Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Actionable Sauce.

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Norfolk, Virginia, were outraged and ‘congregations horrified’ when it was rumoured that the local Protestant pastors had rum sauce on their banana fritters at an annual dinner in December 1904. Rumour and accusation were quickly followed, as they almost inevitably are, by denial on the part of the perpetrators. The shocking story was seen to be worthy of reporting in no less than the New York Times a few days later.

Served with Banana Fritters and
Congregations are Horrified.

Norfolk, Va. Dec. 18 – “Banana fritters with rum sauce” served at the annual dinner of the Tide Water Ministerial Association, composed of the leading Protestant ministers of Southeast Virginia, has caused a sensation in church circles, and the revered gentlemen have been upbraided by the members of their congregations, especially the women. It is expected at the meeting tomorrow of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union that the matter will be brought up for action.
Some of the ministers, in defense, say they were not aware of the rum sauce being on the bill of fare, while one preacher declared that no rum sauce was on the table, because he would have been able to smell it.

Sadly, it appears that the New York Times did not see fit to follow up the story, so we are left with the issue unresolved. Whom do you believe? What action did the good ladies take against the naughty pastors?

There are many variations on a theme of rum sauce. I give you a selection, with varying amounts of alcohol, from which to make your choice.

Rum Sauce.
½ cup sugar, 1 cup boiling water, ¼ cup rum or wine.
Make a syrup by boiling sugar and water five minutes; add rum or wine.
Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Boston, 1896.

Rum Sauce.
Boil one cup of milk with one cup of sugar, and wet a teaspoonful of arrowroot or cornstarch with a little cold milk and add. Just before removing from the fire, add a teaspoonful of rum. Serve hot.
Aunt Babette’s Cook Book, Cincinatti, 1889.

Rum Sauce.
Beat yolks of two eggs with a tablespoon of sugar and a small cup of cold water, a wineglass of rum, and the juice of a lemon, and bring to boiling point, stirring all the time. The two whites of eggs may be whipped very firm and spread over the pudding just before serving.
The International Jewish Cook Book, New York, 1919

Quotation for the Day.

RUM, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.
Ambrose Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary.

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