Today, July 29, as with every other day in the year, the big question is - “What shall we have for dinner?” And what will we have for breakfast and supper too? Books have always been around to offer meal suggestions, and today to assist your decision, I give you the recommendations from Three meals a day: a diary for the kitchen, giving for every day of the year, according to seasons, a bill of fare for breakfast, dinner and supper, by an Old Epicure (New York, 1884.)
TUESDAY 29th [JULY]
BREAKFAST: - Shad, Mutton Chops, Fresh Calf’s Tongues, Eggs on Toast.
DINNER.- Veal Soup, Young Rabbit Patties, Fresh Cod fish, Roast Beef, Water Cress Salad, Gruyere Cheese, Stoned Cherry Pie.
SUPPER.- Mutton Stew, Bacon and Eggs, Crab Salad, Munster Cheese, Raspberry Jelly and Cake.
As it turns out, ‘the Old Epicure’ also wrote The Gourmet's Guide to Rabbit Cooking (1859) which therefore most conveniently provides us with several recipes for the day. In previous times a ‘patty’ was not a ‘rissole’ or ‘burger’ type disc of meat but a small pie, as the first recipe shows.
Make a light paste with a little butter, flour, two eggs, and some milk; roll it thin. Take as much of the meat from a rabbit as you are likely to require; chop it up, adding a slice of ham, a little butter, a shallot, or artichoke-leaves shred fine, and a sufficiency of spices; sprinkle it with lemon-juice or white wine, wrap a portion of this preparation in pieces of paste, and either bake or fry them; if the former, rub them over with the yelk of egg before placing them iu the oven.
Make a raised crust as for a pork-pie; take a fine young rabbit, disjoint it, and cut the meat from the bones; season it highly; add to it half a pound of fat bacon, the yelks of four hard-boiled eggs cut into slices, and sufficient tomato-sauce to make it of an agreeable colour. Pack the meat pretty tightly, and bake in a very gentle oven for an hour and a-half. This is usually eaten cold; but a vol a vent may be made with paste baked round a buttered mould, and when done, removed from the mould, and filled with a rich ragout of rabbit, which is eaten hot.
Cut up a couple of rabbits, nicely shaping your pieces of meat, and adding to it a pound of good fat bacon, cut rather small; season with pepper, salt, and powdered cloves. If agreeable, you may also join a shred shallot. Make some forcemeat balls with the livers parboiled and pounded in a mortar, eight fine oysters, mace, Cayenne, and savoury herbs. Form these ingredients into balls with the yelks of two eggs, and add them to your meat. Put a good crust round your dish, lay in your rabbits and forcemeat, pour in half a pint of port wine and the same quantity of water, cover it
Rabbit and Hare Patties.
Take a nice piece of cold roasted hare or rabbit, and mince it very fine with half a pound of suet. Thicken some strong gravy with a little butter and flour; season with nutmeg, mace, lemon grate, and a very little salt; then put in the mince-meat, with six ounces of cleaned currants. Boil the whole about six minutes, and fill up the patties.
The Practice of Cookery, Pastry, and Confectionary (1820) by Mrs. Frazer.
Funny how recently it became almost taboo to eat rabbit instead of just being one more dish to rotate through the menus. I like that eggs are on the menu for both breakfast and dinner in this suggestion of a day's dining. Did you by any chance make a caloric estimate of the recommended diet?
These people clearly had servants. What woman who had no cook would spend all day (perhaps more than one day) preparing a menu like that?! And of course there were all the leftovers. Fortunately, the servants could dispose of them (not just by eating them, but by selling them, or so I read).
I love the idea of meatballs in a pie! What fun to be munching through your rabbit pie and come upon a totally unexpected and completely different flavor and texture! I may have to try something like that -- although not with oysters and rabbit liver, I think....
A dream menu, perhaps, BayDog, but only if, as korenni says, you have a cook and several servants to prepare it for you!
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