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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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pupton in its early 18th-century heyday, was a dish of small meat items (usually pigeon) with a garnish, encased in a crust of forcemeat bound with egg, and baked. The name came from the French poupeton, and was transmogrified in English into ‘pupton’, or ‘pulpatoon’. It was one of the key dishes of baroque court cookery, along with the olio, the terrine, and the bisk (see bisque), vast stews of all kinds of meat, bathed in a rich sauce and lavishly garnished. The grandest of the stews, the olio, was presented with the meats piled up in a pyramid. The poupeton and the bisque appear in la Varenne (1651), the oille and the terrine later. These dishes were introduced into England at different dates: the olio came directly from Spain, with the first printed recipe in Markham’s English Hus-wife (1615); Restoration cookbooks such as may and Rabisha give bisks, but terrines and puptons appear only with the English translation of Massialot, The Court and Country Cook (1702). Patrick Lamb’s Royal Cookery (1710) gives recipes for all of these dishes, and up to the 1730s the more popular books by women authors give recipes for less elaborate versions. But these dishes were falling from favour by the middle of the 18th century, and only the most ambitious cookbooks continue to offer them. While they all suffered from the opprobrium heaped upon fancy French imports, the pupton was the most vilified because of its extravagance, and because it was a perfect example of ‘disguised’ French food. By the late 18th century, only the olio lingered on as a stew, with recipes still circulating in early 19th-century cookbooks.