I really cannot resist giving you one more snippet from The Greedy Book (1906) to end the week. It is a menu, and is surely one of the most interesting examples of a single-ingredient theme meal that I have ever featured here. The author says:
“A friend has sent me a curiosity from Havana in the shape of a menu, in the composition of every dish of which the banana entered in some shape or form. As a triumph of skill or ingenuity I respect the menu, but am thankful that I was not invited to partake of the repast. Here it is.
Soupe à la Banane avec Croûtons de Banane.
Crêpes de Banane avec Gelée de Banane.
Poulets à l’Etuvée avec Bananes Ciselées.
Poulets Rôtis avec Bananas Dressées.
Rôti de Boeuf avec Gelée de Banane.
Gâteau à la Gelée de Banane.
Galettes de Bananes.
Gâteau de Banane aux Fruits.
Café de Banane.
I have to agree with the author, the menu represents a triumph of skill or ingenuity - or perhaps both – on the part of the chef. But, if I may be permitted one small criticism - Gelée de Banane is a component of no less than three of the dishes, which is hardly ideal, is it?
I am not sure whether this ‘Gelée de Banane’ refers to ‘jelly’ as in confiture (jam), or to ‘jelly’ as in gelatin (Jello-O.) Banana Jell-O sounds not a whit appetizing to me, so I give you Banana Jam, from a regional Australian newspaper.
Slice up a dozen large bananas. To every pound of the fruit allow three-quarters of a pound of preserving sugar. Take the juice and pulp of five lemons, and add them to the bananas and sugar. Add a little water. Then chop up half an ounce of preserved ginger and add. Simmer very slowly for fifty minutes.
Evelyn Observer and Bourke East Record (Victoria) July17, 1914.