Monday, August 25, 2008

Dinner Plans

This week I am going to give you a menu a day to help you answer the pesky question of what to have for dinner (and breakfast). Today it is from Cre-Fydd’s Family Fare, or Young Housewife’s Daily Assistant, published in 1864. The ‘Kitchen’ means the servants. I assume supper consisted of dinner leftovers (‘dinner’ was in this menu book, the midday meal).

BREAKFAST
Potted tongue, pigeons, omelet.

DINNER
Broiled Mackerel.
Boiled Leg of Lamb (5 lbs.), Caper Sauce.
Mashed Turnips, Carrots, Potatoes.
Mould of Greengages, Devonshire Cream.
Cheese &c.

KITCHEN (i.e servants)
Mutton Pudding, Potatoes.

When you look at the whole spread of menus, it is easy to see the ‘progress’ of food. The following day, for example, the family had soup made from this day’s mutton liquor, and the servants had Cold Lamb and Salad.

I am enamoured of greengages – I am not sure why, in this fruit-fertile country – we cannot get them. I hope to feast on them in two weeks time when I am in England (any of you attending the Oxford Symposium?). I therefore give you Mould of Greengages. It is a variation of Rhubarb Mould, so I will give Mr(Ms) Cre-Fydd’s version of this first.

Rhubarb Mould.
Skin and cut into small pieces enough fresh young rhubarb to fill a quart measure; put it into a skillet, with a pound and a half of loaf sugar, the grated rind and strained juice of half a lemon, and twelve bitter almongs, blanched and chopped; boil fast; skin and stir till it becomes a rich marmalade. Add half an ounce of isinglass dissolved int two tablespoonfuls of boiling water; rub a mould with sweet almond oil, put in the fruit, and let it stand in a cool place till firmly set. Turn out, and serve, with Devonshire cream around it.

Greengage Mould.
Follow the preceding receipt, using three pints of greengages, and the kernels, blanched, instead of rhumbarb and almonds; whip a pint of sweet cream to a froth, and pour over; garnish with macaroons.

Quotation for the Day ..

Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so. David Adams.

2 comments:

Bob del Grosso said...

Boiled leg of lamb: Yech! I wonder if they bothered to shear and skin it before cooking.

Braising it with wine with a proper mire-poix would have been a more civilized response, but what the heck, that was a long time ago. English cookery, hell, even American cookery is much better now. I doubt anyone outside of a hospital kitchen boils lamb anymore.

The rest of the menu sounds swell (I love greegage plums too!) if one can forget about what was eaten by the servants -which one cannot forget quickly enough.

Have fun in England! I hope your dollars are worth more than mine there. I'm still in shock from a trip in May...

Shay said...

please eat some Devonshire cream for me...I've been to England how many times? four? and never tried it.

Criminal negligence.