Wednesday, April 23, 2008

St.George's Day.

April 23 ...

It is St George’s Day today, and all over the world the legendary dragon-slayer is celebrated with special dishes and big dinners – or at least, he used to be. Not so much fuss is made of him in modern times. Perhaps we have so many more – and more animated – superheroes to choose from nowadays.

In New York, on this day in 1880, the St George’s Society held their ninety-fourth anniversary dinner at Delmonico’s. Some trouble had clearly been gone to to anglicise the menu, at least in the naming of the dishes.

This was the bill of fare:

Oysters
Soups
Britannia Mock Turtle

Fish
Salmon, lobster sauce
Green Peas
--
Roast Ribs of Beef. Chicken with Mushrooms.
Boiled Potatoes. Tomatoes
Lamb Scollops, Rossini. Victoria Cutlets.

Ice.
St George.

Roast.
Snipe Capon.
Salad.
--
Plum Pudding
Maraschino Jelly Cream Puffs.
Fancy Cakes Neapolitan Ice Cream
Fruits and Coffee

The only real puzzle on the menu is the lamb ‘scollops’. A classical ‘Rossini’ garnish consists of slices of truffle, and slices of foie gras sauteed in butter (according to the Larousse), so that part is clear. A ‘scallop’ however, is of course a shellfish, and by extension, a dish cooked in a shell-shaped dish, but surely this was not meant here? Or was it? A ‘collop’, on the other hand, was originally a piece of bacon, or even egg and bacon, but came to mean a ‘single serve’ piece of meat just right for frying. Most likely this is what was intended, but we will never know for certain. Just to indicate how impossibly unlikely it is that enlightenment will ever be achieved on the topic of (s)collops, I give you several recipes:

Sometimes ‘collops’ are leftover roast, in the guise of schnitzel:

Lamb Collops with Tomato Sauce.
Take small, thick pieces of roast lamb or boiled mutton. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, dip in crumbs, egg and crumbs, and saute in a hot blazer, using enough butter to prevent burning. Serve with tomato sauce.
[Chafing Dish possibilities; Fannie Merritt Farmer, 1898]

Sometimes ‘collops’ are almost like a stir-fry:

Mutton Collops.
Take a loin of mutton that has been well hung; and cut from the part next the leg some collops very thin. Take out the sinews. Season the collops with salt, pepper, and mace; and strew over them shred parsley, thyme, and two or three shalots: fry them in butter till half done; add half a pint of gravy, a little juice of lemon, and a piece of butter rubbed in flour; and simmer the whole very gently five minutes. They should be served immediately, or they will be hard.
[A New System of Domestic Cookery…. Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell, 1824]

Sometimes, a dish of collops is actually a dish of savoury mince:

Minced Collops.
Take whatever quantity of lean beef and suet you want, and mince it very fine. Take a piece of butter, brown it with some flour, then put in your minced meat, and keep beating it .until it becomes brown. Have some rich gravy ready, add it to your minced collops and let it boil; then draw it aside and allow it to stew slowly for half an hour, adding pepper and salt to taste, and a little ketchup. If you think you have too much gravy, take off the cover and reduce it a little. Minced collops should be very thick.
Dish it hot, and garnish upon the top with poached eggs.
[Practice of Cookery and Pastry, adapted to the Business of Everyday Life. I. Williamson. 1854]

St. George’s Day last year …

We had traditional Hare Soup.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Freudian Food.

Quotation for the Day …

Nouvelle Cuisine, roughly translated, means: I can't believe I paid ninety-six dollars and I'm still hungry. Mike Kalin

1 comment:

Adam Balic said...

Likely to be "scallop" derived from "escallop/escalope" (as in a slice), in much the same way that "callop" (and for that matter "scaloppini") has been. In Northern England (well, to the Lancashire enemy at least) fried slices of potato (potato cakes in Oz) are called "scallops" and down here in Victoria sliced potato baked in milk/cream maybe cheese are called "scalloped potatoes".