By Sarah Gordon
Culinary Comedy in Medieval French Literature makes a speciality of the intersection of nutrition and humor throughout numerous medieval narrative genres. This booklet is part of the Purdue experiences in Romance Literature sequence.
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Extra info for Culinary Comedy in Medieval French Literature
Aucassin’s laughter in the sung verse could be echoed in the audience. Aucassin is the ﬁrst text to state so explicitly any courtly spectators’ astonished and pleasant reactions to a food ﬁght, implying that the spectacle of the misuse of food is considered amazing, entertaining, and funny in this period because it is so unexpected. Here culinary comedy questions expectations about chivalric activity and war while it also reevaluates gender roles. This improbable food ﬁght lacks verisimilitude and ampliﬁes the image of gender twisting found with the king in labor instead of battle.
Vesce)] Furthermore, the opening lines of many fabliaux claim their purpose as amusement and laughter. In romance there are depictions of the mealtime recounting of stories either in court, as in Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion, or at rich vilain or bourgeois homes as in Les merveilles de Rigomer. Whether narratives featuring culinary comedy were actually most often read or 21 Chapter One performed in a mealtime setting must remain conjecture in most cases. While it is beyond the scope of this study to speculate on the very tentative identities of audiences, it seems probable, that many may well have been feast time entertainment, as textual evidence suggests.
Roasting was the favorite technique of court cooks, as evinced in visual and textual manuscript evidence of both romance and cookbooks. Certain days demanded abstinence from meat for all, in which case feasts would provide an equally varied menu of ﬁsh and vegetables; the Mesnagier, for example, includes several different recipe options for different types of ﬁsh. Even more important than the dishes that are served are the events that occur in the kitchen or larder and at the banquet table in the highly conventionalized setting of the romance world.