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Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'll Have Some Codswallop With A Heaping Side Of Meat

Getting new Reference books is a little like Christmas morning. The Historical Encyclopedia of American Business, while an excellent tome, reads more like underwear in your stocking. Menus from History: Historic Meals and Recipes for Every Day of the Year, however, is the equivalent of a brand new bike hiding behind the tree. This marvelous book details a meal from the past for each and every day of the year. April 2? First Dinner aboard the RMS Titanic in 1912! February 23? Why, the Coronation Feast of Queen Catherine, Westminster Hall in 1421.

On the morning of May 6, 1875, emigrants aboard the SS Prussian settled down to a large breakfast that followed this menu:
  • Spatchcock and mushrooms: According to A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, a spatchcock is a small bird split down the back and flattened before grilling. By the way, if you do the same thing to an eel, it's known as spitchcock.
  • Fried ham and eggs
  • Fried potatoes
  • Mutton chops
  • Minced collops: Slices of meat (I was hoping for something more exotic here.)
  • Dry hash
  • Yarmouth bloaters: I am also disappointed with bloaters, which are nothing more than salted and smoked herrings (Clarkson 295).
  • Fried tripe and onions: The idea of tripe, the stomach of a cow or ox, has always been enough to turn me a pale shade of green, but Menus from History describes it as "the takeout of the nineteenth century" (Clarkson 295). The recommended serving methods include dousing it in a sauce of some sort or frying it in batter or butter. I am assuming that cloaking the tripe makes it more bearable.
  • Devilled kidneys
  • Beef steak and onions
  • Porridge
I'm not sure that I find this particular menu as appealing as Elvis Presley's wedding (May 1!) or Amelia Earhart's meal at the Hotel Grand Preanger in Indonesia (June 21!), but I'm feeling much more disposed towards bloaters now. Tripe anyone?

"tripe" An A-Z of Food and Drink. Ed. John Ayto. Oxford University Press, 2002. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Mississippi Library Commission. 6 May 2010 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t134.e1303

"spatchcock" A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. Ed. David A. Bender. Oxford University Press 2009. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Mississippi Library Commission. 6 May 2010 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t39.e5091

"collop" The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition). Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Mississippi Library Commission. 6 May 2010 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t140.e15171

Clarkson, Janet. Menus from History: Historic Meals and Recipes for Every Day of the Year. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2009.

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