Cookery, the preparation of food by dressing, compounding, and the application of heat. Posi-donius was of opinion that the culinary art followed immediately the discovery of fire, and that it was at first an imitation of the natural process of mastication and digestion. There are frequent allusions to cooking in the Bible and in the oldest writings of all nations. In the East, the land of spices, the taste was first tempted by carefully wrought compositions and condiments, and the first great feasts were given. It was the custom of the ancient Egyptians, as at present in oriental and tropical climates, to cook the meat as soon as killed, with the view of having it tender. Beef and goose constituted the principal part of the animal food, though the kid, goat, gazelle, duck, teal, and quail were also well known. Mutton was excluded from a Theban table, and Plutarch says that no Egyptians except the Lycopolites would eat the flesh of sheep. The blood of animals was frequently received into a vase for purposes of cookery, and black puddings were popular in Egypt, as they afterward were in modern Europe, to the horror of the Moslems. Large supplies of fish were obtained from the Nile and Lake Moeris, and were brought to the table whole, boiled or fried, the tail and fins being removed.
Herodotus says no Egyptian would taste the head of any species of animal. The vegetables which abound in Egypt made a large part of the ordinary food; they were eaten raw, stewed, boiled, or roasted in ashes. Bread was made either of wheat or of barley, and the dough was sometimes kneaded with the feet in a wooden bowl on the ground. Pastry was made to represent any object, according to the fancy of the confectioner, and was sprinkled with seeds of caraway, cummin, or sesame. - The Greeks raised every department of cookery to a high art. In the Homeric age royal personages prepared their own meats. Menelaus at the marriage feast of Hermione placed before the guests with his own hands the roasted side of an ox. Achilles, with the assistance of Patroclus, feasted the Argive leaders upon the shoulders of lambs, a fat doe, and a succulent pig, which were broiled on live coals and garnished with the entrails of oxen; dishes, according to Athenseus, "consecrated to the gods, and usual at all the feasts of the brave." They were contented in that age with plain roasts, seldom boiling their meat or dressing it with sauces.
Professional cooks had come into existence before the age of Pericles. They could serve up a whole pig dexterously boiled on one side, roasted on the other, and stuffed with flavored and spiced thrushes, eggs, and various delicacies, so that the guest could not discover where the animal had been divided. To invent a popular cake or a poignant sauce was a worthy object of ingenuity and erudition. Aristoxenus after many trials succeeded in a peculiar way of seasoning hams, which were hence called Aris-toxenians; as afterward the Roman Apicius, one of the three gastronomers of that name, devised a sort of cakes which were termed Apicians. Nearly all the Athenian dishes were prepared with a mixture of asafoetida or rue, and one of the most popular was a composition of cheese, garlic, and eggs. The Greeks and Romans extracted delicacies from the tough membranous parts of the matrices of sows, the flesh of young asses and young hawks, and from a great variety of sea fish, as the dog fish, star fish, porpoises, seals, and especially from two species termed the cchinvs and the glociscus.
The Syracusans were especially noted for their culinary successes, while the Spartans, despising luxury of all kinds, had the term of reproach "to live like a Syracusan." A certain Sybarite, after tasting the Lacedaemonian black broth, declared himself no longer astonished that the Spartans were so fearless of death in battle, since the pains of dissolution were preferable to those of existence on such execrable food. The poet Archestratus, a culinary philosopher of Syracuse, travelled through the most fertile lands known to the ancients, crossing many seas, and passing through many dangers and hardships, in order to add edibles and potables from every climate to the Greek table luxuries. His "Gastrology," a didactic poem in which he promulgated the results of his researches, became the authoritative creed of Greek epicures. It was a favorite exercise of accomplished cooks, when rare and choice fish were wanting, to imitate their flavor, taste, and form so closely from inferior varieties that the most experienced gourmand could not distinguish the fraud. The Greeks excelled in sweetmeats, fruits, and the artistic ornaments and order of an entertainment, but the Romans in the more solid dishes.
Simplicity of tastes and severity of manners disappeared during the latter part of the Roman republic, and under the empire luxurious gluttonies were indulged in at almost fabulous cost. - The more common Roman delicacies were pheasants, beccaficos, quails, partridges, oysters, sea eels, and Cecubian and Falernian wines. Rare fishes and birds were objects of special luxury, and after Rome had learned from every neighboring country their best devices of cookery, native productions were despissd, while at a single festival there would be served up peacocks from Samos, chickens from Phrygia, kids from Melos, cranes from Aetolia, tunny fishes from Chalcedon, pikes from Pessinus, oysters from Tarentum and Britain, mussel fishes from Chios, and dates from Egypt, with various foreign condiments. Some fishes were so costly that Cato once declared that "a city cannot endure in which a fish is sold for more than an ox." Curious artificial means were employed of raising delicacies for the table. According to the elder Pliny, snails were sometimes fattened till their shells would contain several quarts. Geese, peacocks, and fish were raised upon nourishment specially adapted to temper them as food, and swine were fattened on whey and figs.
The supper, which was their principal meal, consisted of three courses: the first, of soups, lettuce, eggs, and honeyed wines; the second, of solid meats, ragouts, broiled viands, and fish; and the third, of crude fruits, preserves, tarts, and sweet dishes; the meals thus, according to a common saying, "beginning with eggs and ending with apples," whence the whole duration of anything was expressed by the phrase ab ovo usque ad mala. Lueullus gave feasts on a scale of inordinate magnificence, expending upon each 50,000 denarii (about $8,000). Galba breakfasted before daybreak at an expense sufficient to enrich a hundred families. Vitellius composed a single dish which cost 1,000 sesterces (about $40,000), of the brains of pheasants and peacocks, the tongues of nightingales, and the livers of the most precious fish; he once entertained his brother on 7,000 birds and 2,000 choice fishes; and his culinary expenses for four months amounted to about $25,000,000. The favorite supper of Heliogabalus was the brains of 600 thrushes. The favorite meat of the later Romans was pork, which held the place of honor on every luxurious table. "Hog in Trojan style" was, according to Macrobius, the masterpiece of the greatest artists.
It was inherited from the Greeks, and was named from the circumstance that its interior contained myriads of thrushes, ortolans, and beccaficos, an image of the armed hosts enclosed in the Trojan horsa. The manner of preparing it, long known to few, at length became public. The animal, after being bled under the shoulder, was hung up, and its intestines were drawn out through the throat; these were thoroughly washed, filled with hashed meat and a thick gravy, and then forced back into the body, which was also stuffed with small game. Half of it was then baked, the other half being covered and protected by a thick paste of barley meal, mixed with wine and oil; and the latter half was afterward boiled in a shallow saucepan. Young pigs were in especial demand, and pork, cooked in numerous styles, was eaten to such an extent that sumptuary laws were enacted limiting its consumption. In the mansions of the wealthier patricians, the kitchens were magnificently furnished with marble floors, pictures, and a profusion of ornaments. The culinary utensils, as gridirons, colanders, and dripping pans, were of bronze plated with silver; and the saucepans were of brass or earthenware, or sometimes of silver.
Every articlo of food was served in bronze chafing dishes, "in order," says Seneca, "that no viand should be chilled." During the latter period of the empire there were not only schools of cookery, in which accomplished cooks acted as professors, but a profession was also instituted for the purpose of teaching the young patricians "how to masticate." The most curious relic of ancient literature on the subject is the Deip-nosophistce, or "Banquet of the Learned," of Athenaeus, containing philosophical discussions on the history and quality of nearly every dish known to the Romans. - After the descent of the barbarians southward in the 5th century, cookery, like learning, retired into convents. The good cheer of the monks and the secular clergy at that period, and in the centuries immediately succeeding, is frequently alluded to in the early European poems and romances. In the 10th century refined cookery reappeared in Genoa, Venice, Florence, Milan, and other free cities of Italy, in which great fortunes had been made by commerce. It became more widely cultivated at the period of the renaissance, and flourished with eloquence, poetry, and painting, under the protection of the houses of Este and Medici, of Leo X. and the cardinals.
The discovery of America and of the passage to the East Indies around the Cape of Good Hope contributed much to its development by enlarging the number of gastronomic productions, and especially by furnishing better seasoning than had before been known. The ancients had made use chiefly of cummin, mint, saffron, garlic, and oxymel; to these were now added cinnamon from Ceylon, vanilla from Mexico, cloves and nutmegs from the Molucca islands, pepper from Java, and allspice from the Caribbees. In the reign of Henry II. the elegant delicacies of Italian cookery were introduced into France by the train of cooks which followed Catharine de' Medici. About the same time several northern cities distinguished themselves by their gastronomic specialties: Mentz and Hamburg, by their hams; Strasburg, by lard and smoked sausages; Amsterdam, by herrings; Hamburg, by smoked beef; Ostend, by oysters; Perigueux, by truffles; and Chartres and Ruffec, by pies. The Britons were generally simple in their diet, with no higher culinary attainment than that of bruising their grain in a mortar; the Saxons were likewise savages in gastronomy, rejoicing in distilled barley and half-cooked game; the Danes were more hospitable, voracious, and bibacious, carousals being almost a part of their religion; but the Normans were the first to introduce in Britain the delicate refinements of the art.
The chief cook and his subordinates were officers of high consequence in the train of William the Conqueror. The monasteries of England were soon after famous for their luxuries, and in the reign of Henry II. the friars of St. Swithin complained to the king that the abbot had withdrawn three of the thirteen courses usually accorded them. Chaucer in his "Canterbury Tales" often mentions the good fare and skilful tastes of the clergy. In 1541 Archbishop Cranmer determined to regulate the culinary expenses of the clergy by an edict, and limited the archbishops to six dishes of meat (or of fish on fish days), the bishops to five, and the lower orders to four or three. The number of fowls and fish to be served in a dish was also detailed. The English nobility began to rival the Romans in expensive entertainments soon after the return of the crusaders, who during their travels had been made acquainted with oriental luxuries. Among the choicest dishes of that era was the peacock, generally served with the feathers of the tail unplucked and spread out to their fullest extent. In the reign of Elizabeth the mediaeval style of cookery attained its zenith. Cooks were then classical scholars, and the heathen divinities were represented at every festival.
Shortly after the Elizabethan period, a considerable alteration took place in the domestic economy of the nobility. Early hours and stricter habits were enjoined. - In France, the Gauls when first discovered subsisted chiefly on acorns and roots. Conquered by Coasar, they speedily acquired the habits of their victors; and the Normans early attained great proficiency in the arts of luxury. In the latter part of the 14th century flourished the celebrated Taillevant, chef de cuisine for Charles V. and VI., from whom we have the recipe for a famous dish of that epoch called galimafree: " Dismember a chicken, and cook it with wine, butter, verjuice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, laurel, and onions. When sufficiently cooked, add to the gravy some cameline" (a sauce composed of butter, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, grains of paradise, bread crumbs, and aromatic vinegar). Spices being very expensive at that period, a great consumption was made of them through vanity. In the reign of Louis XII. a company of sauciers obtained a monopoly for making sauces; and a company of rotisseurs, for cooking meats on the spit.
French cookery was of a sumptuous character in the reign of Louis XIV., and the table of the king rivalled in delicacy that of the great Conde, over which presided Vatel, who in despair at the tardiness of a dish committed suicide, and whose eulogy was written by Mme. de Sevigne. In the reign of Louis XV., especially under the regency, flourished Sabatier, Robert, Laguipierre, and other masters of the art, who introduced salutary improvements. Small supper entertainments, models of delicacy, savor, and elegance, and without superfluous show, came into fashion, and the great houses established what was termed the petite cuisine, which is still flourishing. The era of the revolution threatened to abolish with the privileges of the nobles the refinements of cookery, and famed culinary artists found themselves suddenly turned into the street. They instituted restaurants, which were received with favor by the citizens, and in which the art made progress under the directory and the consulate, till it was revived with new splendor in wealthy houses under the empire.
Among the most illustrious recent French cooks are Boucher, Lasnes, Leiter, De-launy, Borel, Very, Soyer, and Careme. The last converted the art into a science, made taste yield to chemistry, and the kitchen became instead of a workshop a laboratory. His works on the art of cookery are unrivalled. - The natural elements of food are found throughout the vegetable and animal kingdoms. The principal processes are boiling, roasting, frying, broiling, and baking. The great object in cooking meats is to retain as much as possible of their natural juice. Hence, when boiled they should be plunged at first into boiling water, that their outer part may contract and become impenetrable. On the other hand, the meat for soup should be put into cold water and gradually heated. It has been observed that hard water is better for boiling mutton, and soft water for vegetables. By boiling mutton loses one fifth of its weight, and beef one fourth; by roasting they each lose one third. Frying is the least healthful of all the operations. Broiling, by which the surface is suddenly browned and hardened and the juices retained, is the most eligible style for those who wish to invigorate themselves.
Baking renders meat very savory and tender, not only by retaining the juices, but also by not permitting the escape of the fumes; but it causes greater retention of the oils, and therefore renders meats less easily digestible. The size and other conditions of a joint, or rather piece, are to be skilfully considered in cooking it. There are four principal French sauces, VEspagnole, la veloutee, l'Allemande, and la Bechamel, two of them'brown and two white, forming the bases of almost every other sauce. Among national dishes are the roast beef, beef steak, and plum pudding of England, the salt beef of Holland, the Sauerkraut of Germany, the caviare of Russia, the pilau of Turkey, the polenta and macaroni of Italy, and the garoan-sos and olla podrida of Spain. - An acquaintance with the arts of cookery may be obtained from the cookery books, which abound throughout the civilized world. The oldest of these in modern times that has been preserved dates from the second half of the 14th century; it is entitled Le menagier de Paris, and was written by a citizen of that city named Le Sage. Moral counsels are mingled in it with very full and curious culinary details.
Another book by Taillevant, royal cook of France, dates from about 1392, and passed through eight editions between 1480 and 1602. An excellent Italian treatise on cookery by Bartolommeo Scappi, chief cook of Pope Pius V., was published in 1570. Among the numerous cookery books which are in use and authority at the present time are Rumohr's edition of Konig's Geist der Kochkunst (Stuttgart, 1832); Otto's Prak-tische Anleitung zur Kochkunst (Leipsic, 1842); Oareme's Art de la cuisine frangaise au XIX. siecle, also his Patissier pittoresque and Cuisi-nier parisien (Paris, 1854); Plumerey's Entrees chaudes (Paris, 1854); the Dictionnaire general de la cuisine frangaise; "The Cook, or Ladies1 Kitchen Directory" (London); Kitchi-ner's "Cook's Oracle;" "Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy," by Webster and Parkes (London, 1844; with additions, New York, 1845); the "Housekeeper's Receipt Book," by Miss Catharine E. Beecher (New York, 1845); Miss Leslie's "New Cookery Book" (Philadelphia, 1857); "The Modern Cook, a Practical Guide to the Culinary Art in all its Branches," by- C. E. Francatelli, pupil, of Careme, and late maitre d'hotel to the queen of England (with additions, Philadelphia, 1858); "The Modern Housewife," translated from the French of Alexis Soyer (New York, 1859); "What to Eat and How to Cook it," by Pierre Blot (New York, 1863); "Handbook of Critical Cookery," by Pierre Blot (New York, 1868); "Common Sense in the Kitchen," by Marian Harland (New York, 1871); and Alexandre Du-mas's Grand dictionnaire de cuisine (Paris, 1873). Other works in illustration of the subject are De Honesta Voluptate et Valetu-dine, by the Italian ecclesiastic Platina (1473); the Almanack des gourmands, by Grimod de la Reyniere (8 vols., Paris, 1803-'12); and the brilliant and amusing Physiologie du gout, by Brillat-Savarin (Paris, 1825).