Thursday, February 14, 2013

Punch Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Today I give you the menu of a St. Valentine's Dinner held by the Woman's Press Club at the Hotel Windsor, Fifth Avenue, New York, in 1897, and hope that your own dinner this day is just as fine.

Blue Points
Consomme, Princesse
Olives              Salted Almonds          Celery
Chicken Halibut, Diplomate
Cucumbers                           New Potatoes
Philadelphia Capon, Braised, Madeleine
Macédoine de Légume
Lamb Chops, Printanier
Petits Pois, Parisienne

Lalla-Rookh Punch

Quail sur Canape
Lettuce                        Tomatoes
Charlotte Chantilly                 Champagne Jelly
Nesselrode Ice Cream in Cases           Assorted Cake
Fruit                Roquefort Cheese

Lalla-Rookh is the eponymous heroine in Lalla-Rookh, an Oriental Romance, an epic poem written in 1817 by the Irish poet and song-writer Thomas Moore. The story is about a princess’ journey to meet her betrothed. On the way she falls in love with the poet in her entourage who entertains her with his stirring stories of heroism and passion. Spoiler Alert coming up: in the end, she finds that her poet is in fact her prince.

Lalla-Rookh Punch was, in fact, a favourite of the time. Charles Ranhofer in his classic book The Epicurean, published in 1893 describes it thus:

Siberian or Lallah Rookh punch is merely vanilla ice-cream worked in a freezer, mixing in with it as quarter as much Italian meringue and about two gills of good rum for each quart of the ice cream; with this fill plain punch glasses with handles, or cups.

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