Wednesday, February 19, 2014

English Cricketers’ Dinner: Sydney, 1912

In all sports it seems that the winning team gets bragging rights, and if it is opportune, this is frequently exaggerated and becomes ‘rubbing it in’ rights. This was made quite painfully obvious to the losing side (Australia) at the dinner enjoyed by the victorious English cricket team in the fifth Ashes Test.  The report comes from the Queensland Times, of 5 March 1912

English Cricketers’ Dinner.
If you want a good dinner, be your own host; if you want a complimentary toast, be your own speech-maker. This was the motto of the English Eleven at the Hotel Wentworth, Sydney, on Wednesday evening last. They gave themselves a dinner (says the “Sun”). A bowl of ashes graced the centre of the table, rising glorious from decorations of the pink and white roses. A Union Jack waved triumphantly over it. the dinner was called “The M.C.G. Dinner,” and the colours of the team filled up the decorative scheme of the room and the table. On the menu-card the team broke forth into Shakespearian poetry:

“Thus far our fortune keeps an upward course,
And we are graced with wreaths of victory.”

It was a fine dinner, and everybody was happy. This was the menu:-

“On a good wicket.”
Hearne Bay Oyster Cocktails.
“First wicket down.”
Turtle Soup au Douglas (slow but sure.)
“How’s that?”
Rhodes Schnapper a la Century.
“Going great Gunns,”
Fostered Barn(es) Chicken au Maiden.
“Clean bowled.”
Champagne Punch, a la Campbell.
“All out to Pommery 1904.”
Saddle Woolley Lamb and Vine Sauce.
“Still no Hitch.”
Hobbled Asparagus and Pawley Dressing.
“Another boundary.”
Peche Warner.
“Plums out of season.”
Smith Behind Marleboro Stumps.
“Ashes on toast.”

After dinner the team toasted itself, and, as the morning papers say, the speeches were of a highly eulogistic character.

I will leave it to the cricket devotees amongst you to comment on the game, but my brief research tells me that England won the fifth Ashes Test (a five match series) by 4:1, by a margin of 70 runs.

The names of the English team-members appear in the menu, which is a eulogy in itself. Unfortunately it is impossible to appreciate the exact nature of the dishes at the dinner, but fear not, I have chosen a fish dish for you which is inspired by that on the menu – one of Australia’s favourite fish, the snapper (Pagrus auratus.)

Curried Snapper or Bream.
Cut an ordinary snapper or large bream into cutlets, roll in a little flour, and fry them a nice brown; also cut two onions in thin slices and fry; chop head into four pieces, place in a stewpan, cover with 1 ¼ pints of boiling water, season with salt and sliced apple (this takes the fishy taste from the water), boil for 20 minutes, strain off, place this liquid again in a stewpan, and thicken with cornflour and a tablespoonful of curry powder; place the cutlets and fried onions in the pa, and boil for 5 minutes. When dishing squeeze the juice of a lemon over the fish; garnish with toast, and serve with mashed potatoes.

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld) 26 September 1929

1 comment:

the foto fanatic said...

As Richie Benaud might say: "That is absolutely marvellous!"