COOKING FOR LOUIS XIV: MASSIALOT’S ROYAL AND BOURGEOIS COOK, 1698 FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION—“THE MEALS IT DESCRIBES… HAVE ALL BEEN SERVED NOT LONG AGO AT THE COURT”
MASSIALOT, Francois. Le Cuisinier Roïal et Bourgeois, qui Aprend a Ordonner toute forte de Repas, & la meilleure maniere des Ragoûts les plus à la mode & les plus exquis. Paris: Charles de Sercy, 1698. 12mo, contemporary full mottled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, red morocco spine label.
Rare first illustrated edition—and only the third edition overall—of a gastronomic classic from the age of Louis XIV, and one of the first kitchen dictionaries, with eight folding engraved plates of banquet settings. A desirable copy in contemporary French mottled calf-gilt.
The author, a worthy successor to La Varenne and chef de cuisine to the duc de Chartres, served as a cook for high ranking personalities such as the dukes of Orléans, Aumont, and De Livry, and became Maître d'hôtel du Roi. The initial 88 pages describe lavish multi-course dinners given at the houses of Massialot's noble employers. The bulk of the book is an alphabetical dictionary of foodstuffs, and different methods of preparation. The recipes given represent French cookery of the age of absolutism, which influenced the later development of restaurants, often founded by former cooks of the nobility and the court, after the Revolution had deprived them of employment.
"The social connotations of food were being made more and more explicit: not only was anything reminiscent of rusticity and the food of the peasants to be avoided, but the court and the 'best circles' were offered as models to be copied. The growing sense of 'good taste,' national pride, and deference to the court as the fount of all fashion are all evident" (Menell, All Manners of Food, 74-75). An interesting feature of his book, touched on in the passage cited above, is the section of menus and lists of seasonal food, of great assistance to majordomos in buying food and organizing banquets and dinners. Curiously, this volume includes a recipe for Macreuse en ragoût au chocolate (duck stewed in chocolate)—quite possibly the first known Aztec recipe in a European cookbook. First published 1691. Text in French. Bitting, 314. Vicaire 574. Wellcome IV, 77. See Cagle 316-18, first, second and fifth editions; third edition not present. Not in Krivatsy.
One folding plate with repair to lower corner, affecting image but not place setting. Repair and restoration to front joint and spine ends. A near-fine copy, desirable in contemporary French calf-gilt binding.