A frustrated cook
Alexandre Dumas (father), the famous novelist, father of so many heros, had a true passion for cooking. He used to say this taste was a gift from heaven. He liked to choose ingredients, roast joints of meat, slow-cook vegetables in casseroles etc. in the same way that he liked to talk about it. His Grand dictionnaire de cuisine embodies both a recipe book and a literary work. His passion for his hobby led him to dream up a calendar in which a dish was allocated to each month: oysters, pancakes, ham, truffles, black pudding, meat, cherries, melon, peas…
It should be borne in mind that Messrs Descars, de Livry, de Cussy, d'Airefeuille, de la Reynière and other men of experience have always said in unison that this is the best way to eat beans. Begin with a good stomach and provide yourself with a good appetite …Get up early and go out on a fine morning without breakfast …Ride or go on foot. But, it is quite clear that you are in good shape because you are reading a cookery book.
Bacon and beans village style
A frustrated cook
Ingredients500g dried white beans
Period RecipeCook about 2 litres of large white haricot beans with one kilo of fat bacon. Cut the bacon in strips, making sure that there is enough fat on each piece. Put in just the right amount of water, such that you neither need to add or remove water during cooking. All the liquid and juices of this mixture should be absorbed by the farinaceous elements, so that everything is cooked and perfectly smooth without ever having been boiled. That's the secret. Bon appétit! Alexandre Dumas, Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine, Paris: A. Lemerre, 1873, (1156 p.) p.627
Bon appetit1. Soak the beans for one hour.
2. Dice the slices of bacon finely.
3. Brown the bacon in a cast-iron pan, with a small amount of fat (goose fat if you have it)
4. Add the drained beans. Cover with water.
5. Add more water from time to time, so that the beans are always covered, without being drowned.
6. Cook over a low flame, for between one and one and a half hours. Do not forget to season with salt and pepper towards the end of cooking time.