Kickshaw was a seventeenth- and eighteenth-century term for any dainty or elaborate dish characteristic of high-falutin ‘foreign’ cuisine (as opposed to solid English fare). It is an anglicization of French quel-quechose, ‘something’. Its first appearance is in Shakespeare's Henry IV Part Two (1597), in which Justice Shallow gives orders to his servant Davy for a meal to be prepared for Falstaff, including ‘some pigeons …, a couple of short-legged hens, a joint of mutton, and any pretty little tiny kickshaws’. As an indication of the wide diversity of dishes to which the word was applied, a recipe for kickshaws by Gervase Markham in The English Housewife (1615) describes a rich highly spiced omelette containing assorted pig's offal, but by the time Hannah Glasse is writing of them in 1760 they have become small fruit pies.
Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.