Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Daube a French culinary term indicating both a method of cooking and a type of dish. In both respects the meaning of the term has evolved noticeably since it was first used. It derives from the word addobbo, or seasoning, as does the adobo of Hispanic cultures.

In the 18th century, when the French town of Saint-Malo made a speciality of daubes, and sent them all over France, these preparations were diverse: artichokes en daube, celery, pork cutlets, goose—all these and many other foodstuffs besides were prepared en daube. Daube in fact referred to the method of preparation, which was to cook meat or other foodstuffs in a terrine or pot with aromatics and wine or vinegar to point up the flavour. The cooked foodstuff was then removed to be eaten ‘dry’ (without the sauce) and often cold (with jelly formed during the cooking clinging to it). If the food was eaten in its sauce, it ceased to be en daube and became en compote. Thus what is now called Bœuf en daube, the one dish in which the term remains common currency, would then have been presented as Bœuf en compote.