Friday, May 09, 2014

The Baconian Club Dinner, 1896.

The Baconian Club was founded in London, Ontario, Canada, in January 1885 by members of London’s literary, legal, and other elite groups. The club was named in honour of Sir Francis Bacon, the great scientist and writer of the Elizabethan age, which no doubt comes as a disappointment to those of you who immediately assumed it was in honour of cured pig meat. Membership of the club was by invitation only, and was held at fifty – all male, of course.

The twelfth annual dinner of the club was held on May 1st, 1896 at the Grigg House in London, and the menu was:
“Rich the treasure,
Sweet the pleasure.” – Dryden.
East River oysters on half-shell.
Puree of Game, Jessienne.
Sliced Tomatoes.         Sliced Cucumber.        New Lettuce.
Red Sea Salmon, a la Genoise.
Boiled Turkey, Oyster Sauce.
Prime Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding.          Roast Spring Lamb, Mint Sauce.
Claret Punch.
English Sweet Breads, aux Petits Pois.          Frogs’ Legs, Breadead, en Brodeur.
Shrimp Salad.  Chicken Salad.            Lobster Salad.
Mashed Potatoes.        Boiled Potatoes.
“Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.”- Shakespeare.

[second page of menu]
Orl. – Forbear, and eat no more;
Jaq. – Why, I have eat none yet.  As You Like It.

Spinach.          Asparagus, a la Cream.                       Baked Sweet Potatoes.
English Plum Pudding, Brandy Sauce.
Pear Tarts.       Apple Pie.       Lemon Pie.
Lemon Jelly.    Wine Jelly.
Baconian Ice Cream.
Strawberries and Cream.
Chocolate Cake.                      Fruit Cake.      Lady Fingers.
French Kisses.
Oranges.          Bananas.          Malaga Grapes.
Sliced Pineapples.
Mixed Nuts.    Assorted Candies.       London Layer Raisins.
Canadian Cheese.       Roquefort Cheese.
Café a la Mocha.
“When our old pleasures die,
Some new one still is nigh.” – Rowe.

Apart from the token inclusion of Canadian Cheese and the intriguing Baconian Ice Cream, there is nothing to distinguish this menu from any late nineteenth century formal public dinner in England, America, or Australia – the remnants of colonialism die hard, it seems.

As the recipe for the day I have chosen a rather girlie lobster salad from Cookery, by Amy G. Richards (Montreal, 1895.)

Savoury Cream.
1 small lobster, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, ½ pint cream, ½ oz. gelatin, 1 gill aspic, 1 gill tomato juice. 
Decorate a border mould with parsley and lobster, and set with jelly; then mix together the mayonnaise and pieces of lobster; fill the mould and turn out when cold. Fill in the centre with lettuce dipped in mayonnaise, and garnish with aspic.


SometimesKate said...

What is Jessienne, as in puree of game Jessienne? I did a quick google search, but all that resulted was your page.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi kate
I suspect it was a concoction of the chef in this instance - perhaps in honour of someone in the club named Jessie? It is certainly not a classic recipe.

Gary Gillman said...

Very nice. Even the cheese was likely English in style though. Cheddar-making implanted in Ontario in the later 1800's with great success and is still a big seller, in England too (the Black Diamond brand was well-known there certainly).

I wouldn't really put it down to colonialism Janet. It is more that the each country mentioned shares the Anglo-Saxon heritage, not always in ethnicity of course but in culture, and this extends to foodways. It used to go all one way but for some time goes the other way too, beers flavoured with New Zealand hops are all the go in London, and they like Buffalo chicken wings too these days I'm told.

Good old London, ON, still as stolid and prosperous as always!


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