The story behind some of the foods we enjoy can be fun and fascinating to learn about. I made some puff pastries the other day and turned some into snacks, fairly healthy ones and I turned some into cream puffs. I was curious as to where the cream puff originated so I did a little research. I know where it all began in my life but where it all really began, I had no clue. Cream puffs are a very old treat once cherished by royalty and served to guest of honor. Today anyone can enjoy them and that is nice because I really do, once in awhile.
I used to love to watch her make these wonderful little pastries but my friend and I were seldom allowed to help in the kitchen. We often helped with other chores but the kitchen was a place where we only watched, most of the time, though occasionally she would teach us to make some special dish or if the inn wasn’t busy she would teach us to prepare an entire meal and how to serve it. We were not only taught how to prepare the meal but how to prepare the table right down to the centerpiece, arranging the fresh flowers cut from the host gardens, to the silverware and crystal. I actually learned a lot about cooking and how to be a proper hostess just from watching. It was a fun part of my growing up years.
My neighbor had been a cook at the Adna Brown Hotel and after the Adna Brown burned was a cook at the Hartness House, both in Springfield, Vermont and considered to be among the elite hotels in New England at one time. She later worked at the Chester Inn, now the Fullerton, in Chester, Vermont before having her own small inn that was run by her husband and herself in their later years until shortly after he died and she sold the property. The new owners turned it into a Bed and Breakfast Inn and it has changed hands at least once since. I loved being in the kitchen of that little inn and learning from my neighbor but it was my grandmother who actually taught me to make those puff pastries and those heavenly cream puffs.
I am told that the cream puff was first created in Italy in the 16th century by a royal chef named Poelini who was chef to Lady Catarina (later called Catherine) de Medici who at the age of 14 was married to the duc d’Orleans. He later became King Henri II of France. She became queen, the wife of one king and the mother of the next three kings. When she first married the duc d’Orleans and became queen consort she brought her entire staff with her including her personal chef, Poelini.
Queen Catherine was particularly fond of pastries and one of her favorite foods was ice cream and thus the chef created the cream puff especially to please the queen.
Published in: Cooking