Toast with chimney soot 1651

Toast with chimney soot 1651

Different times, different tastes..

Digging through archives in search of old (European) recipes; you come across a lot of recipes that are forgotten for a reason. Flamingo, crane, lark, whale and other animals we are not allowed to hunt anymore..or some recipes are just “why?”. Why did it excist in the first place.

Original French recipe from 1651 and a Dutch translation from 1701.

This recipe for toast with chimney soot was found in a French cookbook from 1651; Le cuisinier François by François Pierre de la Varenne. The French kitchen by a guy named French. A link of the book is posted below.

In the original French recipe it is called “ramequin” with chimney soot. A Ramequin is a small porcelain or glass pot for 1 person. Hence I can imagine it translates as a “small dish for one” in this context. The Dutch title is “heard-butter” with chimney soot. I am not sure if that reffers to the butter used; or was a name for a piece of bread prepared in butter or something.

This recipe is not recommended for actual consumption. Although charcoal biscuits are still a thing; invented in England in the early 19th century to get rid of too many farts and still sold today in alternative medical stores for an healthy digestive system, I would not eat soot from your chimney or BBQ etc. That’s just not healthy.

It makes you wonder if they ate this at that time for health reasons too; but since it’s a recipe in a cookbook and not a medical book they probably just liked the taste. I wonder if the chimney soot also tasted a bit like the many meats that were prepared in the fireplace. If it had a smokey flavour. I might lick my chimney someday.

The yummy recipe for toast with chimney soot.

Toast with chimney soot 1651

Recipe by (Stef Bruurs)Course: breakfast, lunchCuisine: French


Chimney time


Cooking time



A recipe from toast with chimney soot from 1651.


  • 1 slice of bread

  • Butter or oil

  • A pinch of salt and a good amount of white pepper

  • Chimney soot to your taste


  • Put on a mining helmet and spelunk your chimney as deep as possible to get to that best bit of chimney soot. Scrape of as many of that black delight as you wish.
  • Put a good amount of butter or oil in a pan.
  • Bake a slice of bread in said pan until it’s more then the half brown. So I guess that’s 2/3 brown. Or 3/4. Or 99%. Or over 3000.
  • Add salt, a lot of white pepper, and soot.


  • The amount of soot is not specified. I live by “the more the better” so went all out. When you treat yourself once in a while with good French cuisine meant for nobles; you have to REALLY treat yourself and go all out, you know. Be a queen.

Book links:

English: La Varenne’s Cookery: The French Cook; The French Pastry Chef; The French Confectioner by François de la Varenne, translated by Terrence scully.

 French: Le Cuisinier françois (1651) by François Pierre de la Varenne.

Dutch: De geoefende of ervaren keukenmeester of verstandige kok (1701) translated by François Pierre de la Varenne by Bastiaan Schouten.

Where did you get that?

Blue towel: 2nd hand shop.

Wooden handmade gaucho plate at Amazon:

The cup is a communion chalice/cup/goblet from the 2nd hand store.

New wooden communion cups are on sale at Amazon too