Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year’s Eve Collation, 1892.

Julius C. Hartmann provided a very fine collation at his Restaurant and Café in the Washington Building (No. 1 Broadway, New York) on New Year’s Eve in 1892. It seems that the following menu was his gift to some lucky (presumably very regular) patrons:

Pickled Oysters
Clear chicken broth en tasse
Kennebec salmon decoré, sauce ravigote à la Chas. Hellstern
Anchovies                   Caviar
Pàté de foie-gras  en gelée
Celery              Olives              Chow              Gherkins
Chicken           Lobster            Shrimp
Herring and Russian salads
Boned turkey in aspic en Bellevue
Boned capon in aspic en Bellevue
Battle between an army of 500 quails and a chicken hawk
Stuffed wild boar’s head sur socle à la St. Hubert
Variety of cold joints
Roast turkey with celery mayonnaise
Fruit                Cakes
CHEESE: Port du Salut         Roquefort        Gruyère           Cheddar

As the recipe for the day I would love to have given you a recipe for the “battle between an army of 500 quails and a chicken hawk,” but alas, no such instructions were to be found.

Celery mayonnaise was a popular dish in the U.S.A in the 1890’s. The Williamsburg Journal Tribune of September 9, 1892 had this to say on the subject:

The use of celery on the table, coming as it does in the fall, after the long heat of summer, can not be too highly recommended, not only because of the delicious flavor of this vegetable, but because also of its admitted value as a nerve tonic. A well-made ice-cold celery mayonnaise is one of the most delicious salads we have when served either with game or with a dinner of poultry. It is a great mistake to allow celery to become wilted. After it has once wilted it never regains its pristine crispness and freshness. Celery should be put into a dark and cold place as soon as it is brought into the house. Absence of light is especially necessary to keep it crisp and firm. N.Y. Tribune.

It would seem that any dish which may help with “the nerves” might be particularly useful at this hectic time of year!

The following recipe for celery mayonnaise is particularly interesting as it suggests the flavour match with ducks which have fed on wild celery.

Celery Mayonnaise.
Pare off the green leaves of two bunches of celery, cut in short pieces, wash well, drain in a cloth, put in a salad bowl, and add a well-seasoned mayonnaise dressing. Mingle well, and serve with roast canvas-back duck. As wild celery is the food that gives such succulence to the flesh of canvas-back ducks killed in November and December on the Potomac and Susquehanna rivers, cultivated celery is the proper accompaniment of this dish.

Goshen Independent January 28, 1882


Elise Fleming/Alys K. said...

At least in the areas in the US where I've lived, one can no longer get leaves on celery. They are chopped off before the stalks are put out for the customers. I used to use them for soups and stuffing for chicken. Why did someone decide we had no use for celery leaves??

Shay said...

It could be a thousand quails and my money would still be on the chicken hawk.