Monday, December 03, 2012

A December Menu.

One of the promises I make here is that from time to time I will give you a historical menu. Of those that I have given to date, most have been for meals held ‘on this day.’ Instead, today I am going to give you an eighteenth century ‘suggested’ menu for December.

Our source is: 

Assistant in all Domestic Concerns
In a TOWN OR COUNTRY Situation.

It was published in 1781 by Laetitia Montague, ‘Sometime Companion to a Lady in one of the first Families in the Kingdom.’

And here it is - the menu for the month of December. Remember, my sunbaked and heat-frazzled loyal readers in the Southern Hemisphere, that at this time December is in the  Northern Hemisphere winter! 

FIRST COURSE                                SECOND COURSE
Crimped Cod                                       Roast Pheasants
Plumb Pottage                                      Partridges
Chine of Mutton                                  Ducks and Larks                     
Roast Turkey                                       Scollop Shells of Oysters
Chine of Bacon                                               Potted Lamprey
Collar of Brawn                                               Potted Venison
Roast Sir Loin of Beef                         Teal
Shoulder of Mutton in                         Oysters
            Ragout                                     Roasted Chickens
Leg of Veal stewed                              Tarts and Custards
Marrow Pudding                                  Jole of Sturgeon
Jugged Hare                                         Scotch Collops
Minced Pies                                         White Fricassey of Tripe                     
Pullets with Oysters                             Pulled Chickens
Goose or Turkey in
ForeQuarter of Lamb

This is, as you will note, a typical dinner service of the time, with two courses each containing a large variety of dishes, with a trend to ‘finer’ foods in the second course, but no clear distinction between savoury and sweet dishes. We would now refer to this as service à la Française, but at that time it was simply the norm. Fear not, the folk of the day did not go without ‘dessert’ – but more on this tomorrow.

As our recipe for the day, I chose ‘Pulled Chickens.’ And who better to supply the recipe than Hannah Glasse?

Pulled Chickens.
Take three chickens, boil them just fit for eating, but not too much; when they are boiled enough, flay all the skin off and take the white flesh off the bones, pull it into pieces about as thick as a large quill, and half as long as your finger. Have ready a quarter of a pint of good cream, and a piece of fresh butter about as big as an egg; stir them together till the butter is all melted, and then put in your chicken with the gravy that came from them; give them two or three tosses round on the fire, put them into a dish, and send them up hot.
Note, the legs, pinions, and rump must be peppered and salted, done over with the yolk of an egg and breadcrumbs, and broiled on a clear fire; put the white meat, with the rump, in the middle, and the legs and pinions round.
The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy (1784 edition) by Hannah Glasse.


Les said...

The birds should be boiled with the feathers on?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "pinions" refers to the wingtips?

How many people is a menu like this meant to feed? Or do all the leftovers go to feed the servants?


The Old Foodie said...

Hi Les, I think they are plucked, then boiled, then skinned?

The Old Foodie said...

sandra, I always thought 'pinions' were the wingtips, but will go and look it up, and see what the experts say. The menu would have served a large family and perhaps guests. But I am not sure how many that would add up too! Servants would have had the leftovers - after the good stuff was recycled for the family for a time or two! often there was a separate menu for servants - with plain food.