Cookbook: Cuisinier royal et bourgeois | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Cookbook: Cuisinier royal et bourgeois

February 07, 2011

Cookbook: Cuisinier royal et bourgeois

It is no real secret that I am slightly obsessed with cooking, yet I do not ever cook. Not enough.  Heather and I were recently discussing the film Julie and Julia based on the true story of the Julie/Julia Project.  The idea of cooking so many recipes in such a short time is baffling to our 21st century minds, but there is some allure to it too! So that brings me to the topic of historical recipes!

I had some luck making historical gingerbread-ish cookies, which I found in an old 18th cent. cookery book.  They were really like molasses crunchy cookies that were best with whip cream.  Have any of you had luck dabbling in historical cookery? I would love to hear what recipes you have tried and loved, or had to change?

Recently From Common Hands Studio, which specializes in historic book binding, has offered for sale François Massialot's Cuisinier royal et bourgeois.  The copy offered is the 1702 edition, an English edition.  According to 18thc Cuisine:
"Massialot's book was reissued and updated often in French during the 18thC, but only once in English. The book is full of savories and sweets, liqueurs and confitures, instructions for table settings and menues for fat days and lean (fasting meals according to the church's calendar). Reenactors, living historians, museums and lovers of food and great books will find a remarkable treat in this lovely volume. Paul's work is magnificent--you won't be disappointed!"
To order a handmade copy of this 18th century cookbook, email Paul at (information on the website!)

I really want to get my hands on a copy of this and see what I can do! Would love to make a wonderful dessert for Heathers birthday but we will see about that... Anyway, I promise to update with any historical cookery I get myself into and I hope you share your stories too, pictures appreciated!


  1. you wouldn't happen to know if Thomas Jefferson brought back from France any of these recipes?

  2. @Jennifer Corbeil what a great question!! I am not sure personally, maybe some of our historian readers can answer this...ladies and gentlemen? What do you think?

  3. Well, it's not going so far back, but I pore over Grandma's cookbooks for recipes. Soups, stews, meatloaf.

    One fun one is "Lemonade Sirup"
    boil for 5 minutes:
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup water
    rind of 2 lemons cut into thin strips
    1/8th teaspoon salt
    cool and add:
    juice of 6 lemons
    (strain the syrup for stray seeds and etc)

    add 2 tbsp sirup
    to 1 glass ice water or charged water (carbonated)

    or add 1 tbsp sirup, 2 tbsp orange, apricot, or pineapple juice
    to 1 glass ice water or charged water

    My boyfriend and I insist on mispronouncing it cy-rup for laughs, as neither of us have seen syrup spelled that way elsewhere.

    When I made it last, I assumed 6 lemons gave 1/2 cup of juice, but that ended up tasting too sweet for those who sampled it. I'm going to base the proportions on 6 lemons equaling 3/4 cup juice next time.