Friday, March 15, 2013

The Incident of the Orange Sherbet.

There will be no blog post on Sunday, which is (as if you didn’t know,) St. Patrick’s Day, but I have a St. Patrick’s Day story which must be told, for it is a tale of great patriotism and heroism. Our hero is an Irishman (of course) – a big, brave man, a man prepared to risk his very livelihood, not to mention an international incident, for his principles. The story takes place on St. Patrick’s Day, 1911, in the United States. The Washington Post considered it newsworthy. I repeat their story here: 

“Not on St. Patrick’s Day,” Said O’Shea,
and He Won Out.

Though his patriotic feeling nearly cost him his job, Dennis O’Shea, one of the chefs in the Columbia University commons, where most of the students on Morningside Heights eat, flatly refused to profane Friday by making orange sherbet as the dessert for the evening meal. He told Clarence R. Jones, the manager, that he would prevent any of the other chefs from doing so as long as any breath remained in his body.
Jones made out the bill of fare on Thursday evening, and when he put down orange sherbet it did not occur to him that the dish would hardly be appropriate for March 17. O’Shea noticed the offending dish at once. He said nothing to Jones at the moment, but went to work with rebellion in his heart, and as he made up the different dishes he tried to think up a way out of the difficulty. He finally solved the problem by making raspberry sherbet, although he knew that the students had been eating raspberry sherbet every night for a week, and were beginning to get tired of it.
The first Jones knew of the substitution was when he made a trip through the dining room. The first thing he saw was a mournful student studying the menu to see if his eyes had not deceived him. Jones made a dive for the kitchen, where he sought out O’Shea and demanded why his orders had been disregarded.
“’Tis the 17th of March and no orange sherbet shall be made here if I can help it” was O’Shea’s reply.
Jones argued and threatened, but in vain. O’Shea was obdurate, and when Jones ordered a Greek waiter to freeze some orange sherbet the militant Irishman sat down on the big freezer and dared Jones and the Greek to come on. O’Shea won out.

Had our hero had sufficient advance warning, he would of course have made a green sherbet. I feel sure it would have contained a suitable amount of spirits too. Perhaps some Irish Whisky could be substituted for some of the other spirits in the following recipe?

Mint Sherbet.
Put ten sprigs of fresh mint to soak for an hour in one cup of half each brandy and sherry. Strain and add three cups of water and two cups of sugar which have been boiled to a syrup, two teaspoons of granulated gelatine dissolved and the whites of four eggs beaten stiff. Freeze stiff.
Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book, 1903


TerryB said...

Oh my - mint julep sherbet! Sounds perfect!

Anonymous said...

We may be having a hot St. Patrick's Day here in Southern California, mint julep sherbert is just the thing!

The Old Foodie said...

I love the idea too. I was surprised just how many variations of the basic theme there were, but didnt have time to put them all up (when the book is finished ... is my mantra for everything ...)