Brandy, Table d'hote (Montaigne, 1580-1581)

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Thu May 2 01:00:40 UTC 2002

Translated by Donald M. Frame
North Point Press, San Francisco

   Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) wrote this journal in several languages (French, Italian) in 1580-1581.  The Library of Congress shows a 1903 translation by W. G. Waters that's three volumes; interesting, because this small book is only 175 pages.
   Montaigne visited Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.  I did not find "ice cream."  He wrote that he spoke with Jews, but I also did not find "ghetto."

Pg. 25:  Here, and often since, after the cloth was removed, they were given other new courses with the wine; the first, _canaules_,* as the Gascons call them; then gingerbread; and for the third a soft white bread cut into slices but still holding together; between the slices they toss a lot of spices and salt, and also on top of the crust of the loaf.
*A cake shaped like a crown.

Pg. 26:  The village people serve their laborers for breakfast very flat _fouaces_* in which there is fennel, and on top of the _fouaces_ little bits of bacon cut up very small, and cloves of garlic.
*A thick cake cooked fast in coals, the occasion for the war in Rabelais' _Gargantua_.
(Not in OED?--ed.)

Pg. 28:  The landlords reckon, in the first place, the meal at four, five, or six batzen each for table d'hote.
(OED has Fyne Moryson's 1617 work for "table d'hote"--ed.)

Pg. 36:  We also saw the dancing of this company; it was nothing but _allemandes_.*
*A dance somewhat like the waltz.
(OED has 1685 for "allemande."  The "waltz" dates from the late 1700s, or about 200 years later--ed.)

Pg. 73:  After that he took three times, but not in quick succession, a certain sort of drink that had precisely the taste and color of almond milk, and indeed his doctor told him it was just that; however, he thinks there were some _quatre-semences-froides_* in it.
*A combination of the four "cold" seeds: cucumber, gourd, melon, and pumpkin.

Pg. 127:  The people eat "wooden bread": so they proverbially call the bread made of chestnuts, which is their principal crop; and it is prepared like what they call _pain d'epice* in France.

Pg. 128:  You never see a peasant woman who does not wear white shoes, fine thread stockings, a colored apron of light silk taffeta; and they dance, capriole, and pirouette very well.
(OED has 1594 for "capriole" and 1706 for "pirouette"--ed.)

Pg. 143:  Wednesday I saw the grand duke's casino.

Pg. 150:  The Lucchesi play _pallone_* very well, and you often see some beautiful games.
*A game somewhat like court tennis, but played with a wooden armlet instead of a racket.
(OED has a very late 1873 for "pallone"--ed.)

Pg. 156:  In the night I sent for an apothecary, who gave me some brandy to put on the side of my mouth that tormented me most.  (...)  I could not keep the brandy in my mouth...
(OED has 1622 for "brandy"--ed.)

Pg. 170:  The cheese they eat here is exactly like the Piacentini cheeses that are sold all over.

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