Perhaps it would be appropriate to ask: how and why are numerous discoveries or creations of man attributed to chance, error, whim rather than inventiveness and imagination? From the falling apple that suggested to Newton the theory of universal attraction - an event long considered real, then ascribed to the category of legends, finally confirmed by a manuscript recently made public by the British Royal Society - to the countless stories and stories of a gastronomic plant .
Like that of praline, the chocolates topped with cream, syrup, liqueur, candied fruit, which legend has it that were born in the kitchens of Monsieur Clement Jaluzot, cook of César de Choiseul, Duke of Choiseul and Count of Plessis-Praslin, at the end of the seventeenth century by mistake of a clumsy an apprentice who, stumbling, had overturned a plate of almonds on the ground.
So far it doesn't hurt if the cook, in chasing after the unfortunate to give him a good whip, hadn't in turn slipped, overturning in the same place the caramelized sugar casserole he was holding threateningly. There was no time for a new dessert, so Monsieur Clement risked everything by sending the dough molded into chunks covered with melted chocolate to the table.
The improvised delights pleased the duke so much that he made them the flagship of all his parties; so that when, having become minister of Louis XIV, the king himself asked his name, he did not hesitate to lie, attributing to himself the invention and then baptizing them Prasline.
An error would also be at the origin of the famous mole poblano, (Mexican dish) born from fray Pascual's eagerness to look good. The latter, in fact, in charge of preparing the banquet offered by his convent to don Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, viceroy of New Spain and bishop of Puebla on a visit to his diocese, clumsily spilled some cocoa in the sauce intended to cover the succulent turkey with chillies that he basked in the fire. Needless to say, this was also a success!
Exotic and even more ancient as it dates back more or less to 2737 BC, the legend relating to tea according to which the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, "The divine healer", expert in botany, would have discovered it by chance one evening while resting from one of his long journeys in search of new herbs and spices. He had poured hot water into a cup when a leaf broke off the plant he was sitting under and fell into it. Used to experiment with infusions and medicines on himself, the emperor wanted to taste what chance had offered him and appreciated it to the point that the newly discovered plant was cultivated throughout China.
Perhaps by mistake, but more likely out of jealousy, it is saffron used to color the stained glass windows of the Milan cathedral with light, it was overthrown by an apprentice of the Flemish master glassmaker Valerio di Profondavalle into the rice that he was cooking for the wedding banquet of his daughter he unnecessarily desired. Hence the famous Milanese risotto ... it is a pity, however, that the existence of a Riz engoullé in all respects similar to it in a French manuscript of about two hundred years earlier: the Viandier, attributed to the famous chef Taillevent.
Instead, it smells like sulfur one of the many stories circulating on the Panpepato (fruitcake with black pepper), even if everything originates from a repentance, that of a Sienese nobleman, Niccolò de 'Salimbeni, who to make amends for his dissolute life decided to donate his precious spices to the nuns of a small convent. Unfortunately one day a novice Sister Leta, in putting in order the cellarer he discovered that the bags containing the spices, flour, almonds and candied fruit had been torn apart.
Their contents, mixed together, seemed unusable when the nun, in order not to waste that grace of God, thought of setting it on the fire with honey, hoping to obtain sweets to give to the poor. He was just mixing the mixture when suddenly a black cat rubbing his cassock uttering incomprehensible words. Realizing that the devil was in front of him and throwing the cauldron at him was Leta's immediate reaction. The bustle brought Sister Berta, the Abbess, who wanted to taste the contents of the providential pot and, finding it excellent, decided that it would be the specialty of the convent.