LA VARENNE. Le cuisinier françois enseignant la maniere de bien apprester et assaisonner toutes sortes de viands grasses et maigres, legumes et patisseries en perfection, etc. Teueu corrigé et augmenté d’un Traité de Confitures seiches et liquides, et autres délicatesses de bouche. Ensemble une table albhapetique des matières qui sont traittées dans tout le Liure, par le sieur de la Varenne Escuyer de Cuisine de Monsieur le marquis d’Vxelles. Quatrième édition. Paris, Pierre David au Palais sur le perron de la Sainte Chapelle au roy David, 1653. Avec privilège du roi.
8vo [167 x 105 mm] of 8 preliminary leaves, 354 pp. and 15 ll. of table. Full contemporary vellum.
One of the very first editions of the famous “Cuisinier François” by La Varenne, published two years after the original, in 1653. It is the first published in 354 pages ; the following year, in 1654, a new edition will appear, printed line by line from ours, the title bearing “Fifth edition”.
This edition is so rare that Vicaire ignores it and simply describes the editions printed in 1651, 1652, 1654, 1656, 1661…
Published one century before the golden age of gastronomy, the “Cuisinier français” is the seminal work of the period which saw the surging back of Middle Ages culinary manners. The exhibition “Livres en Bouche” at the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, in Paris gave us the opportunity to come back to the reasons of its stupendous success.
The market of books dealing with gastronomy was dominated during the second half of the 17th century by the very conventional compilation of la Varenne, and that until the progressive consumption of its hegemony by a rival : the Cuisinier royal et bourgeois de Massialot. Pierre David publishes in Paris in 1651 the first edition of the Cuisinier François enseignant la manière de bien apprester et assaisonner toutes sortes de Viandes grasses et maigres. Légumes, patisseries, et autres mets qui se servent tant sur les Tables des Grands que des particuliers. This 8vo of 309 pages contains 8 preliminary leaves: title, dedication, a note to « l’amy lecteur », the notice from the bookseller, the privilege (dated July 17th, 1651) and especially a “meat table”. This first edition is extremely rare today; only 3 copies would remain located. But it is the text of the second edition, “reviewed and corrected”, which was an authority. Twelve reprints were published in Paris between 1651 and 1660.
La Varenne doesn’t see himself as a creator. To the promise of aristocratic satisfactions made accessible is added the guarantee of a healthy diet, according to Pierre David: “…it is far more pleasant to make an honest and reasonable expense in proportion to our faculties, in stews and other meat refinements, in order to make subsist life and health, than employ a great number of drugs, herbs, medicines and other remedies.” Moreover, various additional criteria provide him a technical originality.
Unrestored copy preserved in its original vellum binding.
Provenance: from Jean-Claude Ménigout’s collection with handwritten ex libris dated 1730.