The London newspaper, the Gazetteer And New Daily Advertiser on October 11, 1765 included a short piece that demonstrates that boys’ nights out in the guise of club-business are a long-established phenomenon:
On Monday last was held the annual club-feast of a Society of Beef-eating, Beer-drinking Britons, at a public house in Fetter-lane. Their bill of fare were three large buttocks of beef, 60 cabbages, eight geese, and the same number of giblet pies, one large Cheshire cheese, two double Gloucester, ditto toasted, and no more bread than eight quatern loaves; two butts of beer were tapped on this occasion, and no thing was left for supper. The company consisted of 100 members only.
I was pleased, but not surprised, that recipes for the dishes mentioned are all to be found in The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy (1774) by Hannah Glasse.
To broil steaks.
First have a very clear brisk fire: let your gridiron be very clean; put it on the fire, and take a chaffing-dish with a few hot coals out of the fire. Put the dish on it which is to lay your steaks on, then take fine rump steaks about half an inch thick; put a little pepper and salt on them, lay them on the gridiron, and (if you like it) take a shallot or two, or a fine onion and cut it fine; put it into your dish. Don't turn your steaks till one side is done, then when you turn the other side there will soon be fine gravy lie on the top of the steak, which you must be careful not to lose. When the steaks are enough, take them carefully off into your dish, that none of the gravy be lost; then have ready a hot dish and cover, and carry them hot to table, with the cover on.
Directions concerning the sauce for steaks.
If you love pickles or horse-raddish with steaks, never garnish your dish, because both the garnishing will be dry, and the steaks will be cold, but lay those things on little plates, and carry to table. The great nicety is to have them hot and full of gravy.
General directions concerning broiling.
As to mutton and pork steaks, you must keep them turning quick on the gridiron, and have your dish ready over a chaffing-dish of hot coals, and carry them to table covered hot. When you broil fowls or pigeons, always take care your fire is clear; and never baste any thing on the gridiron, for it only makes it smoked and burnt.
To dress cabbages, &c.
Cabbage, and all sorts of young sprouts, must be boiled in a great deal of water. When the stalks are tender, or fall to the bottom, they are enough; then take them off, before they lose their colour. Always throw salt in your water before you put your greens in. Young sprouts you send to table just as they are, but cabbage is best chopped and put into a saucepan with a good piece of butter, stirring it for about five or six minutes, till the butter is all melted, and then send it to table.
To make a giblet pie.
Take two pair of giblets nicely cleaned, put all but the livers into a sauce-pan, with two quarts of water, twenty corns of whole pepper, three blades of mace, a bundle of sweet-herbs, and a large onion; cover them close, and let them stew very softly till they are quite tender, then have a good crust ready, cover your dish, lay a fine rump steak at the bottom, seasoned with pepper and salt; then lay in your giblets with the livers, and strain the liquor they were stewed in. Season it with salt, and pour into your pie; put on the lid, and bake it an hour and a half.
Directions for roasting a goose.
Take sage, wash it, pick it clean, chop it small, with pepper and salt; roll them with batter, and put them into the belly; never put onion into any thing, unless you are sure every body loves it; take care that your goose be clean picked and washed. I think the best way is to scald a goose, and then you are sure it is clean, and not so strong: let your water be scalding hot, dip in your goose for a minutes, then all the feathers will come off clean: When it is quite clean wash it with cold water, and dry it with a cloth; roast it and baste it with butter, and when it is half done, throw some flour over it, that it may have a fine brown. Three quarters of an hour will do it at a quick fire, if it is not too large, otherwise it will require an hour. Always have good gravy in a bason and apple-sauce in another.
To make a Welch rabbit.
Toast the bread on both sides, then toast the cheese on one side, lay it on the toast, and with a hot iron brown the other side. You may rub it over with mustard.
The dinner did not include a “dessert”, which seems to be a serious omission. I have selected one for you, for completeness sake, from Mrs. Glasse’s book.
To make a baked bread pudding.
Take the crumb of a penny-loaf, as much flour, the yolks of four eggs and two whites, a tea-spoonful of ginger, half a pound of raisins stoned, half a pound of currants clean washed sand picked, a little salt. Mix first the bread and flour, ginger, salt and sugar to your palate, then eggs, and as much milk as will make it like a good batter, then the fruit, butter the dish, pour it in and bake it.