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  • Immortal Meals #15: Full Up at Ferrara July 7, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    lots of food

    As noted in a recent post late medieval and early modern feasts often had as their point not the consumption of simply massive quantities of food, but the ostentatious displays of simply massive quantities of food, most of which would not be touched by human hands: at least once they had come out of the kitchen. This is a case in point. The following is a feast in Ferrara 24 Jan 1529 to celebrate an (admittedly important) dynastic marriage. There were six courses of which only three are included here (the translation is taken from John Dickie’s very capable history of Italian food, Delizia). This obscene quantity of different dishes was for 104 guests none of whom could have polished off one fifth of the viands brought to the table: in fact, a petting zoo was put to death for each guest. The meal will have taken over a day, but again even if we assume that each guest had eaten his weight in food twice it would have been impossible to finish everything put before them: remember that what follows is only half of the meal. What was etiquette on these occasions? Did guests perhaps just eat a forkful of each dish? Or did they wait for their favourites and then stuff themselves?

    Other immortal meals: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    104 small pies with a filling of capers, truffles and raisin purée
    Salad of endive, radish, rampion and lemon on 104 small plates
    25 large radishes carved into various figures and animals, with 104 small radishes on 25 small plates
    104 small cream pies dusted with sugar
    Sliced ham, salted beef tongue and salt pork loin – all fried and dusted with sugar and cinnamon divided between 25 plates
    25 wild boar mix pies (the mix included ham, raisins, pepper, orange juice and beef fat)
    25 large pork live sausages in pastry cases
    50 large skinned grey mullet in 25 pies with a sweet sauce
    15 large salted eels in 104 cylindrical cuts on 25 plates
    104 sea bream garnished with laurel leaves on 25 plates
    25 plates of boned capon (wild bird) coated blancmange, fried then dusted with fine sugar
    Platter of 104 quails, 104 roasted capon livers and 104 meat pastries (with raisins, sugar, bone marrow, spices, hard cheese wrapped in animal gut) divided between 25 plates
    100 sliced oranges and 52 roast pheasants divided between 25 plates
    25 plates of meat flavoured onions
    25 plates of sweet pine nut pastries
    25 sweet pastry tarts made from the spleens of various fish (including cinnamon, ginger, cloves, saffron, pepper, oranges and sugar)
    25 plates with trout tails, fried with lemon
    200 fried red mullet divided between 25 plates
    Eel pieces in marzipan divided between 25 plates
    50 sea bream in broth divided between 25 plates
    50 roast francolins, 50 roast rock partridges, 104 meatloaves divided between 25 plates
    25 fried large white sausages, 104 fried sweetbreads sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon divided between 25 plates
    25 German-style capons in sweet-wine with mace
    25 large pigeons in puff pastry divided between 25 plates
    104 fried Lake Garda trout, sprinkled with sesame seed divided between 25 plates
    25 plates of turbot cutlets cooked on a shallow pan with embers
    25 plates of lobster tails and claws fried and sprinkled with vinegar
    25 trout pies
    25 plates with yellow Neapolitan style blancmange (almonds, boiled bird breast and sugar with cinnamon, ginger and saffron)
    104 German pastries sprinkled with rose water (marzipan of almonds and pine nuts, raisins, egg yolks and butter)
    104 roast boned partridges in sugar, vinegar and spice sauce divided between 25 plates
    23 rabbits, 104 doves, thickly sliced large yellow sausages (pork, cheese and spices) divided between 25 plates
    25 boned capons with Lombard-style stuffing cooked in broth, with 25 salami divided between 25 plates
    104 fried pigeons with slices of orange divided between 25 plates
    200 bone marrow fried pastries (raisins, cheese, sugar, cinnamon and bone marrow) divided between 25 plates
    25 plates of roasted eel with sugar and cinnamon
    150 fried goby in sweet sauce sprinkled with pine nuts and small sweetmeats divided between 25 plates
    25 plates of Comacchio -style trout in broth
    25 plates of roast lamprey studded with cloves in its own sauce
    25 plates of chestnut tarts
    25 small roasted and stuffed goats
    29 capons made into a paste and fried in pastry divided between 25 plates
    104 roast pigeons with a Lombard-style stuffing covered with French sauce (apple and onions with vinegar, sugar, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon) divided between 25 plates
    50 pieces of salted pike in yellow Imperial sauce (pounded almonds and breadcrumbs, sugar, pine nuts, raisins, saffron and hard boiled egg yolks and sweet wine) divided between 25 plates
    50 trout, cooked in wine Hungarian style (with onions, honey, pepper and apple), served on a bed of bread soaked in broth divided between 25 plated
    25 fried turbot covered with three sauces in Duke Alfonso’s colours (red, white and green)
    150 large fried pilchards covered with orange slices and sugar divided between 25 plates
    25 bean tarts (beans, hard cheese, butter, sugar, cinnamon, pepper, ginger and egg)
    104 fried marzipan pastries filled with Turkish-style rice (simmered in milk and sugar with butter) divided between 25 plates