From time to time I amuse myself by adding to my collection of recipes “themed” to a particular profession. It constantly surprises me how many dishes are named for various clerics or clerical roles. A recent find in Hotel Meat Cooking (Chicago, 1884) by Jessup Whitehead may partly explain this phenomenon.
It is a remarkable fact that the epicures of the world should be so largely indebted to the French clergy for the luxuries they enjoy. It has been suggested that during the long season of Lent these holy men have been in the habit of relieving their privations by employing their ingenuity in the invention of pleasant foods and drinks in readiness for the return of the days of feasting. Whether there is any foundation for this or not is not positively known, but the fact remains that the clergy, from whatever cause, are capital inventors of all comestibles. One of the largest oyster parks in the country was started by the Abbe Bonnetard, the cure of La Teste, whose system of artificial cultivation was so successful that last year, of 151,000,000 ovsters distributed through France, 97,000,000 were produced by the abbe. Canon Agen was the discoverer of the terrines of the Nerac. The rilettes of Tours are the work of a monk of Marmoutiers. The renowned liqueurs Chartreuse, Trappestine, Benedictine, and others betray their monastic origin in their names, and the strangest part of their production is that they should be the work of the most severe and ascetic of religious bodies. The Elixir of Garus is the invention of the Abbe Garus. The Beziers sausages were first prepared under the direction of the Prior Lamouroux. The popular Bergougnous sauce was first mingled by the Abbe Bergougnous. The delicate Floguard cakes are the invention of the Abbe Floguard. Even the immortal glory of the discovery of champagne is attributed to a monk. To these may be added the innumerable delicacies in bon-bons, confectionery, and the like, which owe their origin entirely to the nuns.
As the recipe for the day I give you a long-time favourite concept named for a religious man at the opposite end of the hierarchy from the abbott. There are many versions of the friar’s omelet – which some say has Scottish origins – and many contain apple.
A Friar's Omelette.
Boil a dozen apples, as for sauce; stir in a quarter of a pound of butter, and the same of white sugar; when cold, add four eggs, well beaten; put it into a baking dish thickly strewed over with crumbs of bread, so as to stick to the bottom and sides ; then put in the apple mixture; strew crumbs of bread over the top; when baked, turn it out and grate loaf sugar over it.
Enquire Within Upon Everything (1896) by Robert Kemp Philp.