Menagier de Paris, Le

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Menagier de Paris, Le the title of a late 14th-century treatise which has survived in several copies, giving remarkable insights into the organization of a noble household of that time. Until recently, the identity of the author was unknown, but Nicole Crossley-Holland (1996), after some diligent detective work, has argued cogently that the author was a certain Guy de Montigny, a ‘knight’ in the service of the Duke of Berry, who had residences in both his native Champagne and in Paris.

De Montigny (supposing that it was indeed he) composed the book when he was in his fifties, for the benefit of his young bride (an orphan, who was at most 15 years old when married), for whom it was intended to be a full brief on manners and deportment, and also morals and attitudes to marriage, plus a great deal of practical advice on management of the estate and its gardens, on running the household, and on organizing the purchase and preparation of food. It is this last feature which has given the book a special fascination for food historians. There are many compilations of recipes from medieval times (see medieval cuisine: the sources), and much may be learned from them, but Guy de Montigny provides much more, with everything set in the context of a real, functioning household.