Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Mission Menu.

Today, May 30th …

A luncheon was held aboard the H.M.S “Aquitania” on this day in 1918, in honour of the American Mission to the allied countries. The “Aquitania” was a British Cunard Line cruise ship chartered by the United States during WW I for use as a troop ship, although to judge by the menu, the food retained some element of the luxury associated with peace-time cruising.

There are a couple of small glitches in interpreting the menu: a few words were difficult to read due to the condition of the paper, and the dishes all appear to be named in honour of individuals who presumably had something to do with the war effort. The “Salade de Wilson” is obvious, but The Old Foodie eagerly awaits enlightenment on the other names from someone with a knowledge of U.S history of the time.

Potage McCormick
Davis Rarebits-Meredith
Johnson’s Haricot Ox Tail
Short’s Mutton Chops Frey Potatoes, Dunn, Wright
Green berry Peas Scotts Mashed Potatoes
Lovejoy’ York Ham Higgins’ Roast Beef
Salade de Wilson
Compote of Plums & Custard a la Ryan
Grenfell Cheese – Seccor (?)
Nestor Coffee – Spraggon (?)

Meanwhile, back on the American mainland, where normal folk were living with nominated meatless, wheatless and porkless days, a menu such as this – with ham and roast beef at the same meal, would have seemed an impossible dream. Instead they had to make do with dishes such as these, from “Daily Menus for War Service” by Thetta Quay Franks:

Boston Roast (Farmers Bulletin 487)
1 pound can of kidney beans or equivalent quantity of cooked beans; ½ pound of grated cheese; breadcrumbs, salt.
Mash the beans or put them through a meat grinder. Add the cheese, and sufficient breadcrumbs to make the mixture stiff enough to be formed into a roll. Bake in a moderate oven, basting occasionally with butter and water. Serve with tomato sauce. This dish may be flavoured with onions, chopped, and cooked in butter and water.

Mock Chicken (Columbia War Papers)
Cooked beans, 2 cups; stale breadcrumbs, 1 ½ cups; Butterine, 2 tablespoons; Milk, ¾ cup; Salt, ¾ teaspoon.
Press the beans through a fine strainer, add the milk.Arrange alternate layers of bean pulp and buttered crumbs in a buttered baking dish. Cover with crumbs and bake in a moderate oven 45 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce.

Tomorrow: Grubs and Roots.

Quotation for the Day …

In America, even your menus have the gift of language. . . . 'The Chef's own Vienna Roast. A hearty, rich meat loaf, gently seasoned to perfection and served in a creamy nest of mashed farm potatoes and strictly fresh garden vegetables.' Of course, what you get is cole slaw and a slab of meat, but that doesn't matter because the menu has already started your juices going. Oh, those menus. In America, they are poetry. Laurie Lee.


teacherarbc said...

Welcome back, Janet!!! Hope all is well...we've missed you, but you did a brilliant job of giving us posts ahead of time (I confess to clicking in all sorts of order, starting with the coffee one, of course....)

Sally said...

Welcome home! I hope your trip was a blast. I'm looking forward to more food history now.