I have a very interesting Hallowe’en menu for you today. It is from the Lake Placid Club in the Adirondacks, in the year 1917. The club was founded by Melvil Dewey (1851-1831) – the man who developed the library classification system that bears his name. Dewey also founded the Lake Placid Club and the American Spelling Reform Movement – and not surprisingly the former became headquarters for the latter.
The menu for the ‘Annual Hallowe’en Frolic’ in 1917 was printed in the "Simpler Speling" style used at the resort.
This is the nicht o’ Hallowe’en
When a’ the witchy micht be seen
Lake Placid Club Simpler speling
Wensday 31 October 1917
Cream of tomato
Homini Post tosties
Broild sirloin steak
or Turki cutlets with peas
or Devild ham on tost
Creamd pocht egs
Egs to order
Baked potatos Au gratin potatos
Baked Hubbard squaſ au gratin
Ham or Lam or Veal
Letis Stri[ng] bean salad
Dry Butterd Milk
Whole wheat rols Tea biskits with huni
Pumpkin py Ginjerbred whipt cream
Maple sugar cake
Cotaj cheez with wafers
Tea Cofi Coco Butermilk Milk
Extra charj for all orders not on menu
I was unable, in the short time I tried, to find the ‘simple speling’ symbol representing the “ng” in the Stri[ng] bean salad. I was, however, able to find a simple recipe for string bean salad from the era – which is exactly the same as a simple string bean salad recipe today.
String Bean Salad.
Mix together four tablespoonfuls of olive oil, one half teaspoonful salt and one-quarter teaspoonful white pepper. Add slowly, stirring all the time, one tablespoonful of vinegar and stir until perfectly mixed. Pour this over one pint of boiled and drained string beans, add one teaspoonful finely cut chives and turn into the salad bowl. Garnish with a row of overlapping slices of red radishes or beets.
Newport Daily News August 7, 1913
The problem with simplified spelling is that it attempted to correlate the spelling of a word with how it is pronounced.
Given the many, many ways one single word can be pronounced in the US alone, the movement was doomed.
For example,on this lovely 13C/55F evening I am enjoying what could be -- depending on where in the US you might find yourself -- described as a fiyer, fahr, foehr, or faya.
(after eating a dinner of ham and either beens or banes, take your pick).
I digested your comments over my lunch of tomahto or tomayto salad :)(Our two countries are indeed divided by our common language!) :)
Very interesting as are the earlier posts linked giving Halloween-theme menus of times past. Do you think the tradition of such meals has largely disappeared? You see the odd dish featuring pumpkin around this time (I saw a pumpkin fudge the other day), but mostly the deathless pumpkin pie.
One area you do see the theme in abundance is in almost any kind of drink. Round this time of year in North America, pumpkin beer, pumpkin cider, pumpkin coffees (Starbucks does a great latte one) are commonly seen. From the recipe for "pompion wine" given earlier though one can see few of these are really a new idea..
P.S. I am pretty sure they have a pumpkin soup in the far north of France, around Lille.
Hi Gary. I dont think, overall, that people very often do theme dinners nowadays - apart from major events such as fundraisers.
Pumpkin is a very popular vegetable here in Aus. We have some great varieties with thick, sweet, meaty flesh. Pumpkin soup is a staple, and pumpkin scones are considered a Queensland icon. I have made pumpkin fruit cake too - very nice. The concept of canned spiced pumpkin for pie filling is really weird to us here!
Hi and many thanks, interesting how pumpkin dishes have taken root here and there around the world. Here are some early American and English recipes from a site I follow:
I see a soup is included. The common link seems English colonial days and I guess the dishes moved around... Thx again.
Heck -- the US is divided by our common language. Next time you're in my hemisphere, let me introduce you to some North Carolinians.
I might take you up on that one day, Shay! And if you are ever in Oz, let me know!
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