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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

William Verrall, master chef of Lewes

William Verrall (and note the typo in the title page of his book) was the Julia Child of the eighteenth century.  He introduced French cookery to the aristocracy of England, having learned it from the great Clouet himself.  As he said himself, in the introduction to his book, "The chief end and design of this part of my little volume is to show, both to the experienced and inexperienced in the business, the whole and simple art of the most modern and best French Cookery; to lay down before them such an unerring guide how it may always be well managed, and please the eye as well as the taste of everybody."

First, was the important apparatus of the kitchen, "without which it is impossible it can be done with the least air of decency." So what did a good housewife in the second half of the eighteenth century need to have on hand? "Two little boilers, one big enough for your broth or boiling a leg of mutton, and the other for the boiling of a couple of fowls or so, a soup-pot, eight small stewpans of different sizes, two very large ones, and covers to them all, a neat handy frying pan that may serve as well for frying any little matter, as an amletter or pancakes, a couple of copper ladles, two or three large copper spoons, a slice, or two, and an egg spoon, all tinn'd; a pewter cullender, three or four sieves (one of lawn); to which you may add half a dozen copper cups that hold about three-fourths of half a pint, and as many of a lesser size, and an etamine or two for the straining your thick soups, cullies or creams."

You can read a lively history of William Verrall from a descendant, here.

M'sieu Clouet with his employer, the Duke of Newcastle

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