Friday, November 08, 2013

A Clerical breakfast at Delmonico’s in 1866.

Over several days in early November, 1866, a group of clergymen from various Evangelical churches assembled in New York for the purposes of important discussion and incidental entertainment. The events were reported in The American Quarterly Church Review and Ecclesiastical Register in a rather bemused, and not uncritical fashion:-

The invitation, as sent abroad, was so peculiar and characteristic, that it is worth re-producing. Here it is, verbatim et literatim :—

The Anniversary Meetings of the American Church Missionary and Evangelical Knowledge Societies, are to be held in the Church of the Ascension, New York City, on November 7th, 8th and 9th.  All Clergy and Laity who sympathize with these organizations, or their objects, are cordially invited to be present. Arrangements have been made for the hospitable entertainment of all who come. After the breakfast provided on Friday by the Clerical Association, there will be a free social conference on the interests which unite us. There are indications of a very large gathering. It it highly important that every Evangelical Church should be represented. Therefore we say, make your preparations to come to New York.

It was evident enough to all who have paid any attention to party organizations and movements in the Church, that something was on foot, and that a decided demonstration of some sort might be looked for. The Meetings were respectably attended in numbers, and this was all. Out of all the Bishops of the American Church, forty in number, there were but six present; the Rt. Rev. Bishops Lee, of Delaware; Johns, of Virginia; Eastburn, of Massachusetts; Vail, of Kansas; Payne, of Africa; and Williams, of China; Bishops Vail, Payne and Williams, being accidentally in the City. The Religious character of these Meetings was peculiar. Daily "Meetings for Prayer" were ostentatiously advertised; but, throughout, the regular Daily Service of the Prayer Book was not once used; there was no Sermon, and no administration of the Holy Sacrament of the Supper. There was, however, a "Supper," or, rather, a Breakfast, of another sort, which was so strictly in keeping with the whole proceedings, that we give an account of it, as publicly reported:—

Clerical Breakfast at Delmonico's.
The members of the American Church Missionary and the Evangelical Knowledge Societies, closed the Anniversaries of both organizations by a Prayer Meeting this morning, at the Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue. Bishop Johns, of Virginia, Rev. Dr. Tyng, and others, officiated in the service, and delivered brief addresses on the progress of the Societies, and their future work.
At 11 o'clock, the meeting adjourned, to attend a Clerical Breakfast at Delmonico's in Fourteenth street. The dejeuner was bountifully provided in the principal banquet hall, and about two hundred Priests, Pastors, and lay delegates, participated in the Feast, which consisted of the following
Breakfast given by the Clerical Association of the P. E. Church, to the Officers and Members of the A. C. M. and E. K. Societies, Friday, Nov. 9, 1866.
Huitres a la Poulettes.
Filet de sole a la Venitienne.
Omelettes aux fines herbes.
Cotelettes de mouton a la Soubise:
Poulets sautis a la Chasseurs :
Pommes Parisienne: Petits pois :
Salade de Homards.
Beignets de Pommes:
Glaces Napolitaines.
Cafes: Thes: Chocolate:
The principal table was occupied by Bishop Johns, Bishop Lee, Bishop Vail, Bishop Payne, Rev. Dr. Tyng, Rev. Dr. Dyer, Rev. Dr. John Cotton Smith, and Jay Cooke, Esq., the banker."

If this Breakfast at Delmonico's does not strike a key-note in the ears of all true, sincere Christians ; if there is not a Christian sensibility, which instinctively appreciates the horrible discord with all the associations of the occasion which assembled these gentlemen together, then, on this special feature of the Meetings, we have not another word to say. There is reason in all things ; and everything, even that is reasonable and proper in itself, has its own appropriate place. We hesitate not to declare, that a Breakfast at Delmonico's, on such an occasion, by those professedly intent on the special work of' a suffering, crucified Saviour, in such a day of worldliness, and rebuke, and blasphemy as this, was an outrage on Christian propriety. And we mark this difference in the Religious Services of the two sets of Meetings, as an index which all Christians, of ordinary delicacy and refinement, will perfectly well understand. At any rate, we shall waste no time on its interpretation.

Recipe for the Day.

Charles Ranhofer was Chef de Cuisine at Delmonico’s at the time of the above event, so I give you one of his recipes for beignets, from his book, The Epicurean, published in 1894:

Apple Fritters With Prunelle Or With Kirsch
(Beignets de Pommes à  la Prunelle ou au Kirsch).
Peel some fine apples; cut them across in three pieces, remove the cores with a five-eighths of an inch diameter tin tube, and cook them partly in a syrup, then drain on a sieve. Make an apple jelly (No. 3668), and when done add to it as much peach marmalade (No. 3675); range the apples on a baking sheet and mask them several times with the jelly, having sufficient of it to leave on a thick layer. When cold remove the slices of apple with a knife and roll them in powdered macaroons, then dip in frying batter (No. 137), and plunge them into hot frying fat. As the paste becomes crisp, drain them off, wipe and brush over with a brush dipped in a sugar frosting flavored with prunelles or kirsch.

Frying Batters
(Pâtes à  Frire).
No. 1. -Put into a vessel, half a pound of flour, a little salt, four tablespoonfuls of oil and three egg-yolks; dilute these with sufficient water at once, so as not to have to add any more, and the size of half an inch ball of compressed yeast dissolved in a little tepid water; mix till it becomes smooth and flows without being stringy; it should well cover the spoon. Lay a cloth over the vessel, and keep it in a moderate temperature. At the last moment add to it three beaten egg-whites.
No. 2. -Place in a vessel half a pound of flour, a little salt, two tablespoonfuls of oil, diluted in tepid water, and then add a piece of compressed yeast the size of a half an inch ball, dissolved in a little water. Set the batter in a moderate temperature, and when it begins to ferment, add a handful of flour, salt, oil and water. The batter should be renewed every day without adding yeast; the fermentation produced by the batter will be sufficient to keep it light, and avoid the use of any more yeast.

No. 3. -This is a finer preparation, intended for sweet dishes, etc. Take half a pound of flour, dilute


Anonymous said...

The American Church Missionary Society and the Protestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge (also known as Evangelical Knowledge Societies) were both ministries under the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA (Anglican Communion). The CMS still exists in various forms, but the PESPEK is pretty much defunct to the best of my knowledge.

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks, Anonymous. it is always good to get a bit of local knowledge or information. I think I might look for some other Clerical menus from the past - they make for interesting discussion.