Friday, June 01, 2012

Banquet at Buckingham Palace.

It is impossible to avoid the Royal Jubilee hype. I suspect it has insinuated itself into all corners of the world, both English-speaking and not. And why should we avoid it anyway? It doesn’t matter if we are royalists or not, it is impossible to separate the institution of royalty from just about any other historical event, anywhere – and I assume, if you are reading this blog, that you are interested in history.
I am not royalist, but I cannot help but be interested in the goings-on at royal dinner tables of any era. Although Queen Elizabeth came to the throne sixty years ago on the death of her father in February 1952, her formal coronation did not take place until June 2 the following year. In case you are considering any ‘themed’ meals to celebrate the Jubilee, I thought some contemporary menus might help you to plan. I have already given the menu for the royal family dinner which took place at the end of what must have been an exhausting day, in a previous post. Today I am going to give you the menu for the first of the two official coronation banquets which took place on the following two days.

On June 3, 1953, about 240 lucky (wealthy, aristocratic, diplomatic and royal) personages sat down at the banquet tables in Buckingham Palace. The menu was:

Tortue Claire Sandringham.
(Clear Turtle Soup)
Delices de Soles Prince Charles
(Filet of Sole)
Carré d’Agneau à la Windsor
(Rack of Lamb)
Haricots Verts au Beurre
(Buttered String Beans)
Pommes Nouvelles
(New Potatoes)
Salade Royale, Asperges with Sauce
Bôite de Fraises Reine Elizabeth
Friandises Assortis.

The exact recipes for the dishes served at this banquet, I cannot give, as I have not found them published anywhere. They are classic dishes, however, almost certainly only tweaked and re-named for the occasion, and you will find them in any classic cookery book.

As the recipe for the day I give you a little something a little different – but still royal, and very summery. It is a wonderful raspberry fool from Mrs. McKee’s Royal Cookery Book, 1964, (by the former cook to H.M. the Queen and H.M. the Queen Mother.)

Raspberry Fool with Orange Curaçao.
2 lbs raspberries, fresh or frozen.
2 tablespoons orange curaçao.
¾ pint cream.
Sugar to taste.
Pistachio nuts.
If using frozen raspberries, defrost but do not add extra sugar.
Sieve the raspberries, add the sugar and orange curaçao. Whip the cream stiff and mix in with the raspberries. Put in individual glasses or fill tartlets. Decorate with pistachio nuts.

On Monday I will give you the menu for the second banquet.

Quotation for the Day.

A banquet is probably the most fatiguing thing in the world except ditchdigging. It is the insanest of all recreations. The inventor of it overlooked no detail that could furnish weariness, distress, harassment, and acute and long-sustained misery of mind and body.
Mark Twain


Lapinbizarre said...

Guess turtle soup is off the menu this year.

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of the printed menu as my uncle served at Buck House at that time. With all the pomp it is a simple presentation save for the gold print on the front.

Don't know if has any value?

Celia Perrin (nee Hammond)

Mimi Stinson said...

I'm a royalist and I think it would be a privilege if I can be invited to a Royal banquet. Though probably the close I'll ever get is look for hotels in london near Buckingham Palace so I can just admire the view from outside.

The Old Foodie said...

Sometimes a good view is better than the reality, Mimi!