Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Today, July 25th

An English newspaper reported a 'scramble' at an Installation at Windsor on this day in 1771. The exact nature of the ‘Installation’ escapes me at present, and has been filed in the voluminous ‘to research’ pile until voluminous time is available, but it seemed like a mighty big well-planned, if not entirely well-executed event. The ‘scramble’ was not about eggs – or if eggs were present, they were not specifically mentioned. Perhaps they were included in ‘delicacies of every kind’.

At the Installation on the 25th of July.

Two thousand beds were made in the Castle at Windsor, and two thousand tables were spread on Thursday. There were seventeen kitchens, and fifty cooks in each kitchen, beside other attendants. After dinner on Thursday, at Windsor, the new regulation of the Lord Steward took place about the scramble; as it was thought a better plan of œconomy to carry the victuals to the mob, than to let the mob come to the victuals. Accordingly the windows of the Castle were thrown open, and the provision tossed out to the gaping croud below. A cloud of hams, chickens, pasties, haunches, and delicacies of every kind, with knives, forks, plates, tablecloths, and napkins, their companies, darkened the air. This was succeeded by showers of liquor; some conveyed in bottles, properly corked, but the greater part in rain. The scramble was more diverting than any other part of the preceding farce. You would see one stooping to a fowl and a great ham falling plump upon his back; another, having a fork stuck in his shoulder, and looking up to secure himself from more of the arrows thus flying by day, received a creamed apple-pye full in his face. A beef-eater having lost his cap in the scuffle had his loss repaired by a pasty falling inverted upon his head. A bargeman who had just secured a noble haunch of venison, was retiring as fast as he could with his booty, and ran with it full against the back of Lord --- and made an impression on it so like a gridiron, that all the mob, after they ceased their laughter, cried out, smaok the Merry Andrew.

The use of ‘scramble’ to refer to a culinary technique seems to be a very recent use of the word – the OED gives it as appearing in 1893. Here are a couple of interesting scrambles for you - one with egg, one without, one pre-WW II and one post-war. The first is from The Times of 1939, and the second from a Ministry of Food leaflet in 1947.

Kipper Scramble.
Bring the kippers to the boil in a frying pan just covered with water, and simmer for five minutes. Remove the flesh from the bones and break up with a fork. Now beat up an egg and two tablespoons of milk per kipper. Mix together and season with pepper, and stir the mixture with sufficient butter in a saucepan until it thickens. Serve on buttered toast.

Mince Scramble.
(For 4) 4 oz macaroni; ½ oz dripping; 1 medium-sized onion, chopped, 1 level teaspoon mixed herbs; 1 bay leaf and 4 peppercorns, if possible; 1 lb tomatoes, sliced; 8 oz cooked meat, minced; salt and pepper to taste.
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until tender. Melt dripping and fry onion, herbs, bay leaf and peppercorns (if used) for 10 mins; add tomatoes and simmer for a further 15 mins. Sieve. Strain macaroni and add to sieved mixture with meat. Season to taste, heat through. Serve with potatoes and a vegetable.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Taking Cider to Lisbon.

Quotation for the Day …

Man who waits for roast duck to fly into mouth must wait very, very long time. Chinese proverb, perhaps (but funny, even if it is not a genuine Chinese proverb)


Lapinbizarre said...

Off topic, but whatever .....

My mother, who at that time taught catering at the Manchester Domestic & Trades College (later Hollings College) was asked in the mid-50's by a family friend if she knew how to make a "scuffle". Obviously a question to which there are many replies, but mother couldn't work out what the woman meant and the questioner - a lady, long gone, who tended to be much on her dignity, quickly became defensive and cut the conversation short. Months later it emerged from conversation with the lady's more relaxed sister, that what she had eaten and mis-heard at a restaurant was a soufflé. Of course the dish was never again known in our household as a "soufflé"!

Lapinbizarre said...

ps Sticky Marmalade Pudding. Tried the BBC recipe yesterday evening. There are apparent flaws in the recipe ("3g of marmalade" where 30 would make sense; "15g of butter" rather than 150), but in addition the sauce, even with a butter content jumped way past 150g, remained a clingy, "balling" mess, impossible to pour. And so on - why prolong the agony? A banner at the head of the page claims "every recipe tested". By whom?

Oh, and there's an ad for McDonalds at the foot of the page.

I'm not giving up on sticky marmalade pudding, but I'm on the lookout for a more promising recipe.

pps Which reminds me - did you see the piece in last week's Telegraph about the "Pudding Club"?

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Lapinbizzare - I have a recipe I think for sticky marmalade pud - I'll find it out and send it to you. I didnt see the piece about the Pudding Club in the Telegraph, but funnily enough I was just reading about it somewhere else. I had an idea I might try to get to the August pudding-dinner meeting while I am in the UK, but unless I get myself organised and try to book, it isnt going to happen. Life is just too hectic at present.