Monday, March 16, 2015

St. Patrick’s Day Menu, 1931.

As I am sure I don’t need to tell you, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. On this day in 1931, the United States Department of Agriculture Radio Service’s regular program Housekeepers’Chat prepared its listeners for the culinary challenges of the celebration with some menus and recipes. Please enjoy the script for the program:

Subject: “St. Patrick’s Day Menu.” Information from the Bureau of Home
Economics, U.S.D.A.

Bulletin available: “Lamb As You Like It.”

The top o' the morning to you! All of us who have Irish blood in our veins - and all of us who wish we had some - will be celebrating the great day of the cheerful patron saint of Ireland tomorrow. How about carrying out the wearir' o' the green on your dinner table tomorrow and serving a meal with a green color scheme? St. Patrick's Day is a fine time for entertaining, especially for giving a luncheon or a dinner. Emerald green is such an attractive, springlike color and is so easily featured in food and also in decorations. And there are so many Irish symbols to use for favors, place cards, tallies for bridge parties or other decorative purposes. Suitable designs include shamrocks, harps, Irish terriers, pigs, potatoes, a pipe for paddy and even woolly lambs or shepherd's creeks, since, according to the old legend, St. Patrick was a shepherd.

Yes, Maureen, your ancestors who lived way back in the fourth century probably knew little Patrick when he was a boy shepherd tending the flocks of an Irish chieftain on the green hills of county Antrim. The story goes that when he was about fifteen and still engaged in this peaceful occupation, he was attacked by bandits who carried him and his flock of sheep off to Connaught and kept him captive there for some years. He finally escaped by boarding a ship headed for the coast of Gaul. After landing there he was taken in by the kindly monks at the monastery, of Lerins where he lived for some years and learned about Christianity. It was there that he had his famous dream, the vision in which he heard the Irish people calling him to come back to them. So he returned as a missionary to teach his people. Back in Ireland ho often used the native shamrock with its three leaves on one stem to illustrate the principle of the Trinity.

The absence of snakes in Ireland is credited to St. Patrick who, as the old legend goes, "drove the frogs into the bogs and banished all the vermin.”

During his long ministry St. Patrick is said to have performed many other miracles. He also founded many churches, among them the church and monastery of Armagh where he died when he was an old man of seventy- two.

But get back to our menus for this good saint's day. I have two menus that I'm sure you'll want to take down. One is a dinner; the other is a luncheon. If you aren't entertaining guests tomorrow, perhaps you will be giving a dinner or a bridge party a year from now. If these meal plans are written down waiting ready in your files or notebook, you won't have to worry about what to serve next time you ask friends in on St. Patrick's Day. Let me suggest that you will find the leaflet, "Lamb As You Like It," useful for both these menus.

Are you ready now for the menu? Leg of Lamb; Broccoli; Green peas in a mashed potato nest; Hot cloverleaf rolls; Mint gelatin salad; Vanilla ice cream garnished with green cherries or bottled grapes; Green and white mints.

I'll repeat that menu. Leg of Lamb; Broccoli; Green peas in a mashed potato nest; Hot cloverleaf rolls; Mint gelatin salad; Vanilla ice cream garnished with green cherries or bottled grapes; Green and white mints.

The broccoli may be served either buttered or with hot Hollandaise sauce. There's a recipe for the hollandaise sauce in your egg leaflet. Keep the natural green color in the broccoli and the peas by cooking in an open kettle in boiling salted water until just tender. Overcooking may cause the color to become brownish.

The recipe I'm about to give you is for the mint gelatin salad - one of those salads that are both very good and very beautiful - a jellied mixture of pineapple and cucumber flavored with mint. If you want to see what it looks like there's a picture of it on the back page of your lamb leaflet.

Eleven ingredients for this good-looking salad:

2 tablespoons of gelatin          ½ cup of diced cucumber
½ cup of cold water                ½ cup of canned crashed pineapple drained from its juice.
1½ cups of boiling water
5 tablespoons of sugar            2 tablespoons of pineapple juice
½ teaspoon of salt                   4 tablespoons of lemon juice
5 drops of oil of peppermint   Green coloring matter

I'll repeat that list. (Repeat)

Soak the gelatin in the cold water for five minutes, add to the boiling water with the sugar and the salt, and stir until all are dissolved. Cool and add the cucumber, the pineapple, the pineapple and lemon juice, the oil of peppermint and enough flavoring matter to make the mixture pale green. Set the container in ice water and stir until the gelatin mixture begins to stiffen. Then rinse a mold with cold water, coat it lightly with some of the clear gelatin mixture and place thin slices of cucumber on the bottom and sides (the jelly will help these slices stick to the mold while the salad mixture is poured in.) Now fill the mold with the gelatin mixture and let it stand in a cold place until firm. Serve with a tart salad dressing on a bed of lettuce.

Now for the luncheon menu which also features a most attractive salad, shamrock salad made from green peppers and soft white cheese. But before I describe the salad let me give you the menu.

Lamb chops; Creamed new potatoes with chopped parsley; Peas, Green pepper rings filled with cottage or cream cheese; Hot biscuits; Mint ice or sherbet or Peppermint ice cream; Wafers or cookies cut in shamrock or other fancy shapes.

To make the salad, wash green peppers, slice off the stem end and scrape out the seeds and extra membrane inside. Stuff with the cheese pressing it down firmly into every corner. Chill the stuffed peppers. Then cut them in slices about one-fourth inch thick using a sharp knife. If the pepper is nicely shaped these slices look like shamrock leaves, and will look even more so if you cut out stems for each from left over pieces of the pepper. Lay the pepper and cheese shamrocks on crisp lettuce and serve with mayonnaise or French dressing.

How would you like a recipe for peppermint ice cream? Good. I have one right here to give you. Ingredients? Just six. I'll read them.

1 ½ pints of single cream                    ¼ teaspoon of salt
½ pint of double cream                       Green coloring
⅔ cup of sugar                                                8 drops of essence of peppermint

That's a simple list, but I think I'll repeat it just the same.
(Repeat). If you prefer a less rich ice cream, you can use all single cream.
Heat ½ cup of the single cream, add the salt and sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Mix with the rest of the cream and add sufficient coloring to give a soft green. Then add enough peppermint essence for a delicate flavoring. Use a freezing mixture of one part salt and 4 to 6 parts of ice and turn the freezer slowly. After freezing remove the dasher, pack the freezer with more ice and salt and let it stand for an hour or more to ripen.

Tomorrow: Ironing is an Art.

If you are hungry for more historical food tidbits releavant to the day, here are links to previous St Patrick’s Day and other Irish-themed posts:

 Previous posts featuring Irish Stew:

Only Apples [includes a recipe for Irish stew with apples!].

A Tale of Timbuktu [includes a recipe for Baked Irish stew]

All in a stew [3 versions of Irish stew].

On Other Irish Foods:

And not specifically Irish, but relevant in a fun kind of way:

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