Our source is:
A MOST USEFUL
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?
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.