This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Bordeaux has long been renowned as the headquarters of good cheer. Paris may have boasted of a larger number of first-class restaurants, but the best cooks have come from Bordeaux and neighboring towns in Gascony, and the district has for centuries been known as the strong-hold of la haute cuisine bour-geoise. The markets of Bordeaux itself are famed for a goodly number of local delicacies. There the gourmet can purchase that most succulent little fish, the royan, which some epicures declare to be a twin brother of the sardine, while others hold that it is a cousin-german to a pilchard, and which is caught only in autumn. Then there is the ceps, a kind of mushroom which is cooked in oil; and Bordelaise gourmets further rejoice in the little birds called " muries," which resemble the Italian "beccafiche," or fig-peckers. As for the ortolans, they are an importation from Agen and the Pyrenees. Touching the cookery of all these good things, some slight amount of mystery attaches to the sauce called " Bordelaise." The most learned authorities in cookery hold that, properly speaking, there is no such sauce as Bordelaise at all, and that what is so called is only a variety of the " sauce Genevoise," and obtained its conventional name on account of the Bordeaux wine which forms one of its principal ingredients.
The culinary doctors, however, differ as to the hue of the wine used in making Bordelaise. In Kettner's " Book of the Table " it is laid down that Bordelaise should be made of a good brown sauce - Espagnole is the best - boiled down with a tumblerful of red Bordeaux, with one or two shallots chopped small, and with a clove of gailic well crushed. Jules Gouffe's recipe for the same sauce prescribes so much Spanish sauce boiled down witr white Bordeaux wine, either Sauterne or Grave, which must be added chopped and blanched shallots and a teaspoonful of chopped parsley. To add prob lem to problem and mystery to mystery, there is a well-known dish called entrecote a la Bordelaise, which ostensibly should be fillet steak with Borde laise sauce. It is nothing of the kind - first, because, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as Bordelaise sauce, and, next, because the entrecdte in question is only a rib-steak grilled in the ordinary way, and served with a piece ef cold maitre d'hotel butter, into which has been wrought some finely minced shallot.
It is possible, nevertheless, that entrecstes accommodated with cold maitre d'hotel butter were popular in the cuisine bourgeoise, or cookery of private life, at Bordeaux, long before they found favor in Paris.