[Sca-cooks] Course/Remove

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Thu Nov 15 14:15:41 PST 2007

Greetings!  Course vs. remove... "Remove" isn't actually Victorian but
dates from about 1710.  Nor is a "remove" a medieval word.  And, a course
(in the SCA time period) cannot contain "several removes".  Nor does
"remove" indicate a number of foods placed on one platter.  The term
"remove" has been well-documented by both Ivan Day and C. Anne Wilson, both
respected and knowledgeable food historians, based in Britain.  Here's what
I found and then put into my infamous article "Of Course It's 'Course'! 
Remove 'Remove'!"    I wrote (in part):

" 'England's Newest Way in All Sorts of Cookery, Pastry, and All Pickles
that are Fit to be Used' (3rd edition, 1710) contains a diagram for a
two-course dinner.  To quote from The Appetite and the Eye, "...there is
even the recently adopted usage of the 'remove' (a dish to be succeeded by
another). "  (snippage)

"Additionally, in the chapter “Illustrations in British Cookery Books,
1621-1820” (The English Cookery Book, edited by Eileen White) Ivan Day
writes the following regarding table plans:  “Their plans reflect the
triumph at this high stratum of English society of the new (emphasis mine)
French style of regulating a table.  For instance, Henry Howards’s
England’s Newest Way of 1703…shows how the soup was to be replaced with a
remove – the English name for the releveé of French dining protocol. The
circle at the head of the first-course table is inscribed: 'A pottage, for
a remove Westphalia ham and chickens.'  The pottage was served out to
everyone present, and its large serving-bowl or tureen was then removed
(emphasis mine).  In its place was set the item of meat or fish written in
the lower half of the circle.  The soup and its 'remove' or replacement
marked the first step towards a different division of the courses which led
eventually, after the coming of Russian service early in the nineteenth
century, to the usual sequence of courses at today's formal dinners." 

"A "remove", therefore, is just that.  It is a dish that is taken off the
table after people have been served, with another being set in its place. 
It is not a "course".  The term didn't exist until close to 1700 or even
after.   It was new in the early 1700s.   In no way did it ever exist
within the SCA's time period."

Not Victorian, not referring to a one-dish course.  "Remove" has no
authentic place in SCA feasts.  It isn't a matter of semantics as someone
said.  It's like saying "I bought a truck" when you actually bought a
motorcycle.  Or, "Get in the bathtub" when your house only has a shower
stall.  A truck and a motorcycle have wheels and are a type of
transportation, but they aren't interchangeable.  A bathtub contains water
and is used for cleaning one's body (or the dog!) and a shower produces
water for cleaning the body, but the two items aren't the same thing.  A
course can be one dish or multiple dishes.  A remove is one dish of a
course which is taken away and replaced by another in the same course.  

Yeah, it's a "hobbyhorse" of mine.  Why use a non-period word for something
when there is a perfectly good period word - and when the two items aren't
really identical?    Sighhhhh....

Alys K.

Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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