There are many names for dishes of leftovers, and usually the names do not enhance the anticipation of the dish. ‘Hash,’ for example, is hardly likely to bring the family rushing to the table. ‘Hodge-podge’ doesn’t sound much better. You may have your own family name for a recycled dinner, but I bet it is at the gallows humour end of the language.
There are even clever names for the process of re-purposing yesterday’s dinner. It has been called ‘scrap cookery’ ‘and secondary cookery,’ although I prefer ‘camouflage cookery’. ‘Réchauffé cookery’ is another, which sounds a bit posh, but also pretentious, and I don’t think fools anyone.
There is a solution, I think, in an old word. Next time you are staring down some leftover cold mutton, make a gallimaufry, and impress your friends and family. The Oxford English Dictionary describes a gallimaufry as ‘a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a hodge-podge, a ragout.’ The dish and the word have been around since medieval times, although the original dish does not specifically seem to have been made from leftovers, but was a type of stew. The origin of the word itself is obscure. The OED suggests that it may be ‘a conflation of galer to amuse oneself and Picard dialect mafrer to gorge oneself , which certainly sounds like something tempting.
I give you three versions of a gallimaufry – an elegant one made from fresh ingredients, another eminently suitable for leftover lamb, and a third - a sort of Welsh Rabbit - just for fun.
Young Partridges in Gallimaufry.
After you have picked, singed, and drawn your Partridges, put them on the Spit with a Bit of Butter in the Inside of each, wrapping them up with Bards of Bacon in paper; when they are done enough, cut them as you would your Chickens for a Fricasey, then put them in a Stew-pan with a little Broth, a little shred Cives, and a Shalot, a little Parsley, Salt, and Pepper, a Rocambole well minced, a small handful of Crumb of Bread, some Zest, with the Juice of an Orange; heat them a little on the Fire, and give them two or three Tosses without boiling them in their Dish, and serve them up hot for a first Course Dish.
The whole duty of a woman, or, An infallible guide to the fair sex (1737)
Lamb and Potato Stew, or Gallimaufry.
This is said by one of our French authors to be the ancient dish of gallimaufry a la Languedocienne. It does not hurt anybody to eat it however, and only costs 10 or 12 cents with all its wealth of name thrown in.
Take some pieces of cold lamb; about 1 pound of clear meat will do and it may be the neck or shoulder that was boiled until just done in the soup boiler. Shave off the dark portions and cut the meat in large dice.Cut an equal amount of raw potatoes the same way and put both ont boil with clear broth or water barely to cover. Put in a small onion cut up and if to be true to name, a clove of garlic and a sprig of green thyme and a little chopped parsley. When it has stewed until the potatoes are done, season with pepper and salt and thicken it slightly if the potatoes have not boiled away and thickened it already. It is a neat looking little stew and good for a family supper.
Cooking for Profit.(Chicago,1893) Jessup Whitehead
Mix well in a mortar cheese with butter, mustard, wine, flavoured vinegar, or any ingredient admired.
The Cook and Housewife’s Manual (1826) by the pseudonymous Meg Dodds.
Quotation for the Day.
Cook, see all your sawces be sharp and poynant in the palate, that they may commend you; look to your roast and baked meats handsomely, and what new kickshaws and delicate made things.
Frontispiece of The Cook and Housewife’s Manual