A Kitchen Garden In the Park


Schopenhauer impaled our palate, esophagus and stomach onto his concept of desire. Deleuze would probably not stop there, but add to it an extension all the way to the large intestine. And at Chateau Versailles this would make perfect sense; after all, about what the kings ate and excreted there we know everything: The mass quantities of small peas and strawberries for the king! White asparagus! Melons and pears! Soup, porridge and pie! He likes food. He likes to come to his kitchen garden. He brings along his mistresses, guests, family, all of the court, the foreign ambassadors. Food is important. Food is good. And the good food he likes even better.

The Princess Palatine hates this food. She hates all of the French cuisine. This German princess cries for some sauerkraut and sausage. She wants pickled herring. Not Champagne, she needs beer. Already “square as a dice,” she is furious over the diet shift imposed upon her. All day long she will hunt with her brother-in-law, but she will not eat his trophies, the animals and birds that the king slaughters for his table, about two hundred a day! Someone has to. The drums are beating, the platters are marching in as the Hundred Swiss shout, “The King’s Meat!!!”

Louis XV is not nearly as voracious as his great-grandfather, but he can have two dinners, first he dines with his mistress, Madame Pompadour, then with his wife, Marie Leszinska. Casanova was there, watching the queen slurp her soup. She lifted her head, eyes wandering in the crowd of courtiers; among those standing around, she finally recognized someone, called him by his name. He made a step forward. She asked him about what it was she was eating. He believed it was…; she lowered her eyes and continued with the meal.

Louis XV brewed his own coffee, sometimes he would drink it cold. He liked it private, quiet, small. A few people, an intelligent conversation, some short discrete entertainment, no servants, perhaps someone in the kitchen. All of France suspected orgies: What’s going on upstairs? What is happening at the Little Trianon? Why are there flying tables? Who is that woman? He is three times her age! And he doesn’t want any of us to see!

Louis XV also likes to watch…, he likes to watch his plants grow. He invests millions into his glasshouses around le Petit Trianon. This is the state of the art mega-agrolab nobody in the world can even dream of! All finished on the eve of his demise, it has all been destroyed by Marie-Antoinette who would build fake farms and lakes there instead.

Marie-Antoinette didn’t eat much, at least not in public, maybe some salad. By the time the dishes had made it from the kitchen to the royal dinner table, everything was cold, anyway. But there she was dutifully watching her husband gobble up a menu to give an ogre a stomach ache. Once every few years they would eat out. Naturally, he’d pay for everything, then add it all up: What a list –two pages! Another list — this is his laundry! A third one? This is his shopping: two baskets of cherries, two bottles of Burgundy, some… hm, those earrings had cost more than all the groceries he ever ate in his life. A new dress? Another new dress? How much?!!!

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About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
This entry was posted in Casanova, Chateau Versailles, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Madame Pompadour, Marie Leszczinska, Marie-Antoinette, Princess Palatine, The Hundred Swiss. Bookmark the permalink.

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