Today, June 21st ...
On this day in 1791, with royalty becoming dangerously unpopular, Louis XVI and his immediate family were fleeing Paris secretly and in disguise. En route to meet with other exiles near Luxembourg, they stopped for a meal in a small town in Marne called Sainte Menehould. The area is famous for its charcuterie, and especially its pigs trotters, and part of the legend says that this apparently lowly dish was a favourite of the King. Louis, so the legend goes, was complacent about his escape plans and lingered over his dinner far too long. He was recognized by either the postmaster, or the stable-owner, or the mayor, or someone else who notified the authorities, and was arrested in the next town and escorted back to Paris to meet with Mme. Guillotine.
A dish styled “á la Menehould” has very ancient origins, and usually refers to something dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, then fried or grilled, and often with mustard on the side. The constant factor seems to be the breadcrumbs. It was already a classic way of preparing many dishes before Louis’ unfortunate last meal in freedom.
If Pigs Pettitoes are not your thing, try this mutton recipe from the very English Hannah Glasse’s “The Art of Cookery” (1796 edn.)
Another French Way, call’d, St. Menehout.
Take the Hind Saddle of Mutton, take off the Skin, lard it with Bacon, season it with Pepper, Salt, Mace, Cloves beat, and Nutmeg, Sweet Herbs, young Onions, and Parsley, all chopp’d fine; take a large Oval, or a large Gravy-pan, lay Layers of Bacon, and then Layers of Beef all over the Bottom, lay in the Mutton, then lay Layers of Bacon on the Mutton, and then a Layer of Beef, put in a Pint of Wine, and as much good Gravy as will stew it, put in a Bay-Leaf, and two or three Shalots, cover it close, put Fire over and under it, if you have a close Pan, and let it stand stewing for two Hours; when done, take it out, strew Crumbs of Bread all over it, and put it into the Oven to Brown, strain the Gravy it was stew’d in, and boil it till there is just enough for Sauce, lay the Mutton into the Dish, pour the Sauce in, and serve it up. You must Brown it before a Fire, if you have not an Oven.
Tomorrow: Jubilee Lunch (and Dinner)
Quotation for the Day …
Any part of the piggy
Is quite all right with me
Ham from Westphalia, ham from Parma
Ham as lean as the Dalai Lama
Ham from Virginia, ham from York,
Trotters Sausages, hot roast pork.
Crackling crisp for my teeth to grind on
Bacon with or without the rind on
I'm not a vegetarian.
I'm neither crank nor prude nor prig
And though it may sound infra dig
Any part of the darling pig
Is perfectly fine with me.
Noel Coward “Any part of the Piggy”