Culinary Arts Past Present and Future

Italian Caterina de Medici, who was born in 1519, was the niece of Lorenzo ‘The Magnificent’ de Medici, who ruled Florence {Italy}. She automatically obtained French nationality when she married Henry of Orleans, the King of France, at an early age. When she relocated to France from Italy, Caterina brought along a large entourage that included several cooks, all experts in Italian cooking which had contributed to the gastronomical supremacy of Florence for centuries. The exposition of their expertise by the Florentine cooks in France set off such a revolution in the history of culinary art that Caterina de Medici, without whom it would never have come about, is credited with laying the foundation for modern cuisine to flourish. The Florentine cooks introduced to the French new dishes such as peas and beans, duck in orange {canard a l’orange}, béchamel {balsa mella}, crepes {crespelle} and onion soup {carabaccia}. The cooks specializing in pastry-making displayed their expertise with items like pasta, fruits in syrup, marmalades, ice creams and sorbets. The Italians also demonstrated a totally new protocol of the dining table {in which Florence was far better than other Europeans} consisting of elegant table setting, high-quality silverware and glasses, fine embroidery and napkins, delightful perfumes and luxurious lingerie, and most of all, proper table etiquette. The impressive Italian contribution was topped by Caterina who unveiled the fork and demonstrated how it should be used. The Italian revelations enriched the existing French culinary arts {which was in a productive discipline of its own} allowing the French to improve and add to their own achievements (Chef2Chef Recipe Club).
Nearly 100 years after Caterina de Medici and her Italian entourage began the French culinary arts’ revolutionizing process in France during the 16th century, a valuable and spurring contribution was provided by Francois Vatel,