Famous Feasts in History A French Horsemeat Banquet

About the famous feasts the horsemeat banquet in France, history, menu, and description.


The Occasion: A horsemeat banquet, Paris, 1855.

The Host: Naturalist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, whose guests numbered 132 and included such notables as the authors Flaubert, Dumas pere, and Sainte-Beuve.

The Menu: Prepared by chef Balzac (no relation to the novelist), every course included horsemeat. The soup was vermicelli in horsemeat broth; the hors d'oeuvres--sausages and roast horsemeat; meat dishes--boiled horsemeat, horsemeat a la mode, ragout of horsemeat, fillet of horsemeat with mushrooms; vegetables--potatoes fried in horse fat, salad dressed with oil made from horse fat; dessert--rum and horsemarrow cake.

Table Talk: As a concluding toast, another distinguished naturalist said: "I thank you all for coming here this evening without any prejudices and for leaving with the conviction that horse is as good to eat as beef." After the banquet, horsemeat became a popular Parisian dish.

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