By Jacob Collins
Born on January 15th, 1622, one would think that Molière’s birth and christening would have been celebrated with a bottle of champagne, some wine, and maybe a cake. These are customs that we use to celebrate our festivities today. What would have been the customs of food for celebration, or in general during the 1620’s? We can dive into history and see what the biggest trade products during this area were. This time was after the Colombian exchange (a “two-way exchange of goods between the Americas and Europe/Africa”). The French were able to start experimenting with tomatoes. They ate different sauces, such as a French type of gazpacho. Specifically in the 1620’s, tomatoes were one of the fastest growing imports used in all of Europe.
As a member of a huge Italian family, there is one thing that I do know: bread is necessary with any type of tomato-based liquid food. Bread has existed for eons, and it was becoming more treasured during this time in France. There was a great separation in social class, that is, ne would either have a lot of money, and come from nobility, or be very poor. All people in France would eat bread at this time. It was common in nobles’ households as an add-on to the main dish, an appetizer, or as a snack. Bread was more popular for those in the lowest class as a replacement for a meal in many cases. The lower class valued it very much.but were given rations from the church that were barely enough to feed one person. Yet they were expected to share this small staple with everyone in the family. Different types of bread were created due to the experimentation from the spices that was being produced through the Atlantic trading and the silk road. This resonates with France’s reputation as one of the places in the world that is known for its bakery skills, specifically bread.
Molière, being of the noble class, most likely munched with many people of great power. Having money ensured that they would have only the best at their meals, including many loaves of bread, with seafood imported from across the world, and newly made gazpacho. The spices from southern Asia allowed for new tastes to come across the table. Molière brought the food from his social class to the stage in his work. He mentions food in many of his comedies. One that I recently studied that mentions food a lot is, L’Avare. He allows us to take a look into his life and his taste for food.
J.C. Speck, and Marilynne Scott Mason. “What if You Lived in France during the 1600s and 1700s?” The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Nov. 2007, www.csmonitor.com/2007/1127/p18s02-hfks.html.
National Geographic Society. “Colonial Trade Routes and Goods.” National Geographic Society, 14 Mar. 2014, www.nationalgeographic.org/photo/colonial-trade/.
“What Type of Foods Did They Eat during the 1600s in England? | Synonym.” Classroom.synonym.com, classroom.synonym.com/type-foods-did-eat-during-1600s-england-19733.html.