Food Fit for Napolean

Napoleon Style Cheeseburger

Americans love to eat and like to celebrate with food, so much that every day of the year is a national day for some type of food. September 18th was National Cheeseburger Day, yesterday was National Butterscotch Pudding Day, and today is National Punch Day/Rum Punch Day. The Elizabeth Pye blog writings are predominantly inspired by an affinity for French history, thus this question popped up: would Napoleon eat a cheeseburger if he lived today in our country?

This study will, perhaps, show whether or not Napoleon would fit in with our American got-to-have-it-now meal-on-the-go like a cheeseburger, for example.

What did Napoleon like to eat?

What type of food was considered fit for Napoleon? Various reports by his chefs and other sources give us a good idea of what he liked to eat. Researching the following questions on the Internet shed some light on the subject.

  • What did Napoleon like to eat?
  • What did Napoleon eat?
  • What breads did Napoleon eat?

According to Shannon Selin, Napoleon’s second valet, Louis Etienne Saint-Denis, reported that Napoleon liked “…a filet of beef…salad…vegetables…simply cooked things whether meat or vegetables and a piece of Parmesan or Roquefort cheese closed his meals.” (Louis Étienne Saint-Denis, Napoleon from the Tuileries to St. Helena, translated by Frank Hunter Potter (New York and London, 1922), pp. 175-176.)

The article “Napoleon Food Facts: Dining with Napoleon Bonaparte” describes Napoleon’s dining habits: “he ate quickly …helped himself with his hands …liked to soak his bread on the plate…and suffered from gastritis” (This story is taken from the book Tacuinum dè Eccellentissimi, ali&no publisher).

This study revealed from documented sources that Napoleon:

  • usually ate in a hurry
  • liked salads
  • ate vegetables
  • preferred filet of beef
  • liked onions
  • was particular about the quality of bread he ate

People from France favor the baguette, a bread with a history that possibly dates back to the French Revolution. A law was passed after the Revolution in 1793 that required bread to only be made one way. This is stated in the article History of the Baguette: Legends, Laws, and Lengthy Loaves.

 “Richness and poverty must both disappear from the government of equality.
It will no longer make a bread of wheat for the rich and a bread of bran for the
poor.  All bakers will be held, under the penalty of imprisonment, to make only
one type of bread: The Bread of Equality.”

Napoleon, being rich and of nobility, could choose whatever bread he wanted and “a bread of wheat for the rich” shows the likeliness that he ate wheat baguettes.

Napoleon Menu

Summing up the research on the type of food that Napoleon liked to eat, his quick meals, and his bread preference, the assumption could be made that cheeseburgers would perhaps show up on a Napoleon menu occasionally. For example, he liked all the things that go on a cheeseburger:

  • bread – There are many types of hamburger buns to choose from. Surely, he would find one he liked.
  • beef – He loved potatoes cooked different ways, including over embers, so he would order his grilled to perfection.
  • vegetables – Lettuce and tomatoes would fit into this category.
  • onions – Grilled burgers and onions go great together, and he did like onions.
  • cheese – Roquefort cheese was one of his favorites. Have you ever eaten a Roquefort cheeseburger? Delicious!

It is possible, on the other hand, that Napoleon would be difficult to please in how he would eat a cheeseburger. Therefore, he’d demand the bread by itself, onions and beef for one meal, a lettuce and tomato salad for the next course, and end the evening with the cheese. There are also a few other factors to consider. Being from France, he would request a fork and knife to eat the burger. In respect to his health, a big fat cheeseburger in one sitting could be too much for his gastritis.

Now that the discovery has been made that it is possible Napoleon would eat a cheeseburger if he lived in America today, here is a Napoleon Cheeseburger recipe:

Napoleon Cheeseburger Recipe

Napoleon liked Roquefort cheese. Try out this Napoleon Cheeseburger at https://kitchenhospitality.com if you like Roquefort (blue cheese) on your burgers.

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