Tuesday, September 08, 2015

How to Eat Wisely and Well.

I thought it might be fun to continue in the spirit of yesterday’s story of eating well without guilt or fear. Perhaps some practical suggestions for multi-course menu would be interesting?

I have chosen as my source for this menu-fun, The Franco-American cookery book; or, How to live well and wisely every day in the year (1884) by Felix J. Déliée (Caterer of the New York Club: ex-Chef of the Union and Manhattan Club.) The author’s mission is clearly stated on the title page:

Giving concise instructions how to properly prepare and serve all kinds of domestic and foreign culinary provisions in every way for each succeeding season, and mostly convenient for private families, clubs, restaurants, hotels, etc. etc.

In the Preface, the reader is advised that:

A complete dinner is provided for every day in the year, with concise and explicit directions for preparing it. Each bill of fare differs almost entirely from the other, and all are arranged with a strict regard for the products of the season and the supplies afforded by markets in American cities. Thus the worry and irritation of composing a pleasantly varied daily menu are avoided, and the time generally occupied in looking up particular recipes is saved. Each bill of fare is calculated for eight persons, and may be reduced or increased at will. Not one is eccentric or expensive. Economy is considered invariably, and the day after large joints are served, an advantageous arrangement of remnants is always presented. … Many of the dishes given have been invented by the author, and successfully served by him. All deleterious substances, such as soda, saleratus, and different kinds of fermentative powders, have been rigidly excluded, and aromatics have been used more to intensify the natural flavor of ingredients than to impart their own. The author has carefully attended to the orthography of foreign words and terms not capable of translation into English.

For this exact day, September 8, the suggestion (for ‘private families’ as well as restaurants) is:

September 8. Bill of fare for eight persons
Soup: Printanier.
Sea-bass a la Buena-Vista;
Potato croquettes.
Round of beef a la Flamande;
Baked macaroni.
Roast chicken with Cress ;
Lettuce, sauce Mayonnaise.
Peach fritters glazed.

The recipe for every dish is included in the book:

Printanier Soup,—Prepare and strain in a saucepan three quarts of consommé as directed [No. 133] ; with a small vegetable-scoop or tin tube cut enough carrots and turnips ; cook separately with a little water, salt, butter, and sugar, and reduce to a glaze; put this with the consommé, boil five minutes, skim; add a half pint each of cooked green peas and string-beans cut in short pieces, small flowerets of cauliflowers, and a handful of finely cut chervil, sorrel, and lettuce-leaves; boil two minutes longer, pour in a soup-tureen, and serve.

Sea-Bass a la Buena-Vista.—Procure a large sea-bass weighing about four pounds ; pare off the fins, draw, scale thoroughly, wash well, and wipe dry ; cut a deep lengthwise incision from head to tail on each side; place the fish on a buttered fish-pan with a chopped onion, a bunch of parsley with aromatics, a pint of stewed tomatoes, and half a green pepper cut small ; season with salt and pepper, and wet with half a pint of port wine and a pint of broth ; put small bits of butter on top, set to boil, and cook in a moderate oven for forty minutes, taking care to baste the fish once in a while with the liquid ; remove the parsley, drain, and reduce the liquid sufficiently with a pint of espagnole sauce [No. 262] ; meanwhile scald and peel eight ripe tomatoes, and bake them whole in a buttered dish with salt, pepper, and small bits of butter on each one; slide the bass on a dish, range the tomatoes in a row on top ; add chopped parsley and lemon-juice to the sauce, pour it over all, and serve.

Round of Beef à la Flamande.—Truss and put a round piece of beef in a saucepan with four ounces of beef-fat ; put it on the fire, and fry briskly and brown all round ; drain the fat off ; add two quartered onions and carrots, a bunch of parsley with aromatics, a clove of garlic, and a little salt and pepper ; wet with a pint of white wine, half a pint of stewed tomatoes or tomato-puree, and nearly cover with white broth; boil, put the lid on, and cook slowly for about three hours ; strain, skim the fat, add two ladlefuls of espagnole sauce, and reduce the gravy to a demi-glaze; drain, pare, and dish up the beef ; surround with a garnishing a la flamande [No. 17], pour part of the sauce over, and serve
the rest in a sauce-bowl.

Roast Chicken with Cress.—Select two medium-sized fat, tender, and dry-picked chickens (those from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, are the better prepared) ; singe, draw, pare off the necks and legs, and truss nicely; cover the breast with thin bardes of fat pork, put a pinch of salt inside, and roast on the spit or in the oven for about forty-five minutes, basting occasionally with melted butter; untruss and dish up the chickens, surround with water-cress slightly seasoned with salt and vinegar; strain and pour the drippings over the chickens, and serve.

Peach Fritters.—Have a dozen of not too ripe peaches; cut them in two, remove the pits, pare, put in an earthen vessel with a glass of brandy and a handful of powdered sugar to steep an hour ; drain, dip in a flour batter [No. 5], and drop one by one in plenty of clear, very hot fat; fry pretty crisp and light brown, drain on a cloth, put on a baking-sheet, the round side uppermost ; cover with powdered sugar, and put them in a very hot oven for about a minute or so until the sugar is melted to a glaze ; pare a little, range on a folded napkin, and serve.


Juliet said...

That does sound deliciou, if a little excessive by modern standards! Two of the recipes call for espagnole sauce - I'm curious as to what that is!

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Juliet: Espagnole sauce is one of the classic French sauces: I gave a recipe for it here http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2014/09/stuffed-pigeons-part-2.html