I have another Christmas bill of fare for you today. I found it in Letters to a Gentleman in Germany: Written After a Trip from Philadelphia to Niagara (1834,) where it appears as a footnote to a discussion of European food.
That readers in Europe may not suppose we are altogether starving in this country, in good things, as they might be led to do from the accounts of some travellers, we here insert the following, cut at random out of a Philadelphia newspaper. It is the bill of fare of the American coffee house, of December 25th, 1833.
“2 saddles Bears’ Meat; 2 saddles Fine Mountain Venison; 2 saddles Albany Mutton; 500 Terrapins – large size, very fine; 40 pair Canvass Back Ducks; Pheasants, Snipe, Woodcock, Red Necks, Black Duck, Broad Bills, Mallard, Dried Salmon, Young Ducks, Vermicelli Soup; Chickens – Barbecued and Fricasseed; Squabs – Stewed and Barbecued; Sweetbreads; Sweetbreads Larded; Rabbits; Potatoes – Boiled or Roasted; Spanish Olives; Pickles of various kinds; Sardines, Dutch Herring; Tripe and Oysters; Oysters – plain, stewed, roasted, boiled and fried; Mutton Chops, with shallots; Lamb Chops – French and English style; Anchovy Toast; Welch Rabbit; Pork Steaks, Beef Steaks, with tomato sauce or onions; Veal Cutlets; Ham and Eggs; Omelet; Chocolate; Cocoa; Coffee; Tea.
“A regular supply of Sauces, received direct from London.
“In addition to the above list of dishes, such arrangements have bee made, as will render it possible to serve up all descriptions of Game in their proper seasons, together with every luxury the epicure can desire.
N.B. Relishes always ready.”
As the recipe for the day, I give you the instructions for drying salmon, and how to use the end product, from A new system of domestic cookery, by a Lady [M.E.Rundell] 66th edition (London, 1842.)
To Dry Salmon.
Cut the fish down, take out the inside and roe, rub the whole with common salt after scaling it; let it hang twenty-four hours to drain. Pound three or four ounces of saltpetre, according to the size of the fish, two ounces of bay salt, and two ounces of coarse sugar; rub these, when mixed well, into the salmon, and lay it on a large dish or tray two days; then rub it well with common salt, and in twenty-four hours more it will be fit to dry: wipe it well after draining. Hang it either in a wood chimney, or in a dry place, keeping it open with two small sticks.
Dried salmon is eaten broiled in paper, and only just warmed through; egg-sauce and mashed potatoes with it; or it may be boiled, especially the bit next the head.
To Dress Dried Salmon.
Cut in slices, and broil in buttered paper. Egg-sauce. If served at breakfast, omit the sauce. Some like it broiled without paper; if so, a very few minutes will do it.
An Excellent Dish of Dried Salmon.
Pull some into flakes; have ready some eggs boiled hard and chopped large; put both into half a pint of thin cream, and two or three ounces of butter rubbed with a tea-spoonful of flour; skim it, and stir till boiling-hot; make a wall of mashed potatoes round the inner edge of a dish, and pour the above into it.