Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year Day with the Baron.

This is only the second Leap Year day post in the history of this blog. The last one, in 2008, the story was called ‘Bachelor Cooking’, so I was of a mind to make today’s story ‘Spinster Cooking’, but I dislike the word (although I have no objection to the state), which is a perfectly good justification for me to reject the story idea. Anyway, I couldn’t find any ‘Spinster Soup’, or ‘Spinster Cake’ recipes – and I have already told you about ‘Old Maid Pie’ in a previous post.

Almost all of the menu-a-day cookery books which have been published since the early nineteenth century forget entirely the poor folk who have a birthday or some other anniversary on February 29th (I am thinking of my brother and sister-in-law whose wedding anniversary it is today.)

One author who did not forget was the French aristocrat-turned-food columnist, the Baron Brisse, who wrote 366 Menus and 1200 Recipes of the Baron Brisse, in 1868. The menu indicates that the date was a fast day in that year. I give you the dinner menu for the day and a recipe from the English translation of 1896.

Purée of green peas and rice.
Cod à la Hollandaise.
Pickled cabbage and oysters.
Vegetable salad with smoked salmon.

Blanc-mange of almonds.
Blanch one pound of sweet almonds and half an ounce of bitter almonds, soak in cold water, so as to make them perfectly white, pound in a mortar and moisten gradually with two pints of milk, squeeze through a cloth into a bowl. Dissolve two ounces of gelatine and three quarters of a pound of sugar in a pint and a half of water, when cold add to the milk of almonds, flavour with a little orange-flower water, pour into a mould, and place in the refrigerator for two hours, by which time it will have set.

Quotation for the Day.

In cookery, above all things, “Nothing can come of nothing.”
Baron Brisse.

No comments: