[Sca-cooks] Course/Remove

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Fri Nov 16 03:41:21 PST 2007

Margaret asked:
> So (since I'm being lazy and have too many other things to dig up at the 
> moment), when was this style of serving adopted in France, and what did
> French call this particular object/action?

Several other folk have posted, quite eruditely, about this.  "The Appetite
and the Eye", in a chapter by C. Anne Wilson, implies that the "new method"
was the manner of setting out dishes on a table in particular patterns with
folding-plate illustrations showing how to set out the dishes.  Ms. Wilson
writes: "As the seventeenth century drew to a close, a new method was
discovered for conveying the way to set out dishes upon the
table...Folding-plate illustrations had rarely appeared...but
folding-plates showing table-settings seem to have been incorporated in F.
Massialot's 'Le Cuisinier Roial et Bourgeois' of 1691.  They were soon
copied in...Monsieur Audiger's 'La Maison Regle'e' of 1692...This new style
of representing plates upon the table-top arrived in England with the
publication in 1702 of 'The Court and Country Cook'...(Alys notes - It's a
translation and combination of two French cookery books.)... The second
edition of Henry Howard's 'England's Newest Way in All Sorts of Cookery,
Pastry, and all Pickles that are Fit to be Used', published in 1708,
contains the final innovation which was to set the pattern for diagrams of
table-settings...there is eveny the recently adopted usage of the 'remove'
(a dish to be succeeded by another)...[A soup] was served out to everyone
present, and its large serving-bowl or tureen was then removed.  In its
place was set the item of meat or fish written in the lower half of the
circle...(Alys notes: This is one of the circles on the illustration
showing where the dishes were to be placed on the table.)  The soup and its
'remove' or replacement marked the first step towards a different division
of the courses which led evenutally, after the coming of the Russian
service early in the nineteenth century, to the usual sequence of courses
at today's formal dinners."

There you have it.  Documentation for the "invention" of a remove, which
isn't a course, and which does not fall within the SCA time period, plus a
brief explanation of the change from the old style of serving foods -
dishes being brought in by servers, one course after the other, to dishes
being already placed on the table in symmetrical (and crowded?) patterns,
to today's formal dining service.

Alys Katharine

Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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