Eric Birlouez invites us once again " At the table with the great characters of history ". He walks us through the centuries, in his beautiful book in the colors of old parchment, decorated with superb reproductions of painting, original recipes from each era and associated with each character that is not difficult to make, dotted with tasty and curious anecdotes.
Analyzing the dishes consumed by these great figures, the author shows us their way of life, the evolution of foods, and proves their power, their richness, their power - to the one who would present the most beautiful feast - as well as a a certain way of spying on the guests by offering them good food and good wine until they "let themselves go" to talk ...
We thus discover that the pharaohs ate meat, that the Gauls offered banquets to compete in power and prestige, that Pope John XXII only used "white cuisine" giving him a boost of strength and energy that allowed him to reign 18 years, that François Ier abused cotignac, that the feast of the emperor of China Qianlong in 1747 consisted of 108 dishes! Closer to home, we learn that Napoleon I had simple tastes like archi-cooked pasta, that V. Giscard d'Estaing gave the legion of honor to Paul Bocuse… for his feats of arms during the Second World War and not for his culinary talents!
At the same time, we read with fun and happiness certain anecdotes such as the peppercorns in Ramses's nose, the origin of foie gras, the bottarga that everyone is looking for nowadays and which already existed in the time of Tutankhamun, Charlemagne. who had two loads of Roquefort mullet delivered each year, the origin of the term "pay in cash" as well as the expression "handpicked", Charles Quint who was always accompanied by a master brewer during his trips, that the table service of Catherine II of Russia was worth the equivalent of 700,000 euros, that a dish of lapwing eggs was offered to Louis XV, as well as the best known such as Rossini giving his name to tournedos, the Poire Belle Hélène and the Pèche Melba in honor of two female performers, the boudoirs created for Talleyrand, the “charlotte” in homage to the Queen of England Charlotte Mecklenburg-Strelitz wife of Georges III!
At the table with the great characters of history, by Eric Birlouez. Ouest-France Editions, 2012.