Nostradamus: between prophecy and jelly


Michel de Nostredame, known as Nostradamus was born in 1905 in the South of France. He worked as a doctor and as an astrologer but became famous because his prophecies, which he wrote in quatrain form. He traveled a lot, so he observed nature and learned a lot from his observations.

At the time he lived, there was plague epidemic. His wife and both of their two children died. He invented a remedy he used against plague. He got married again, with a widow and settled definitively in Southern France, where he continued to work as a doctor, an astrologer and a writer of almanacs.

At this time, jelly was a rare dish, offered to the King or to aristocrats. They thought jelly was healthful and an aphrodisiac. Nostradamus, who wrote a Jelly Treaty, used squash, orange with its peel, quince, nuts, cherries, white ginger, fresh almond and lemon. In this book, we can also read wine and syrup recipes, and even a sugared lettuce recipe. He used only a few spices: cinnamon and clove, but he warned against their use for sick people, as these spices were considered “too warm.” He used red sandalwood too, to obtain a nice color, and also rose water.

At this time, the use of sugar wasn’t wide spread and it was thought to be a drug. It was one of the main ingredients to conserve food. But before cooking the fruits and the vegetables to prepare the jelly, Nostradamus let them soak in water, sometimes for severaldays, or let them macerate in salt, for several days too. Then, he washed them with a lot of water, and cooked them with sugar or honey.

Nowadays, everyone can cook his recipes. The tools he used are still available today: skimmer, silver spoon, penknife, wood pestle, pots. Like him, we can cook a jelly with green almonds, « tender and fresh, (…) fine and laudable, a more tasty than delicate jelly. ». But to cook it, we must take the time, about 5 days. Or we can cook a quince jelly«red like a jonquil».