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the same moment, like a deus ex machinâ, a fellow leans over my shoulder, and whispers, "Monsieur désire que je la suive?" I opened my eyes, but my friend, a thorough Parisian, laughed, and replied, "Don't you understand what he wants? C'est un suiveur, voilà tout." The reader now comprehends it as well as I did. Such a suiveur will run after a carriage to the Bastille, to the Pantheon, to the end of the world, if necessary, or if he has instructions, and notices that he has to deal with a gentleman or a gandin. You are certain that the next day he will appear before the same chair in the Champs Elysées, and make his report. The correct address of the lady, then, where the carriage stopped en route, and similar details. A Gandin à la Poinson du Terrail gladly pays several francs for such information, and the suiveur recommends himself for further commissions. This is certainly a Parisian morality of the first class, and original in the bargain. A suiveur may often be seen running after an omnibus, when the latter is full, or if the poor fellow has not three sous to spare, which is more frequently the case, but he runs to the end undauntedly.

But we must break off, though we had much still left to say; for instance, about another Parisian trade, which is equally interesting. Etablissements, where you have a cup of coffee in winter and a glass of ice in summer for a sou; where you breakfast for two sous, and have a dinner for three sous; where, in order to attend a ball, you hire your entire toilette for two francs, and do not require to return the articles, as they are not worth more; so-called hotels garnis, where you can pass the night for a sou, and have a lump of bread in the bargain, and a hundred similar things, which must be seen to be believed, and which the most prolific fancy would be unable to invent.

But we may, perhaps, return to this subject on a future occasion.


WE opened Mr. Kirwan's book at the following paragraph: "The absinthe is an excellent tonic and stomachic. It is an infusion of wormwood, and is an especially favourite liqueur with critics and reviewers, for its extreme bitterness is nearly akin to their own." And we do not know but what Mr. Kirwan is quite right. When we see criticism condescending to such petty resources as the finding fault with an English hero's spelling, and carping at a foreign hero's English, we feel that there is most assuredly nothing heroic in criticism, while there is much that is absinthic.

Luckily, however, there is no want of heroism in your gastronome. He is always enthusiastic, sometimes great, and ever eloquent. He has a style of his own. His very words are doré, his paragraphs are sauté, and

* Host and Guest. A Book about Dinners, Wines, and Desserts. By A. V. Kirwan, of the Middle Temple, Esq. Bell and Daldy. 1864.

his book is a purée. Your gastronome has also inevitable Gallic tendencies. With him France is the mother country of Amphitryons, and the " entente cordiale" is, as Carème said of diplomacy, dependent on culinary interchanges. Witness the following striking comparison of the position of the two countries:

The cookery of England is, with the greater part of the nation, an object, not of luxurious desire or morning meditation, but of plain necessity and solid and substantial comfort.

"Due nourishment we seek, not gluttonous delight,"


to use the words of Milton. Men dine to satisfy hunger in England, and to sustain and strengthen themselves for those avocations-professional, parliamentary, and commercial-into which they throw more eager energy, more properly-directed vigour, force, and intensity than any other nation under the sun, not even excepting the Americans. It may be a humiliating confession, but in England no learned treatises have been written on the art of dining or dinner giving. We are wholly without "meditations" or "contemplations gastronomiques;" we do not spend thousands of pounds in the gingerbread gilding of cafés and restaurants; nor have we magasins de comestibles," in the style of Chevet and Corcellet. Our inventive powers are not turned in the direction of luxury, nor do we make our bill of fare our calendar, nor measure the seasons by their dainty productions. We talk little of dining or dishes, however much the most luxurious and sensual among us may think about it. We can knead and bake, and roast and boil, and stew plain food as well, perhaps better, than our livelier neighbours; but we are not so expert in petits plats, in entrées, entremets, and ragouts, and are therefore justly obnoxious to the pert remark of Voltaire, that though we have twenty-four religions, we have but one sauce. We can compare, combine and search out causes in morals, science, and legislation, but we have given no heed to the canons or combinations of cookery. We have given birth to a Bacon, a Locke, a Shakespeare, a Milton, a Watt; but we are without a Vatel, a Bechamel, a Laguipierre, a Beauvilliers, or a Carème. We have perfected railroads, steam-boats, and canals, but we cannot make a suprème de volaille in perfection, nor arrange des petits choux en profiteroles. We have produced the best quadrants, the best sextants, the best achromatic telescopes, and the best chronometers; but the truffles we grow in Derbyshire and Hampshire are pale and flavourless, and we cannot make larks au gratin. We have built the best steam-ships, the best steam-carriages, the best vehicles of every description for draught, business, pleasure, and amusement; but we cannot fatten frogs with the science of a Simon, and we do not render our mutton tender by electricity. We have beaten the nations of the earth in fabrics of linen, woollen, and cotton; but we are ignorant of epigrams of lamb, and know nothing of salpicons à la Venetienne. We have invented the safety-lamp, the stocking-frame, and the spinning-jenny; but we hopelessly try our hands at filets de lapereaux en turban, and ignominiously fail in salmis of partridge à la bourguinote. We have excelled in everything requiring a union of enterprise, energy, perseverance, and wealth; but we have no patés de foies-gras of home invention, and no terrines de Nerac. We have discovered and planted colonies which will perpetuate our name, our language, our literature, and our free institutions, to the last syllable of recorded time; but we cannot make veloutés of vegetables, nor haricots blancs à la maître d'hotel. We have given liberty to the slave, and preached the pure word of the gospel to the nations subjected to our dominion and sway; but we still eat butter badly melted with our roast veal, and we have not invented three hundred and sixty-four ways to dress eggs. Our schoolmaster has indeed been "long abroad;" but though he has so far yielded to innovation and reform as to cast off the cauliflower wig of the time of the great Busby, yet he will not hear of choufleurs au gratin or au jus, but will still eat his esculent boiled hard in plain water.

This is certainly a most deplorable state of things. The British lion reduced to plain roast beef and plain boiled potatoes, when he might have filet de bœuf aux truffles, and pomme de terres à la maître d'hôtel! It is a sad thing to contemplate. It is indeed all the more disparaging as our markets are infinitely better supplied than those of our triumphant neighbours. Though we are undoubtedly inferior to the Gauls in the articles of veal and fowl, yet we greatly surpass them in mutton, produce better lamb and pork, and are immeasurably superior both in the quantity and quality of our fish, our venison, and our game. We have indeed some times been so heterodoxly inclined as to ask ourselves if the art of disguising food, which has attained to so high a degree of perfection on the other side of the Channel, has not had its origin in the paucity of supplies. There is a solace in this superiority of material which even Mr. Kirwan cannot deny us:

Nor is there anything in French cookery equal to our barons of beef, our noble sirloins, our exquisite haunches, and saddles, and legs, and loins of Southdown mutton; our noble rounds of boiled beef, and those prime five guinea haunches of venison, which one sees from June till September, at the establishments of the Messrs. Groves, at Charing-cross and Bond-street. In cutlets of all kinds, in fricassées, in ragouts, in salmis, quenelles, purées, filets, and more especially in the dressing of vegetables, our neighbours surpass us; but we roast our game more perfectly, and can hash mutton and venison better than any one of the myriads of French cooks. In bread, cream, butter, eggs, whether with reference to size or freshness, England is not to compare with France; and a French poularde of La Bresse or du Mans is worth all the Dorking fowl hatched since the time of the deluge. Though, therefore, the French cuisine be more luxurious, more varied, more palatable, more fair and dainty to look on than our ruder, more simple, more frugal, and less luxurious kitchen, yet our aliments (with the single exception of our vegetables) are infinitely more nutritious, and to English stomachs, at least, just as easy of digestion—perhaps, indeed, easier than the more refined and recherché fare of our livelier neighbours. It were undoubtedly desirable that we should learn a little from them in the way of white and brown sauces in veloutés, in the dressing of vegetables, in the making that simple, excellent thing, an omelette, in cooking beef-steaks, veal cutlets, and mutton chops, in seasoning and flavouring with ham instead of with salt; and in a more profuse use of eggs, oil, and butter. The great objection to the more general employment of these good things hitherto has been the expense, but now that the extended operation of the tariff has rendered all kinds of provisions cheaper, a great improvement in the kitchen even of the middle classes should be expected.

As to improvement in the mode of preparing the said larger supplies, and the more general introduction of omelettes, and other preparations or forms derived from milk, eggs, butter, and flour, we heartily agree with Mr. Kirwan. The superiority enjoyed on those points by the French has, however, no doubt its origin to their having to keep so many religious fasts. Even the English, who have twenty religions and only one sauce, concoct an egg-sauce on their fast days. The celebrated Carème admitted the fact:

"It is in a lenten kitchen," he says, "that the cleverness of a cook can shed a brilliant light. It was in the Elysée Impérial, and by the example of the famous Laguipierre and Robert, that I was initiated into this fine branch of the art, and it is inexpressible. The years of '93 and '94, in their terrible and devastating course, respected these strong heads (ces fortes tétes). When our valiant French Consul appeared at the head of affairs, our miseries and those of

gastronomy finished. When the empire came, one heard of soups and entrées maigre. The splendid maigre first appeared at the table of the Princess Caroline Murat. This was the sanctuary of good cheer, and Murat was one of the first to do penitence. But what a penitence !"


One does not know whether to be indignant or to laugh at this. The old proverb, set a beggar on horseback and he will ride to the devil," is undoubtedly true. A few years before the consulate, the ambitious Caroline Buonaparte, afterwards wife of Murat, was, with her mother and the other female members of her family, in so destitute a situation at Marseilles, that they had not the means of buying wood to warm themselves; and as to Murat, her husband, it is well known that he rose from the very dregs of society, his father being a village innkeeper at Bastide Frontonière, in the department of Lot.

It was Murat's kitchen, Carème tells us, that restored le beau maigre to Mother Church. Thus the great chef unfolds his views as to fish dinners:


Succulence, variety, and recherché, Murat undoubtedly desired at his table, and his wishes were supplied. But he owed all these things to our great Laguipierre" (his cook!)" whom he loved. What a labour was Laguipierre's! This glorious establishment of Murat's, exhibiting the grandeur of a royal household, was dearly loved by all true gastronomes. The causes of its splendour were the magnificence of the prince, the splendid, friendly, and associated talents of M. Robert, his comptroller, and of the famous Laguipierre, his chef de cuisine. I had the happiness, during two years, of being the first assistant of Laguipierre, as well as his friend. In that time we recreated that grand cuisine maigre, and restored le beau maigre to old Mother Church."

While on this topic, Mr. Kirwan adds:

I may as well state that the late Marquis de Cussy, prefect of the palace of the first Napoleon, has published a book, in which he states his belief that the Reformation was brought about by the compulsory use of fish and meagre fare on particular days. Here are his words:

The schism of Martin Luther was really and seriously occasioned by the fastings and the like punishments inflicted on the true believers of Germany. The spiritual power should never meddle with the kitchen. In consequence of this fault, the situation of the Church was changed in Europe."

The subject, however, to the consideration of which we have been led by the perusal of Mr. Kirwan's important treatise, is happily a neutral one; and although Mr. K. himself can afford to denounce "French military glory-which is but a velvety euphemism for French brigandage and French invasion"- fusion, if not of the two peoples, certainly of the two kitchens-substantial solidity (good supplies) and simplicity being the distinctive marks of the one, variety, delicacy, and harmonious combination the character of the other-is much to be desired; rejecting what is coarse and barbarous in the English, and too gross Gascon, and Provençal in the French, would be the perfection of good living.

Intercommunication has become facile and frequent, and in the present advanced state of civilisation, and of medical and chemical knowledge, something more than kneading, baking, stewing, and boiling, are necessary in any nation pretending to taste.

The object of sensible people should be to adopt all that is good in the cookery of both nations. While English soups, such as ox tail, mock turtle, giblet, hare, pea soup, and mutton broth, have their merits, the French potages à la reine, à la Condé, à la Julienne, and the various purées should not be forgotten. While, also, the practical cook may find copious receipts in English Cookery books for the boiling of turbot, cod-fish, john-dorey, and salmon, in the

English and Dutch fashion, the sturgeon cutlets of the French, and their filets and béchamels of fish should be also introduced to English favour and attention from French cookery books. Our barons of beef, our noble sirloins, our exquisite baunches, saddles, legs, and loins of Southdown mutton, our noble rounds of boiled beef, and those haunches of British venison, the envy and admiration of the world, are worthy of the highest praise. But, on the other hand, the gigot à l'ail aux haricots blancs ought to be made more favourably known to the Englishman, as well as the filet de boeuf, an excellent every-day dish in the good city of Paris. In any new cookery-book, while no English receipt of approved excellence should be cancelled, yet there should also be given within a reasonable compass a short system of French, and a compendium of foreign, cookery, It is desirable that we should learn much from our neighbours, as I have said in a former chapter, in white and brown sauces, in veloutés, in the dressing of vegetables, in the seasoning and flavouring with ham instead of with salt, and in a more profuse use of eggs, oil, and butter.

Mr. Kirwan, who has comprised in his book a compendious history of ancient and medieval cookery, as compared with the cookery of the last half century, and has also devoted a chapter to modern cookery and cookery-books, declares that a new cookery-book, pointing out the distinctive merits of the French and English kitchens, is not only still a desideratum, but a work urgently needed. If any professed cook or amateur succeeds in causing an abandonment of all that is coarse and unwholesome in the English kitchen, and in introducing all that is light, elegant, and varied, in the French, he will have accomplished a great object, and have done the health of diners-out and dinner-givers equal service. It is the greatest mistake, in a medical point of view, to suppose that an unvaried uniformity of food contributes either to health or comfort. Variety is as necessary to the stomach as change of scene, or change of study to the mind, and that variety should be placed, in our day, within the reach of as many as possible.

Mr. Kirwan thinks that a few hints might be derived from AngloIndian cookery. Mulligatawney soup, and curries, and pillaus, he propounds to be "exceedingly wholesome." But neither the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Russian, nor the Polish cookery are, he says, deserving of general commendation; but a few national dishes and soups, which have obtained a more general reputation, are worthy of attention and adoption:

Of late years people who give dinners give them what is called à la Russe; but if you ask nine out of every ten what they mean by dining à la Russe, they are unable to tell you. All they can say is, that there is nothing on the table but flowers and fruits, that the dishes are carved on the sideboard and handed about to the guests. This fashion still continues, but I never could see any good reason for its introduction. It seems to me exceedingly odd that a people, like the English, who, for certainly five centuries, have enjoyed a high degree of civilisation, should copy the Russians in the system of dinner-giving-a people who, a century ago, were plunged in the deepest barbarism, and who, as yet, are scarcely half civilised.

It results from serving dinners à la Russe in England that the joints are frequently mangled, and you receive your portion lukewarm or cold. By carving and serving only one dish at a time also the dinner is unnecessarily prolonged to four hours instead of two-and-a-half or three, and many more servants and attendants are necessary. In Russia this is not an important consideration, for domestic service is performed by serfs, who receive merely nominal wages.

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