Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An American Dinner in London.

On this day in 1863 was held in London, England, an ‘American Dinner.’ Here is what The Epicure's Year Book And Table Companion said of the event:

It has been said that canvass-back ducks cannot be eaten in perfection in London, nor in anything like perfection: but we call to mind an occasion on which, on the authority of American gourmets present, these precious birds were eaten in perfection - in perfect condition, and perfectly cooked. The dinner took place on the 29th December, 1863, and the entire menu was specially imported by the host, Mr. H. L. Bateman. The dinner was cooked admirably by Mr. Blanchard, of Beak Street, Regent Street, and was served in his establishment. The following was the menu. The Saddle Rock oysters were as they are in the States.

Saddle Rock oysters.
Oyster soup à l'Americaine.
Turbot, lobster sauce.
Canvass-back ducks; celery.
Saddle of mutton.
Diamond-back terrapin à la Maryland.

Sauterne, amontillado, claret, champagne.

Recipe for the Day.

In case you should be lucky enough to find some canvas-back duck for your dinner, I give you a simple but elegant sauce recipe from Joe Tilden’s Recipes for Epicures (1907.)

Sauce for Canvas-back Duck.
melt together in a hot soup plate one ounce of butter, and an equal amount of currant jelly. Add th juice of a lime, a glass of sherry and a small cupful of finely chopped celery. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

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