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Arranging the Meal: A History of Table Service in France (California Studies in Food and Culture) Hardcover – October 15, 2007
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Offered to us in an elegant translation . . . superb . . . tantalizing. --Jean-Michel Rabate"Modernism/Modernity" (01/01/2009)"
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From the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th Century, the predominant order of service in Europe was French - many dishes are brought at once to form the course.
One order of a French table service meal from the late 1700's was:
first course of hors d'oeuvres, soups and stews
second course of entrees - sauced meats
third course of roasts - roasted meats without sauces
fourth course of entremets - vegetables, fish, birds not appropriate to the roast course, salads etc
fifth course of desserts.
The exact order of service, the number of courses, and what each course contained various over time and place. Even though many dishes were on the table at once (getting cold), there may have been a preferred order of eating the dishes. Perhaps the soups were eaten before the stews.
Jean-Louis Flandrin examined receipe collections and printed menus from the mid 1600's thru 1905 to find changes in what constuted a proper formal meal. The text was translated from the French manuscript. The writing/translation is sadly on the level of a Master's thesis. The author committed suicide before completing the book. The last chapters and appendix are the outline and bullet points of the text that will never come.
What happened to all the food that wasn't eaten? That question wasn't addressed.