Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The last king of America.

June 4 ...

George III was the last king of America, and his birthday was this day in 1738 (although to His Highness, it was May 24, but the change to the Gregorian calendar in 1752 moved his birthday eleven days.) As was befitting, his birthday was celebrated all over his Empire, including no doubt, in the American colonies. At home, on his twenty-fifth birthday in 1763, his young wife Charlotte (whom he had met for the first time on their wedding day eighteen months before) planned a surprise party at the new home he had just bought for her (which we know as now as Buckingham Palace).

The party was held two days after his birthday. Most of the royal family attended, the music was by Handel, and the supper consisted of a hundred cold dishes and an ‘illuminated dessert’. If history contains any details of this fascinating illuminated dessert, then I have not found them, which is immensely sad as it sounds amazing.

You have two days to prepare for the anniversary of this party for the last king of America, and if you are an American Royalist you may wish to do just that. I have chosen three right royal cold dishes, leaving the remaining 97 to you to find. The recipes are from The London Cook, by William Gelleroy, “Late Cook to her Grace the Duchess of Argyle, and now to the Right Hon, Sir Samuel Fludyer Bart., Lord Mayor of the City of London”, published year before the party (1762).

To pickle Salmon.
Take two quarts of good vinegar, half an ounce of black pepper, and as much Jamaica pepper; cloves and mace, of each a quarter of an ounce, near a pound of salt; bruis the spice grossly, and put all these to a small quantity of water, put just enough to cover your fish; cut the fish round, three or four pieces, according to the size of the salmon, and when the liquor boils, put in your fish, boil it well; then take the fish out of the pickle, and let it cool; and when it is cold put in your fish into the barrel or stein that you keep it in, strewing some spice and bay-leaves between every piece of fish; let the pickle cool, and skim off the fat, and when the pickle is quite cold, pour it on your fish, and cover it very close.

Lemon Salad.
Take the lemons and cut them into halves, and when you have taken out the meat, lay the rinds in water twelve hours; then take them out and cut the rinds thus [drawing of spiral cut]; boil them in water till they are tender; take them out and dry them; then take a pound of loaf sugar, putting to it as much white-wine vinegar, and boil it a little; then take it off, and when it is cold put it in the pot to your peels; they will be ready to eat in five or six days; it is a pretty salad.

The Floating Island, a pretty Dish for the Middle of a Table at a Second Course, or for Supper.
Take a soop-dish, according to the size and quantity you would make, but a pretty deep glass dish is best, and set it on a China dish; first take a quart of the thickest cream you can get, make it pretty sweet with fine sugar, pour in a gill of sack, grate the yellow rhind of a lemmon in, and mill the cream till it is all of a thick froth, then as carefully as you can pour the thin froth into a dish; take a French role (roll) or as many as you want, cut it as thin as you can, play a layer of that as light as possible on the cream, then a layer of currant jelly, then a thin layer of role, and then hartshorn jelly, then French role, and over that whip you froth with you saved off the cream very well milled up, and lay at the top as high as you can heap it; and as for the rim of the dish, set it round with fruit or sweet-meats, according to your fancy. This looks very pretty in the middle of a table with candles round it, and you make make it of as many different colours as you fancy, and according to what jellies and jams or sweet-meats you have, or at the bottom of the dish you may put the thickest cream you can tet, but that is as you fancy.
N.B To make this dish look pretty, stick on some perfumed cockle-shells, which will make it look like a rock.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Not enough butter.

Quotation for the Day …

One cannot have too large a party. Jane Austen.


T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

My, how times have changed. The revolutionary John Adams has been getting a good run here in the U.S. recently, thanks to an excellent TV film. One wonders what Adams would have eaten on this day? The Illuminated Dessert does stimulate the imagination!

Rochelle R. said...

I am having a little trouble visualizing the floating island. It sounds to me much more like a trifle. Isn't a floating island dessert much different nowdays? Do you have more info on the history of those two desserts? Your posts always give me so much to think about. I really enjoy your blog.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello T.W. I have no idea how a dessert would be illuminated - presumably by candles? Maybe it was a birthday cake idea?
Rochelle: I had the same trouble myself,and agree it sounds like a trifle. My problem is that my own posts leave me with far more to think about than I started with, which is a worry, as I like to write because it helps me decide what I think. I think my brain might burst one day ...

aruvqan said...

Illuminated could also mean painted - like an 'illuminated manuscript'

Just imagine a centerpiece that is a manuscript of royal icing heraldically illuminated with a wedding certificate complete with gold leaf.