During the last few years, in which the general Culinary taste has been more and more cultivated, and in consequence a more delicate style of cookery has become popular, cold dishes have grown in general favour, for two reasons: I. their palatable nature; II. the convenience they afford to the cook, who can prepare them beforehand, before the harry and bustle of the actual dinner is upon her; indeed it is to the (more or less) professed she-cook that these dainty dishes are so acceptable, for in very few houses has she so much assistance as to enable her to dispense with the time-saving chaufroix, or aspic. Unfortunately the cordon bleu aforesaid has not altogether grasped the correct nature of the cold dishes she serves, and consequently mixes up chau-froix, aspic, and even salad, in a manner more than disconcerting to the connoisseur, and certainly not intended by the inventors of these various methods of food preparation. As a general principle, cold dishes may be roughly divided into three classes, chaufroix, entries en aspic, and mayonnaises. Curiously enough there is a certain mystery connected with each of the three.

The origin of the name chaufroix, or chaudfroid, as some still spell it, is open to discussion.

Some people say it takes its name from chaud, hot, and froid, cold, the dish having been originally served hot before it made its appearance as a cold entree. The great objection to this, however, is that, properly speaking, a chaufroix is by no means a re-serving of bits left over. On the contrary (in spite of a legend thai it owes its name to the fact that some great man was delayed by business till his dinner was cold, and having no time to have it re-heated, ate it as it stood and was so pleased with the result that he requested to have such dishes served in future as chaudfroids), the fact remains that for a proper chaufroix the meat used should be specially cooked for the purpose. It follows therefore that the balance of probability is in favour of the theory mentioned in the well known French gastronomic review, L'Art Culinaire, "that its name was derived from its inventor Angilon de Chaufroix, chef-entremetier des cuisines de Versailles" who flourished about 1774. Aspic again is like Jeems de la Plush, "wropped in mistry"; some people advance a somewhat gruesome suggestion that it is derived from the foundation jelly being made from asps, or aspics, or small vipers; viper broth being still in request in many out-of-the-way parts, as a restorative, most nourishing for various kinds of invalids.

Those who reject this, declare it owes its name to its snake-like coldness and slipperiness. The real fact however is that it derives its name most probably quite simply from espic, the old French name for lavender (in connection with which it may be mentioned, that the common lavender of the herb garden is still called-in many country places "espic or spike lavender"), which of old was of considerably more importance as a pot-herb than it is in the present day. As a matter of fact it is mentioned by Grimod de la Beyniere in the Almanach des Gourmands, in company with fenouil (fennel), ciboule, and ciboulettes (chives), espic (lavender), etc., as a flavouring herb in much request. Lavender has been historically known as popular for many generations, and is said to have actually derived its common English name from its use as a perfume in the laundry; for of old the laundress or washerwoman was always spoken of as a lavender, from laver, to wash; whilst espic, or spike-lavender as it was called indifferently in the kitchen, was the name given to the herb used for flavouring.

Mayonnaise again is, if possible, more inexplicable still, and is spelt in all sorts of ways by all sorts of authorities. Mayonnaise (said to be derived either from a duke of Mayenne at the time of the Fronde);. Mahonnaise (from the town of Mahon), Magnon-naise (from an old Provencale word meaning to labour* or to tire, from the fact that the proper mixing of the sauce and the salad herbs with which it was prepared was a tiresome operation; a fact still remembered in the technical French term for mixing a salad, i.e., fatiguer la salade, whence as salads were usually mixed and stirred by the youngest lady present - generally with her hands - she was called la magnonnaise or tirer); are some of the variations of the word, which appears, however, nowadays to have crystallised into the phrase mayonnaise, and to* be referred most usually to the actual sauce or dressing. Broadly speaking chaufroix are pieces of meat covered, or masked over, with an appropriate sauce, thickened by boiling in, or reduction, till it has become an actual glaze.

The great chefs of old were famous for their sautes a reduction, to produce which they boiled down joints and carcases to an essence, or fumet, as a strong glaze-like sauce is still called in the French cuisine; This, however, was necessarily a somewhat costly method of preparing sauces, and only suited to the households of such as could afford to postpone considerations of economy to the gratification of their palates. So as democracy spread even into the kitchen, cooks learnt first to utilise stiff meat jelly (made from inferior joints and bones) for the foundation of their sauces, and thus diminished the boiling-in process needed to ensure the density of the preparation; and then latterly, even well known chefs availed themselves of the stiffening properties of isinglass, and later on of the finest leaf gelatine. Prepared as they taught, sauces stiffened with either isinglass or the finest leaf gelatine, betrayed no trace of the strengthening medium which they carefully dissolved in the sauce, and boiled down with it till the desired consistency, and the perfect cooking of the gelatinous matter, was secured.

Of itself, if of good quality, the stiffening medium possesses no distinctive flavour, and if cooked to the point of dissolution and smoothly blended with whatever it is mixed, leaves no trace of its presence beyond the dainty firmness, and the delicate glazy surface it imparts. But this delicacy is the outcome of knowledge and care, and as its use descended to those who possessed neither that knowledge nor that care, only the result, i.e., the stiffness of such sauces, was noted, and as to such persons gelatine was gelatine, and cost was a consideration, sufficient attention was not bestowed on the quality of the stiffening substance; so when carelessly melted {more or less) in boiling sauce, it was discovered to be lumpy, and very often distressingly rough and gluey in flavour; accordingly a substitute was sought for and discovered in the bottled aspic jelly offered by various enterprising firms as a garnish, in which the rough taste of the gelatine was hidden by the flavouring. This being convenient, was accordingly added recklessly to any sauce that was to be used cold, regardless of the nature of the latter.