Thursday, July 09, 2009


With a bit of luck, on this day in 1914, you might have been aboard the SS Minnesota of the Chicago-Milwaukee-Buffalo Line. The breakfast sounds substantial, and is a fine demonstration of the inroads of commercial breakfast cereals into the traditional fare for this meal.

Thursday, July 9th, 1914
Fruit in Season Stewed Fruit
Rolled Oats      Manioca
Egg-O-See     Force     Maple Flakes, Toasted
Boiled Eggs
Fried Eggs or Eggs à la Turque
Fried Spring Lamb Chops, Breaded
Tomato Sauce
Smithfield Sausage
On Toast
Hash Brown Potato à la Spain
Baked Potatoes
Toast, Dry or Buttered Home Made Rolls
Coffee English Breakfast Tea
Uncolored Japanese Tea
Coffee, Boston Style        Milk       Postum Cereal

The proprietary breakfast cereals include the Postum which is listed with the beverages. Postum was a cereal-based substitute for the evil and over-stimulating drink of coffee, and was invented in the late nineteenth century by C.W. Post – one of the converts of John Harvey Kellogg.

We have previously considered Force – also on another steamship menu (and I was much enlightened on this topic by bloggers’ comments on this, thankyou). The Egg-O-See and Maple Flakes remain to be understood.

The Maple Flakes are presumably Mapl-Flake, a direct contribution of the Kellogg family’s Battle Creek company, who invented the whole concept of breakfast cereals in the first place. They are, according to the advertisements of the time “simply the Flakes of the finest Washington white wheat, flavored with pure Vermont maple syrup’ (takes 96 hours to make)”, also conveniently made and served in “leading hotels, clubs and dining car systems” in “‘dainty one-portion package, wrapped in embossed onion-skin paper and sealed with gold seals.”

The Egg-O-See (a strange name?) is yet another offering from Battle Creek. The flaked breakfast cereal‘takes selected wheat and makes it delicious and digestive.’ Advertisements in 1905 informed readers of its popularity with the information that “more than 3600 miles of Egg-O-See are manufactured and consumed annually, that is, over twenty-eight million packages are sold’ (1905), and of its deliciousness with the slogan “Dere aint go’n’er be no leavin’s”.

There is much else to ponder upon in this menu. What is ‘uncolored Japanese tea’? What, specifically, is ‘Boston Style’ coffee? How was the manioca prepared?

While I search out a recipe for my preferred dish for the morning – the Eggs à la Turque, I give you the following idea – nicer than manioca perhaps?

Delicious Maple Sauce.
2 egg yolks.
¼ cup maple syrup.
½ cup whipped cream.
Beat the yolks very light, putting in a pinch of salt; put in the syrup and cook till the spoon coats over when you dip in; then cool and beat in the whipped cream and serve very cold.
A Cookbook for a Little Girl, 1905

Quotation for the Day.

Life is like a grapefruit. Well, it's sort of orangy-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It's got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have a half a one for breakfast.
Douglas Adams.

1 comment:

Piet said...

"Boston" as an adjective has a history in the US of indicating that an essential part of something is so diluted as to be almost completely absent. A Boston marriage is a marriage without connubialities, for example, and was a term applied at the turn of the 19th-20th century to female couples who lived together, presumably with affection but no (ahem) sex. Boston coffee is coffee with so much milk that it's barely tan-colored; additionally, to be correctly prepared, the milk must be in the cup before the coffee is added, and the very small amount of coffee is poured in slowly so that the milk is heated gently rather than shocked.