Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dining in State.

Today, May 2nd …

Here’s a question: if you were the President of France, and the King of England was coming to dinner, you knew he was a bon viveur, and there were important matters of international diplomacy to negotiate, what would you serve?

You’d give him a couple of comfortable, familiar dishes from his own country to make him feel relaxed and at home, then with a rapid culinary about-face you’d bring out the best, the most elegant, and the most clearly haute that your cuisine could offer, right?

On this day in 1903, during the Entente Cordiale discussions, President Emile Loubet hosted a state dinner for Edward VII at the Elysée Palace. The menu was printed on silk:


Diner offert par le Président de la République Français
À S.M. Edouard VII
Le 2 Mai 1903

Crème Windsor
Oxtail Soup
Barquettes d’Ecrevisses Nantua
Truite Saumonée au Vin de Chambertin
Baron d’Agneau de Pauillac aux Morilles
Salmis de Gelinottes au Xérès
Canetons de Rouen à l’Archiduc
Sorbets au Kummel
Spooms au Cherry Brandy
Poulardes du Mans Truffées
Foie Gras Frais à la Souvaroff
Salade Gauloise
Asperges d’Argenteuil sauce Mousseline
Petits Pois nouveaux à la Français
Timbales de Fruits Glacés à l’Orange
Glace Viviane
Feuilleté aux Amandes
Corbeilles de Fruits
Or in English:

Windsor Soup
Oxtail Soup
Crayfish Tartlets in Cream Sauce
Salmon Trout in Wine
Baron of Suckling Lamb with Morels
Braised Hazel Grouse with Sherry
Rouen Ducklings in Paprika Cream Sauce
Sorbet with Kummel
Wine Sorbet with Meringues and Cherry Brandy
Chicken with Truffles
Foie Gras with Brandy and Truffles.
Salad garnished with Cocks’ Kidneys and Cocks’ Combs
Asparagus with Cream Sauce
New Peas braised with Lettuce and Onions
Mould of Glacé Fruits with Orange Sauce
Ice Cream Viviane
Almond Pastries
Fruit Basket
The wine list wasn’t bad either, and needs no translation.

Porto Commandador
Chablis Moutonne
Château Yquem 1874
Château Haut-Brion 1877
Mouton Rothschild 1875
Clos de Vougeot 1870
Moët Chandon White Seal
Moët et Chandon brut Impérial 1889
Luckily, with a little adaptation, recipes for all but one of these dishes can be found in the Larousse Gastronomique or Escoffier’s “Ma Cuisine” (at least in my 1961 and 1965 editions respectively), should you have a surplus of large truffles and a great desire to re-create this menu. Please invite me if you do.

Without weighing into the current animal rights debate about foie gras production, I give you this recipe, from Larousse:

Foie Gras Souvarov.
Brown a firm foie gras in very hot butter, after seasoning it and leaving it to steep in brandy. Put it in a oval earthenware heatproof dish with large quartered truffles. Pour on a little Demi-glace sauce diluted with truffle essence. Cover the dish and seal with a strip of dough. Cook in a moderate ovenfor 40 to 40 minutes according to the size of the foie gras. Serve as it is in the cooking dish

The only mystery is the Glacé Viviane. Who was Viviane?
Tomorrow: Shark on Board.

Quotation for the Day …

If I can’t have too many truffles, I’ll do without truffles. Colette.


Anonymous said...

Hi Old Foodie, was just reading this on the New York Times site, and thought it might be of interest:


Cheers, RS

The Old Foodie said...

Hello there Raspberry Sour - thanks for this - some other kind reader also emailed me on it - dont you love the Internet and all the Internet friends you get??
There are quite a few other similar "recipes" from those days - perhaps I'll do an extra post on the Companion site on them. What do you think? Keep those references coming in, if you find them!
Thanks, TOF