Biography of Famous Chefs and Marc-Antoine Careme Part 2
About the famous French chef Marc-Antoine Careme, his history and biography, information about his cuisine and reciples.
MARC-ANTOINE CAREME (1784-1833)
Although most of Careme's recipes were geared to professional chefs, here is a relatively simple one for Chestnut Croquettes adapted from one of his cookbooks:
Boil chestnuts, peeling and setting aside 3--4 whole ones per serving. Mash the remaining chestnuts. Prepare a puree by combining 2 cups of mashed chestnuts, loosely packed; 2 tablespoons of melted butter; 2 tablespoons of cream; 2 eggs; adding salt and white pepper to taste. Spread the puree on a buttered plate, covering it with waxed paper, and after the puree is cool enough to mold, cover each whole chestnut with some of the mixture. Next dip each coated chestnut in beaten egg, then in fine dry bread crumbs, finally frying each in deep fat. These croquettes are particularly delicious when served with meat.
Careme's word was law to every chef worthy of the name in what was probably the world's most extraordinary culinary period. One of his recipes was a full 7 pages long and his Pieces Montees, made of spun sugar, ranged from harps and globes to such fantastic creations as a grotto with moss, a Chinese summerhouse, and a Venetian pavilion on a bridge. Yet, he could write, most sensibly, "It is an error for those of lesser station to try to pattern their tables after the rich. . . . Better to serve a simple meal, well prepared; and not try to cover the bourgeois table with an imitation of les grands." Monarch of the culinary empire, his name is today synonymous for a great chef. He died on January 12, 1833, while sampling a quenelle of sole prepared by a student in his cooking school. "These are good," he is supposed to have murmured critically, "but prepared too hastily. You must shake the saucepan lightly-see, like this . . ." These were his last words, for, as he lifted the saucepan, he collapsed and fell to the floor dead. Someone wrote that he had died "burnt out by the flame of his genius and the heat of his ovens." But then again he had confided to at least one person that he was destined to be appointed chief chef in paradise.
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