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 Dish of the Day - II

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 19 Dec 2017, 22:36

Meles meles,

thanks a lot for again a new lecture about dishes.

"And to further perturb even the most hardened health-and-safety enthusiast, the scene's magical finale consists of a "magnificent temple" of artificial light, fuelled by a selection of intensely bright (and potentially explosive) gas-fuelled devices of the time – budelight, limelight, and camphine - as well as more conventional fireworks and gunpowder ... all in a family-packed theatre. Luckwas on their side and the show proved to be a roaring success!"

Yes not sophisticated safety regulations yet...
"budelight, limelight"
limelight:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limelight

http://www.hevac-heritage.org/victorian_engineers/sir_goldsworthy_gurney/sir_goldsworthy_gurney.htm
From the link:
"He improved the problematical lighting of theatres which used "limelight"  with his "Bude Light".  Using a standard flame producer such as an oil lamp and by adding oxygen directly into the flame he produced a dramatically increased bright white light. These type of lights were fitted in The House of Commons and also in Trafalgar Square where replicas of the two styles originally used can still be seen. They have recently been refurbished."
camphine:
https://goo.gl/yVceT7
There is a detailed description in the book about the Vesta lamp invented by Mr.Young, but on the internet I found nothing...
Only an advertisement from 1846 Wink :
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2945589
"Great Novelty in Lamps"

To return to the safety:
At school in the Fifties...in the theatre of the college (boys only)...a performance to bring the youngsters in contact with the modern technolgy...and on that wooden theatre before some 200 students in a closed hall...a demonstration of a small jet engine?...I think I was only twelve of thirteen then...the man had the engine in his hand...I suppose the device was fueled by gas?...in any case the pipe was burning horizontally...and in a few instants the pipe became red glowing...and ostensibly the engine was pushed by the burning gases or mixture of gas with oxygen...I have seen it all with "my own eyes"...

"Anyhow, when you cook it the anthocyanins leach out of the cabbage, turning the water purple. But before you chuck the cabbage water away pour some into two or three glasses.
Now add a few drops of vinegar to one glass, bicarbonate of soda to the second and washing soda to the third. And low and behold, each glass now contains a different coloured liquid! It's all down to a property of anthocyanins that causes them to change colour in response to acids and alkalis."

We called it the test of PH (grade of acidity) with "lakmoespapier" (litmus paper?)
"the anthocyanins leach out of the cabbage, turning the water purple"
You are lucky that you cooked in pipe water, having overhere due to the lime in it a PH of 7.3 and turn to blueish, while if you would have cooked in rain water (can you do that? Wink ) overhere too, it could have had a PH of 5.3, hence I suppose red, purple then...?

Kind regards from Paul.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 25 Dec 2017, 10:04

24-25 December 1826 – The so-called Eggnog Riot at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Nowadays the West Point Military Academy is known for its prestige, excellence and discipline, but the name was once synonymous with debauchery, laziness and drunkenness. During the first decades of the 19th century West Point had no fixed curriculum. Cadets generally came and went as they pleased, spending their evenings in the local taverns and often wandering back to campus, drunk, in the early morning hours. The school was so lax that dozens of students had spent years dawdling during the first year’s worth of courses. Some had even left the school but remained enrolled, coming back only to receive their pay vouchers before returning to a "permanent vacation".

Then in 1817 Sylvanus Thayer took over as commandant of West Point. A veteran of the War of 1812, he fretted over the US military’s poor performance during the conflict, which Thayer blamed on the inadequate training methods of America’s officers. Prior to arriving at West Point, Thayer had toured Europe’s top military academies, interviewed the continent’s superintendents and studied how they governed their military schools. It was the French military—fresh from its campaigns under Napoleon—that most attracted Thayer and he planned to bring the French way of war and officer training methods back home to America.


Sylvanus Thayer

When Thayer returned from Europe and took command of the school, he immediately dismissed 43 cadets. He then set about establishing a regular course load and enforcing the strict rules that would go on to become one of West Point’s hallmarks. The academy became a meritocracy. Thayer made it against the rules for cadets to earn a living or receive money from home. Everyone on campus would live on the $18 a month provided by the government. Rich students had a habit of lording it over the poor and Thayer put a stop to it. He also forced cadets to sign a pledge saying they’d serve out a year’s worth of their promised commission in exchange for their education as previously students had often resigned their commissions immediately upon graduation as a way of dodging service. Thayer even ended annual vacations and forced the cadets to spend the summer camping in tents and practicing tactical drills. The lazy students dropped off like flies and discipline increased. Thayer’s quick progress thrilled his superiors in Washington.

But he then made a tactical error and prohibited alcohol.

A few days before Christmas 1826, a group of students decided to throw a secret party on campus. Since it was Christmas, they thought the best drink to mix for the occasion was eggnog. Though traditionally made these days with rum, West Point’s cadets weren’t picky about their poison. Four different groups of students took off to secure the booze, with one even crossing the Hudson River in the dead of night to secure alcohol. All together, the men gathered a gallon of whiskey, a gallon of brandy and a gallon of wine. They bought some eggs, milk and nutmeg, concocted their beverage and began imbibing.

It started slow, around midnight on Christmas Eve, with four students in one dorm room knocking back the potent brew, but other cadets soon joined them and the party got rowdier. Almost inevitably the party got out of hand and attempts by officers to restore order only caused the disturbance to escalate into general mayhem eventually involving more that one-third of the cadets. When order was finally restored on Christmas morning there were broken windows, shattered furniture and smashed crockery everywhere, several injuries and many thick heads.

A subsequent investigation by academy officials resulted in the implication of seventy cadets and the court-martialing of twenty of them and one enlisted soldier. Among the participants in the riot—though he was not court-martialed—was future Confederate States President, Jefferson Davis, and his reputation as a bit of a boozer followed him throughout his career.

Here’s a Union cartoon depicting Jefferson Davis as Confederate President drunk in a ditch, from ‘Harper’s Weekly,’ circa 1862:



Even America’s first president had a penchant for velvety eggnog at Christmas time. This is supposed to be the recipe penned by Washington himself sometime after 1789 and later printed in the Old Farmer’s Almanac (I can’t however find the date of publication):

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S CHRISTMAS EGGNOG
"One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, ½ pint rye whiskey, ½ pint Jamaica rum, ¼ pint sherry—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of 12 eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently."


... and drink with care, it looks very potent!

Merry Christmas.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 25 Dec 2017, 20:28

Meles meles,

as that something to do with our "advokaat"?
https://belgiuminabox.com/shop/others/4929-filliers-advocaat-jar-in-glass-70-cl.html#.WkFb8MKWwdV



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocaat


I first thought that I could find it in French with "avocat liqueurs", but forget it, it has to be "advokaat" (laywer's drink) in all the languages...I wonder in Chinese...

Kind regards from Paul and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 26 Dec 2017, 22:54

Well, JD wasn't the only one with a reputation as a drinker.
http://cwmemory.com/2009/06/27/was-grant-a-drunk/
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 27 Dec 2017, 12:32

Most of the Founding Fathers and early US Presidents were party animals, if not out and out alcoholics. On 14 September 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention celebrated at the 'City Tavern' in Philadelphia. According to the bill, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch. That’s more than two bottles wine, plus a few shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate. The bill, totalling £89 4s 2d, also included charges for "damages: broken decanters, wine glasses and tumblers".
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 02 Jan 2018, 13:36

2 January 1492 – The end of the siege of Granada and the completion of the Reconquista.


'The Capitulation of Granada', by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz: Muhammad XII surrenders the city to King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella II of Castille.

In the year 711 Tariq ibn Ziyad had led a strong Muslim army across the Straits of Gibraltar from Morocco. His army quickly defeated the ruling Visigothic forces of King Roderick and faced little resistance in taking control of their capital, Toledo. With the fall of Córdoba an Islamic state known as 'Al-Andalus' was formed under direct control of Damascus, the capital of the Islamic world. A few years later the Christian Reconquest of Iberia was launched in the mountains of Asturias and a 700 year battle began to evict the occupiers. Whilst the Moors far from controlled the whole territory it wasn't until 1492 that the Christian Reconquest was complete when the city of Granada fell to 'Los Reyes Católicos'.

The Emirate of Granada had been the last Muslim state in Iberia for more than two centuries as, one by one, all the other Andalus states (the taifas) of the once powerful Caliphate of Córdoba had been conquered by the Christian forces. By the late 15th century the continued existence of the Nasrid dynasty's Emirate of Granada, ruled by Muhammad XII of Granada (King Boabdil), seemed increasingly unlikely. After ten years of war the forces of Castille (with support from Aragon) had gained control of much of Granada including the whole coastline and the all-important seaport of Malaga. Then in April 1491, they laid siege to the city of Granada itself.

Even if a relief force from North Africa could have been raised - and the Muslim Kingdom of Fez declined to get involved, preferring to maintain good trade relations with Castille, while the Mamelukes whole ruled Egypt were occupied in a war with the Ottoman Turks – there was now no friendly port available, and so Granada was completely cut off. Moreover many of the city’s important officials were actually in the pay of the Christians, and the city’s inhabitants were far from united behind their ruler. The city’s plight was dire.

On 25 November 1491 a provisional cease-fire was arranged which granted Granda’s government two months to manage the civil disorder within the city and coordinate the formal surrender to the Catholic forces. After the final terms were agreed – which were generous to the Muslims -  Muhammad XII surrendered the Emirate of Granada, the city of Granada, and the Alhambra palace to the Castilian forces on 2 January 1492. The besieging Christians sneaked troops into the Alhambra that day in case any resistance materialized but in the event the city capitulated quietly. The fall of Granada effectively marked the completion of the reconquista, although strictly Granada itself had never been Christian before the reconquista and so was not really re-conquered.

Many towns and cities throughout eastern and southern Spain (most notably around Alicante in Valencia) still commemorate local events related to the reconquista in the form of 'Moros y Christianos' (Moors and Christians) festivals. These events typically comprise street parades of Moors and Christians in suitable (if often flamboyantly anachronistic) costumes, with banners, musicians, dancers, horses and even camels. After traditional speeches and challenges by the heralds of the rival groups there then usually follows a mock re-enactment of a local siege or battle, before the Moors are repulsed, and then the whole event concludes with fireworks, music, dance, food and drink.





I’ve never been to one but I gather the spirit is not of xenophobic triumphalism but rather a celebration of the cultural fusion that has created the region. Apparently more people usually want to be Moors than Christians - because the Moors have the more splendid costumes - and so to maintain a balance there is often a waiting list to join the Moors' Societies, or at least that was the way of things up until a few years ago. Anyway it’s the chance to parade through the streets dressed up like Charlton Heston or Sophia Loren,



.... to wield a scimitar, or charge about like a silly Cid firing a musket,



The food served in the streets is typical Spanish fiesta fare, such as paella (a speciality of Valencia) but, if only for the name, one dish is particularly suitable for the event. 'Moros y Christianos' is a fairly rustic dish of black beans and rice, the beans representing the Moors and the rice the Christians. As a humble rice-and-beans dish it certainly originated in Spain, where rice has been grown since the 10th century after its introduction by the Moors, but it only adopted its characteristic black beans, and hence the name, when it travelled to the Spanish possessions in the Americas, the home of the black bean (the dark variety of the common American bean, Phaseolus vulgaris). The dish, Moros y Christianos, is now less associated with the cuisine of Iberia and more with that of the Caribbean and South America, especially Cuba where it is deemed the national dish.

Anyway Caribbean-style Moros y Christianos is a one-pot dish made with a basic stock of onion, garlic, peppers, cumin and oregano (and sometimes a bit of smoked pork hock or scraps of ham), to which are added part-cooked beans, and then uncooked rice. This is all simmered together with a dash of vinegar, adding water as necessary until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 02 Jan 2018, 15:01

Of course this was one of the many Crusades which occurred within Europe - those of the Teutonic Knights which Eisenstein ably turned into Nationalist propaganda and the Crusades against the Cathars (Carcassonne, for example) are others. Here's a Crusading song partly aimed at supporting the "Reconquistas"  http://www.trobar.org/troubadours/marcabru/mcbr35.php
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 06 Jan 2018, 19:00

And don't forget that Papally-sanctioned crusade in 1284 against "His Most Catholic Majesty", King Peter III of Aragon ... so much destruction, misery, blood-shed, and death ... just so Pope Martin IV, his family, his friends and his allies, could try (but in the end fail) to legally get hold of what had never been theirs: the small independent kingdom and nascent empire of Aragon.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 22 Jan 2018, 08:59

22 Januaruy 1879 – Battlle of Isandlwana and the defence of Rorke’s Drift.

In January 1879, in pursuance of a government plan to create a British-controlled Confederation of South African States, the newly-appointed High Commissioner for Southern Africa, Sir Henry Barte-Frere, engineered a war against Cetshwayo, King of the Zulus, who were at that time allied  by treaty with the British Crown. A British expeditionary force under Lord Chelmsford’s command subsequently entered the Zulu Kingdom uninvited on 11th January, fully expecting to simply walk in and take over. But Chelmsford had seriously underestimated the disciplined, well-led, well-motivated and confident Zulu. Poor intelligence on the location of the main Zulu army, Chelmsford's decision to split his force in half and his failure to secure an effective defensive position, together with the Zulus' tactical exploitation of the terrain and the weaknesses in the British formation, all combined to prove catastrophic to the British.

On 22 January a Zulu force of some 20,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British, colonial and native troops. The Zulus were equipped mainly with the traditional assegai spears and cow-hide shields, with just a few obsolete muskets and old rifles. The British and colonial troops were armed with the modern rifles and had two light field guns. Yet despite their huge disadvantage in weapons technology the numerically superior Zulus overwhelmed and destroyed the poorly led and badly deployed British force.Towards the end of the battle, about 4,000 Zulu warriors of the reserve, after cutting off the retreat of the survivors, crossed the Buffalo river and attacked the fortified mission station at Rorke’s Drift. This was being used as a supply base and hospital and was defended by only 140 British soldiers, but despite being massively outnumbered they managed to repel the attack until the Zulu forces withrdrew early in the morning of the next day.

Isandlwana was a decisive victory for the Zulus and a humiliating defeat for the British, only partly mitigated by the heroic defence of Rorke’s Drift. The invasion of Zululand had been utterly repulsed. However, although the Zulu King Cetshwayo immediately made an offer of peace, in London it was thought imperative that British forces be ultimately victorious, not only to regain national pride but to send a clear message to all other colonies around the globe. Cetshwayo’s peace overtures were ignored and Zululand suffered a second invasion. The result this time was the complete destruction of Zulu forces at Ulundi (4 July 1879), the overthrow and capture of King Cetshwayo, and the partition of all Zulu lands between a number of rival and compliant Zulu chiefs to ensure the Zulus would never again unite under a single ruler.


'The Battle of Isandlwana', by Charles Edwin Fripp.

A key element of the successful defence of the mission at Rorke’s Drift were the mealie bags - sacks of dried maize - that was being stored there in such quanities that they were used to build a defendable wall around the mission’s perimeter. Mealie-bags, like sandbags, are really a better defence against gunfire, than in close hand-to-hand combat, but while the Zulus had comparatively few firearms their snipers did still account for about a third of the total British casualties.

Maize, usually known as mielie or mealie in southern Africa had arrived in the Cape from its homeland in the Americas with early Portuguese settlers (maize is milho in Portuguese). As a crop it thrived in South Africa’s climate and by the 19th century it was a staple of both the Boers and the native African tribes, including the Zulus. I don’t know for sure but I suspect in 1870s Africa the British forces used it in the form of a simple grain porridge, or to make rough bread (although lacking gluten maize-flour is far from ideal for that purpose) such as these two ‘colonial’ recipes.

PORRIDGE - Many people like mealie meal porridge. Stir two or three tablespoon of mealie meal little by little into a cup of boiling salted water. When it is smooth and thoroughly cooked, eat it with cream and sugar. Kaffir corn (millet) porridge is delicious, boiled in milk or milk and water.

From 'A Household Book for Tropical Colonies', by Emily G Bradley (1948).

How To Make Brown Bread. Our Old "Groote Post" Recipe - Take about six pounds of meal, pour into it three cups of home-made yeast, and as much tepid water as will make it the consistency of dough. Knead it well for a quarter of an hour, till your hand comes clean out of the dough. Set it to rise in the pan in which you have mixed it, and cover it up well. Put in the warmest corner of the kitchen. It will be ready for making into loaves in two hours, and will then have a rather disagreeable odour and feel quite spongy. Six pounds of meal will just fill an ordinary baking-pan for a moderate-sized stove oven. Keep the stove well heated, and when it has been in the oven for an hour turn the baking-tin round. Bread made in this way is generally very sweet and wholesome.
From ‘Where is it?’ A collection of South African recipes written by Hildagonda J. Duckitt, first published in 1891.

Or for something a bit more interesting there’s the typical Zulu dish Isithwalaphishi. Here’s a modern recipe for this traditional meal and beans dish although quantities and ingredients can be varied to availablity and personal taste.

Isithwalaphishi - Serves 4

Ingredients:
1½ cup sugar beans (or substitue black-eye peas)
1½ cup maize meal
good knob of butter
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic,
chopped herbs of choice
salt and black pepper

Method:
Soak beans overnight. Throw away the soaking water and rinse, then boil til cooked. When fully cooked add maize meal and stir with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps. Let simmer for a few minutes until cooked. In another saucepan, sauté the onion in a little butter until translucent. Add red pepper, garlic and herbs. Add the bean mixture and continue mixing. Serve hot on its own or to go with meat or vegetables.


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Nielsen
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 22 Jan 2018, 09:55

Re this interesting post, MM, it was on June 1st 1879, during this campaign that the Prince-Imperial des Francais Louis-Napoléon was killed by Zulu warriors. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napol%C3%A9on,_Prince_Imperial
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 22 Jan 2018, 21:18

I forgot to mention that at 2:30pm on 22 January 1879, right in the middle of the Battle of Isandlwana, there was a solar eclipse. The battlefield was a bit outside of the zone of totality, but it certainly grew dark for many minutes. Some British officers had speculated that the Zulus would probably be dismayed by the predicted eclipse but in the event they actually saw it as a good omen, thereby further boosting their morale.

A British officer recorded this account of the later stage of the battle at about 3:00pm:
"In a few seconds we distinctly saw the guns fired again, one after the other, sharp. This was done several times – a pause, and then a flash – flash! The sun was shining on the camp at the time, and then the camp looked dark, just as if a shadow was passing over it. The guns did not fire after that, and in a few minutes all the tents had disappeared."

Nearly the same moment is described in a Zulu warrior's account:
"The sun turned black in the middle of the battle; we could still see it over us, or should have thought we had been fighting till evening. Then we got into the camp, and there was a great deal of smoke and firing. Afterwards the sun came out bright again."

I rather assume this occurrence was the inspiration for the critical lunar eclipse (in early editions it was a solar eclipse) that occurs in H Rider Haggard's 'King Solomon's Mines', first published in 1885. Haggard had been in South Africa since 1875 and during the first Anglo-Zulu war, aged just 19, he was Registrar of the High Court of the Transvaal, so doubtless he knew all the details of the Battle of Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 24 Jan 2018, 20:44

There has long been a suspicion, at least, that the number of VCs awarded to the men of 2nd Warwickshires (note - an English regiment at that date, enjoy but don't accept Baker's version in "Zulu") was designed in part to deflect attention from Isandhlwana
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 24 Jan 2018, 22:36

Sir Henry Bartle-Frere was sent to South Africa in 1874 to try and bring about the formation of a Commonwealth of South Africa in much the same way that the Federation of Canada had been created just 12 years previously. In persuance of this scheme he set about manufacturing a casus belli against the Zulu by exaggerating the significance of a number of recent incidents, such Cetshwayo's treatment of missionaries (which was generally benign), and minor border infringments and skirmishes. Troops were sent to South Africa and plans put into place for military action against the Zulus but the British Government were still very reluctant to start yet another colonial war. However in December 1878, largely on his own initiative, Bartle-Frere presented Cetshwayo with an ultimatum demanding that the the Zulu army be disbanded and the Zulus accept a resident British govenor. Since this would mean the abdication of Cetshwayo and the end of the their warrior tradition, understandably the Zulus found this completely unacceptable.

It is also worth noting that Cetshwayo had specifically forbidden any attack on Rorke's Drift and he was furious with his half-brother Dabulamanzi kaMpande when he learned he'd led the attack, using the reserve corps which had not been deployed at Isandlwana. The Rorke's Drift mission station was on the British side of the Buffalo River which formed the border between British Natal and Zulu territories. This border had been agreed with Cetshwayo's father in 1842 when the British annexed Natal from the Boers, and since then Anglo-Zulu relations had generally been good. Accordingly while Chelmsford's advance into Zululand was an unprovoked attack on an independent allied state, and so Cetshwayo could argue that at Isandlwana the Zulus had been simply defending their country, with their attack on Rorke's Drift the Zulus lost much of this moral high ground.

(Mrs Davies, who taught me O-level British social and political history 1815-1914, would be proud of me for  remembering so much of this ... although I did have to look some things up on wiki).

And yes, Rorke's Drift was almost certainly lauded (hence all the VCs) to try and restore public confidence after the disaster of Isandlwana. There seems also to have been a concious effort - not just in the 1964 film but at the time too - to portray the defence of Rorke's Drift as a clean fight between two honourable armies. This was perhaps to disguise the rather shabby way the British had invaded, and later after a second invasion, seized complete control of Zululand, and also how they'd been completely beaten, at least initially, by 'a bunch of savages'. But in fact, despite all the white-wash at the time and since, atrocities were performed by both sides: the Zulus slaughtered patients in the hospital, the British slaughtered the injured after the battle.

Mind you the 1964 film didn't present all the British as good guys ... didn't they get taken to task by the ancestors of Pte Hook VC for portraying him as an alcoholic when in life he'd been well-known as a teetotal Methodist?


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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 25 Jan 2018, 00:23

Oh yes - and the Chard / Bromhead relationship was not as portrayed, either - Bromhead's eyesight was failing and the two agreed Chard should take charge - plus the Colour Sergeant was 24 and new in the rank, not an old stager as portrayed in the film.

ps - surely it was Hook's descendants rather than his ancestors who were incensed?
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 25 Jan 2018, 09:46

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
ps - surely it was Hook's descendants rather than his ancestors who were incensed?

Them too! ... Besides maybe Hook had been a Mormon as well as a Methodist. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 25 Jan 2018, 22:15

25 January 1533 – The official marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn.

Anne made her debut at Court in 1522 when she was appointed a maid of honour to Catherine of Aragon but it wasn’t until early 1526 that Henry VIII began his pursuit of her. Within a year he proposed marriage and she accepted, as both assumed an annulment of his marriage to Catherine could be obtained within a matter of months. She resisted his attempts to seduce her, refusing to become his mistress (which her sister Mary had been) although in time favours were granted: she did eventually allow him to kiss her breasts, her "pretty duckies", he called them but she was resolutely determined to yield further only as his acknowledged queen.

In early winter of 1532 Anne and Henry attended a meeting with Francis I of France at Calais in which Henry hoped to enlist the support of the French king for his intended marriage to Anne. The conference at Calais was something of a political triumph, but even though the French government gave implicit support for Henry's remarriage and King Francis himself held private conference with Anne and voiced his personal consent, he was still bound by alliances with the Pope which he could not explicitly defy.

Nevertheless, bolstered by this tacit French support, Henry presumably now felt secure enough to consummate his relationship with Anne, and she for her part must have been convinced at last that it was safe for her to respond. So immediately on returning to Dover they married in great secret on 14 November 1532 (so secret that there are virtually no known details) and it seems that Ann became pregnant very soon after (Anne’s child the future Elizabeth I would be born, not obviously prematurely, on 7 September 1533 - and everyone, then and now, could do the sums). But the November marriage had not been conducted in accordance with royal protocol and could well be seen as illegal since Henry was strictly still married to Catherine of Aragon, no binding legal decision having yet been made. However by mid January it was becoming increasingly obvious that Anne was pregnant. If the child was to be legitimate and a true heir (and everyone seems to have assumed it would be the long hoped-for male heir) then it was imperative that Henry and Anne be formally and correctly married as soon a possible, despite the continuing uncertainty as to the status of Henry's marriage to Catherine. Hence the second, official and not-quite-so-secret, marriage on 25 January 1533.

The exact details of who was present and even when and where the marriage took place are uncertain due to the secrecy surrounding it ... Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, claimed he was told two weeks after it had happened (although he may have been fibbing, having always been in on the secret), and the gossipy Imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, did not get to hear about it until months after. Nevertheless it seems that Henry and Anne were married in a chapel at Whitehall with just four or five witnesses who were all sworn to strict secrecy: Henry Norris and Thomas Heneage of the King’s privy chamber, and Anne Savage and Lady Berkeley, who attended Anne (William Brereton, a groom of the chamber, may also have been present). The celebrant was Dr Rowland Lee, the Bishop of Litchfield, who had been briefed beforehand by the King that he had, "gotten of the Pope a licence to marry another wife". However when all were assembled Lee pressed the King to actually produce the Pope’s licence, Henry was forced to bluff it out saying the licence was "in another, surer place whereunto no man resorteth but myself". Whether he was convinced or not Lee went through with the performance and duly married Henry and Anne.

As a suitable dish to mark the occasion I propose the delicious little almond cheesecake tarts known as ‘Maids of Honour’. According to popular legend Henry once came across Anne Boleyn and her maids of honour (the young ladies who attended the Queen) eating some of these cakes. Tasting one for himself, the King was so delighted by its ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ sensation that he confiscated the recipe and demanded it be kept secret in a locked iron box at Richmond Palace. But there really isn’t anything more to connect Henry and Anne to these tarts other than the name, and The Oxford Companion to Food suggests that the Maids of Honour name first occurred in print in 'The Public Advertiser' of 1769. We are of course really only discussing a name and medieval cookery sources have a huge variety of custard, cheesecake and almond tarts, many of which are similar to Maids of Honour.

Such as this Tudor one from 'A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye' (circa 1550):

To make a couer tarte [a cover tart, ie an open tart as opposed to an enclosed pie] after the frenche fashyan.
Take a pynte of creme and the yolkes of tenne egges, and beate them all together, and put therto half a dyche of swete butter, and suger, and boyle them til they be thicke, then take them up and coole them in a platter, and make a couple of cakes of fyne paeste, and laye youre stuffe in one of them and couer it wyth the other, and cutte the vente aboue, and so bake it.


Names are important however, so I give you two named Maids of Honour recipes. The first is from the late eighteenth century and is without almonds, the other is from the end of the nineteenth century with almonds (and somewhat bizarrely, potatoes), just to show that nothing is certain in cookery.

From, 'The New Art of Cookery, according to the present practice', by Richard Briggs (1792):

Maids of Honour.
Take half a pint of sweet curds, beat them well in a marble mortar till they are as smooth as butter. Put in half a pint of cream, the yolks of four eggs, the whites of two, well beaten and strained through a sieve; a quarter of a pound of fresh butter melted, a little grated lemon-peel, and nutmeg, one ounce of candied citron shred very fine, a glass of brandy, and a spoonful of orange flower water; sweeten it to your palate with powder sugar, mix the ingredients all well together, have your patty pans very small, sprinkle on a little flour, put a thin puff-paste over them, more than half fill them, and bake them in a moderate oven.


From, 'The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery', by TF Garrett (1892):

Maids of Honour Tarts.
Beat the yolks of six eggs in a basin, mix in 10oz of powdered sugar, 1oz of bitter and 2oz of sweet almonds, blanched and pounded, the finely-grated rinds of four lemons, the strained ice of two, and two large potatoes, boiled and mashed. Put½ gall.of milk into a basin with a piece of rennet, and let it remain until it curds; place the curds in a sieve to dry, crumble up, pass them through a sieve into a basin, and mix in 9oz of warmed butter. Work well until the mixture is quite smooth, then add the sugar preparation and 4 tablespoons of brandy. Put the mixture into tartlet-pans lined with rich puff paste, and bake in a quick oven until of a good colour; take them out, turn the cheese-cakes out of the pans, and serve either hot or cold.

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sun 28 Jan 2018, 10:22

I noticed rennet used in one of the above. I had thought it no longer readily available - but did a search, and yes, it's out there for those who have a whim for a pud of old. I loved junket - despite mother's guilt angst mentioned every time served about where it came from. I may well get some to see if I can experience the old pleasure.... on the other hand I think ours was made from a cute little bottle of flavoured stuff called - er - Miss Muffet? So what of the use of rennet, MM - was it once used more widely? I think it is essential for making cheese? All cheeses?  I realy must get some - pert of the delight was getting it to set.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sun 28 Jan 2018, 11:53

Wow ... it's a long time since I've had proper junket. My mum made some a few times: quite sweet (she had a sweet tooth so I guess she added plenty of sugar), packing quite a punch from all the rum or brandy she'd put in, and topped with grated nutmeg. Junket's been around for ages: John Russel's 'Boke of Nurture' (circa 1460) gives, "Milke, crayme, and cruddes, and eke the Ioncate [junket], þey close a mannes stomak..þerfore ete hard chese aftir." [they close a man's stomach, therefore eat hard cheese after - the hard cheese also having been set with rennet of course].

Cheese-makers must be still able to get rennet, although I guess vegan cheese uses something else, non-animal based, to coagulate the milk proteins. I know some plant saps, like those from thistles or nettles will do it. Many years ago, having read in Homer's Iliad that the Greeks used fig sap to make make cheese, I tried it at home ... but it wasn't very successful: maybe the fig trees growing along the railway embankment at the bottom of my tiny garden in Greater London just didn't have the same oomph as those that grow up basking in a hot Attic sun reflected off the wine dark Aegean.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sun 28 Jan 2018, 13:21

It's many a year since I made junket and that was for the kids so alcohol free. It's not been nearly so long however since I used mashed potato in a sweetmeat - a classic Scottish macaroon bar. Along with tablet (and much less tricky to make) these are staples for fund-raisers and don't require wee lassies in skimpy dresses to promote.
Just take 1 part cold mashed potato and thoroughly mix with around 5 parts of icing sugar, allow to firm up and then dip in melted dark chocolate, roll in toasted coconut and that's that.



The commercial versions, like the famous and ubiquitous Lees, don't use the mighty tuber but lots of really nasty stuff instead so really should be avoided.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sun 28 Jan 2018, 22:23

MM - there is no such thing a "Vegan cheese". Think about it. There is vegetarian cheese, and yes, you can get vegetarian rennets.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sun 28 Jan 2018, 23:45

Yes I see what you mean, I suppose I should have put vegetarian. Mind you vegetarian is such a woolly term. One can really only have vegetarian cheese if one is happy to accept that it's still going to be made from farm-raised animal milk ... but then if one is happy to eat dairy produce why not have it made with the animal rennet from the calves that will be slaughtered anyway as a bi-product of producing the milk in the first place? Alternatively if it's made from vegan vegetable 'milk', then it probably shouldn't really called cheese at all.

However it would seem others disagree about the non-existence of vegan cheese ...

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 30 Jan 2018, 13:28

On 30 January 1810 Nicolas Appert won a prize of 12,000 francs for a method of preserving food ... and the bottling and canning industry was born.

Napoleon was by no means the first military leader to realise that "an army marches on his stomach", nor would he be the last, but his constant efforts to feed his troops had ramifications far beyond the mere provisioning of his army. The usual strategy until then was that the army lived off the land as it moved, but by Napoleon’s time this was becoming unfeasible as armies often numbered over a hundred thousand men. Moreover Napoleon was not just trying to defeat his enemies' armies but was aiming to absorb their territories and civillian populations into the French Empire, and so simply stealing supplies wasn’t the best policy. In the first Italian campaign (1796-97) the French Army had tried to purchase regular supplies locally using Government promissory notes (Achats), but due to rampant inflation, itself a function of the war and the British naval blockade, such notes were basically worthless and the local population, in France as well as Italy, were most unwilling to accept them. A supplementary strategy for provisioning the army was urgently needed.

Napoleon saw the provisioning problem as a reflection of the national condition and on return from the Italian campaign immediately set about trying to make France economically self-sufficient. The effects of the Revolution and the war had made French industry - never the most efficient on the Continent - underproductive and disorganized, and this the Revolutionary Government addressed first. The Societé d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, run by a government minister, was established and empowered to offer generous prizes (up to 100,000 francs) for ideas that would help French industry get back on its feet. One of the first people to win a prize was Nicolas Appert.



Born in Chalons-sur-Marne, Appert had spent his youth working as a cook in his father’s inn. By the time he was thirty he had set up a confectionery business in Paris and then in 1794 he moved a few miles away to Ivey, to ensure fresh supplies of fruit and vegetables for the experiments he was already carrying out. Appert's idea was to preserve food. The container for his first attempts was the champagne bottle that he was familiar with from his time in the inn trade, and as he said, "the form of the champagne boule is most convenient: it is the handsomest, as well as the strongest, and is of the best shape for packing up."

He placed the food to be preserved in the bottles and then sealed them with corks held on, as they were in the wine trade, with wax and string (wire cages are a more modern, British, invention). The bottles were then placed in baths of boiling water for varying lengths of time according to the material to be preserved. Although he thought he was simply driving out the air to get a good seal, he had inadvertently discovered what was only verified half a century later (by Louis Pasteur), that the heat sterilized the food. The first foods he tried were obviously suitable for preserving in narrow-necked champagne bottles: meat stew, soup, milk, peas, beans, cherries and raspberries, but he soon started using a standard large-mouthed glass bottle and so could extend his range to include pieces of meat; whole eggs, fruit and vegetables; and ready-prepared dishes.


An Appert wide-necked bottle

With the encouragement of the leading gastronome at the time, Grimod de la Reynière (who we came across on Dish of the Day for 28 July 2016), Appert moved to Massy about nine miles south of Paris and set up the world's first bottling factory employing fifty workers. He sold his bottled foods in Paris at 8, rue Boucher, and soon the shop came to official notice. In 1807 the French Navy took bottled peas, beans and vegetable soup on a trial voyage to the Caribbean, and reported that the results were excellent. In 1809 the newspaper 'Courier de l'Europe' took up the story, writing in glowing terms that, "M. Appert has found the art of fixing the seasons. At his hands spring, summer and autumn live in bottles, like those delicate plants which the gardener protects under a dome of glass against the intemperate weather."

On 30 January 1810 the Societé d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale, awarded Appert a prize of 10,000 francs on condition that he made his method known by publishing a book. The work came out in June of that year with the catchy title of 'L’art de conserver pendent plusiers années toutes les substances animals et végétales'. This work was soon translated into English as 'The Art of Preserving Animimal and Vegetable Substances for Several Years' (published in London in 1812), and 'appertising', as it was then known, quickly became widespread. In 1810 the British inventor and merchant Peter Durand, also of French origin, patented his own method, but this time in a tin can so creating the modern-day process of canning foods. Appert himself had considered the use of tin-plate cans but had rejected it in favour of bottles because of the problems of guaranteeing an airtight soldered seal – a problem that beset the early canning industry and led to much bad publicity when a large consignment of tinned food supplied to the army during the Crimean War was found to be rotten. Another issue with tins was the difficulty in opening them: the cans of bully beef (from the French, bouilli, meaning boiled) supplied to Sir William Parry's 1824 Arctic expedition had instructions on the labels saying: "Cut round with chisel and hammer".

Appert’s book has three sections: the first describing the general principles of bottling, then a section giving detailed practical advice, boiling times etc, for different substances, and finally a section describing how such preserved food could best be utilised in the kitchen.

Here, from the 1812 English translation are his instructions for peas. Firstly from section two (Description of the Author’s Process):

Green Peas.
The clamart and the crochu are the two kinds of peas which I prefer, especially the latter, which is the most juicy and sweet of all, as well as the earliest, except the michaux (hastings), which is the first pea, but this kind is not fit to be preserved. I gather the peas when they are not too young and tender, for they are apt to dissolve in water during the operation. I take them when they are of a middling size. They are then in a more perfect state, and have an infinitely finer taste and flavour. I shell them as soon as they are gathered. I separate the large ones, and they are then put in bottles, the bottles being for that purpose placed on the stool before mentioned, in order that as many peas as possible may, by shaking the bottle, be made to go into them; I then cork the bottles, &c. and put them in the water-bath, which is made to boil for an hour and half, if the season be cool and moist; and two hours in a dry and hot season; and I terminate the operation as before.

I also put in bottles the larger peas which I had separated from those which were more delicate. These, also, I put into the water-bath, which I let boil according to the season, two hours, or two hours and an half.

...
and then from section three (Of the Mode of making Use of the Substances which have been preserved):

Peas, Beans, &c.
….. As soon as the peas have been washed and immediately afterwards drained (for neither this vegetable nor the windsor-bean must be suffered to remain in water, for that would take away their flavour), I put them on the fire in a saucepan with a morsel of good fresh butter. I add to them a bunch of parsley and chives. After having tossed them several times in butter, I dredge them with a little flour, and moisten them immediately afterwards with boiling water up to the level of the peas. I leave them thus to be boiled a good quarter of an hour, until very little sauce remains. Then I season them with salt and a little pepper, and leave them on the fire until they are stewed down; I then take them off the fire immediately, in order to add a piece of fresh butter as large as a nut, with a table spoonful of powder sugar for each bottle of peas. I toss them well without replacing them on the fire, until the butter is melted, and I serve them up in the shape of a pyramid upon a dish, which I take care to warm thoroughly. I have observed several times, that by adding sugar to the peas when upon the fire, and giving them only one boiling, the peas became hard and the sauce ran so that it could no longer bind the peas together. Thus great attention should be given to the not putting in the sugar and the last piece of butter until the moment of serving them up. This is the only way of dressing them well, for neither in summer nor winter ought any sauce to appear among the peas.


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 30 Jan 2018, 21:21; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 30 Jan 2018, 20:06

That is really interesting to me, Meles meles.
I even didn't realize that it was under Napoleon and with the Société d'Encouragement pour l'Industrie Nationale, that it all started.
I read it all from A to Z...And BTW, I like your style of writing and narrating.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 09 Feb 2018, 22:42

Nearly missed this ...

7 February 1497 – The Bonfire of the Vanities.
 
In 1490 the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola had been assigned to work in Florence, largely thanks to the request of Lorenzo de Medici – an irony, considering that within a few years Savonarola became one of the foremost enemies of the house of Medici and helped to bring about their downfall. Savanarola campaigned against what he considered to be the artistic and social excesses of Renaissance Italy - preaching against any sort of luxury, and denouncing clerical corruption, despotic rule and the exploitation of the poor. He prophesied the coming of a biblical flood and of a great conqueror from the north who would reform the Church, so when in September 1494 Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and threatened Florence, such prophecies seemed on the verge of fulfilment. While Savonarola intervened with the French king, the Florentines expelled the ruling Medici and at the friar's urging established a 'popular' republic. Declaring that Florence would be the New Jerusalem and the world centre of Christianity, he instituted an extreme puritanical campaign, enlisting the thuggish help of disaffected Florentine youths and vagrants.


 
On 7 February 1497, during what would usually have been the period of Carnival in Florence, Savonarola’s supporters conducted a monumental bonfire of the vanities, and, although not the first of its kind, it has since been taken as the iconic event of its type (as well as being the last for some time). A bonfire of the vanites (falò delle vanità) was the burning of objects that might nominally tempt one to sin, including overt items of vanity such as mirrors, cosmetics, wigs and fine dresses; items associated with idleness and debauchery like fine wines, playing cards, musical instruments and the manuscripts of popular songs; tokens of opulence and greed such as priceless works of art, paintings, scupture and jewellery; and any books deemed immoral, for example the works of Dante and Boccaccio as well as ancient writers like Ovid.


 
So for today's dish of the day, here are the recipes for two decadent and rather tempting late 15th century Florentine pastries. They are taken from the book of Maestro Martino (also known as Martino de Rossi, Martino de Rubeis or Martino of Como) who was the chef to Ludovico Trevisan, Bishop of Florence and later Cardinal Patriarch of Aquileia and the Papal Chamberlain, the Camerlengo.
.
From ‘Libro de arte coquinaria’ (book of the art of cooking) by Maestro Martino, written in his vernacular Italian in about 1465:
 
Diriola – Custard tart
Conciarai la pasta in forma d’un pastello et impiela ben di farina che sia deritta cocendola in la padella tanto che sia un poco secca. Et facto questo cava for a la ditta farina et prendirai alcuni rosci d’ova, de lo lacte, del zuccaro, et de la cannella. Et facta di queste cose una compositione la mettirai in la dicta pasa facendola cocere al modo de una torata, movendola tutta volta et volgendola spesso col cocchiaro. Et como tu vidi che incomincia a pigliarsi sopragiogneli un poca d’acqua rosa, et volta bene collo cocchiaro. Et quando serà fornita di prendere, serà cotta. Et nota che non vole cocere troppo et vole tremare como una ionchata.
 
Form the dough into the shape of a deep pie and fill it completely with flour so it will keep its shape; cook it in a pan until it is somewhat dry [ie blind bake a pastry case]. And when this is done, remove the flour and take some egg yolks, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. When these things are made into a mixture, put it into the pastry, cooking it like a tart, moving it from time to time and stirring with a spoon. And when you can see it starting to set, pour on some rose water and stir well with a spoon. And when it has set completely it is cooked. Note that is should not cook too much, and that is should quiver like a junket.
 
Torta Bianca – Ginger cheescake
Piglia una libra et meza di bono cascio frescho, et taglialo menuto, et pistalo molto bene, et piglia dodici o quindici albume o bianchi d’ova, et macinali molto bene con questo cascio, agiogendovi meza libra di zuccharo, et meza oncia di zenzevero del più biancho che possi havere, similemente meza libra di strutto di porcho bello et biancho, o in loco di strutto altretanto botiro bono et frescho, item de lo lacte competentemente, quanto basti, che serà asai un terzo di bocchale. Poi farrai la pasta overo crosta in la padella, sottile come vole essere, et mectiraila a cocere dandoli il focho a bell’agio di sotto et di sopra; et farai che sia di sopra un pocho colorita per el caldo del focho; et quando ti pare cotta, cacciala fore de la padella, et di sopra vi metterai del zuccharo fino et di bona acqua rosata.

Take a libra [a Roman pound of twelve ounces] and a half of good fresh cheese and cut it up fine, and pound it very well; take twelve of fifteen egg whites and blend them very well with this cheese, adding half a libra of sugar and half an oncia [ounce] of the whitest ginger you can find, as well as a half libra of good, white pork lard, or instead of lard, good fresh butter, and some milk, as much as needed; this will be a good third of a boccale [A boccale unfortunately could equal anywhere from about half a quart to more than two, depending on the region]. Then make the pastry, or crust, into the pan, as thin as it ought to be, and cook it nicely with fire both below and above; and make sure that the top is a little colored from the heat of the fire; and when it seems cooked, remove it from the pan and put fine sugar and good rose water on top.
 
Naughty but nice!
 
In 1495 when Florence had refused to join Pope Alexander VI’s Holy League against the French, the Vatican summoned Savonarola to Rome. He'd disobeyed and further defied the pope by preaching under a ban, highlighting his campaign for reform with processions, pious theatricals and the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities. In retaliation, the Pope excommunicated him in May 1497 and threatened to place Florence under an interdict. A trial by fire, proposed by a rival Florentine preacher in April 1498 to test Savonarola's divine mandate, turned into a fiasco and popular opinion turned against him. Savonarola and two of his supporting friars were imprisoned. On 23 May 1498, Church and civil authorities condemned, hanged, and burned the three friars in the main square of Florence.

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 10 Feb 2018, 20:28

10 February 1840 – the wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Victoria’s uncle (her mother’s brother) King Leopold of Belgium, had for some time been hoping to strengthen his family’s European influence by a marriage between his niece, Victoria, and his nephew (his bother’s son) Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. At the apparently innocent suggestion of Leopold’s advisor, Baron Stockmar, in April 1836 Victoria’s mother invited Albert to London for the princess’s 17th birthday celebrations to be held at Kensington Palace in May. According to Victoria’s diary, she enjoyed Albert's company from the beginning and after he left for Brussels in June, Victoria wrote to tell Uncle Leopold that she had cried bitterly at Albert’s departure and to thank him (her uncle) for, "… the prospect of great happiness you have contributed to give me, in the person of dear Albert ... He possesses every quality that could be desired to render me perfectly happy. He is so sensible, so kind, and so good, and so amiable too. He has besides the most pleasing and delightful exterior and appearance you can possibly see."

However William IV had voiced his disapproval of any match with the Coburgs, instead favouring the suit of Prince Alexander of the Netherlands, the second son of the Prince of Orange. But, compared to the "extremely handsome" Albert, Victoria thought Alexander was, "very plain". Moreover she was still only 17 and so no formal arrangements were made at this time.

A year later on 20 June 1837 William IV died and Victoria ascended to the throne. As a young princess she had been kept in virtual isolation at Kensington Palace, constrained by the draconian strictures of her mother – but now free from parental control she became something of a party animal, staying up until 5am, geting drunk and then saying in bed until late morning. Nevertheless although queen, as an unmarried young woman she was required by social convention to live with her mother, despite their mutual antipathy now further strained by their difference in rank. When Victoria complained to the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, that her mother's close proximity promised "torment for many years", Melbourne sympathised but said it could be avoided by marriage, which Victoria called a "schocking [sic] alternative", and for the moment resisted rushing into wedlock. But in October 1839 Albert visited again, and just five days after his arrival she proposed to him, as per royal etiquette for a queen regnant.

On 10 February 1840 they were married in the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace. Victoria and her twelve bridesmaids, escorted by her uncle the Duke of Sussex, arrived in a procession of carriages from Buckingham Palace, to which she had moved to get away from her mother. Albert, dressed in the uniform of a British field marshal, was escorted by a squadron of Life Guards. It poured with rain but nevertheless the crowds lining the route were enormous.



Victoria wore a relatively simple white wedding dress of heavy silk satin trimmed with Honiton lace, which was considered an unusual choice at a time when colours were more usual. She was not as many believe the first bride to wear white, although following her example thereafter white weddings and white bridal gowns did become the fashion. At the time everything French was very much in vogue but Victoria made a point that everything she wore for her wedding - the lace, the silk, the ivory buttons - was of English manufacture. It was also Victoria that first made the veil a romantic essential for every royal bride, thereby giving a great boost to the Devon lace-making industry. She also started a fashion for big royal weddings which had previously usually been relatively quiet, private affairs. But then, hers was a big deal - the first wedding of a reigning queen since Queen Mary in 1554

The wedding cake was a big deal, too. Made by Mr John Mauditt, Queen Victoria’s confectioner at Buckingham Palace, it was a 14-inch-deep, one-layer fruit cake, measuring three yards in circumference and weighing 300 lbs. 'The Annual Register' for 1840 described it thus:

"It is covered with sugar of the purest white; on the top is seen the figure of Britannia in the act of blessing the illustrious bride and bridegroom, who are dressed somewhat incongruously in the costume of ancient Rome. These figures are not quite a foot in height; at the feet of his serene highness is the effigy of a dog, said to denote fidelity; and at the feet of the queen is a pair of turtle doves, denoting the felicities of the marriage state. A cupid is writing in a volume expanded on denoting the felicities of the marriage state. Another cupid is writing in a volume expanded on his knees the date of the day of the marriage, and various other cupids are sporting and enjoying themselves as such interesting little individuals generally do."

    

As was usual for the time Victoria and Albert’s cake was just one tier but a short eleven years later, the first three-tiered wedding cake made its debut at London's Crystal Palace Exhibition (although only the first tier of this wedding cake was made of cake — the top sections were pure sugar). The idea of a tall cake with progressively smaller tiers had sticking power and it changed wedding cake fashion forever. After the multi-tiered cake model caught on in stylish circles, royals demanded increasingly larger and more elaborate cakes for their weddings. When Queen Victoria's oldest daughter married Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858, she served a triple-layer cake that stood between six and seven feet tall, adorned with jasmine, orange blossoms, silver leaves, the bride and groom's royal arms, and several rows of real pearls. King George V's wedding cake, in 1893, was even more impressive as it had four tiers, and these were separated by columns and statues that lent the cake even more height: a practice is still in vogue today.

The modern wedding cake appears to be a development of rich 'bride pies', known from the 16th Century onwards. Although rich fruit and nut cakes had been made for centuries, Elizabeth Raffald in 1769 was one of the first to publish a recipe for a cake specifically for weddings, as well as giving instructions for the now traditional wedding cake’s white icing. This is her recipe for a large wedding cake from 'The Experienced English Housekeeper' (1769):

To make a Bride Cake
Take four Pounds of fine Flour well dried, four Pounds of fresh Butter, two Pounds of Loaf Sugar, pound and sift a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, the same of Nutmegs, to every Pound of Flour put eight Eggs, wash four Pounds of Currents, pick them well and dry them before the Fire, blanch a Pound of Sweet Almonds (and cut them length-way very thin) a Pound of Citron, one Pound of candied Orange, the fame of candied Lemon, half a Pint of Brandy; first work the Butter with your Hand to a Cream, then beat in your Sugar a quartet of an Hour, beat the Whites of your eggs to a very strong Froth, mix them with your Sugar and Butter, beat your Yolks half an Hour at least, and mix them with your Cake, then put in your Flour, Mace, and Nut-meg, keep beating it well 'till your Oven is ready, put in your Brandy, and beat your Currants and Almonds lightly in, tie three Sheets of Paper round the Bottom of your Hoop to keep it from running out, rub it well with Butter, put in your Cake, and lay your Sweet-meats in three Lays, with Cake betwixt every Lay, after it is risen and coloured, cover it with Paper before your Oven is stopped up; it will take three Hours baking.

To make Allmond Icing for the Bride Cake
Beat the Whites of three Eggs to a strong Froth, beat a Pound of Jordan Almonds very fine with Rose Water, mix your Almonds with the Eggs lightly together, a Pound of common Loaf Sugar beat fine, and put in by Degrees, when your Cake is enough, take it out and lay your Iceing on, and put it in to Brown.

To make Sugar Iceing for the Bride Cake
Beat two Pounds of double refined Sugar with two Ounces of fine Starch, sift it through a Gawze Sieve, then beat the Whites of five Eggs with a Knife upon a Pewter Dish half an Hour, beat in your Sugar a little at a Time, or it will make the Eggs fall, and will not be of good a Colour, when you have put in all your Sugar, beat it half an Hour longer, then put it on your Almond Iceing, and spread it even with a Knife; if it be put on as soon as the Cake comes out of the Oven, it will be hard by that Time the Cake is cold.


In 2016 a slice of Victoria and Albert’s wedding cake, still in its commemorative box, was auctioned by Christie’s and fetched £1500 … nearly 180 years old and not a sign of mould:



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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 13 Feb 2018, 13:23

Shrove Tuesday today so I trust you're all making pancakes.

At their most basic pancakes are simply a flour batter (which need not even contain milk or eggs) cooked on a pan, griddle or even just a hot stone, and so they are probably one of the most ancient cooked dishes, as well as occurring in every cuisine around the globe. However the earliest recipe in English for a pancake under that name seems to be this one from 'The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen - A New booke of Cookerie', first published in 1588:

To make Pancakes.
Take new thicke Creame a pinte, foure or five yolks of egs, a good handfull of flower, and two or three spoonfuls of ale, strain them altogether into a faire platter, and season it with a good handfull of sugar, a spooneful of Synamon, and a litle Ginger: then take a frying pan, and put in a litle peece of Butter, as big as your thombe, and when it is molten browne, cast it out of your pan, and with a ladle put to the further side of your pan some of your stuffe, and hold your pan aslope, so that your stuffe may run abroad ouer all the pan, as thin as may be: then set it to the fyre, and let the fyre be verie soft, and when the one side is baked, then turne the other, and bake them as dry as ye can without burning.



You can see how the English pancake developed by comparing this with the recipes given by Hannah Glasse in her 1740 book 'The Art Of Cookery: Made Plain and Simple', who, for such a plain and simple dish, still manages to give five distinct recipes:

To make Pancakes.
TAKE a quart of milk, beat in fix or eight eggs, leaving half the whites out; mix it well till your batter is of a fine thickness. You must observe to mix your flour first with a little milk, then add the rest by degrees; put in two spoonfuls of beaten ginger, a glass of brandy, a little salt; stir all together, make your stew-pan very clean, put in a piece of butter as big as a walnut, then pour in a ladleful of batter, which will make a pancake, moving the pan round that the batter be all over the pan, shake the pan, and when you think that side is enough, toss it; if you cannot, turn it cleverly; and when both sides are done, lay it in a dish before the fire, and so do the rest. You must take care they are dry; when you send them to table strew a little sugar over them.

To make fine Pancakes.
TAKE half a pint of cream, half a pint of sack, the yolks of eighteen eggs beat fine, a little salt, half a pound of fine sugar, a little beaten cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg; then put in as much flour as will run thin over the pan, and fry them in fresh butter. This fort of pancake will not be crisp, but very good.

A second Sort fine Pancakes.
TAKE a pint of cream, and eight eggs well beat, a nutmeg grated, a little salt, half a pound of good dish-butter melted; mix all together, with as much flour as will make them into a thin batter, fry them nice, and turn them on the back of a plate.

A third Sort.
TAKE six new-laid eggs well beat, mix them with a pint of cream, a quarter of a pound of sugar, some grated nutmeg, and as much flour as will make the batter of a proper thickness. Fry these fine pancakes in small pans, and let your pans be hot. You must not put above the bigness of a nutmeg of butter at a time into the pan.

A fourth Sort, called a Quire of Paper.
TAKE a pint of cream, six eggs, three spoonfuls of fine flour, three of sack, one of orange-flower water, a little sugar, and half a nutmeg grated, half a pound of melted butter almost cold; mingle all well together, and butter the pan for the first pancake; let them run as thin as possible; when they are just coloured they are enough; and so do with all the fine pancakes.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 13 Feb 2018, 13:40

On BBC Breakfast this morning they said Japanese pancakes are all the rage these days.The trick, apparently, is to get them to wobble properly.




These surely are not the thing at all - more like two little cakes than proper pancakes!
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 13 Feb 2018, 14:13

Dorothy Hartley in her 1954 book, 'Food In England', commented that,

"... abroad pancakes are usually open and piled up together. In England our pancakes are symbols of our insular detachment, for each is rolled up by itself, aloof, with its own small slice of lemon."

So the English pancake could be taken to symbolically represent brexit on a plate.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 13 Feb 2018, 16:36

MM, who was quoting Dorothy Hartley, wrote:



In England our pancakes are symbols of our insular detachment, for each is rolled up by itself, aloof, with its own small slice of lemon.



Quite right too, our Dotty! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 14 Feb 2018, 13:13

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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 14 Feb 2018, 13:42

Re Dairy Products.

This is just lifted from Wiki:
Mrs. Mary Eales's Receipts was published in London in 1718 and again in 1733, the second time also under the title of The compleat confectioner. It was published in 1744 with an additional called A curious collection of receipts in cookery, pickling, family physick, &c. added by the publisher, R. Montagu. (The author of the latter part is unknown.) A facsimile of the 1733 edition was published in 1985 by Prospect Books (ISBN 0-907325-25-4).

Mrs. Mary Eales is listed on the cover as confectioner to her late Majesty Queen Anne; there is no external verification or disproval of this claim. It was the first English cookbook to include a recipe for ice cream.

To ice CREAM.Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweeten'd, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and lay Ice and Salt between every Pot, that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be froze in four Hours, but it may stand longer; than take it out just as you use it; hold it in your Hand and it will slip out. When you wou'd freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Raspberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemmonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemmon-Juice sweeten'd; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 14 Feb 2018, 14:59

It might be St Valentine's Day today but I'm not sure you're allowed ice cream as it's also the first day of Lent. So not only is the Häagen-Dazs off limits but I guess strictly one should replace the choccies with digestive biscuits and the champagne with mineral water. However oysters, smoked salmon and caviar would all still be permitted.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Thu 15 Feb 2018, 10:11

Being a Dinosaur, I don't bother about such things as Lent, preferring to eat what I like when I like. (except when I've got acid reflux, in which case the most exotic meal is mashed potato)
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 06 Mar 2018, 19:16

6 March 1836 - Mexican forces under the command of President-General Antonio López de Santa-Anna, after a 13-day siege, finally captured the fortified Alamo mission station in San Antonio from the Texans. So, for a meal to "remember the Alamo", I guess something Tex-Mex is order.

In the mission era Spanish and native Mexican cuisines were combined in Texas as in other parts of the northern frontier of New Spain. However, the cuisine that would come to be called Tex-Mex actually originated with the  Tejanos (Texans of Mexican descent) as a mix of native Mexican and Spanish foods from when Texas was still very much a part of New Spain. The ranching culture of South Texas and Northern Mexico straddled both sides of the Rio Grande and a taste for barbequed or braised beef has remained a key part of the cuisine on both side of the current border, as did the use of black beans, flat tortillas and spicy cayenne-type peppers.

The word "Tex-Mex" itself first entered the English language as a nickname for the Texas-Mexican Railway, chartered in southern Texas in 1875. In train schedules published in the newspapers of the 19th century the names of the railways were always abbreviated: the Missouri-Pacific was called the "Mo. Pac" and the Texas-Mexican was abbreviated "Tex. Mex". By the 1920s, the hyphenated form was used in American newspapers to reference both the railway and associated companies, but also Texans of Mexican ancestry, and increasingly their distinctive culture and cuisine (distinct that is from the rest of the US).

It is not therefore perhaps too surprising that while certain staples of Tex-Mex cuisine - for example tortillas, the classic unleaven maize-flour flat breads, go back to the Aztecs - many of the modern Tex-Mex characteristiscs, like grated cheese and sour cream, are rather more modern innovations at least in the style that they are now presented. Furthermore some of the classic Tex-Mex dish names are surprisingly modern: the name burritos, literally meaning "little donkeys" and alluding to the rolled up saddle roll appearance of the filled tortilla, seems to date only from the 1880s. Similarly fajitas, at least with that name, are unknown before the 1930s when they were deliberately created as a form of street food to use up cheap left-over beef trimmings from the industrial abbatoirs (although addmittedly these trimmings had always traditionally been the cowboy's perk). Nowadays fajitas has completely lost its original meaning and has come to describe just about anything that is cooked and served rolled up in a soft flour tortilla (and made of course with Old El Paso industrially-made, 'authentic', spice-mix). 

So for an authentic mid-19th century meal - the sort of thing that Bowie and his colleagues ate at the Alamo -  you're probably better off with a sort of chili con carne: a one-pot stew of pork or beef, with rehydrated beans, spiced up with chili peppers, and served with rice, tortillas or bread.

Chili con carne itself is not a typically Mexican dish, except where it is made for tourists, and if there is any doubt about what Mexicans think about chili, the 'Diccionario de Mejicanismos' (1959) defines chili con carne as (roughly translated):"... detestable food passing itself off as Mexican, sold in the U.S. from Texas to New York." Chili con carne seems to have been developed, sometime before 1850 in the vicinity of San Antonio, by Texan adventurers and cowboys as an easily transported food when ranching cattle around the wilds of Texas, or when travelling to the Californian gold fields. The trail cooks pounded beef, fat, pepper, salt and chili peppers together, and then left them to dry in the sun into rectangles or "chili bricks" which could be easily rehydrated with boiling water. The dried bricks were sometimes known as the "pemmican of the Southwest" and the resulting stew was originally called "chili a la Americano" to distiguish it from other more typical Mexican foods spiced with chilli peppers. The basic chili stew did not originally contain beans although they were ofen eaten alongside it, and some aficionados still insist that the word "chili" applies only to the basic dish without beans and tomatoes. Chili con carne only became more widely known in the US after the 1893 Chicago World Fair where it was sold as part of a drive to promote San Antonio as a tourist destination. Since 1977 chili con carne has been the official dish of the US state of Texas.


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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Tue 06 Mar 2018, 20:14

Meles meles,

with all my trouble of the sepsis, I hadn't read your messages on this dish thread from 8 Febuary on. I now passed through the whole bunch.
It is really a pleasure to read your contributions. I enjoyed them very much as usual. You have the talent to find the right narration for the purpose. (But I hope that you keep it the same way as ever and don't become a "dikke nek" (a thick neck?) from all this praise Wink )

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 09 Mar 2018, 00:06

Thanks to Temp for suggesting this one.

9 March 1522 - The Affair of the Sausages.

On this day during the Lenten fast in 1522, Ulrich (or Huldrych) Zwingli, the pastor of Grossmünster in Zurich, and a dedicated disciple of Martin Luther’s Reformation ideology, was invited to partake of a sausage supper at the house of the printer Christopher Froschauer. The event was deliberate provocation as according to Catholic doctrine the eating of meat during Lent was prohibited. Froschauer was duly arrested, as were the four fellow tradesmen who were also present: Hans Oggenfuss, a tailor, Laurenz Hochrütiner, a weaver, Niklaus Hottinger a shoemaker, and Heinrich Äberli, a baker who also, only four days previously, on Ash Wednesday no less, had ostentatiously eaten some roast meat in the bakers’ guild-house. In the early evening of 9 th March, together in Froschauer’s printshop they scandalously ate two dried smoked sausages cut into slices, together with some Fasnachtschüechli (Fasnachtskiechli in Switzerdeutsch), a type of sweet crispy pancake more usually associated with the period of Carnival (Fasnacht) before Lent.

Zwingli’s role, together with a fellow priest, Leo Jud, was to be witness and to justify the provocation theologically in defence of Froschauer and the four tradesmen from allegations of heresy, and so did not himself eat any of the sausages (or so he said). In a sermon titled ‘Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen’ (Regarding the Choice and Freedom of Foods), Zwingli argued from the basis of Martin Luther's doctrine of sola scriptura, that "Christians are free to fast or not to fast because the Bible does not prohibit the eating of meat during Lent", accordingly, he said, fasting should be entirely voluntary, not mandatory.


Zwingli, painted in 1531 by Hans Asper.

The event sparked the Reformation in Switzerland and was seen as a demonstration of Christian liberty similar in importance to how Martin Luther's 95 theses in Wittenberg was for the German Reformation. The Bishop of Konstanz, who had hitherto supported much of the reform taking place, was so scandalized by Zwingli's preaching that he called for a mandate prohibiting the preaching of any Reformation doctrine in Switzerland. However, the damage had already been done, and Zwingli went on to become an extremely popular and revered figure in Swiss Protestantism (especially after he contracted and recovered from the plague).

The other priest, Leo Jud, became one of Zwingli’s most trusted friends and confidants and was one of the early leaders of the Swiss Reformed Church. The printer, Christoph Froschauer, was released along with the others after he’d apologised, and later become famous for printing a Zwinglian translation of the Bible into the Swiss variant of German. The guildsmen, Hans Oggenfuss, Laurenz Hochrütiner, and  Niklaus Hottinger went on to achieve notoriety far beyond Zurich a year later when, in their religious zeal, they pulled down a wayside crucifix by the city gates and chopped it into pieces - for which action Hottinger was executed, thereby earning himself the unwanted distinction of being the first Swiss Protestant martyr.


Niklaus Hottinger (left) Hans Oggenfuss and Laurenz Hochrütiner pulling down the cross in 1523.

Anyway here are two contemporary sausage recipes from ‘Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin’ of 1533 (the Welser family were wealthy merchants and bankers from the southern German city of Augsburg in Swabia, roughly 130miles/200km east of Zurich). The first one is for a dried sausage similar to the type eaten in 1522 and I’m intrigued by her instruction that one shouldn’t make them during a crescent moon. The other is for a typically Swiss cervalat-type of sausage. Called cervalas in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, cervalat in the German-speaking part, and servelat in the Italian-speaking part, the name derives from zervelada, a Milanese dialect word referring to a type of thick, short sausage filled with pork brains, and hence ultimately from cerebrum, the Latin for brain. Cervalat sausage has not routinely contained brains since the 19th century and clearly from Sabina Welserin’s recipe they were not necessarily included even in the 16th century. Modern Swiss cervalat is made mostly from beef, sometimes with some pork as well, slightly smoked and then boiled, and accordingly it can be eaten both raw or cooked. The best are now made with skins made from the intestines of Brazilian zebu (a hump-backed ox, originally of Asian origin) – apparently cow intestines are too fatty and make the cervalat bend too much when cooked, while pig intestines are too difficult to peel. The Swiss currently consume some 100 million cervalat sausages a year – roughly 18 per head of population.


Grilled cervelat with the ends cut open in the traditional Swiss manner.

So, from ‘Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin’ (1533):

Welt jr gút wirst zúm sallat machen - If you would make a good sausage for a salad
Then take ten pounds of pork and five pounds of beef, always two parts pork to one part of beef. That would be fifteen pounds. To that one should take eight ounces of salt and two and one half ounces of pepper, which should be coarsely ground, and when the meat is chopped, put into it at first two pounds of bacon, diced. According to how fat the pork is, one can use less or more, take the bacon from the back and not from the belly. And the sausages should be firmly stuffed. The sooner they are dried the better. Hang them in the parlour or in the kitchen, but not in the smoke and not near the oven, so that the bacon does not melt. This should be done during the crescent moon, and fill with the minced meat well and firmly, then the sausages will remain good for a long while. Each sausage should be tied above and below and also fasten a ribbon on both ends with which they should be hung up, and every two days they should be turned, upside down, and when they are fully dried out, wrap them in a cloth and lay them in a box.

Wie man zerwúlawirstlach machen soll - How one should make Zervelat
First take four pounds of pork from the tender area of the leg and two pounds of bacon. Let this be finely chopped and add to it three ounces of salt, one pound of grated cheese, one and one half ounces of pepper and one and one half ounces of ginger. When it is chopped then knead the following into it, one and one half ounces cinnamon, one fourth ounce of cloves, one fourth ounce of nutmeg and one ounce of sugar. The sausage skins must be cleaned and subsequently coloured yellow, for which one needs not quite one fourth ounce of saffron. Tie it up on both ends and pour in approximately one quart of fresh water. The entire amount of salt, ginger and pepper should not be added, taste it first and season it accordingly. It should be cooked about as long as to cook eggs. The seasoning and the salt must be put into it according to one's own discretion, it must be tried first.


Or if you don’t fancy sausage here’s a modern recipe for Swiss Fasnachtskiechli.

For about 10 pancakes:
10 eggs
100g sugar
1 kg flour
50 g butter (melted)
500ml cream
Grated rind of one lemon
 
Mix well and roll out to a few millimetres thick.  Cut out rounds and fry in deep fat or oil (about 200°C). Dust with powdered sugar.
 
E Guete!  … which is more or less Switzerdeutsch for bon appetit!


Fasnachtskiechli
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 09 Mar 2018, 14:45

Today is also the anniversary of this:

9 March 1839 – The end of the First Franco-Mexican War.

Few wars can claim to have been sparked by a dispute over some fancy cream cakes and custard tarts, but in the annals of culinary-inspired combat, the so-called ‘Pastry War’ (Spanish: Guerra de los pasteles, French: Guerre des Pâtisseries) between France and Mexico takes the cake, so to speak.

It all began in 1821 when Mexico broke away from the Spanish Empire. The result was a series of governments with about 20 different presidents over the next 20 years, as different factions vied for control of the new country. In 1828, President Guadalupe Victoria kicked Lorenzo de Zavala (Mexico’s state governor) out of office. Unfortunately for Victoria, Zavala had the support of General Antonio López de Santa Anna. As a result, Mexico City was plunged into its usual chaos as supporters of both sides battled each other for control of the government. In the aftermath, Zavala won. Neither side cared about civilian casualties or the damage they wrought – something all of Mexico would later regret for decades to come. For among the things destroyed was a pastry shop in the Tacubaya district belonging to French-born Monsieur Remontel: not only had Mexican soldiers destroyed his shop but they had also looted his supplies and merchandise. Furious, Remontel asked the government for compensation, but they ignored him. Rebuffed by the Mexican government in his attempt at compensation Remontel took his case directly to his native country and the French King Louis-Philippe. 

The pastry chef found a welcome ear in Paris. The French government was already angered over unpaid Mexican debts that had been incurred during the Texas Revolution of 1836, and in the Spring of 1838 it demanded compensation of 600,000 pesos, including an astronomical 60,000 pesos for Remontel’s pastry shop, (which had been valued at less than 1,000 pesos). When the Mexican Congress rejected the ultimatum, the French navy began a blockade of key seaports along the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Rio Grande. To get around the blockade, Mexicans had to smuggle goods in and out of Corpus Christi in the Republic of Texas (which hadn’t yet joined the American Union).

But then America also entered the fray. Distrustful of Mexico and anxious to maintain cordial relations with France, the US joined the blockade by sending an armed United States revenue schooner. This put the neutral Texans in a bind. They were concerned over how the Americans might react and they feared that the French might blockade them as well. Still, the money was good, so for the time being they continued to aid the smugglers. However things changed in July 1838 when Mexico sent soldiers into Corpus Christi Bay to secure their supplies. Texas responded by raising a large militia which reached the bay on 7 August. The Mexicans fled, leaving behind over 100 barrels of flour and some steam engine parts, which is how Flour Bluff in Texas got its name.

The stalemate dragged on until 27th November 1838 when French warships bombarded the island fortress of San Juan de Ulua that guarded the important port city of Veracruz. Mexico declared war on France, and its president ordered the conscription of all men who could bear arms. Within days however French marines raided the city and captured nearly the entire Mexican navy. Desperate to repel the invaders, Mexico turned to grizzled warrior Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the former president and military general who only the year before had returned home in disgrace after his humiliating defeat at the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, which had led to the creation of the independent Republic of Texas. Brought out from his forced retirement, the general who had proven so ruthless at the Battle of the Alamo left his Veracruz hacienda and organized a makeshift army that drove the French forces from the city and back to their ships. But unfortunately for Santa Anna, as he galloped after the invaders, some grapeshot fired from a cannon killed his horse and severely wounded his left leg. Doctors determined the limb could not be saved and were forced to amputate the leg, which Santa Anna buried at his home in Veracruz.

Less than four months later the Pastry War was over. British diplomats brokered a peace agreement in which Mexico agreed to pay France’s demand of 600,000 pesos, including the cost of Remontel’s pastry shop. On 9 March 1839 Remontel got his money and French forces withdrew from the country.


The French Navy shelling the fortress of San Juan de Ulua.

Mexico however was broke ... and then things just got worse.

Santa Anna the self-proclaimed ‘Napoleon of the West’ was none too shy to remind Mexicans that he had sacrificed a limb for his country and in 1842 reclaimed the Presidency. The dictatorial Santa Anna exhumed his shrivelled leg from Veracruz, paraded it to Mexico City in an ornate coach and buried it beneath a huge monument in an elaborate state funeral that included cannon salvos, poetry and lofty orations. But Santa Anna’s severed leg did not remain in its second resting place for long. In 1844 public opinion again turned against him: rioters tore down his statues and dug up his leg, which they dragged through the streets of Mexico City while shouting, "Death to the cripple!". Santa Anna duly stepped (hopped?) down, and went into exile in Spanish Cuba.

Then in 1845 the United States of America annexed Texas, which immediately prompted the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). Santa Anna was once again dragged out of retirement to lead the Mexican army into Texas. However during the Battle of Cerro Gordo on 18 April 1847, the Fourth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry launched a surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp. He escaped but left his wooden leg behind – which is why it now rests in the Illinois State Military Museum. Following defeat in the Mexican-American War, in 1848 Santa Anna again went into exile, this time in Jamaica.

But Texas was lost and Mexico was still broke and struggling to pay its reparations to France.

On 17 July 1861 Mexican President Benito Juarez suspended all loan-interest payments to foreign countries. This primarily affected France but Britain and Spain were also creditors and so on 31 October 1861, France, Britain and Spain agreed to a joint effort to extract repayment from the Mexican government (the US were occupied with the American Civil War and thus were unable to enforce their Monroe Doctrine). However when the British and the Spanish discovered that France had unilaterally planned to seize Mexico in pursuit of its own imperial ambitions, they withdrew from the coalition. The subsequent French invasion of the Mexican Republic created the Second Mexican Empire (1861–67) with the country as a client state of France. In Mexico the Roman Catholic Church, upper-class conservatives, and some Indian communities welcomed, accepted, and even collaborated with the French to install an Austrian archduke, as the Emperor Maximillian I of Mexico. But after much guerrilla warfare the French Empire eventually withdrew from Mexico and abandoned Maximillian, who was subsequently executed on 19 June 1867.

After Mexico took back its independence, one of its early leaders was Porfirio Díaz, who would eventually serve seven terms as president over almost 30 years. Díaz, a well-known Francophile, commissioned French-style architecture and collected French artwork and during his time French customs, culture and cuisine became more widely established than ever they had been during the time when Mexico was a French client state.

So here is a brief selection of typical Franco-Mexican pastries ... which are just the sort of things Monsieur Remontal probably made in his patisserie, until it was ransacked by soldiers in 1839 and the whole sorry saga kicked off.

Cuernos ("horns" in Spanish) can be either single or double-shaped, the latter revealing its French croissant ancestry. Like croissants cuernos are very light flaky pastry constructions made by repeatedly folding layers of filo pastry and butter. In Mexico there are traditional plain versions, but also some filled with vanilla cream, chocolate, or caramel, like a French cream horn.


Cueno


Cuernos de crema

Orejas ("ears" in Spanish) are very similar to what in France are known as palmiers or as palmeras in Spain (both meaning palm trees) from their resemblance to palm leaves. They seem to have originally come to France from north Africa probably following the French conquest of Algeria (1830–34) but possibly even as early as Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt (1798–1801). Again they are made of light flaky pastry, but sweet, and in Mexico they often come dusted with cinnamon or chocolate.


Orejas

Crepas con cajeta are the Mexican iteration of the French sweet crepe but the popular cajeta filling (sweetened caremelized goat’s milk) gives it a unique Mexican identity.


Crepas

.... and then there are the numerous entirely indigenous creations like, conchas (shells), besos (kisses) and marranitos / cochinitos / puerquitos (little pigs).


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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Fri 09 Mar 2018, 22:20

Meles meles,

thank you as ever for your dish of the day. I read it with great interest.

I wanted to mention something about the Menapii and their pigs (btw: what's the difference between pig and swine? I thought that it was the same as between the Dutch "varken" and "zwijn", but in English and even in American English it seems more complicated... and the word "pork" is of course "on the table")

It all started this afternoon when I read in the paper about a backcrossing of swines with the help of the university of Ghent to a swine from the Roman times here in the area and this area was the region of the Menapii.

And I thought immediately at you about a dish of the days of the Menapii with salted pork, bread or something like that and mede...

Although I have such a backlog on the spies thread, I nevertheless spent my whole evening with research for the Menapii and yes the Menapian backcrossed swine  Embarassed

And now after all my research I have the impression that it is a kind of marketing trick to warm up the people for bio...the new religion...you see it nowadays everywhere, but it is two or three times more expensive than the "normal" thing...

As I spent now my evening...I gathered the following...and not that much about daily life of the Menapii apart of the salt winning with the briquetage method...


About that Menapian swine
a source from the University Ghent, but I can't copy it because it is on twitter...and most is on twitter, facebook, instagram, you name it...
http://www.wtv.be/nieuws/boer-doet-eeuwenoud-varkensras-herleven
farmer let's a centuriesold pig's race be reborn
Can we eat in the near future the meat that Asterix and Obleix in the time of the Romans preferred. Ruben Brabant in cooperation with the Uni of Ghent elevates the Menapian pig, with the backcrossing of pure old pigs lines to come to the pig that lived here in our Woods and pasture.
http://ftp.extraimage.me/tag/dierendonck



About the Menapii I din't find that much.

The best in my opinion:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0064:id=menapii-geo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menapii

And with the Britannica you have nowadays to subscribe:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Menapii


And for nordmann...it seems that there is a link with Ireland:
https://snr.org.uk/snr-forum/topic/menapian-sea-folk-in-ireland/
http://www.kelticos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2209


Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 10 Mar 2018, 13:01

I'm not sure but those menapii pigs don't seem to be much different to crosses between wild boar and old domesticated pig breeds like English Tamworths. These sorts of crosses have been going on for some years ever since people got a taste for leaner boar meat, and farmers realised that boar/domestic pig crosses were easier to raise, had bigger litters and matured earlier - all good for profit - than pure wild animals. Indeed I suspect many of the 'wild boar' now roaming wild in southern and western England are crosses and not pure wild boar. Domestic pigs are just an artificial sub-species of wild boar anyway and probably were still regularly interbreeding well into the Middle Ages when it was still common practice to leave pigs to forage in woodland, where they probably met up with their still wild relations. Nevertheless the menapii pigs are probably better tasting that intesively reared domestic pigs.

I have always thought that swine just meant domestic pigs, while pigs was a more general term including related animals: domestic pigs, wild boar, asian wild pigs (a related but distinct species), possibly warthogs too. Swine is also perhaps a more poetic term, as in the biblical phrase, "casting pearls before swine", much in the same way as the old term "kine" still sometimes crops up, meaning domesticated cattle, but unlike 'cattle' meaning specifically the cows and not the bulls. The English name 'wild boar' is of course equally misleading as it refers to both males and females, ie boars and sows, whereas the French 'sanglier' means the wild animal generally whether boar or sow. But then French complicates it by referring to the stripy, one-year old young piglets of the wild animals as marcassins, while a young domestic French pig remains a porcelet or cochonnet.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 10 Mar 2018, 13:22

I must admit I always thought the words 'pigs' and 'swine' were interchangeable but MM's explanation above seems sensible and feasible.

Swine were domestic pigs in the nursery rhyme "Curly Locks"*

"Curly Locks, Curly Locks wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream".

*We are never told Curly Locks' real name - for anyone whose first language is not English [though they would probably work it out anyway] the curly locks refer to curly locks of hair of the young lady.  I'm not sure how good a diet that consisted solely of strawberries, sugar and cream would be for the health though and thinking about the declining skills thread it does seem that sewing a fine seam was deemed work worthy of a ladylike person as has been mentioned on the disappearing skills thread.


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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 10 Mar 2018, 13:34

MM, it is interesting that you refer to 'cattle' as different from 'kine'.  In 2012 I went down to London for the day (well I think maybe I came back the following morning) but while I had some time to pass I went  to the British Museum and they had a time-limited (but fortunately free) exhibition about the 3 Arabian stallions that are said to be the forefathers (foresires?) of the present British thoroughbred racehorse, the Godolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian and the Byerley Turk.  After nearly 6 years I can't quote verbatim but there was an exhibit (not sure of the date but obviously not 21st century) of diverse 'cattle' that were descended from one of the stallions - so 'cattle' must have referred to animals generally rather than just cows.  I did read somewhere but can't recall where it's so long ago that 'deer' or at least the word 'deer' descends from etymologically originally referred to animals generally.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 10 Mar 2018, 15:49

Incidentally, further to above post about the Franco-Mexican Pastry War ...

Santa Anna, the victor at the Alamo and the man who went from two legs to three, then two, then one, then back to two, eventually ended up living in Staten Island, New York, in exile yet again. Here in 1869 he had the idea of importing to America, tziktli (Chicle), a gooey sap from several species of Mexican tree, hoping it could be used as a substitute for rubber. Rubber was then obtained almost exclusively from the Amazon and harvesting it had generated large profits for Brazilian entrepreneurs. Santa Anna was then 74 years old but his plan was to make enough money to raise an army with which he planned to regain Texas for the glory of  Mexico, and of course, himself. He worked with the American chemist Thomas Adams, but in the end the scheme proved unfeasible. Adams, however, did manage to find a use for the chicle gum … he developed chewing gum (sold as chiclets), although admittedly several others also claim that dubious honour.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sat 10 Mar 2018, 21:57

@Meles meles wrote:
I'm not sure but those menapii pigs don't seem to be much different to crosses between wild boar and old domesticated pig breeds like English Tamworths. These sorts of crosses have been going on for some years ever since people got a taste for leaner boar meat, and farmers realised that boar/domestic pig crosses were easier to raise, had bigger litters and matured earlier - all good for profit - than pure wild animals. Indeed I suspect many of the 'wild boar' now roaming wild in southern and western England are crosses and not pure wild boar. Domestic pigs are just an artificial sub-species of wild boar anyway and probably were still regularly interbreeding well into the Middle Ages when it was still common practice to leave pigs to forage in woodland, where they probably met up with their still wild relations. Nevertheless the menapii pigs are probably better tasting that intesively reared domestic pigs.

I have always thought that swine just meant domestic pigs, while pigs was a more general term including related animals: domestic pigs, wild boar, asian wild pigs (a related but distinct species), possibly warthogs too. Swine is also perhaps a more poetic term, as in the biblical phrase, "casting pearls before swine", much in the same way as the old term "kine" still sometimes crops up, meaning domesticated cattle, but unlike 'cattle' meaning specifically the cows and not the bulls. The English name 'wild boar' is of course equally misleading as it refers to both males and females, ie boars and sows, whereas the French 'sanglier' means the wild animal generally whether boar or sow. But then French complicates it by referring to the stripy, one-year old young piglets of the wild animals as marcassins, while a young domestic French pig remains a porcelet or cochonnet.

Meles meles,

thank you for bringing me with your first paragraph back to reality. I doubted it from the beginning...those nowadays Menapii from Ghent and surroundings are just doing it for the advertising and yes perhaps for the better meat too. BTW: I verified and as I thought "wild boar" is our "everzwijn". And those "wild boars" propably escaped from a farm, are devasting nowadays the land near where we live...even ins such a manner that they organized a drive? battue? to shoot them down...but the first attempts were disasters while the boars got in hiding no one knew where...but after several...

Second paragraph.

I had again a look to the difference between the Dutch: "varken" (pig) and "zwijn" (swine? wild boar?)
From this site I found 7 differences between a "varken" and I see here, what they call a "wild zwijn" and that points to your "wild boar".
The dificulty for me is that in East and West Flemish they never say "varken" but always "zwijn" and if we speak in our dialect about a wild boar...we say an "everzwijn"...that is the difficulty I suppose in all languages, that for the same word different dialects from that language have a different concept of that word...

As for your "casting pearls before swine" we say: "parels voor de zwijnen gooien", but I am not sure if Dirk Marinus will not say "parels voor de varkens gooien"...
In French they seem to have the same difference as in Dutch:
"zwijn, everzwijn" sanglier and the young "marcassin" (I suppose! we would say: "biggetje" the same for sanglier and cochon?)
"varken" cochon and the young "porcelet (porc), cochonnet (cochon) and in Dutch: "biggetje"

Kind regards and thanks for your explanation, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Sun 11 Mar 2018, 20:39

With all the other excitment yesterday   Rolling Eyes   I forgot to mention this:

10 March 1863 : Edward, Prince of Wales, the eldest son and heir to Victoria and Albert; and later, much later, to be King Edward VII; married Alexandra of Denmark.

Here's the wedding cake  ... and note, with reference to his parents wedding cake of just 23 years earlier (see above for 10 February),  how it is already much taller and, although not what we would necessarily today call a multi-tired cake, it is nevertheless called precisely that in 1863.



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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 12 Mar 2018, 04:36

It looks all icing and very little cake, MM.  But at 5ft tall it probably has more cake that it seems from the picture.  How would it be cut so you can give slices to the people attending, and for keeping.

BTW, it was Edward VII he was to become not Edward VIII.

To get into history when does the tradition of having a wedding cake date from?  And has it always been ornate and filled with dried fruit.  I have been to several weddings of younger relatives whose cakes are chocolate or even just a cheese bowl and accompaniments.  Not for keeping, one presumes.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 12 Mar 2018, 09:47

It was indeed Eddy VII ... touch of the DTs last night!

The usual practice was to actually make several cakes, the principal one was for display on the top table and served (if at all) only to the key guests, everyone else got some from the other cakes which were still lavishly decorated though not so spectacularly, and these cakes were also used for all the presentation gift slices ... at least that's how they did it for Victoria and Albert's wedding (I can't find the reference but I seem to recall there were about a dozen cakes made in all).

Wedding cakes seem to have evolved from the medieval practice of eating ceremonial wedding pies or bride pies as they were usually called ... huge ornate pies containing - as was the custom of the time a right mix of meat, dried fruits, sugar and spices, like 'real' chistmas minced pies - and sometimes with four-and-twenty-blackbirds, small boys dressed as cupids, and other novelty ingredients. Here are the wedding pies being ceremoniously brought in at 'The Wedding in Bermondsey', by Marcus Gheeraets the Elder (circa 1569):



The pie seems to change to a cake, probably simply as a result of changing culinary fashions in the 17th century. The bride pie and bride cake were also not just for the wedding feast itself but it seems they were sometimes baked specifically for the servants to share, or to give to other passing well-wishers after the wedding.

Elizabeth Raffald was one of the first to publish a recipe for a cake specifically for weddings, from 'The Experienced English Housekeeper' (1769):

To make a Bride Cake
Take four Pounds of fine Flour well dried, four Pounds of fresh Butter, two Pounds of Loaf Sugar, pound and sift a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, the same of Nutmegs, to every Pound of Flour put eight Eggs, wash four Pounds of Currents, pick them well and dry them before the Fire, blanch a Pound of Sweet Almonds (and cut them length-way very thin) a Pound of Citron, one Pound of candied Orange, the fame of candied Lemon, half a Pint of Brandy; first work the Butter with your Hand to a Cream, then beat in your Sugar a quartet of an Hour, beat the Whites of your eggs to a very strong Froth, mix them with your Sugar and Butter, beat your Yolks half an Hour at least, and mix them with your Cake, then put in your Flour, Mace, and Nut-meg, keep beating it well 'till your Oven is ready, put in your Brandy, and beat your Currants and Almonds lightly in, tie three Sheets of Paper round the Bottom of your Hoop to keep it from running out, rub it well with Butter, put in your Cake, and lay your Sweet-meats in three Lays, with Cake betwixt every Lay, after it is risen and coloured, cover it with Paper before your Oven is stopped up; it will take three Hours baking.


Queen Victoria's wedding cake (1840) was huge - a yard across and about two feet high, although half of the height was the ornate sugar scuptures on top - but it was still only a single tier (ie just one cake). When Queen Victoria's oldest daughter married Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858, the cake was of three tiers, like Edward and Alexanda's cake above from 1863. King George V's wedding cake in 1893, however, had four tiers and these were separated by columns and statues that lent the cake even more height: and it seems the modern practice of separating the individual cakes by columns dates from about this time.

Here's George V's wedding cake (he was of course still just Prince George, Duke of York, at the time), although cake is almost a misnomer as it seems to be mostly sugar sculpture and foliage.

... and this is the second cake:
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 23 Apr 2018, 13:27

23 April 1348 (St George’s Day) Edward III founded the Order of the Garter in a ceremony in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Since coming to the English throne in 1327 Edward III had also been very active in asserting his claim to the French crown and in so doing initiated the long-running hostility between England and France: the Hundred Year’s War. He also shared in the widespread medieval fascination with the figure of King Arthur as a paragon of kingly and knightly virtue and saw himself as his successor. In 1344 he made a spectacular demonstration of his interest in Arthurian legend during a massive joust at Windsor when he pledged to renew King Arthur's celebrated fraternity of knights, the Round Table, and work even began on a gigantic circular building two-hundred feet across within the upper ward of Windsor castle, until in 1346 the renewal of war with France intervened and work was stopped. However in 1348 the project was revived in a different guise. On St George’s Day 1348 when founding the new college and chapel of St George at Windsor, Edward III created a select chivalric order of knights, each of whom was provided with a stall in the chapel. This elite group comprised just twenty-five men in all with the king at their head and was entitled the Order of the Garter after the symbol of the garter worn by its members.



The order of course still exists today with membership being strictly limited to the Monarch, the Prince of Wales - both being members ex officio and gaining membership upon acceding to one of the titles - and not more than 24 companion members nominated by the Sovereign alone. The Order can also include certain extra members (members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs), known as Supernumerary Knights and Ladies.

Anyway seeing as it’s St George’s Day and in commemoration of the Order’s formation at Windsor Castle, I propose that stalwart, typically English dish, that apparently - if you believe all the hype - even helped forge the Empire: Brown Windsor soup.

Take a look at any recent book on English food and you'll be told that Brown Windsor soup was the Victorian and Edwardian favourite, possibly even the dominant English soup until the Second World War. You'll be told that it was always on the menu at Windsor Castle; that it was Queen Victoria’s favourite; that it was served everywhere from royal palaces to boarding houses; and that it was a staple of railway dining cars and station restaurants. You'll learn, too, that it was thick and stodgy and that everybody hated it.

Accordingly it has become something of a joke dish. For example Brown Windsor soup is served onboard a passenger ship in the Ealing comedy, 'The Captain’s Paradise' (1953); and it is a recurring theme during 'The Goon Show', (eg this from 1956):
SEAGOON: Very well then. If the Scots want to make it a war on nutrition, we have an English dish in our armoury twice as deficient in calories as porridge and twice as deadly
BLOODNOK: Seagoon, you're not going to fire ...
SEAGOON: Yes, Brown Windsor soup!

Similarly it appears on the menu at 'Fawlty Towers' (in the 'Basil the Rat' episode of 1979), and is served to a rather disdainful, fastidious Belgian detective (in the 1994 TV version of 'Hercule Poirot's Christmas'):
Poirot,: It does not look very delicieux.
Waiter: Well, sir, it IS brown Windsor.


All of which is very odd as there is not a single reference to it anywhere before the 20th century. It isn't on menus, even railway ones, nor in magazines. It isn't in any novels, it isn't in encyclopedias, it isn’t in that great Victorian repository of household knowledge and advice 'Enquire Within',  and 'Punch' doesn't even make fun of it. It isn't mentioned in any 19th century cookbooks: in particular it isn't mentioned anywhere by Mrs Beeton, Eliza Acton, Alexis Soyer, Charles Francatelli, or Auguste  Escoffier. In fact this "Victorian and Edwardian staple" doesn't turn up before the first few one-off mentions in restaurant menus published as advertisements in newspapers during the 1920s and 1930s, for example the one for the Cadena Cafe of Portsmouth listing: "Soup - Tomato or Brown Windsor" (24 February 1926).

The first fictional reference occurs in the novel 'The Fancy' by Monica Dickens, published in 1943, in the line, "... he shared a table with a woman whose idea of a suitable four o'clock meal was brown Windsor soup followed by prunes and custard." But the lack of a capital 'B' suggests that what may be meant is a Windsor soup which is depressingly brown, rather than actual Brown Windsor.

Similarly the 1947 novel 'Game for One Player' by Vera Birch, has: "It's all right," said Gervaise. "We don't want anything. We dined on the way at a sordid little hotel. Brown Windsor soup and custard."
"That wasn't enough," said his mother. "Do you think you could find them something, Nanny? Would there be any cold meat?", ... which, as it starts a sentence, again might mean simply brown-coloured Windsor soup. Referred to clearly and unambiguously as Brown Windsor soup, it really only appears with any frequency in the 1950s as a comedy device in films and particularly radio programmes, such as 'Handcock’s Half Hour', and 'The Goon Show'.

White Windsor soup - a clear thin white broth usually based on rice or sago -  unquestionably existed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, ... as did Brown Windsor soap, which was a well-known brand for most of the nineteenth century. So it has been suggested that Brown Windsor soup was a conflation of the popular White Windsor soup with the well-known Brown Windsor soap, to create a sort of comic shorthand for awful food.



Anyway here’s a recipe for White Windsor soup, taken from the 'Reform Cookery Book' (4th edition, 1909) by Mrs. Mill:

White Windsor Soup.
Take 4 breakfast cupfuls white stock or water, add 6 tablespoonfuls mashed potato and 1 oz fine sago. Stir till clear and add 1 breakfast cup milk and some minced parsley. Let come just to boiling point but no more. If water is used instead of stock some finely shred onion should be cooked without browning in a little butter and added to the soup when boiling. Rub through a sieve into hot tureen.


Or for a Brown Windsor soup there’s this modern version from Foods of England

Brown Windsor Soup 'Victoria'
This works extremely well. The beef is assumed to be quintessentially English, while the pepper, fruit and vinegar give it an Olde flavour. The Madeira makes it seem Victorian and the method of service adds an elegant (but cheap) surprise.

Serves 4
1 pint brown beef gravy
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
2 peppercorns, crushed
1 oz dark dried fruit (figs, dates, tamarind)
Small glass of Madeira, warm

Splinge everything, bar the drink, up in one of those machines until smooth. Re-heat and serve with an inadeqate sprinkle of parsley and, separately, a small glass of hot Madeira to be added to the soup by the diner. If the gravy is good, it will be "very delicieux" anyway, but doing it this way allows the joke to be continued, in that the diner can pretend that they must needs add alcohol to make it palatable.


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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 23 Apr 2018, 15:25

It was mentioned in one of the episode of 'Rumpole' as well, methinks he said that he'd been travelling and dining on British Rail as, paraphrased, '... followng the Brown Windsor soup it got worse ...'
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 23 Apr 2018, 18:03

Yes, well remembered ...'Rumpole of the Bailey' (written by the author and barrister John Mortimer) as well as enjoying a diet of fried foods, overboiled vegetables, and cheese-and-tomato sandwiches - all washed down with cheap red wine from 'Pomeroy's', a wine bar on Fleet Street - specifically mentions in the books, eating Brown Windsor soup in the dining car of the Great Western Railway (although with the creation of the nationalised British Rail, the GWR had ceased to exist since 1947). However, yet again, a specific search through the National Railway Museum's archives has apparently failed to find any reference to Brown Windsor soup being served on British trains, and indeed soup of any type was almost never served in railway dining cars for fairly obvious reasons. Yet a remarkable number of people still seem convinced they have eaten it on a train, although they can never quite recall when or where.

'The Goons' carried on with Brown Windsor soup jokes for several years, always as a synonym for silly Englishness, eg: "I successfully changed all the Chinese back into Englishmen by giving them injections of Brown Windsor Soup", and, "Hoist a small Union Jack and unveil a bust of Queen Victoria. Now I'll just make a rough 'Englishman lost on the mountainside Menu' - Brown Windsor soup, meat, two veg', cabinet pudding."
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Wed 25 Apr 2018, 17:50

So, as no-one here can come up with any other suggestions, it would seem that Brown Windsor Soup was indeed likely a comedy trope that arose sometime in the early 20th century - perhaps from a Victorian Vaudeville play-on-words based on tbe well-known White Windsor Soup and the equally well-known Brown Windsor Soap - but a joke that only really reached true fruition during the 1950s and via the radio.
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PostSubject: Re: Dish of the Day - II   Mon 30 Apr 2018, 10:56

30 April 1598 – In a move to promote civil unity after decades of religious conflict, the Edict of Nantes was signed by Henry IV of France, granting Calvinist Protestants, the Huguenots, substantial rights. (The exact date isn’t actually known: the Edict itself just says "avril" but it is generally held to have come into effect on the last day of the month).

Henry IV also had personal reasons for supporting the Edict. Prior to assuming the throne in 1589 he had espoused Protestantism, and he remained sympathetic to the Protestant cause: he had converted to Catholicism in 1593 only in order to secure his position as king, supposedly saying "Paris is well worth a Mass". The Edict succeeded in restoring peace and internal unity to France, though it pleased neither party: Catholics rejected the apparent recognition of Protestantism as a permanent element in French society and still hoped to enforce religious uniformity, while Protestants didn't think the Edict went far enough in giving them parity with Catholics.


Henry IV, aka, le bon roi Henry, or Henry le Grand.

The story goes that in April 1598 after a game of jeu de palme (tennis) Henry was discussing the planned Edict and the future of the kingdom with the Duc de Savoie, and famously said:
"Si Dieu me donne encore de la vie, je feray qu’il n’y aura point de labourer en mon royaume, qui n’ait moyen d’avoir une poule dans son pot."
"If God continues to give me life, I will ensure that there is no labourer in my kingdom who lacks the means to have a chicken in his pot."


However the quote is first recorded only some 60 years later by Hardouin de Pérefixe in his 'Histoire du Roy Henry le Grand' (1661). Hardouin was Archbishop of Paris and also the private tutor of Henry’s grandson, Louis XIV, the Sun King, and his Histoire was a didactic work whose primary purpose was to educate the young king into a better understanding of the caring nature of his regal duties. Furthermore while Henry’s word, labourer, often gets translated as peasant, in 16th century French un labourer was not quite like its modern meaning of just a lowly unskilled manual worker. Labourer then meant a ploughman, husbandman or small-holder, but crucially someone who worked their own land and so who was financially independent (and already taxed), and not a landless peasant working someone else's land. Henry certainly didn’t expect, nor was he encouraging, the impoverished masses as a whole to aspire to having a chicken in the pot every Sunday, and his words were directed at those, rather fewer families, who were somewhat higher up the social and financial scale than the dirt poor peasants. Nevertheless even for these agricultrural labourers, a whole chicken for a family once a week, was generally far more extravagant than they could ever hope for.

Nevertheless the phrase became a rallying cry for the French peasant. Shortly before the French Revolution, in the mid 1770s, a popular song was doing the rounds celebrating the fall of René de Maupeou, who had been Louis XV’s Chancellor, but was dismissed on the accession of Louis XVI in 1774. [The song also mentions Robert Turgot, who was an economic advisor under Maupeou, and Joseph Terray who had been Controller-General of Finance, until they too both fell from power with the death of Louis XV].

La poule au pot
Depuis longtemps était promise.
La poule au pot
Attendait dès longemps.
Turgot Terray n'est plus, la nappe est mise; 
L'on va bientôt mettre à sa guise,
La poule au pot.

Maupeou n'est plus,
Thémis reprendre la balance;
Maupeou n'est plus,
Ce monstre a fait aux vertus
Reparaissez Dieu d'abondance,
Riez français, faites bonbance.
Maupeou n'est plus.


The chicken in the pot
Had long been promised.
The chicken in the pot
Had long been awaited.
Turgot Terray is no more, the table is set;  
We'll soon put him in the spot,
The chicken in the pot.


Maupeou is no more,
Thémis [ie good council or fairness] recaptures the balance;
Maupeou is no more,
This monster has given way to virtues.
Reappear, God of plenty,
Laugh, Frenchmen, and revel.
Maupeou is no more.


And during the Revolution "a chicken in every pot!" was an oft-repeated slogan. The phrase even found its way to the USA where in 1928 Herbert Hoover’s Presidential campaign promised, "a chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard", albeit to much ridicule from his Democrat rivals.

So today’s dish is that French classic one-pot dish, poule au pot ... that is a whole chicken, suitably stuffed and seasoned, and then boiled with vegetables to give both a soup and a chicken dish. Recipes abound and it is one of the staples of any rural French housewife’s repertoire, however just for historical interest there is this particular one from the rather odd little cookbook entitled, '99 practical methods of utilizing boiled beef and the original recipe for stewed chicken', written by the pseudonymous 'Babet', and "translated from the French by A.R." (published in New York in 1893). In the introduction it claims, rather implausibly, to be the recipe for the actual dish that was once served at Henry IV’s court:

King Henry the Fourth's Recipe for Stewed Chicken.
(The Poule-au-pot)

The poule-au-pot, which good King Henry desired to have form the Sunday dinner of every peasant in the land, is a succulent dish too much neglected in these days, when dainty living is tending to replace the rustic cooking of the good old days.
But as the mere suggestion of a dish usually arouses a desire to taste it, we will give the recipe for the famous chicken, which, in spite of its apparent simplicity, is a choice morsel.
Get a good, fat hen, and buy it alive if possible, or at least, not drawn. Put aside the liver, gizzard, heart, lungs, head, neck, and wings, and any eggs which it may contain. Bone the head, neck, and wings, and mince the whole with ham, lard, bread crumbs dipped in milk, salt, pepper, spices, sweet herbs, parsley, and garlic, for we must remember that Henry the Fourth was a Béarnais, and that garlic is found in all the cooking of that part of the country.
When the hash is ready, add the yolks of eggs and put the stuffing into the hen. (Chestnuts and slices of truffle may also be put in the stuffing, but are not in the ancient, classic recipe.) Sew the opening, tie with string, and cook as follows:
All is in readiness for the pot-au-feu. Skim it, add the vegetables, and put in the chicken, which you allow to cook gently. Withdraw it before the flesh loosens from the bones, which would occur very quickly in the case of a young bird. From time to time lift it on a skimmer and prick with a knife, to ascertain the degree to which it has cooked.
Prepare upon a platter a bed of parsley, or, better yet, of cress. Take the hen from the pot, remove the strings, and lay it on the platter, sprinkling fine salt over it. It should be eaten very hot. The stuffing should be firm enough to cut in slices. The bouillon obtained by this process is exquisite, and the fowl loses none of its flavor. Taste it, and become convinced of King Henry the Fourth's solicitude for the well-being of the peasants of France.


Or for something much more authentic and closer to Henry IV’s time, there is this recipe for a stuffed and boiled capon from 'L’Ouverture de Cuisine', written by Lancelot de Casteau and published in 1604. Lancelot de Casteau had been the mastercook to three successive Prince-Bishops of Liege, and his cookbook was one of the first to go beyond medieval-style recipes and to describe the then, very new, French-style of haute cuisine. His book was very popular in its time and was referenced by several other later writers, but it was believed that all copies had been lost until a single privately owned copy came up for sale in 1958, and this copy is now held in the Royal Library of Belgium (and can be browsed online via the Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique):

    

Chappon boully farcy.
Prennez des castaignes qui soyent cuites, & les hachés auec vn peu de graisse de boeuf, & mettez dedans quatre iaulnes d'oeuf, muscade, & poiure, vn peu de mariolaine haschee, & mettés de cela tout plein le ventre du chapon, & couderés le ventre qu'il n'en sorte rien dehors: puis le mettez boulir qu'il soit bien cuit, puis prennés des cardes qui soient aussi bien cuites, & les mettés bien estuuer auec du vin, mariolaine hachee, du beurre, vn peu de muscade estampee de capes de Maiorque qui soyent bien laués en eau chaude, & mettez les boullir auec: estant bien boullis iettez sur le chapon, & point autre bouillon.

Stuffed boiled capon.
Take chestnuts that have been cooked, & chop them with a little beef fat, & put therein four egg yolks, nutmeg, & pepper, a little chopped marjoram, & put it there to fill the capon's stomach, & sew the stomach that nothing can come out: then put it to boil that it will be well cooked, then take cardoons that are also well cooked, & put them to stew well with wine, chopped marjoram, butter, a little ground nutmeg, some the capers of Majorca that have been well washed in hot water, & put to boil with it: when well boiled cast on the capon, & no other broth.


King Henry might have been full of solicitude for the peasants of France, but aside from the unlikely chance of their ever becoming sufficiently prosperous to be able to slaughter a chicken every week, to make this recipe they'd also need beef-suet, eggs, wine, and expensive imported nutmeg. They'd have to be pretty well-off peasants indeed to afford all that!


Last edited by Meles meles on Fri 04 May 2018, 16:56; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : re-worked the tortuous prose of the last paragraph)
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