Part of the fun in reading older cookbooks is to see what dishes were fashionable or appropriate for the time. And how times have changed!
In “A Year’s Dinners” by May Little, published in London around 1910, she features “365 Seasonable Dinners with Instructions for Cooking”. As I write this on September 13th, 2013, her menu for a 1910 dinner of the same date is as follows:
Curried Fowl and Rice
So exactly what is “Gravy Soup”. Well, it’s stock, carrot, onion, turnip, macaroni and bouquet garni, which doesn’t sound like “gravy” to me, but more like a vegetable soup.
It seems to me that after a bowl of Gravy Soup and a side of Scalloped Oysters, that you might be craving Curried Fowl and Rice, but really, this to be followed by a plateful of Mutton Cutlets and Stewed Onions? The Mutton Cutlets were to be served surrounded by a ring of mashed potatoes, a center mound of peas, and served with tomato sauce. To round out (literally) a nice meal, Spanish Puff would be served, which is essentially a batter placed in a “forcing bag” (aka pastry tube), and squeezed, dropping small lengths of the batter into hot oil. A nice Cheese Pudding, made of cheese, butter, milk, eggs, breadcrumbs and seasonings would certainly give you no excuse to leave the table hungry.
The reader must bear in mind that these were considered to be standard family dinners, nothing fussy or special, although the number of dishes and types seem to us rather over the top. Although no calorie counts are given, we can imagine that they were substantial for such a heavy meal.
Readers, if you are reading this blog tomorrow, September 14th and want to recreate a dinner for this date in 1910, better get shopping:
Grilled Cod Steaks
Roast Shoulder of Mutton
Celery a l’Italienne