The History of Garde Mange
The garde manger profession began with peoples need to preserve food. The practice of food preservation is very much older than the term garde manger. In medieval times, castles and large homes were equipped with underground larders, or cold food storage rooms. The food storage areas in these castles and manor houses were usually located in the lower levels, since the cool basement-like environment was ideal for storing food. These cold storage areas developed over time into the modern cold kitchen. In France, the larder was called the garde manger. So one meaning of the culinary term garde manger can be a person in charge of cold foods preparation and preservation. Today, in the industry, I have been taught that the garde manger is now referred to as the “pantry chef.” Garde manger is also known as the place in which cold foods are prepared and stored, and the person or chef of cold foods preparation. Garerde Manger was being used long before it was a commonly used term. Perishable foods like meat and fish were dried in the sun or packed with salt to preserve them. The first dependable method of preserving foods was actually drying. Smoking foods was derived from placing the meat on poles over a smoky fire to prevent insects and other animals from feeding while it was curing. Farming families began using spices along with the salt, and discovered that tough meats can be tenderized. In the Middle Ages and in the early renaissance, foods that were prepared for the upper classes were overly complicated and heavily spiced. La Varenne, a French chef with Italian influences, went against medieval tradition, and stressed the importance of natural flavors and lighter sauce. Salads and vinaigrettes took the place of heavier cooked foods and became the standard side to roasted meats. It was at this point that the role of garde manger expanded from food preservation to the actual preparation of all cold foods consumption,...
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