Culinary fish-poetry: Francois Boussuet, De Natura Aquatilium Carmen, 1558.

 

Boussuet Mackerel

The left hand page reads:

On mackerel:

As mackerels begin to grow fat in the early spring,

When the spring comes, they will be suitable for the gullet.

Because they do not hurt the mouth, nor hit throat with sharp bones,

This dish is free from harmful bones.

And they are praised for their sweet and pleasant taste in the month of April,

Only a fool rejects them.

So if the cook serves them to me around that time, moderately roasted with butter,

I will prefer them to all others.

To everyone his own judgement, and may everyone decide for himself,

But mackerel will always be a friend to me.

In his 1558 De natura aquatilium carmen Bousuet reproduced all the excellent woodcuts from Guillaume Rondelet’s Libri de Piscibus Marinis, including the sea monk and the sea bishop. Rather than Rondelet’s descriptions of the various species, elegant poems on the culinary, and in some cases medicinal, value of fish were added to the depictions.

 

More information available from Rare Fish Books: Rare Fish Books – Francois Boussuet, De Natura Aquatilium Carmen

 

Sophia Hendrikx and Fishtories, 2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and Fishtories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content