légende est belle, mais l’analyse de l’ADN de l’Altesse prouve qu’elle n’a pas une origine orientale, pas plus qu’elle n’est apparentée au Furmin [sic] (Tokay de Hongrie) cher à Pierre Galet. Des analyses plus poussées confirmeront (ou non) une parentée [sic] avec le Chasselas.” Source: the page is available by using the left-hand link to “cépages” at: http://www.vin-de-savoie.org/ ‘This site was last updated in December 2009, and publication of Vouillamoz’s work is stated to be forthcoming. Vouillamoz’s presentation apparently caused considerable surprise to Pierre Galet, who was in the audience as the honorary president of the Centre, to which he has donated his archives. ‘A document from the CAAPG gives a full list of “Alpine” grape varieties, established by Vouillamoz, dated 28 November 2008. Included in the list is ‘Savagnin Blanc’, with the comment that it is a variety from Franche-Comté, not of Alpine origin although attested as being grown in the Valais by 1540. ‘On the genetic profiling of the Savagnin grape, José Vouillamoz of the University of Neuchâtel (and his team) is responsible for the SVMD (Swiss Vitis Microsatellite Database). The Swiss research centre has been investigating the origins of the ‘Chasselas’ grape, and concludes that it probably originated in the Lausanne area, this opinion being based on genetic profiling and analysis of historical references. In the course of the investigation, the authors examined a large number of potential parents. They refute the legend that the grape originated in Egypt (where it is now known as “Fayoumi”) or in Turkey, and more generally emphasize the separation b