Catherine de’ Medici
Niece of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Catherine de’Medici was the bride of Henry of Orlèons, the future Henry II (1533).
Due to her the Florentine cooking influenced that of the French because the cooks and pastry makers who followed her, opened schools; due to this Flammarion wrote: “We must recognise that the Italian cooks who came to France following Catherine de’Medici at the time of her marriage to Henry II, were the origin of French cooking, for the elements and condiments, for us new, who took away the cooks (La Varenne, De Masseliet, Valet, De La Chapelle, Carème, Escoffier) and inspired them so well that they were not slow in overtaking their teachers.”
Catherine was hungry and was a great eater and drinker; pushed by the taste of a good table brought to France: sauces - the use of rigaglie - olive oil - crespelle - spinach - beans - peas - artichokes - cooking with birds all’orange and many other dishes that were then imposed on international cooking like that of the French.
The acknowledged and most important cooks such as Antonin Carème who in 1822 wrote: “The cooks of the second half of the 1700’s came to know the taste of Italian cooking that Catherine de’Medici introduced to the French court”.
And Jean Orieux who in his book dedicated to Catherine affirmed: “It was exactly a Florentine who reformed the antique French cooking of medieval tradition; and was reborn as the modern French cooking”.
It mus be acknowledged that the French have the merit of maintaining in use - introducing it into their national cooking - many recipes that in our country for many years have fallen out of use and have, in many cases, have inserted them into international cooking.