Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Queensland Christmas Menu, 1900.

A Very Merry Christmas to you all, my friends!
My own Christmas wish (well, one of them anyway) is that I hope to continue to meet with you here every weekday in 2015. The tenth anniversary of this blog will be on October 31st, and I certainly hope you are still with me then, and beyond.
On this Christmas Day I have for you a short piece from The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld) of 15 Dec 1900.
By “Delphia.”

You must not imagine, dear girls, that the following menu is one that recommends itself to sojourners in a tropical climate, or to such melting moments as dwellers in Queensland experience on the Nativity festival day of the year, the 25th December. For weeks and weeks before that date our colonial thermometers rise higher and higher, and it is just possible may reach a record rise on the day of days. Common-sense gastronomers would initiate a menu adapted to the climate – cold turkeys, game, fowls in aspic, moulded calf’s head, cold chicken pie and salad, apple snow, jellies, and a dozen other lovely cold dishes, beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. All very well, wise gourmond; but how are these viands to be made to congeal with the thermometer in the nineties and no ice chests, and where, in far-way bush homes, can slabs of ice be manufactured? But even if a Christmas menu upon a frozen plan were feasible, it is doubtful if it would usurp in place of the traditional fare upon which our ancestors feasted, and which, while you are reading these lines, our sisters and brothers in Great Britain are busily preparing, and anticipate eating as of yore. Let us make the most of what we have, and be thankful that we have the good old roast of beef, the plump turkey, and delicious fruits of our own colony, and many also from other climes. These are within our reach, and only need the culinary art which most of our housewives possess to develop a grand festival banquet such as will do honour to old Father Christmas, transplanted to a sultry clime. So we must make our Christmas menu of ingredients which come well within the scope of every colonial home, and sufficiently substantial to meet the approval of our hearty bushmen and bushwomen.

Giblet Soup.
Roast Turkey and bread sauce.
Roast Ducks, or boiled fowls.
Piece de resistance – Roast Beef of Old England (Sirloin)
Boiled Ham.
Sucking-pig and Apple Sauce.
Christmas Plum Pudding.       Boiled Custards.
Apricot Tart.   Whipped Cream.
Mince Pies.
Fruit Salad.
Cheese Straws.
Vegetables. – As many as can be procured. Cobs of young sweet corn
are delicious. They must be green, and should be boiled in salted water for twenty minutes, and served like asparagus.

Several recipes appropriate for the season were published in the same edition of the paper: here is my choice for you today:-

Christmas Cake (Kingswood Cookery Book.)
1 ¼ lb. flour, 1 lb. brown sugar, 2 lb. currants, one gill brandy, 1 lb. sultanas, 1 lb. butter, ten eggs, ½ lb. mixed peel.
Sift the flour, clean the fruit, and mix together; beat the butter and sugar together to a cream; add the eggs, two at a time, not previously beaten, then the brandy slowly; add the fruit and flour, and last of all the peel; line a cake-tin with paper, but do not grease it; pour in the mixture, and bake three or four hours.

May I also remind you, in case you missed it, of the list of Christmas menus previously featured here?:

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