Since this 1888 version was the 13th edition, I'm guessing the book was wildly popular back in the day. A quick perusal of the table of contents for this two-volume hardcover reveals why. (Note: this book is written in 1888 French, so forgive any inaccuracies in my 21st Century translations)
Part One discusses basic household maintenance, covering such essentials as how to hire your maids; how to put your kids to work on the farm; managing household expenses; bread baking; window washing; the care and cleaning of furs; preserving meats (including a subsection entitled "Method of killing and preparing the pig"); preserving vegetables; stocking the wine cellar; and an entire chapter dedicated to colognes and perfumes. Bien sûr. These ladies may have been in the country, but it seems that didn't stop them from living pret-ty darn well... the wines suggested by the author include such domaines as Romanée Conti and Lafite, for example.
Part Two is a Manual of Cookery, outlining different types of service style, basic knife techniques, and a wealth of presentation and garnish ideas. Distinct chapters on hors d'oeuvres, meat, game, fish, vegetables, purées (presumably so popular that they deserve their own chapter), fried dishes (same), doughs, desserts, pastries, and an authoritative "List of foods that may be served for lunch" provide invaluable guidance to the country hostess with the mostess.
Part Three, incredibly, includes a medical encyclopedia and covers topics ranging from what to include in the medicine cabinet, all the way to formal pronouncements of death.
|Engraving 116: "Goat in harness"|
Choosing where to begin, though, is gonna be tough... maybe "Management of a Dinner Party," where all the rules of engagement and feasting are made clear? Or perhaps "Enraged or Venimous Animal Bites And Insect Stings," sure to be a thrilling read full of terrifying medical advice....
Regardless of where I begin, this quirky little tome contains an embarassment of riches, and I cannot wait to taste them.