Modern recipe writers generally note how many persons a dish will serve, and they occasionally suggest accompanying dishes or even complete menus. They don’t however, feel the need to advise how many staff will be needed to serve a suggested menu. In previous times, when servants were found in almost all homes, except those of the lowest classes, this must have been most useful advice.
The popular book The Complete Family Cook; Being a System of Cookery, Adapted to the Tables not only of the Opulent, but of Persons of Moderate Fortune and Condition (fourth edition, 1796) by Menon (writer on cookery) and S. Taylor (writer on cookery) gave suggested menus for meals for different occasions, of varying degrees of seriousness, requiring from five to twelve servers.
Today I have chosen a supper menu from the book, for your late 18th century self, on the assumption that you have a moderate fortune and have five servants at your disposal.
A Table of Twelve Covers for Supper, served by Five.
A leg of mutton roasted for the middle
Four dishes (entrées); veal cutlets à la Lyonnoise, a beef rump en matelote,
a duck with turnips, two chickens en giblotte.
A sallad for the middle.
Two dishes (plats de rôt); a young turkey, a young duck.
A plate with oranges.
Plate with a remoulade in a sauce [pan? unreadable]
Five small dishes, (entremets); cheese-cakes for the middle, eggs with streaked bacon,
Spanish chardons, bread fritters, burnt cream.
Iced cheese for the middle, or a bowl of fruit.
Compote of apples à la Portugaise.
Compote of peaches.
Plate of sweet-meats.
Two plates of nuts.
Plate of grapes.
As the recipe for the day, I give you Burnt Cream, from the same book.
Put two spoonfulls of flour, mixed by little and little with the whites and yolks of four eggs, into a stew-pan, with half a spoonfull of orange-flower water, and a little green lemon peel shred very fine: moisten them with a gill of milk, and put in a little salt, and two ounces of sugar; let it simmer half an hour over a flow fire, constantly stirring ; then put a bit of sugar, with half a glass of water into your dish; set it upon a stove over a good fire, and let it boil till of the colour of cinnamon, and then, pour in the cream: have
ready a large knife to spread the sugar which remains on the rim of the dish upon the cream, taking care to do it quickly.