The Mysterious Marie behind "bain-marie"

1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Ok Chef Talkers, this one has driven me crazy and I want help!

Who is this Marie who her bathing habits had given the name to the technique called "Bain-marie" ?

I have a couple of theories but tell me what do you think first!
 
4,469
108
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Perhaps the word "Marie" derives from the latin mar for sea or body of water. ...just a guess.
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
The OED says it came into French from Latin in the 14th century, but only conjectures that it refers to the gentleness of the heating process.

The 1961 Larousse (in English) gives no information on origin. The new version says: "Bain marie was originally a term used in alchemy. It was then referred to as bain de Marie (Mary's bath) after Moses's sister, who was known to be an alchemist. It was also considered to refer to the Virgin Mary, the symbol of gentleness, since the term implies the gentleness of this method of cooking." The reference to Moses's sister seems dubious to me, since it's quite a leap (however accepted) from "Miriam" in Hebrew or Aramaic to "Mary" in Latin; besides, what's with her having been "known to be an alchemist"?

I like Koko's idea.

Let the debate continue! ;)
 
4,469
108
Joined Aug 4, 2000
I think that in "those" days there were no chemists, just alchemists who were using and still use a blend of chemistry and "spirituality" (I use the latter term loosely).
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
CC: thanks, but are you SURE? Still too many holes -- and then all the water will leak out then and make a mess ;)
 
4,508
32
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Ok Suzanne,

Maybe i'm not sure. it was really named after maria in West side story because she had such a "HOT" temper...

Anyway, How could the sister of moses me an Alchemist? ;)
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Athenaeus,

I think this link will help you with more information on the Marie behind the Bain-Marie.

The Real Marie

For more information you can read : The Jewish Alchemists:
A History and Source Book by Raphael Patai

Jack Lindsay's "The Origins of Alchemy in Graeco-Roman Egypt" (Barnes & Noble, 1970).

Jodi

PS

Her full name was Maria Prophetissima.
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
Aha, so she was called "a sister of Moses" just because she was Jewish, not because she was really Moses's sister. See, I said it didn't sound right. Sorry CC. But I did like your version, too. ;)

Jodi, I hope you can keep on the computer even after the baby comes! :D
 
1,006
10
Joined Feb 6, 2002
When my hubby bought this laptop for Mommy's Day I told him I loved my new baby. You will definately see me after the baby. Ill need to keep my sanity with 2 boys and a girl. :lol:

Jodi
 
1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Very Good Shawty Cat!

:)


I am working to persuade a friend who is the editor of a Big Magazine dedicated in Culinary History, to "sponsor" my quizes,by offering free past issues( I hope I spelled quizes well) to those that they wll find the correct answers :)

I owe you your award ShawtyCat because this was a hard one.It took me ten days to locate the book and the real Marie!!!

The funny is that I always check the Internet when I pose questions. I want to be certain that the answer won't be so easy to find!:D
 
1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Maria the Jewesh,inventor of double -boiler (bain-marie)

Maria, referred to sometimes as Mary or Miriam, lived at the time of Alexandria's highest renown for scientific research.

Her work as an alchemist, aiming to transmute base metals into gold, drew on elements of Gnostic science as well as practical experimentation.

The science was strongly, connected with women, holding the goddess Isis as its founder, and Maria, according to current practice, wrote under the title of a prophetess as 'Miriam, sister of Moses'.

Her Theory was based on the premise that metals were living beings, male and female, and that the chemical process was one of sexual linking and reproduction.

Her writings survive only in fragments, but it is for her practical contribution that she is best remembered.

She designed apparatus which remained in use for centuries, such as the three-part still, the kerotakis process for the condensation and reflux of vapours (originally for sulphur, mercury and arsenic vapours to treat metal alloy), and the water-bath, or double boiler, to maintain substances at a constant temperature - which is still called a 'bain-marie'.

These and other significant inventions gave her a lasting reputation as one of the founders of chemistry.
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
And of course you NEVER learn about her in school. For shame! Just think, CC, we couldn't have Ketel One without her! OR hollandaise for service.
 
4,508
32
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Your right Suzanne,

What would I do without my Kettle One?:eek:

And no egg sauces!!!!

Thank you dearest Maria:lips:
CC
 
Top Bottom