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A still life with French Faience Dishes, Cruets, Vegetables, and a Tart by Claude Joseph Fraichot

Claude Joseph Fraichot ( 1732 – 1803 )

Ok, the title calls the food in the dish a tart, but we are not so sure,  what do you think the best name is?

Detail:  wine, wine cooler, cruets, galleyware, majolica, faience dishes, endive, green onion, pitcher, basket, table

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. I have seen this painting also entitled “Still Life with Pie and Eastern Pottery”. This artisit was from eastern France. The pottery matches the region. This area is close to the German border. The tart or pie looks more like a German struedel, which would have been found in this area with both French and German people.

    My mother in law, who is from Europe, makes a similar looking dessert which she also calls “pie”. She makes it with either apples, cheese or mushrooms.

    My thoughts….neat paiting.


  2. Does someone know the title of this painting in french? Something could have been lost in translation. In french, is it “tarte” or “tourte”?
    Was this the title given by the artist or was it added afterwards?

  3. Yes, I agree that is is probably a type of meat pie known in France today as a pâté en croûte (pâté in a crust). I do think the original title might be helpful, although I have observed that people make up titles to paintings all the time; it’s not dishonest, rather it is just a description of the painting, so we mustn’t put too much stock in titles.

    Regarding tourtes vs. tartes: I’m checking Menon at this very moment to see what he has to say in his Cuisinière Bourgeoise from 1753: a tourte appears to be used for three different types of pastry: two types of meat pies with a cover, one hot and one cold, made with a pâte brisée (essentially a cold water crust that is still used in France to make tartes and in America to make pies; Menon distinguishes two versions of this crust: one used for hot meat pies and another for cold meat pies). The third is a fruit pie made with pâte à feuilletage (puff pastry) which also appears to have a crust on top, unlike a modern tarte. Incidentally, I don’t see a reference to the word “tarte” in his section on pâtisserie, so it’s quite possible that “tourte” and “tarte” were used interchangeably in the period depending on the regional accent, but it’s also possible he will discuss tartes as an open-faced pie separately in a later section (sorry, I haven’t read this in a while so I don’t remember; I’ll post an update if I find more).

    Does Hannah Glasse discuss this at all? I’ve read her cookbook but it’s been a few years. I remember thinking that she must have had access to French material, but it’s hard to tell whether it was first-hand (perhaps through a French cook working in England) or second-hand (perhaps an English cook who had been in France).

    1. Sorry, a clarification for non-francophone people, which may make my comments above easier to understand. It’s all about that acute accent over the “e”.

      Pâté (pronounced “pah-tay”): A meat farce.

      Pâte (pronounced “paht”): dough or crust.

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