To the Master Cooks, and to such young Practitioners of the Art of Cookery, to whom this Book may be useful.
TO you first, most worthy Artists, I acknowledg one of the chief Motives that made me to adventure this Volume to your Censures, hath been to testifie my gratitude to your experienced Society; nor could I omit to direct it to you, as it hath been my ambition, that you should be sensible of my Proficiency of Endeavours in this Art.
To all honest well intending Men of our Profession, or others, this Book cannot but be acceptable, as it plainly and profitably discovers the Mystery of the whole Art; for which, though I may be envied by some that only value their private Interests above Posterity, and the publick good, yet God and my own Conscience would not permit me to bury these my Experiences with my Silver Hairs in the Grave: and that more especially, as the advantages of my Education hath raised me above the Ambitions of others, in the converse I have had with other Nations, who in this Art fall short of what I have known experimented by you my worthy Country men.
Howsoever, the French by their Insinuations, not without enough of Ignorance, have bewitcht some of the Gallants of our Nation with Epigram Dishes, smoakt rather than drest, so strangely to captivate the Gusto, their Mushroom’d Experiences for Sauce rather than Diet, for the generality howsoever called A-la-mode, not worthy of being taken notice on.
As I live in France, and had the Language and have been an eye-witness of their Cookeries as well, as a Peruser of their Manuscripts, and Printed Authors whatsoever I found good in them, I have inserted in this Volume. I do acknowledg my self not to be a little beholding to the Italian and Spanish Treatises; though without my fosterage, and bringing up under the Generosities and Bounties of my Noble Patrons and Masters, I could never have arrived to this Experience. To be confined and limited to the narrowness of a Purse, is to want the Materials from which the Artist must gain his knowledge.
Those Honourable Persons, my Lord Lumley, and others, with whom I have spent a part of my time, were such whose generous cost never weighed the Expence, so that they might arrive to that right and high esteem they had of their Gusto’s. Whosoever peruses this Volume shall find it amply exemplified in Dishes of such high prices, which only these Noblesses Hospitalities did reach to: I should have sinned against their (to be perpetuated) Bounties, if I had not set down their several varieties, that the Reader might be as well acquainted with what is extraordinary, as what is ordinary in this Art; as I am truly sensible, that some of those things that I have set down will amaze a not thorow-paced Reader in the Art of Cookery, as they are Delicates, never till this time made known to the World.
Fellow Cooks, that I might give a testimony to my Countrey of the laudableness of our Profession, that I might encourage young Undertakers to make a Progress in the Practice of this Art, I have laid open these Experiences, as I was most unwilling to hide my Talent, but have ever endeavoured to do good to others; I acknowledge that there hath already been several Books publisht, and amongst the rest some out of the French, for ought I could perceive to very little purpose, empty and unprofitable Treatises, of as little use as some Niggards Kitchens, which the Reader in respect of the confusion of the Method, or barrenness of those Authors experience, hath rather been puzled then profited by; as those already extant Authors have trac’t but one common beaten Road, repeating for the main what others have in the same homely manner done before them:
It hath been my task to denote some new Faculty or Science, that others have not yet discovered; this the Reader will quickly discern by those new Terms of Art which he shall meet withal throughout this whole Volume. Some things I have inserted of Carving and Sewing that I might demonstrate the whole Art.
In the contrivance of these my labours, I have so managed them for the general good, that those whose Purses cannot reach to the cost of rich Dishes, I have descended to their meaner Expences, that they may give, though upon a sudden Treatment, to their Kindred, Friends, Allies and Acquaintance, a handsome and relishing entertainment in all seasons of the year, though at some distance from Towns or Villages. Nor have my serious considerations been wanting amongst direction for Diet how to order what belongs to the sick, as well as to those that are in health; and withal my care hath been such, that in this Book as in a Closet, is contained all such Secrets as relate to Preserving, Conserving, Candying, Distilling, and such rare varieties as they are most concern’d in the best husbandring and huswifering of them.
Nor is there any Book except that of the Queens Closet, which was so enricht with Receipts presented to her Majesty, as yet that I ever saw in any Language, that ever contained so many profitable Experiences, as in this Volume: in all which the Reader shall find most of the Compositions, and mixtures easie to be prepared, most pleasing to the Palate, and not too chargeable to the Purse; since you are at liberty to employ as much or as little therein as you please.
In this Edition I have enlarged the whole Work; and there is added two hundred several Figures of all sorts of Pies, Tarts, Custards, Cheesecakes, &c. more than was in the former: You will find them in Tables directed to the Folio they have relation to; there being such variety of Forms, the Artists may use which of them they please.
It is impossible for any Author to please all People, no more than the best Cook can fancy their Palats whose Mouths are always out of taste. As for those who make it their business to hide their Candle under a Bushel, to do only good to themselves, and not to others, such as will curse me for revealing the Secrets of this Art, I value the discharge of my own Conscience, in doing Good, above all their malice; protesting to the whole world, that I have not concealed any material Secret of above my fifty and five years Experience; my Father being a Cook under whom in my Child-hood I was bred up in this Art.
To conclude, the diligent Peruser of this Volume gains that in a small time (as to the Theory) which an Apprenticeship with some Masters could never have taught them. I have no more to do, but to desire of God a blessing upon these my Endeavours; and remain.
Yours in the most ingenious
ways of Friendship,
Sept. 30. 1664.