Pâtés and Terrines

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Most medieval European cookbooks offer several recipes for meat pies, in which chopped meat and fat are cooked inside a pastry crust or in a well-greased earthenware pot. Over the centuries, French cooks refined this preparation, while in other countries it survived in rustic forms. And so England has pasties and patties, France the pâté and the terrine. These last two terms are largely synonymous, though today “pâté” usually suggests a fairly uniform and fine-textured mixture based on liver, “terrine” a coarser, often patterned one. Pâtés and terrines thus span a wonderful range, from coarse, rustic massings of pork innards and head in the French pâté de campagne, to luxurious layerings of brandy-scented foie gras and truffles.