Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Pink Tea for Breast Cancer Month.

With the month of October almost over I am almost too late to make my contribution to the Pink Theme for Breast Cancer Awareness. I offer my small effort to redress this with a short extract from a late ninteenth century American cookbook on the subject of a Pink-Themed Tea Party, and some "pink" recipes from two eighteenth century English cookbooks.

From: Aunt Babette's cook book. Foreign and domestic receipts for the household. A valuable collection of receipts and hints for the housewife. Many of which are not to be found elsewhere. By "Aunt Babette" (America, 1889).


"Pink Teas," just now so fashionable, are rather novel if carried out to the letter, and an expensive way of entertaining, too, yet, as the old saying is, one might as well be dead as out of fashion. So all those who wish to be fashionable come and listen, and I will give you a few hints in regard to getting up a "Pink Tea." As a matter of course the table linen should be in harmony. If you possess a tablecloth with a drawn-work border, line the border with pink cambric. If not, cut the cambric the width desired and sew it on to any tablecloth and cover it with some cheap lace inserting; it will look very pretty. You may draw pink ribbons through the napkins. Suspend sash ribbons from the chandeliers in dining-room to reach half way down the center of the table, or, better still, to reach the four corners. Your lamps all over the house should have pink shades. They may be of pink paper; the dishes also of a delicate pink shade, which you may borrow for the occasion. Arrange the white cakes on high cake-stands, lined with fancy pink paper, or pink napkins, and put the pink frosted cakes on low cake-stands lined with fancy white paper or napkins. The flowers for decoration must also be of pink. Serve the creams and ices in novel designs made of pink paper, such as baskets, boxes, buckets, freezers, cups and saucers, shells, wheelbarrows, vases, etc. I am not able to tell you all the different designs they have for this purpose. You may procure these and many more beautiful designs at almost any fashionable caterer's. Each guest should have a pink boutonniere, or a white hyacinth, tied with a pink satin ribbon. Have miniature fans placed for each guest, with a card attached containing his or her name. These are to be taken home as souvenirs. Serve the butter in pink individuals, each piece of butter moulded differently and garnished with a wreath of parsley. A handsome center-piece for the table is indispensable, so get a large fruit-stand and trim it prettily with ferns, smilax and flowers, or have an ornament of spun sugar for a center piece. If you live where there are no caterers you may try this: Make a large nest of macaroons, oval in shape. Join the macaroons with sugar boiled until it candies and have this filled with charlotte russe and resting on a rock of spun sugar. You may color the charlotte russe pink and the effect will be beautiful, for the spun sugar will look like crystal. A nice way to serve charlottes at a "Pink Tea" is to hollow out large "Acme" tomatoes, skin them carefully, cut off the tops and scoop out the inside, set on ice until wanted, then fill with whipped cream and ornament with candied cherries. (At a "Yellow Tea" you may substitute oranges for this purpose.)

("Aunt Babette" does give a recipe for Pink Cream Cake, but it uses “Dr. Price's fruit coloring”, which sounds a little dubious today)

And now for the eighteenth century "pink" recipes:

Pink-coloured Pancakes.
Having boiled a large beet-root till it is tender, beat it fine in a marble mortar. Put to it the yolks of four eggs, two spoonfuls of flour, and three spoonfuls of cream. Sweeten it to your taste, grate in half a nutmeg, and add a glass of brandy. Mix all well together, and fry them as before directed. Garnish with green sweetmeats, green sprigs of myrtle, or preserved apricots.
(‘The universal cook, and city and country housekeeper…. ‘ F.Collingwood; 1797)

To Make Raspberry Fritters.
Grate two Naples biscuits, pour over them half a gill of boiling cream. When it is almost cold, beat the yolks of four eggs to a strong froth, beat the biscuits a little, then beat both together exceeding well. Put to it two ounces of sugar, and as much juice of raspberry as will make it a pretty pink colour and give it a proper sharpness. Drop them into a pan of boiling lard, the size of a walnut. When you dish them up stick bits of citron in some, and blanched almonds cut lengthways in others. Lay around them green and yellow sweetmeats and serve them up. They are a pretty corner dish for either dinner or supper.
(Elizabeth Raffald “Experienced English Housekeeper” (1769)


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