Thursday, November 08, 2012

All Aboard for Luncheon, 1920.

On the second day of our retro-cruising life we are aboard the T.S.S. ‘Columbia’ of the Anchor Line, and surely there is something to suit everyone today on the luncheon menu?

November 8, 1920
Puree Parmentier
Omelettes with Asparagus Tips – to order
Spaghetti – Italian                    Game Pie
Boiled Brisket of Beef & Carrots
Baked Jacket Potatoes
To Order – 15 Minutes
Grilled Mutton Chops
French Fried Potatoes
Bordeaux Sardines
Roast Beef       Cumberland Ham        Roast Turkey
Sliced Tomatoes & Lettuce
Rice Pudding   Baked Apples
Cheeses – Gorgonzola, American & Gruyere
Tea                  Coffee

Who could resist that lovely soup? It is potato soup, of course, as is every dish named ‘Parmentier.’ They are named in honour of that great nineteenth-century champion of the potato - Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, the French agriculturalist and apothecary who did more to champion their use than perhaps any other single individual of the time. He came to realise the nutritional value of the potato while spending some time as a prisoner of war in Germany, where they were the primary fodder for prisoners.

Here is rather elegant version of potato soup:

Cream of potatoes with chervil and sorrel.
The potage Parmentier is prepared as follows: Peel a dozen potatoes, slice and put them in cold water. Slice two onions, a head of celery, and the white part of two leeks. Put these ingredients in a stewpan with four ounces of butter and the sliced potatoes. Fry the whole for ten minutes, and then moisten with two quarts of white broth. Add three cloves, some salt, a bunch of parsley, and let simmer until the vegetables are done; then rub through a fine sieve or tammy. Return the purée into a stewpan; set it on the fire to boil slowly, adding a little broth if the soup is found too thick.
Let it simmer for twenty minutes, taking off the scum as it rises. When ready to serve, add a liaison
of four yolks of eggs, diluted with half a pint of cream, and four ounces of butter, divided into small
pieces. Throw in the soup a little finely-chopped and blanched chervil, and send to table separately some small fried croutons.
The steward's handbook and guide to party catering (1903), by Jessup Whitehead.

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