Friday, June 26, 2009

The Hunt Breakfast.

Today, with much relief, I leave behind the relentlessly awful, cold, uncooked, unsalted, unspiced, decidely unappealing offerings of the early raw-foodies, and instead give you a glimpse into another sort of lifestyle altogether. From the American Jessup Whitehead’s The steward's handbook and guide to party catering, (1889) I give you this short insight into breakfast with the English aristocracy.
One of the British princes was recently entertained at the country seat of a nobleman at a "hunt breakfast" and dinner, and the decorations and table-ware were changed for each as follows :
Hunt Breakfast Menu.
Broiled Kidneys. Pulled Fowl
Salmon Steaks. Stuffed Tomatoes.
Sheeps Tongues. Potted Pigeons.
Broiled Rump Steaks. Quenelles.
Croquettes of Rice and Ham.
Chickens in Bechamel.
Potted Game. Pate Mêlé.
Cold Sirloin of Beef. Pressed Tongues.
York Hams. Raised Pies (various).
Normandy Pippins. Stewed Prunes.
Clotted Cream.
Roast Snipes. Woodcocks. T[h]rushes.
Apple Marmalade. Apricot Jam. Currant Jelly.
Vanilla Milk. Café au Lait. Tea.
"The tables on this occasion were dressed with white cloths and decorated à la jardinière. The silver antique jardinières were filled with ferns and spring flowers, peeping out of mosses of various kinds. Large silver bowls and epergnes on the side-board and side tables were filled with exquisite arrangements of hyacinths, tulips, wood violets, snowdrops, etc., in mosaic patterns; whilst hanging baskets graced the windows, filled with the spiritulle cyclamen light foliage, interspersed with yellow and red flowers, that gave the grand old oak hall a splendid appearance. The display of antique plate would have delighted the heart of the most enthusiastic antiquary, and the tout ensemble seemed to give the young prince much pleasure.
"The vanilla milk, which, by the way, was half cream, found great favor, and was served steaming hot in silver cups. Some added curaçoa to it, others a petit verre de Cognac, but the majority preferred the sweet beverage simply as prepared in the kitchen by my worthy old friend, the chef, who is too modest to allow me to give his name."

The author then goes on, as promised, to describe the equally sumptuous dinner.

Two particular dishes appeal to me on this menu: the “pulled fowl”, and the featured vanilla milk (I think I would have had mine ‘straight’, to better enjoy the vanilla-ness.)

Pulled Fowl.
This is a side dish for company. Select a fine tender fowl young fat full grown and of a large kind. When quite done take it out of the pot, cover it, and set it away till wanted. Then with a fork pull off in flakes all the flesh (first removing the skin,) and with a chopper break all the bones, and put them into a stew pan adding two calves’ feet split, and the hock of a cold ham, a small bunch of parsley and sweet marjoram, and a quart of water. Let it boil gently till reduced to a pint. Then take it out. Have ready in another stew pan the bits of pulled fowl. Strain the liquor from the bones &c over the fowl, and add a piece of fresh butter (the size of a small egg) rolled in flour, and a tea spoonful of powdered mace and nutmeg mixed. Mix the whole together and let the pulled fowl stew in gravy for ten minutes. Serve it hot. A turkey may be cooked in this manner and will make a fine dish. For a turkey allow four calves feet.
Miss Leslie’s New Cookery Book, 1857.

Vanilla Milk.
To 12 drops essence of vanilla and 1 oz. of lump sugar, add 1 pint of new milk.
Cooling cups and dainty drinks; William Terrington, 1869.

Quotation for the Day.

Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.
Paul Rodriguez

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