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Pipefarces  

It never ceases to amaze me that supposedly new and exciting recipes can be so very old in origin. Take, for example, the recent craze for fried mozzarella sticks. 10 years ago they were nowhere to be found. Now suddenly almost every Italian-American restaurant offers them, and they're available in a heat-n-eat form from the supermarket as well. Amazing. Especially when you consider that one form of this recipe dates back to at least the 14th century! This recipe for fried cheese sticks, or "pipefarces", appears in Le Ménagier de Paris, a French work of c. 1393.


PIPEFARCES. Prenez des moyeux d'oeufs et de la fleur et du sel, et un pou de vin, et batez fort ensemble, et du frommage tranchié par lesches, et puis la frisiez dedans une paelle de fer et du sain dedens. Aussi en fait l'en de mouelle de beuf.1

(STUFFED STRAWS) PIPEFARCES. Take the yolks of eggs and flour and salt and a little wine and beat them well together and cheese cut into strips and then roll the strips of cheese in the paste and fry them in an iron pan with fat therein. One does likewise with beef marrow.2

PIPEFARCES

2 egg yolks 2 Tablespoons white wine 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour dash salt, or to taste 1/2 pound muenster cheese, cut into 1/2" x 1/2" slices oil

Heat the oil in a deep pan until hot. Beat together the egg yolks and wine. Add the flour and salt, and beat until smooth. Dip the cheese in the batter, and coat it completely with a thin layer of batter. Fry the cheese sticks in the oil until the cheese sticks float and appear golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Makes 10 large cheese sticks.

Cindy Renfrow is the author of "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, a Collection of 15th Century Recipes" and "A Sip Through Time, a Collection of Old Brewing Recipes."

Sources: 1Pichon, Jérome, ed. Le Ménagier De Paris, Traité De Morale Et D'économie Domestique Composé Vers 1393, Par Un Bourgeois Parisien; Contenant Des préceptes moraux, quelques faits historiques, des instructions sur l'art de diriger une maison, des reuseignemens sur la consommation du Roi, des Princes et de la ville de Paris, à la fin du quatorzième siècle, des conseils sur le jardinage et sur le choix des chevaux; un traité de cuisine fort étendu, et un autre non moins complet sur la chasse à l'épervier. Ensemble: L'histoire de Griséldis, Mellibée et Prudence par Albertan de Brescia (1246), traduit par frère Renault de Louens; et le chemin de Povreté et de Richesse, poëme composé, en 1342, par Jean Bruyant, notaire au Chàtelet de Paris; Publié Pour La Premiére Fois Par La Société Des Bibliophiles François. Tome Second. A Paris, De L'imprimerie de Crapelet, Rue de Vaugirard, 9. 1846, p. 227. A partial webbed version of this work can be found at The Medieval & Renaissance Food Homepage . An English translation can be found here. 2Power, Eileen, ed. The Goodman of Paris (LE MÉNAGIER DE PARIS), George Routledge & Sons, Ltd., London, 1928, p. 286.

Very special thanks to Amanda Anderson at Acanthus Books for coordinating the history section pieces. http://www.acanthus-books.com

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