Thursday, June 19, 2008

Superdreadnought food.

June 19.

On June 19th, 1915, a banquet was held to celebratet the launching of the “Superdreadnought” USS Arizona. One of the speakers was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would be President in 1941 when the Arizona was destroyed at Pearl Harbour.

Little Neck Clam Cocktails
Strained Chicken Gumbo, in Cups
Queen Olives Salted Almonds Hot House Radishes
Sweet Midget Gherkins
Crab Flakes, A La Newburg in Cassolettes
Sirloin of Beef, Pique, with Fresh Mushrooms
Surfine Peas Bermuda
Sorbet National

Half Phila Squab Chicken, with Cresses
Waldorf Salad
Fancy Forms of Ice Cream
Biscuit Tortoni
Assorted Cakes Fancy Macaroons
Lady Fingers
Chocolate Mints
Demi Tasse

It is always interesting to look at extensive menus like this one and wonder what I would have chosen. The chicken gumbo? I have to admit that I am frightened of gumbo. I am not sure why: I think I read a treatise on its ‘slimy’ texture in my formative years. ‘Slime’ and ‘food’ should not appear in the same sentence. Perhaps it is silky? Oleaginous? Unctuous?

Chicken Gumbo.
Cut up a young fowl as if for a fricassee. Put into a stew-pan a large table-spoonful of fresh butter, mixed with a tea-spoonful of flour, and an onion finely minced. Brown them over the fire, and then add a quart of water, and the pieces of chicken, with a large quarter of a peck of ochras, (first sliced thin, and then chopped,) and a salt-spoon of salt. Cover the pan, and let the whole stew together till the ochras are entirely dissolved, and the fowl thoroughly done. If it is a very young chicken, do not put it in at first; as half an hour will be sufficient to cook it. Serve it up hot in a deep dish.
A cold fowl may be used for this purpose.
You may add to the ochras an equal quantity of tomatoes cut small. If you use tomatoes, no water will be necessary, as their juice will supply a sufficient liquid.
[The Lady's Receipt-Book; By Miss Leslie. 1847]

Tomorrow’s Story.

Isabella goes to Paris.

Quotation for the Day.

The great dish of New Orleans, and which it claims having the honor of invented, is the GUMBO. There is no dish which at the same time so tickles the palate, satisfies the appetite, furnished the body with nutriment sufficient to carry on the physical requirements, and costs so little as a Creole Gumbo. It is a dinner in itself, being soup, piece de résistance, entremet and vegetable in one. Healthy, and not heating to the stomach and easy of digestion, it should grace every table.
William H. Coleman, Historical Sketch Book and Guide to
New Orleans and Environs (1985)


Anonymous said...

It must be the okra - delicious vegetable that it is. A local Turkish cafe does an okra stew to go out of your way for.

That last quote nails gumbo - it is a wonderful dish.

Rosemary in Utah said...

How about "viscous"? Here's some info (which I found at the Food Network site).
"When cooked, okra gives off a rather viscous substance that serves to thicken any liquid in which it is cooked. Throughout the South, it's a favorite ingredient in many dishes, the best known being gumbo, where it's used both for thickening and for flavor."
It's like the stuff you find coating the seeds in a papaya.