Tuesday, November 04, 2014

A Mixed Diet Dinner in 1940.

I have a little puzzle for you today. It begins (and ends too, I suppose) with an article (or maybe not an article) in the Kingston Gleaner [Kingston, Jamaica] of April 10, 1940.

Freak Dinner Draws Comment From Noted Prof.
 Professor Armondsay V. Stoors, world-famed connoisseur, guest of Socialite Mrs. Bette N. Rico while on visit here and who sails shortly for Europe made significant comments during a freak dinner given in his honour last night at the home of his hostess in St. Andrew.
The dinner was a strange affair where all courses were served at once, and the guests were asked to partake in whatever manner they felt inclined: from “soup to nuts” or vice-versa or any way that best appealed to them.
This remarkable dinner, arranged by whimsical Mrs. Rico (whose idea it was) was indeed a brilliant and unusual compliment to the guest of honour who is the world’s foremost food connoisseur of the “mixed diet” school of persuasion.
Prof Stoors believes in a mixed diet, “little of everything” at meals, as oppoed to the “Food Combinations” exponents who hold that indiscriminate combination of food may have injurious results.
There was much hilarity as the dinner progressed as every one “mixed” their fare according to whim and inclination, and Prof. Stoors showed he practiced what he preached by partaking of some of everything served.
At conclusion, during a brief speech in which he thanked Mrs Rico for her brilliant compliment to his convictions, Prof. Stoors said “I need not tell you how much I enjoyed this dinner, my appreciation must show on my face, but let me compliment you on the freshness and excellence of the ingredients that went to make up this delightful meal. As a connoisseur I realize that a dinner is only as healthful and delicious as its ingredients are wholesome and fresh. Your grocer must be complimented, madam.”
“Oh, yes, Professor,” said Mrs. Rico, “I shop for my groceries at the Army & Navy Stores where only the best foodstuffs are stocked as I don’t believe in taking chances with one’s food – the A. & N. Stores is where the best people go for their groceries.
*An Advertisement for Army and Navy Stores, 136 Harbour Street – by Ramos de Moya.

The puzzle is in the asterisked and italicized final sentence. Is this an advertisement? I cannot find any mention of a Professor Armondsay V. Stoors in an admittedly brief bit of research, nor of a capital-S Socialite called Bette Rico.

Time permitting, I will explore other editions of the Kingston Gleaner – if there is a real Mrs. Rico and she is as prominent on the social scene as the piece suggests, then she should be elsewhere in its pages.

The comments on dietary fashions of the time are interesting however – I had not realised that the Food-Combinationists were such a force to be challenged in the 1940’s. And I do like the mixed dinner idea.

As the recipe for the week, there was really only one option – or three, in fact – the winning ideas in a competition run in 1941 by The Banana Disposal Committee in Jamaica. The purpose of the competition was “To Help Yourself, To Help Jamaica, and to Help England.” and cash prizes (of ₤1 - ₤5) were offered for recipes in three categories:  Recipes Using The Banana as a Breakfast Food, for Recipes Using The Banana as a Vegetable Dish, and for Recipes Using The Bananas for Desserts, Preserves, Cakes, Ice Creams etc.

Class 1 – Banana and Salt Fish Cakes.
3 green bananas
¼ lb boiled salt fish
Seasoning to taste
A little milk
A little flour
Boil bananas and mash.
Remove skins and bones from fish and flake with a fork and add bananas.
Add seasoning and milk to bind.
Dredge with flour, shape in cakes
Fry in hot Palm Isle Oil [brand]
Drain on paper and serve hot.

Class 2 – Banana Sausages.
1 cup cooked and crushed green bananas.
⅔ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated cheese.
½ teaspoon salt.
½ teaspoon pepper.
2 eggs.
2 tablespoons Dairy Maid Margarine.
Place crushed cooked green bananas in a bowl, add beaten egg (1) Dairy Maid Margarine, salt, pepper, and shape into form of sausages. Roll in cheese and breadcrumbs and beaten egg (1). Fry in deep hot Palm Isle Oil until golden brown. Serve with Tomato sauce.

Class 3 – Banana Cakes.
½ cup Standard Margarine
1 ½ cups sugare
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
¼ cup sour milk
¾ teaspoon soda
2 cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Cream the butter until soft. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until light. Beat the eggs until very light and add to the first mixture. Combine with the mashed bananas and sour milk. Sift the flour, measure it and sift again with the soda, baking powder and salt.

Stir into the first mixture and beat until smooth. Bake in loaf pan in moderate oven for about 50 minutes. Frost with a white icing or serve unfrosted with whipped cream.

1 comment:

Piet said...

Hello, Janet -- I'll be interested in what you turn up about these two people. My first thought was that Prof. Stoors was a clumsy anagram of Army and Navy Stores, and that Bette N. Rico was an attempt to make the lady sound rich and cultivated, all in service of the advertisement. Convoluted, yes, but fun. Please don't let us down!