Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Menu for May 31, 1864

One of my favourite Victorian cookery books is Cre-Fydd's Family Fare: or Young Housekeepers Daily Assistant (London, 1864). The author assists the new housewife of moderate means, who has charge of the usual lazy, thieving servant or two, by suggesting menus for breakfast and dinner for the family, and dinner for the servants. Recipes for all of the suggested dishes are also given.

Here are the suggestions for May 31st

Cold Beef, bacon, fried eggs, hot cake, marmalade.

Mayonnaise of lobster, cold beef, curried kidneys, rice, potatoes.
Sweet tapioca (Portuguese).

KITCHEN [i.e the servants' dinner]
Cold beef, salad, suet pudding.

The beef was leftover from the 'Boiled aichbone of beef (10 lbs) suggested for May 29, which had also made an appearance on the 30th - at breakfast as cold beef, and at dinner as 'bubble and squeak'. This may seem like making ten pounds of beef on the bone go a long way, but as you will see, other dishes were provided too, and in any case the author states that the bills of fare are made out for only two persons (as it is a book for novice housewives, who have presumably not yet had time to fulfil their marital duty of proving a large number of children.)

Tapioca, Portuguese.
Boil three tablespoonfuls of the best tapioca in a pint and a half of new milk till quite tender (about two hours); stir frequently; add six ounces of loaf sugar, and an ounce of fresh butter; when well mixed, stand the saucepan off the fire for ten minutes, then stir in, by degrees, six well-beaten fresh eggs; stir over the fire till at boiling heat, then let it get cold; add twenty drops of essence of vanilla, or any other flavouring. Turn it into a glass dish, and let it stand in a cold place for two hours. Just before serving, sift evenly over the top a dessertspoonful of powdered cinnamon.

The recipe which follows is for Vermicelli, Portuguese - a variation of the above using vermicelli instead of tapioca, half a pint less milk, and an hour less time.

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