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Title: Cakes & Ale
       A Dissertation on Banquets Interspersed with Various
              Recipes, More or Less Original, and anecdotes, mainly

Author: Edward Spencer

Release Date: July 22, 2013 [EBook #43278]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David T. Jones, Mardi Desjardins and the online
Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at

[Pg i]


[Pg ii]


Author of “Cakes and Ale,” etc.
Crown 8vo., cloth gilt, 2/6 net.


With cover design by the late Phil May.
  “The Flowing Bowl” overflows with good
  cheer. In the happy style that enlivens its
  companion volume, “Cakes and Ale,” the
  author gives a history of drinks and their
  use, interspersed with innumerable recipes
  for drinks new and old, dug out of records
  of ancient days, or set down anew.
31, Essex Street, Strand, W.C.

[Pg iii]










31, Essex Street, Strand, W.C.

[Pg iv]

First printed April 1897
Reprinted May 1897
Cheap Edition February 1900
Reprinted 1913

[Pg v]







[Pg ix]


A long time ago, an estimable lady fell at the feet of an habitual publisher, and prayed unto him:—

“Give, oh! give me the subject of a book for which the world has a need, and I will write it for you.”

“Are you an author, madam?” asked the publisher, motioning his visitor to a seat.

“No, sir,” was the proud reply, “I am a poet.”

“Ah!” said the great man. “I am afraid there is no immediate worldly need of a poet. If you could only write a good cookery book, now!”

The story goes on to relate how the poetess, not rebuffed in the least, started on the requisite culinary work, directly she got home; pawned her jewels to purchase postage stamps, and wrote far and wide for recipes, which in course of time she obtained, by the hundredweight. Other recipes she “conveyed” from ancient works of gastronomy, and in a year or two the magnum opus was given to the world; the lady’s share in the[Pg x] profits giving her “adequate provision for the remainder of her life.” We are not told, but it is presumable, that the publisher received a little adequate provision too.

History occasionally repeats itself; and the history of the present work begins in very much the same way. Whether it will finish in an equally satisfactory manner is problematical. I do not possess much of the divine afflatus myself; but there has ever lurked within me some sort of ambition to write a book—something held together by “tree calf,” “half morocco,” or “boards”; something that might find its way into the hearts and homes of an enlightened public; something which will give some of my young friends ample opportunity for criticism. In the exercise of my profession I have written leagues of descriptive “copy”—mostly lies and racing selections,—but up to now there has been no urgent demand for a book of any sort from this pen. For years my ambition has remained ungratified. Publishers—as a rule, the most faint-hearted and least speculative of mankind—have held aloof. And whatever suggestions I might make were rejected, with determination, if not with contumely.

At length came the hour, and the man; the introduction to a publisher with an eye for budding and hitherto misdirected talent.

“Do you care, sir,” I inquired at the outset,[Pg xi] “to undertake the dissemination of a bulky work on Political Economy?”

“Frankly, sir, I do not,” was the reply. Then I tried him with various subjects—social reform, the drama, bimetallism, the ethics of starting prices, the advantages of motor cars in African warfare, natural history, the martyrdom of Ananias, practical horticulture, military law, and dogs; until he took down an old duck-gun from a peg over the mantelpiece, and assumed a threatening attitude.

Peace having been restored, the self-repetition of history recommenced.

“I can do with a good, bold, brilliant, lightly treated, exhaustive work on Gastronomy,” said the publisher, “you are well acquainted with the subject, I believe?”

“I’m a bit of a parlour cook, if that’s what you mean,” was my humble reply. “At a salad, a grill, an anchovy toast, or a cooling and cunningly compounded cup, I can be underwritten at ordinary rates. But I could no more cook a haunch of venison, or even boil a rabbit, or make an economical Christmas pudding, than I could sail a boat in a nor’-easter; and Madam Cook would certainly eject me from her kitchen, with a clout attached to the hem of my dinner jacket, inside five minutes.”

Eventually it was decided that I should commence this book.

[Pg xii]

“What I want,” said the publisher, “is a series of essays on food, a few anecdotes of stirring adventure—you have a fine flow of imagination, I understand—and a few useful, but uncommon recipes. But plenty of plums in the book, my dear sir, plenty of plums.”

“But, suppose my own supply of plums should not hold out, what am I to do?”

“What do you do—what does the cook do, when the plums for her pudding run short? Get some more; the Museum, my dear sir, the great storehouse of national literature, is free to all whose character is above the normal standard. When your memory and imagination fail, try the British Museum. You know what is a mightier factor than both sword and pen? Precisely so. And remember that in replenishing your store from the works of those who have gone before, you are only following in their footsteps. I only bar Sydney Smith and Charles Lamb. Let me have the script by Christmas—d’you smoke?—mind the step—good morning.”

In this way, gentle reader, were the trenches dug, the saps laid for the attack of the great work. The bulk of it is original, and the adventures in which the writer has taken part are absolutely true. About some of the others I would not be so positive. Some of the recipes have previously figured in the pages of the Sporting Times, the Lady’s Pictorial, and the Man of the World, to[Pg xiii] the proprietors of which journals I hereby express my kindly thanks for permission to revive them. Many of the recipes are original; some are my own; others have been sent in by relatives, and friends of my youth; others have been adapted for modern requirements from works of great antiquity; whilst others again—I am nothing if not candid—have been “conveyed” from the works of more modern writers, who in their turn had borrowed them from the works of their ancestors. There is nothing new under the sun; and there are but few absolute novelties which are subjected to the heat of the kitchen fire.

If the style of the work be faulty, the reason—not the excuse—is that the style is innate, and not modelled upon anybody else’s style. The language I have endeavoured to make as plain, homely, and vigorous as is the food advocated. If the criticisms on foreign cookery should offend the talented chef, I have the satisfaction of knowing that, as I have forsworn his works, he will be unable to retaliate with poison. And if the criticisms on the modern English methods of preparing food should attract the attention of the home caterer, he may possibly be induced to give his steam-chest and his gas-range a rest, and put the roast beef of Old England on his table, occasionally; though I have only the very faintest hopes that he will do so. For the monster eating-houses and mammoth hotels of to-day are for the[Pg xiv] most part “run” by companies and syndicates; and the company within the dining-room suffer occasionally, in order that dividends may be possible after payment has been made for the elaborate, and wholly unnecessary, furniture, and decorations. Wholesome food is usually sufficient for the ordinary British appetite, without such surroundings as marble pillars, Etruscan vases, nude figures, gilding, and looking-glasses, which only serve to distract attention from the banquet. It is with many a sigh that I recall the good old-fashioned inn, where the guest really received a warm welcome. Nowadays, the warmest part of that welcome is usually the bill.

It is related of the wittiest man of the nineteenth century, my late friend Mr. Henry J. Byron, that, upon one occasion, whilst walking home with a brother dramatist, after the first performance of his comedy, which had failed to please the audience, Byron shed tears.

“How is this?” inquired his friend. “The failure of my play appears to affect you strangely.”

“I was only weeping,” was the reply, “because I was afraid you’d set to work, and write another.”

But there need be no tears shed on any page of this food book. For I am not going to “write another.”

[Pg xv]


Formal or informal?—An eccentric old gentleman—The ancient
Britons—Breakfast in the days of Good Queen Bess—A
few tea statistics—Garraway’s—Something about coffee—Brandy
for breakfast—The evolution of the staff of life—Free
Trade—The cheap loaf, and no cash to buy it Pages 1-9
BREAKFAST (continued)
Country-house life—An Englishwoman at her best—Guests’
comforts—What to eat at the first meal—A few choice
recipes—A noble grill-sauce—The poor outcast—Appetising
dishes—Hotel “worries”—The old regime and the new—“No
cheques”; no soles, and “whitings is hoff”—A
halibut steak—Skilly and oakum—Breakfast out of the
[Pg xvi]rates 10-21
BREAKFAST (continued)
Bonnie Scotland—Parritch an’ cream—Fin’an haddies—A knife
on the ocean wave—À la Français—In the gorgeous East—Chota
hazri—English as she is spoke—Dâk bungalow fare—Some
quaint dishes—Breakfast with “my tutor”—A Don’s
absence of mind 22-33
Why lunch?—Sir Henry Thompson on overdoing it—The children’s
dinner—City lunches—“Ye Olde Cheshyre Cheese”—Doctor
Johnson—Ye pudding—A great fall in food—A
snipe pudding—Skirt, not rump steak—Lancashire hot-pot—A
Cape “brady” 34-43
LUNCHEON (continued)
Shooting luncheons—Cold tea and a crust—Clear turtle—Such
larks!—Jugged duck and oysters—Woodcock pie—Hunting
luncheons—Pie crusts—The true Yorkshire pie—Race-course
luncheons—Suggestions to caterers—The “Jolly
Sandboys” stew—Various recipes—A race-course sandwich—Angels’
pie—“Suffolk pride”—Devilled larks—A light lunch
[Pg xvii]in the Himalayas 44-58
Origin—Early dinners—The noble Romans—“Vitellius the
Glutton”—Origin of haggis—The Saxons—Highland hospitality—The
French invasion—Waterloo avenged—The bad
fairy “Ala”—Comparisons—The English cook or the foreign
food torturer?—Plain or flowery—Fresh fish and the flavour
wrapped up—George Augustus Sala—Doctor Johnson
again  59-72
DINNER (continued)
Imitation—Dear Lady Thistlebrain—Try it on the dog—Criminality
of the English caterer—The stove, the stink,
the steamer—Roasting v. baking—False economy—Dirty
ovens—Frills and fingers—Time over dinner—A long-winded
Bishop—Corned beef 73-81
DINNER (continued)
A merry Christmas—Bin F—A Noel banquet—Water-cress—How
Royalty fares—The Tsar—BouillabaisseTournedosBisque
Vol-au-vent—Pré salé—Chinese banquets—A fixed
bayonet—Bernardin Salmi—The duck-squeezer—American
[Pg xviii]cookery—“Borston” beans—He couldn’t eat beef 82-96
DINNER (continued)
French soup—A regimental dinner—A city banquet—Baksheesh
Aboard ship—An ideal dinner—Cod’s liver—Sleeping in the
kitchen—A fricandeau—Regimental messes—Peter the
Great—Napoleon the Great—Victoria—The Iron Duke—
Mushrooms—A medical opinion—A North Pole banquet—Dogs
as food—Plain unvarnished fare—The Kent Road
cookery—More beans than bacon 97-110
Use and abuse of the potato—Its eccentricities—Its origin—Hawkins,
not Raleigh, introduced it into England—With or
without the “jacket”?—Don’t let it be à-la-ed—Benevolence
and large-heartedness of the cabbage family—Pease on
earth—Pythagoras on the bean—“Giving him beans”—“Haricot”
a misnomer—“Borston” beans—Frijoles—The
carrot—Crécy soup—The Prince of Wales—The Black
Prince and the King of Bohemia 111-122
VEGETABLES (continued)
The brief lives of the best—A vegetable with a pedigree—
Argenteuil—The Elysian Fields—The tomato the emblem of
love—“Neeps”—Spinach—“Stomach-brush”—The savoury
tear-provoker—Invaluable for wasp-stings—Celery merely
cultivated “smallage”—The “Apium”—The parsnip—O
Jerusalem!—The golden sunflower—How to get pheasants—A
[Pg xix]vegetarian banquet—“Swelling wisibly” 123-133
Different modes of manufacture—The “native” fraud—“That
man’s family”—The French kari—A Parsee curry—“The
oyster in the sauce”—Ingredients—Malay curry—Locusts—When
to serve—What to curry—Prawn curry—Dry curry,
champion recipe—Rice—The Bombay duck 134-146
Nebuchadnezzar v. Sydney Smith—Salt?—No salad-bowl—French
origin—Apocryphal story of Francatelli—Salads and
salads—Water-cress and dirty water—Salad-maker born
not made—Lobster salad—Lettuce, Wipe or wash?—
Mayonnaise—Potato salad—Tomato ditto—Celery ditto—A
memorable ditto 147-157
Roman salad—Italian ditto—Various other salads—Sauce for
cold mutton—Chutnine—Raw chutnee—Horse-radish sauce—
Christopher North’s sauce—How to serve a mackerel—Sauce
Tartare—Ditto for sucking pig—Delights of making
[Pg xx]Sambal—A new language 158-169
Cleopatra’s supper—Oysters—Danger in the Aden bivalve—Oyster
stew—Ball suppers—Pretty dishes—The Taj Mahal—Aspic—Bloater
paste and whipped cream—Ladies’ recipes—Cookery
colleges—Tripe—Smothered in onions—North
Riding fashion—An hotel supper—Lord Tomnoddy at the
“Magpie and Stump” 170-180
SUPPER (continued)
Old supper-houses—The Early Closing Act—Evans’s—Cremorne
Gardens—“The Albion”—Parlour cookery—Kidneys fried
in the fire-shovel—The true way to grill a bone—“Cannie
Carle”—My lady’s bower—Kidney dumplings—A Middleham
supper—Steaks cut from a colt by brother to “Strafford”
out of sister to “Bird on the Wing” 181-191
The ups and downs of life—Stirring adventures—Marching on to
glory—Shooting in the tropics—Pepper-pot—With the
Rajah Sahib—Goat-sacrifices at breakfast time—Simla to
Cashmere—Manners and customs of Thibet—Burmah—No
place to get fat in—Insects—Voracity of the natives—Snakes—Sport
in the Jungle—Loaded for snipe, sure to
meet tiger—With the gippos—No baked hedgehog—Cheap
[Pg xxi]milk 192-205
Derivation of punch—“Five”—The “milk” brand—The best
materials—Various other punches—Bischoff or Bishop—“Halo”
punch—Toddy—The toddy tree of India—Flip—A
“peg”—John Collins—Out of the guard-room 206-218
Five recipes for claret cup—Balaclava cup—Orgeat—Ascot cup—Stout
and champagne—Shandy-gaff for millionaires—Ale
cup—Cobblers which will stick to the last—Home Ruler—Cherry
brandy—Sloe gin—Home-made, if possible—A new
industry—Apricot brandy—Highland cordial—Bitters—Jumping-
powder—Orange brandy—“Mandragora”—“Sleep
rock thy brain!” 219-231
Evil effects of dram-drinking—The “Gin-crawl”—Abstinence in
H.M. service—City manners and customs—Useless to argue
with the soaker—Cocktails—Pet names for drams—The
free lunch system—Fancy mixtures—Why no cassis?—Good
[Pg xxii]advice like water on a duck’s back 232-245
Thomas Carlyle—Thackeray—Harrison Ainsworth—Sir Walter
Scott—Miss Braddon—Marie Corelli—F. C. Philips—Blackmore—
Charles Dickens—Pickwick reeking with alcohol—Brandy
and oysters—Little DorritGreat Expectations—Micawber
as a punch-maker—David Copperfield—“Practicable”
food on the stage—“Johnny” Toole’s story of Tiny
Tim and the goose 246-259
William of Normandy—A “head” wind at sea—Beware the
druggist—Pick-me-ups of all sorts and conditions—Anchovy
toast for the invalid—A small bottle—Straight talks to
fanatics—Total abstinence as bad as the other thing—Moderation
in all matters—Wisely and slow—Carpe diem—But
have a thought for the morrow 260-274

[Pg 1]



“The day breaks slow, but e’en must man break-fast.”

Formal or informal?—An eccentric old gentleman—The ancient Britons—Breakfast in the days of Good Queen Bess—A few tea statistics—“Garraway’s”—Something about coffee—Brandy for breakfast—The evolution of the staff of life—Free Trade—The cheap loaf, and no cash to buy it.

This is a very serious subject. The first meal of the day has exercised more influence over history than many people may be aware of. It is not easy to preserve an equal mind or keep a stiff upper lip upon an empty stomach; and indigestible food-stuffs have probably lost more battles than sore feet and bad ammunition. It is an incontestable fact that the great Napoleon lost the battles of Borodino and Leipsic through eating too fast.

When good digestion waits on appetite, great men are less liable to commit mistakes—and a mistake in a great man is a crime—than when dyspepsia has marked them for her own; and this rule applies to all men.

There should be no hurry or formality about[Pg 2] breakfast. Your punctual host and hostess may be all very well from their own point of view; but black looks and sarcastic welcomings are an abomination to the guest who may have overslept himself or herself, and who fails to say, “Good-morning” just on the stroke of nine o’clock. Far be it from the author’s wish to decry the system of family prayers, although the spectacle of the full strength of the domestic company, from the stern-featured housekeeper, or the chief lady’s-maid (the housekeeper is frequently too grand, or too much cumbered with other duties to attend public worship), to the diminutive page-boy, standing all in a row, facing the cups and saucers, is occasionally more provocative of mirth than reverence. But too much law and order about fast-breaking is to be deplored.

“I’m not very punctual, I’m afraid, Sir John,” I once heard a very charming lady observe to her host, as she took her seat at the table, exactly ten minutes after the line of menials had filed out.

“On the contrary, Lady V——” returned the master of the house, with a cast-iron smile, “you are punctual in your unpunctuality; for you have missed prayers by the sixth part of one hour, every morning since you came.” Now what should be done to a host like that?

In the long ago I was favoured with the acquaintance of an elderly gentleman of property, a most estimable, though eccentric, man. And he invariably breakfasted with his hat on. It did not matter if ladies were present or not. Down he would sit, opposite the ham and eggs—or whatever dish it might chance to be—with a[Pg 3] white hat, with mourning band attached, surmounting his fine head. We used to think the presence of the hat was owing to partial baldness; but, as he never wore it at luncheon or dinner, that idea was abandoned. In fact, he pleaded that the hat kept his thoughts in; and as after breakfast he was closeted with his steward, or agent, or stud-groom, or keeper, for several hours, he doubtless let loose some of those thoughts to one or the other. At all events we never saw him again till luncheon, unless there was any hunting or shooting to be done.

This same old gentleman once rehearsed his own funeral on the carriage drive outside, and stage-managed the solemn ceremony from his study window. An under-gardener pushed a wheelbarrow, containing a box of choice cuttings, to represent the body; and the butler posed as chief mourner. And when anybody went wrong, or the pall-bearers—six grooms—failed to keep in step, the master would throw up the window-sash, and roar—

“Begin again!”

But this is wandering from the subject. Let us try back.

Having made wide search amongst old and musty manuscripts, I can find no record of a bill-of-fare of the first meal of the ancient Britons. Our blue forefathers, in all probability, but seldom assisted at any such smart function as a wedding-breakfast, or even a hunting one; for the simple reason that it was a case with them of, “no hunt, no breakfast.” Unless one or other had killed the deer, or the wild-boar, or[Pg 4] some other living thing to furnish the refection the feast was a Barmecide one, and much as we have heard of the strength and hardiness of our blue forefathers, many of them must have died of sheer starvation. For they had no weapons but clubs, and rough cut flints, with which to kill the beasts of the country—who were, however, occasionally lured into pitfalls; and as to fish, unless they “tickled” them, the denizens of the streams must have had an easy time of it. They had sheep, but these were valuable chiefly on account of their wool; as used to be the case in Australia, ere the tinned meat trade was established. Most of the fruits and vegetables which we enjoy to-day were introduced into Britain by the Romans. Snipe and woodcock and (in the north) grouse may have been bagged, as well as hares. But these poor savages knew not rabbits by sight, nor indeed, much of the feathered fowl which their more favoured descendants are in the habit of shooting, or otherwise destroying, for food. The ancient Britons knew not bacon and eggs, nor the toothsome kipper, nor yet the marmalade of Dundee. As for bread, it was not invented in any shape or form until much later; and its primitive state was a tough paste of flour, water, and (occasionally) milk—something like the “damper” of the Australian bush, or the unleavened chupati which the poorer classes in Hindustan put up with, after baking it, at the present day.

The hardy, independent Saxon, had a much better time of it, in the way of meat and drink. But with supper forming the chief meal of the[Pg 5] day, his breakfast was a simple, though plentiful one, and consisted chiefly of venison pasty and the flesh of goats, washed down with ale, or mead.

“A free breakfast-table of Elizabeth’s time,” says an old authority, “or even during the more recent reign of Charles II., would contrast oddly with our modern morning meal. There were meats, hot and cold; beef and brawn, and boar’s head, the venison pasty, and the

Wardon Pie

of west country pears. There was hot bread, too, and sundry ‘cates’ which would now be strange to our eyes. But to wash down these substantial viands there was little save ale. The most delicate lady could procure no more suitable beverage than the blood of John Barleycorn. The most fretful invalid had to be content with a mug of small beer, stirred up with a sprig of rosemary. Wine, hippocras, and metheglin were potations for supper-time, not for breakfast, and beer reigned supreme. None but home productions figured on the board of our ancestors. Not for them were seas traversed, or tropical shores visited, as for us. Yemen and Ceylon, Assam and Cathay, Cuba and Peru, did not send daily tribute to their tables, and the very names of tea and coffee, of cocoa and chocolate, were to them unknown. The dethronement of ale, subsequent on the introduction of these eastern products, is one of the most marked events which have severed the social life of the present day from that of the past.”

[Pg 6]

With the exception of the Wardon pie and the “cates,” the above bill-of-fare would probably satisfy the cravings of the ordinary “Johnny” of to-day, who has heard the chimes at midnight, and would sooner face a charging tiger than drink tea or coffee with his first meal, which, alas! but too often consists of a hot-pickle sandwich and a “brandy and soda,” with not quite all the soda in. But just imagine the fine lady of to-day with a large tankard of Burton ale facing her at the breakfast-table.


which is said to have been introduced into China by Djarma, a native of India, about A.D. 500, was not familiar in Europe until the end of the sixteenth century. And it was not until 1657, when Garraway opened a tea-house in Exchange Alley, that Londoners began tea-drinking as an experiment. In 1662 Pepys writes—

“Home, and there find my wife making of tea”—two years before, he called it “tee (a China drink)”—“a drink which Mr. Pelling the Pothicary tells her is good for her cold and defluxions.”

In 1740 the price of tea ranged from 7s. to 24s. per lb. In 1725, 370,323 lbs. were drunk in England, and in 1890, 194,008,000. In 1840 the duty was 2s. 2¼d. per lb.; in 1858 1s. 5d. per lb.; and in 1890 4d. per lb.

The seed of

The Coffee-Tree,

which, when roasted, ground, and mixed with water, and unmixed with horse-beans, dandelion-root,[Pg 7] or road-scrapings, forms a most agreeable beverage to those who can digest it, was not known to the Greeks or Romans, but has been used in Abyssinia and along the north-east coast of Africa almost as long as those parts have been populated. Here, in merry England, where coffee was not introduced until the eighteenth century, it was at first used but sparingly, until it almost entirely took the place of chocolate, which was the favoured beverage of the duchesses and fine madams who minced and flirted, and plotted, during the reign of the Merry Monarch, fifty years or so before. The march of knowledge has taught the thrifty housewife of to-day to roast her own coffee, instead of purchasing it in that form from the retail shopkeeper, who, as a rule, under-roasts the berry, in order to “keep the weight in.” But do not blame him too freely, for he is occasionally a Poor Law Guardian, and has to “keep pace with the Stores.”

During the Georgian era, the hard-drinking epoch, breakfast far too often consisted chiefly of French brandy; and the first meal was, in consequence, not altogether a happy or wholesome one, nor conducive to the close study of serious subjects.

The history of

The Staff of Life[1]

would require a much larger volume than this, all to itself. That the evolution of bread-making has been very gradual admits of no denial; and[Pg 8] as late as the Tudor and Stuart periods the art was still in its infancy. The quality of the bread consumed was a test of social standing. Thus, whilst the haut monde, the height of society, lords and dukes, with countesses and dames of high degree, were in the habit of consuming delicate manchets, made of the finest wheaten flour, of snowy purity, the middle classes had to content themselves with white loaves of inferior quality. To the journeyman and the ’prentice (who had to endure, with patience, the buffets of master and mistress) was meted out coarse but wholesome brown bread, made from an admixture of wheat and barley flour; whilst the agricultural labourer staved off starvation with loaves made from rye, occasionally mixed with red wheat or barley. The introduction of

Free Trade

—by no means an unmixed blessing—has changed all this; and the working-classes, with their wives and families, can, when out of the workhouse, in the intervals between “strikes,” enjoy the same quality of bread, that “cheap loaf” which appears on the table of the wicked squire and the all-devouring parson. In Yorkshire, at the present day, almost the worst thing that can be urged against a woman is that she “canna mak’ a bit o’ bread.”

“Just look,” wrote an enthusiastic Free Trader, a quarter of a century ago, “at the immense change[Pg 9] that has latterly taken place in the food of the English peasantry. Rye bread and pease-pudding exchanged for wheaten loaves. A startling change, but not greatly different from what has occurred in France, where, with the abuses of the Bourbon rule, an end was put to the semi-starvation of French tillers of the soil. Black bread is now almost as much a rarity in France as on our side of the Channel; while barley in Wales, oats in Scotland, and the potato in Ireland, are no longer the food-staples that they were.”

I have no wish for anything of a contentious nature to appear in this volume; but may deliver, with regard to the above, the opinion that pease-pudding is by no means despicable fare, when associated with a boiled leg of pork; and I may add that too many of the English peasantry, nowadays, have been reduced, by this same Free Trade, to a diet of no bread at all, in place of wheaten, or any other loaves.

Wedding breakfasts, with the formal speeches, and cutting of the cake, have gone out of fashion, and the subject of the British breakfast of to-day demands a new chapter.

[Pg 10]


BREAKFAST (continued)

“Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.”

Country-house life—An Englishwoman at her best—Guests’ comforts—What to eat at the first meal—A few choice recipes—A noble grill-sauce—The poor outcast—Appetising dishes—Hotel “worries”—The old regime and the new—“No cheques”; no soles, and “whitings is hoff”—A halibut steak—Skilly and oakum—Breakfast out of the rates.

By far the pleasantest meal of the day at a large country-house is breakfast. You will be staying there, most likely, an you be a man, for hunting or shooting—it being one of the eccentric dispensations of the great goddess Fashion that country-houses should be guestless, and often ownerless, during that season of the year when nature looks at her loveliest. An you be a woman, you will be staying there for the especial benefit of your daughter; for flirting—or for the more serious purpose of riveting the fetters of the fervid youth who may have been taken captive during the London season—for romping, and probably shooting and hunting, too; for lovely[Pg 11] woman up-to-date takes but little account of such frivolities as Berlin wool-work, piano-practice, or drives, well wrapped-up, in a close carriage, to pay calls with her hostess. As for going out with the “guns,” or meeting the sterner sex at luncheon in the keeper’s cottage, or the specially-erected pavilion, the darlings are not content, nowadays, unless they can use dapper little breech-loaders, specially made for them, and some of them are far from bad shots.

Yes, ’tis a pleasant function, breakfast at the Castle, the Park, or the Grange. But, as observed in the last chapter, there must be no undue punctuality, no black looks at late arrivals, no sarcastic allusions to late hours, nor inane chaff from the other guests about the wine cup or the whisky cup, which may have been drained in the smoking-room, during the small hours.

Her ladyship looks divine, or at all events regal, as she presides at what our American cousins would call the “business end” of the long table, whilst our host, a healthy, jolly-looking, “hard-bitten” man of fifty, faces her. His bright keen eye denotes the sportsman, and he can shoot as straight as ever, whilst no fence is too high, too wide, nor too deep for him. Sprinkled about, at either side of the table, amongst the red and black coats, or shooting jackets of varied hues—with a vacancy here and there, for “Algie” and “Bill,” and the “Angel,” who have not yet put in appearance—are smart, fresh-looking women, young, and “well-preserved,” and matronly, some in tailor-made frocks, and some in the silks and velvets suited[Pg 12] for those of riper age, and some in exquisitely-fitting habits. It is at the breakfast-table that the Englishwoman can defy all foreign competition; and you are inclined to frown, or even say things under your breath, when that mincing, wicked-looking little Marquise, all frills, and ribbons, and lace, and smiles, and Ess Bouquet, in the latest creation of the first man-milliner of Paris, trips into the room in slippers two sizes too small for her, and salutes the company at large in broken English. For the contrast is somewhat trying, and you wonder why on earth some women will smother themselves with scents and cosmetiques, and raddle their cheeks and wear diamonds so early in the morning; and you lose all sense of the undoubted fascination of the Marquise in speculating as to what manner of “strong woman” her femme de chambre must be who can compress a 22-inch waist into an 18-inch corset.

There should, of course, be separate tea and coffee equipments for most of the guests—at all events for the sluggards. The massive silver urn certainly lends a tone to the breakfast-table, and looks “comfortable-like.” But it would be criminally cruel to satisfy the thirst of the multitude out of the same tea-pot or coffee-pot; and the sluggard will not love his hostess if she pours forth “husband’s tea,” merely because he is a sluggard. And remember that the hand which has held two by honours, or a “straight flush” the night before, is occasionally too shaky to pass tea-cups. No. Do not spare your servants, my lord, or my lady. Your guests must be “well[Pg 13] done,” or they will miss your “rocketing” pheasants, or fail to go fast enough at that brook with the rotten banks.

“The English,” said an eminent alien, “have only one sauce.” This is a scandalous libel; but as it was said a long time ago it doesn’t matter. It would be much truer to say that the English have only one breakfast-dish, and its name is

Eggs and Bacon.

Pardon, I should have written two; and the second is ham and eggs. A new-laid egg—poached, not fried, an ye love me, O Betsy, best of cooks—and a rasher of home-cured hog are both excellent things in their way; but, like a partridge, a mother-in-law, and a baby, it is quite possible to have too much of them. The English hostess—I do not refer to the typical “her ladyship,” of whom I have written above, but to the average hostess—certainly launches out occasionally in the direction of assorted fish, kidneys, sausages, and chops, but the staple food upon which we are asked to break our fast is, undoubtedly, eggs and bacon.

The great question of what to eat at the first meal depends greatly upon whether you sit down to it directly you emerge from your bedroom, or whether you have indulged in any sort of exercise in the interim. After two or three hours “amateur touting” on such a place as Newmarket Heath, the sportsman is ready for any sort of food, from a dish of liver and bacon to a good, thick fat chop, or an underdone steak. I have even attacked cold stewed eels (!) upon an[Pg 14] occasion when the pangs of hunger would have justified my eating the tom-cat, and the landlady as well. But chops and steaks are not to be commended to furnish forth the ordinary breakfast-table. I am coming to the hotel breakfast presently, so will say nothing about fried fish just yet. But here follows a list of a few of what may be called

Allowable Breakfast Dishes

Mushrooms (done plainly in front of the fire), sausages (toasted), scrambled eggs on toast, curried eggs, fish balls, kidneys, savoury omelette. Porridge may be useful for growing boys and briefless barristers, but this chapter is not written solely in their interests. Above all, do not, oh! do not, forget the grill, or broil. This should be the feature of the breakfast. Such simple recipes as those for the manufacture of fish balls or omelettes or curried eggs—though I shall have plenty to say about curries later on—need not be given here; but the following, for a grill-sauce, will be found invaluable, especially for the “sluggard.”

Gubbins Sauce

The legs and wings of fowl, turkey, pheasant, partridge, or moor-hen should only be used. Have these scored across with a sharp knife, and divided at the joints. And when your grill is taken, “hot as hot,” but not burnt, from the fire, have poured over it the following sauce. Be very particular that your cook pours it over the grill just before it is served up. And it is of the most vital importance that the sauce should be made, and well mixed, on[Pg 15] a plate over hot water—for instance, a slop-basin should be filled with boiling water and a plate placed atop.

Melt on the plate a lump of butter the size of a large walnut. Stir into it, when melted, two teaspoonfuls of made mustard, then a dessert-spoonful of vinegar, half that quantity of tarragon vinegar, and a tablespoonful of cream—Devonshire or English. Season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne, according to the (presumed) tastes and requirements of the breakfasters.

Let your sideboard—it is assumed that you have a sideboard—sigh and lament its hard lot, under its load of cold joints, game, and pies,—I am still harping on the country-house; and if you have a York ham in cut, it should be flanked by a Westphalian ditto. For the blend is a good one. And remember that no York ham under 20 lb. in weight is worth cutting. You need not put it all on the board at once. A capital adjunct to the breakfast-table, too, is a reindeer’s tongue, which, as you see it hung up in the shops, looks more like a policeman’s truncheon in active employment than anything else; but when well soaked and then properly treated in the boiling, is very tasty, and will melt like marrow in the mouth.

A simple, excellent August breakfast can be made from a dish of freshly-caught trout, the legs and back of a cold grouse, which has been roasted, not baked, and

A Large Peach.

But what of the wretched bachelor, as he[Pg 16] enters his one sitting-room, in his humble lodging? He may have heard the chimes at midnight, in some gay and festive quarter, or, like some other wretched bachelors, he may have been engaged in the composition of romances for some exacting editor, until the smallish hours. Poor outcast! what sort of appetite will he have for the rusty rasher, or the shop egg, the smoked haddock, or the “Billingsgate pheasant,” which his landlady will presently send up, together with her little account, for his refection? Well, here is a much more tasty dish than any of the above; and if he be “square” with Mrs. Bangham, that lady will possibly not object to her “gal” cooking the different ingredients before she starts at the wash-tub. But let not the wretched bachelor suffer the “gal” to mix them.

I first met this dish in Calcutta during the two months of (alleged) cold weather which prevail during the year.

Calcutta Jumble.

A few fried fillets of white fish (sole, or plaice—sole for choice), placed on the top of some boiled rice, in a soup plate. Pour over them the yolks of two boiled eggs, and mix in one green chili, chopped fine. Salt to taste.

“Another way:”

Mix with the rice the following ingredients:—

The yolks of two raw eggs, one tablespoonful anchovy sauce, one small teaspoonful curry powder (raw), a sprinkling of cayenne, a little salt, and one green chili chopped fine. Each ingredient to be[Pg 17] added separately, and the eggs and curry powder to be stirred into the rice with a fork. Fillets of sole to be served atop.

How many cooks in this England of ours can cook rice properly? Without pausing for a reply, I append the recipe, which should be pasted on the wall of every kitchen. The many cookery books which I have read give elaborate directions for the performance, of what is a very simple duty. Here it is, in a few lines—

To cook Rice for Curry, etc.

Soak a sufficiency of rice in cold water for two hours. Strain through a sieve, and pop the rice into boiling water. Let it boil—“gallop” is, I believe, the word used in most kitchens—for not quite ten minutes (or until the rice is tender), then strain off the water through a sieve, and dash a little cold water over the rice, to separate the grains.

Here is another most appetising breakfast dish for the springtime—

Asparagus with Eggs.

Cut up two dozen (or so) heads of cooked asparagus into small pieces, and mix in a stewpan with the well-beaten yolks of two raw eggs. Flavour with pepper and salt, and stir freely. Add a piece of butter the size of a walnut (one of these should be kept in every kitchen as a pattern), and keep on stirring for a couple of minutes or so. Serve on delicately-toasted bread.

An Hotel Breakfast.

What memories do these words conjure up of a snug coffee-room, hung with hunting prints,[Pg 18] and portraits of Derby winners, and churches, and well-hung game; with its oak panellings, easy arm-chairs, blazing fire, snowy naperies, and bright silver. The cheery host, with well-lined paunch, and fat, wheezy voice, which wishes you good-morning, and hopes you have passed a comfortable night between the lavender-scented sheets. The fatherly interest which “William,” the grey-headed waiter, takes in you—stranger or habitué—and the more than fatherly interest which you take in the good cheer, from home-made “sassingers” to new-laid eggs, and heather honey, not forgetting a slice out of the mammoth York ham, beneath whose weight the old sideboard absolutely grunts.

Heigho! we, or they, have changed all that. The poet who found his “warmest welcome in an inn” was, naturally enough, writing of his own time. I don’t like fault-finding, but must needs declare that the “warmest” part of an inn welcome to be found nowadays is the bill. As long as you pay it (or have plenty of luggage to leave behind in default), and make yourself agreeable to the fair and haughty bookkeeper (if it’s a “she”) who allots you your bedroom, and bullies the page-boy, nobody in the modern inn cares particularly what becomes of you. You lose your individuality, and become “Number 325.” Instead of welcome, distrust lurks, large, on the very threshold.

No Cheques Accepted

is frequently the first announcement to catch the eye of the incoming guest; and although you[Pg 19] cannot help admiring the marble pillars, the oak carving, the gilding, the mirrors, and the electric light, an uncomfortable feeling comes over you at meal times, to the effect that the cost of the decorations, or much of it, is taken out of the food.

“Waiter,” you ask, as soon as your eyes and ears get accustomed to the incessant bustle of the coffee-room, and your nostrils to the savour of last night’s soup, “what can I have for breakfast?”

“What would you like, sir?”

“I should like a grilled sole, to begin with.”

“Very sorry, sir, soles is hoff—get you a nice chop or steak.”

“Can’t manage either so early in the day. Got any whitings?”

“Afraid we’re out of whitings, sir, but I’ll see.”

Eventually, after suggesting sundry delicacies, all of which are either “hoff,” or unknown to the waiter, you settle down to the consumption of two fried and shrivelled shop eggs, on an island of Chicago ham, floating in an Ægean Sea of grease and hot water; whilst a half quartern loaf, a cruet-stand the size of a cathedral, a rackful of toast of the “Zebra” brand, and about two gallons of (alleged) coffee, are dumped down in succession in front of you.

There are, of course, some hostelries where they “do” you better than this, but my experience of hotel breakfasts at this end of the nineteenth century has not been encouraging, either to appetite or temper; and I do vow and[Pg 20] protest that the above picture is not too highly coloured.

The toothsome, necessary bloater is not often to be met with on the hotel’s bill-of-fare; but, if soft roed—use no other—it will repay perusal. Toast it in a Dutch oven in front of a clear fire, and just before done split it up the back, and put a piece of butter on it. The roe should be well plumped, and of the consistency of Devonshire cream. A grilled sole for breakfast is preferable to a fried one, principally because it is by no means impossible that the fried sole be second-hand, or as the French call it réchauffé. And why, unless directions to the contrary be given, is the modest whiting invariably placed, tail in mouth, on the frying pan? A grilled whiting—assassinate your cook if she (or he) scorches it—is one of the noblest works of the kitchen, and its exterior should be of a golden brown colour.

Do not forget to order sausages for breakfast if you are staying at Newmarket; there is less bread in them than in the Metropolitan brand. And when in Lincoln attempt a

Halibut Steak,

of which you may not have previously heard. The halibut should, previous to grilling or frying in salad oil, be placed on a shallow dish and sprinkled with salt. Then the dish should be half filled with water, which must not cover the salt. Leave the fish to soak for an hour, then cut into slices, nearly an inch thick, without removing the skin. Sprinkle some lemon juice and cayenne over the steaks before serving.

[Pg 21]

If you wish to preserve an even mind, and be at peace with the world, a visit to

The Hotel Parish

is not to be recommended. The Irish stew at dinner is not bad in its way, though coarse, and too liberally endowed with fat. But the breakfasts! Boiled oatmeal and water, with salt in the mess, and a chunk of stale brown bread to eat therewith, do not constitute an altogether satisfactory meal, the first thing in the morning; and it is hardly calculated to inspire him with much pride in his work, when the guest is placed subsequently before his “task” of unbroken flints or tarred rope.

[Pg 22]


BREAKFAST (continued)

“There’s nought in the Highlands but syboes and leeks,
And lang-leggit callants gaun wanting the breeks.”

Bonnie Scotland—Parritch an’ cream—Fin’an haddies—A knife on the ocean wave—À la Français—In the gorgeous East—Chota hazri—English as she is spoke—Dâk bungalow fare—Some quaint dishes—Breakfast with “my tutor”—A Don’s absence of mind.

For a “warm welcome” commend me to Bonnie Scotland. Though hard of head and “sae fu’ o’ learning” that they are “owre deeficult to conveence, ye ken,” these rugged Caledonians be tender of heart, and philanthropic to a degree. Hech, sirs! but ’tis the braw time ye’ll hae, gin ye trapese the Highlands, an’ the Lowlands as well for the matter o’ that—in search o’ guid refreshment for body an’ soul.

Even that surly lexicographer, Doctor Samuel Johnson (who, by the way, claimed the same city for his birthplace as does the writer), who could not be induced to recognise the merits of Scotch scenery, and preferred Fleet Street to[Pg 23] the Trossachs, extolled the luxury of a Scotch breakfast above that of all other countries. And Sir Walter Scott, who never enthused much about meat and drink, is responsible in Waverley for a passage calculated to make the mouths of most people water:

“He found Miss Bradwardine presiding over the tea and coffee, the table loaded with warm bread, both of flour, oatmeal, and barley meal, in the shape of loaves, cakes, biscuits, and other varieties, together with eggs, reindeer ham, mutton and beef ditto, smoked salmon, and many other delicacies. A mess of oatmeal porridge, flanked by a silver jug which held an equal mixture of cream and buttermilk, was placed for the Baron’s share of the repast.”

“And,” as Mr. Samuel Weller would have observed, “a wery good idea of a breakfast, too.”

A beef-ham sounds like a “large order” for breakfast, even when we come to consider that the Scotch “beastie,” in Sir Walter Scott’s time, was wanting in “beam” and stature. I have seen and partaken of a ham cut from a Yorkshire pig, and weighing 52 lbs.; but even a Scotch beef-ham must have topped that weight considerably. Fortunately the sideboards of those times were substantial of build.

Missing from the above bill-of-fare is the haddock,

The Fin’an Haddie,

a bird which at that period had probably not been invented. But the modern Scottish breakfast-table is not properly furnished without it. The[Pg 24] genuine “Fin’an” is known by its appetising savour and by its colour—a creamy yellow, which is totally distinct from the Vandyke browny hue of the haddock which is creosoted in the neighbourhood of the Blackfriars Road, London, S.E. “Strip off the skin,” says the recipe in one cookery book, “and broil before the fire or over a quick clear one.” Another way—my way—is not to strip off the skin and to steam your haddies. Place them in a dish which has been previously heated. Throw boiling water on them, and cover closely with a plate; place on a hot stove, and in from 10 to 15 minutes the Fin’ans will be accomplished. Drain, and serve hot as hot, buttered, with a sprinkling of cayenne, and, maybe, a dash of Worcester sauce.

Salmon is naturally a welcome guest at the table of the land of his birth, served fresh when in season, and smoked or kippered at all times.

A Salmon Steak

with the “curd” between the flakes, placed within a coat of virgin-white paper (oiled) and grilled for 15 minutes or so, is an excellent breakfast dish. A fry of small troutlets, a ditto of the deer’s interior economy—Mem. When up at the death of a hunted stag, always beg or annex a portion of his liver—are also common dishes at the first meal served by the “gudewife”; and I once met a cold haggis at 9.30 A.M. But this, I rather fancy, was “a wee bit joke” at my expense. Anyhow I shall have plenty to say about the “great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” in a later chapter.

[Pg 25]

Off to Gold-land!

Those that go down to the sea in ships, and can summon up sufficient presence of mind to go down to the saloon at meal times, have far from a bad time of it. Living was certainly better on the ocean wave in the days when livestock was kept on board, and slaughtered as required; for the effect of keeping beef, pork, and mutton in a refrigerating chamber for any length of time is to destroy the flavour, and to render beef indistinguishable from the flesh of the hog, and mutton as tasteless as infantine pap. But the ship’s galley does its little utmost; and the saloon passenger, on his way to the other side of the equator, may regale himself with such a breakfast as the following, which is taken from the steward’s book of a vessel belonging to the Union Line:—

Porridge, fillets of haddock with fine herbs, mutton chops and chip potatoes, savoury omelet, bacon on toast, minced collops, curry and rice, fruit, rolls, toast, etc., tea and coffee.

Cannot my readers imagine a steward entering the state-room of the voyager who has succumbed to the wiles and eccentricities of the Bay of Biscay, with the observation: “Won’t you get up to breakfast, sir?—I’ve reserved a beautiful fat chop, with chips, o’ purpose for you, sir.”

And the lot of the third-class passenger who is conveyed from his native land to the Cape of Good Hope, for what Mr. Montague Tigg would have called “the ridiculous sum of” £16: 16s.,[Pg 26] is no such hard one, seeing that he is allotted a “bunk” in a compact, though comfortable cabin, and may break his fast on the following substantial meal:—

Porridge, Yarmouth bloaters, potatoes, American hash, grilled mutton, bread and butter, tea or coffee.

An American breakfast is as variegated (and I fear I must add, as indigestible) as a Scotch one; and included in the bill of fare are as many, or more, varieties of bread and cake as are to be found in the land o’ shortbread. The writer has, in New York, started the morning meal with oysters, run the gamut of fish, flesh, and fowl, and wound up with buckwheat cakes, which are brought on in relays, buttered and smoking hot, and can be eaten with or without golden syrup. But, as business begins early in New York and other large cities, scant attention is paid to the first meal by the merchant and the speculator, who are wont to “gallop” through breakfast and luncheon, and to put in their “best work” at dinner.

A Mediterranean Breakfast

is not lacking in poetry; and the jaded denizen of Malta can enjoy red mullet (the “woodcock of the sea”) freshly taken from the tideless ocean, and strawberries in perfection, at his first meal, whilst seated, maybe, next to some dreamy-eyed houri, who coos soft nothings into his ear, at intervals. The wines of Italy go best with this sort of repast, which is generally eaten with “spoons.”

[Pg 27]

In fair France, breakfast, or the déjeûner à la fourchette, is not served until noon, or thereabouts. Coffee or chocolate, with fancy bread and butter, is on hand as soon as you wake; and I have heard that for the roisterer and the p’tit crevé there be such liquors as cognac, curaçoa, and chartreuse verte provided at the first meal, so that nerves can be strung together and headaches alleviated before the “associated” breakfast at midday. In the country, at the château of Monsieur et Madame, the groom-of-the-chambers, or maître d’hôtel, as he is designated, knocks at your bedroom door at about 8.30.

“Who’s there?”

“Good-morning, M’sieu. Will M’sieu partake of the chocolat, or of the café-au-lait, or of the tea?”

Upon ordinary occasions, M’sieu will partake of the chocolat—if he be of French extraction; whilst the English visitor will partake of the café-au-lait—tea-making in France being still in its infancy. And if M’sieu has gazed too long on the wine of the country, overnight, he will occasionally—reprobate that he is—partake instead of the vieux cognac, diluted from the syphon. And M’sieu never sees his host or hostess till the “assembly” sounds for the midday meal.

I have alluded, just above, to French tea-making. There was a time when tea, with our lively neighbours, was as scarce a commodity as snakes in Iceland or rum punch in Holloway Castle. Then the thin end of the wedge was introduced, and the English visitor was invited to partake of a cup of what was called (by courtesy)[Pg 28] thé, which had been concocted expressly for her or him. And tea à la Française used to be made somewhat after this fashion. The cup was half-filled with milk, sugar à discrétion being added. A little silver sieve was next placed over the cup, and from a jug sufficient hot water, in which had been previously left to soak some half-dozen leaf-fragments of green tea, to fill the cup, was poured forth. In fact the visitor was invited to drink a very nasty compound indeed, something like the “wish” tea with which the school-mistress used to regale her victims—milk and water, and “wish-you-may-get” tea! But they have changed all that across the Channel, and five o’clock tea is one of the most fashionable functions of the day, with the beau monde; a favourite invitation of the society belle of the fin de siècle being: “Voulex-vous fivoclocquer avec moi?

The déjeûner usually begins with a consommé, a thin, clear, soup, not quite adapted to stave off the pangs of hunger by itself, but grateful enough by way of a commencement. Then follows an array of dishes containing fish and fowl of sorts, with the inevitable côtelettes à la somebody-or-other, not forgetting an omelette—a mess which the French cook alone knows how to concoct to perfection. The meal is usually washed down with some sort of claret; and a subsequent café, with the accustomed chasse; whilst the welcome cigarette is not “defended,” even in the mansions of the great.

There is more than one way of making coffee, that of the lodging-house “general,” and of the street-stall dispenser, during the small hours,[Pg 29] being amongst the least commendable. Without posing as an infallible manufacturer of the refreshing (though indigestible, to many people) beverage, I would urge that it be made from freshly-roasted seed, ground just before wanted. Then heat the ground coffee in the oven, and place upon the perforated bottom of the upper compartment of a cafetière, put the strainer on it, and pour in boiling water, gradually. “The Duke” in Geneviève de Brabant used to warble as part of a song in praise of tea—

And ’tis also most important
That you should not spare the tea.

So is it of equal importance that you should not spare the coffee. There are more elaborate ways of making coffee; but none that the writer has tried are in front of the old cafetière, if the simple directions given above be carried out in their entirety.

As in France, sojourners (for their sins) in the burning plains of Ind have their first breakfast, or chota hazri, at an early hour, whilst the breakfast proper—usually described in Lower Bengal, Madras, and Bombay as “tiffin”—comes later on. For

Chota Hazri

(literally “little breakfast”)—which is served either at the Mess-house, the public Bath, or in one’s own bungalow, beneath the verandah—poached eggs on toast are de rigueur, whilst I have met such additions as unda ishcamble (scrambled eggs), potato cake, and (naughty, naughty!)[Pg 30] anchovy toast. Tea or coffee are always drunk with this meal. “Always,” have I written? Alas! In my mind’s eye I can see the poor Indian vainly trying to stop the too-free flow of the Belati pani (literally “Europe water”) by thrusting a dusky thumb into the neck of the just-opened bottle, and in my mind’s ear can I catch the blasphemous observation of the subaltern as he remarks to his slave that he does not require, in his morning’s “livener,” the additional flavour of Mahommedan flesh, and the “hubble-bubble” pipe, the tobacco in which may have been stirred by the same thumb that morning.

“Coffee shop” is a favourite function, during the march of a regiment in India, at least it used to be in the olden time, before troops were conveyed by railway. Dhoolies (roughly made palanquins) laden with meat and drink were sent on half way, overnight; and grateful indeed was the cup of tea, or coffee, or the “peg” which was poured forth for the weary warrior who had been “tramping it” or in the saddle since 2 A.M. or some such unearthly hour, in order that the column might reach the new camping-ground before the sun was high in the heavens. It was at “coffee-shop” that “chaff” reigned supreme, and speculations as to what the shooting would be like at the next place were indulged in. And when that shooting was likely to take the form of long men, armed with long guns, and long knives, the viands, which consisted for the most part of toast, biscuits, poached eggs, and unda bakum (eggs and bacon), were devoured with appetites all the keener for the[Pg 31] prospect in view. It is in troublous times, be it further observed, that the Hindustan khit is seen at his best. On the field of battle itself I have known coffee and boiled eggs—or even a grilled fowl—produced by the fearless and devoted nokhur, from, apparently, nowhere at all.

At the Indian breakfast proper, all sorts of viands are consumed; from the curried prawns and Europe provisions (which arrive in an hermetically sealed condition per s.s. Nomattawot), to the rooster who heralds your arrival at the dak bungalow, with much crowing, and who within half an hour of your advent has been successively chased into a corner, beheaded, plucked, and served up for your refection in a scorched state. I have breakfasted off such assorted food as curried locusts, boiled leg of mutton, fried snipe, Europe sausages, Iron ishtoo (Irish stew), vilolif (veal olives, and more correctly a dinner dish), kidney toast—chopped sheep’s kidneys, highly seasoned with pepper, lime-juice, and Worcester sauce, very appetising—parrot pie, eggs and bacon, omelette (which might also have been used to patch ammunition boots with), sardines, fried fish (mind the bones of the Asiatic fish), bifishtake (beef steak), goat chops, curries of all sorts, hashed venison, and roast peafowl, ditto quail, ditto pretty nearly everything that flies, cold buffalo hump, grilled sheep’s tail (a bit bilious), hermetically-sealed herring, turtle fins, Guava jelly, preserved mango, home-made cake, and many other things which have escaped memory. I am coming to the “curry” part of the entertainment later on in the volume, but[Pg 32] may remark that it is preferable when eaten in the middle of the day. My own experience was that few people touched curry when served in its normal place at dinner—as a course of itself—just before the sweets.

“Breakfast with my tutor!” What happy memories of boyhood do not the words conjure up, of the usually stern, unbending preceptor pouring out the coffee, and helping the sausages and mashed potatoes—we always had what is now known as “saus and mash” at my tutor’s—and the fatherly air with which he would remind the juvenile glutton, who had seated himself just opposite the apricot jam, and was improving the occasion, that eleven o’clock school would be in full swing in half an hour, and that the brain (and, by process of reasoning, the stomach) could not be in too good working-order for the fervid young student of Herodotus. The ordinary breakfast of the “lower boy” at Eton used to be of a very uncertain pattern. Indeed, what with “fagging,” the preparation of his lord-and-master’s breakfast, the preparation of “pupil-room” work, and agile and acute scouts ever on the alert to pilfer his roll and pat of butter, that boy was lucky if he got any breakfast at all. If he possessed capital, or credit, he might certainly stave off starvation at “Brown’s,” with buttered buns and pickled salmon; or at “Webber’s,” or “the Wall,” with three-cornered jam tarts, or a “strawberry mess”; but Smith minor, and Jones minimus as often as not, went breakfastless to second school.

At the University, breakfast with “the Head”[Pg 33] or any other “Don” was a rather solemn function. The table well and plentifully laid, and the host hospitality itself, but occasionally, nay, frequently, occupied with other thoughts. A departed friend used to tell a story of a breakfast of this description. He was shaken warmly by the hand by his host, who afterwards lapsed into silence. My friend, to “force the running,” ventured on the observation—

“It’s a remarkably fine morning, sir, is it not?”

No reply came. In fact, the great man’s thoughts were so preoccupied with Greek roots, and other defunct horrors, that he spoke not a word during breakfast. But when, an hour or so afterwards, the time came for his guest to take leave, the “Head” shook him by the hand warmly once more, and remarked abstractedly—

“D’you know, Mr. Johnson, I don’t think that was a particularly original remark of yours?”

[Pg 34]



“’Tis a custom
More honoured in the breach than the observance.”

Why lunch?—Sir Henry Thompson on overdoing it—The children’s dinner—City lunches—Ye Olde Cheshyre Cheese—Doctor Johnson—Ye pudding—A great fall in food—A snipe pudding—Skirt, not rump steak—Lancashire hot pot—A Cape “brady.”

“‘More honoured in the breach,’ do you say, Mr. Author?” I fancy I hear some reader inquire. “Are these your sentiments? Do you really mean them?” Well, perhaps, they ought to be qualified. Unless a man breakfast very early, and dine very late, he cannot do himself much good by eating a square meal at 1.30 or 2.0 P.M. There can be no question but that whilst thousands of the lieges—despite soup-kitchens, workhouses, and gaols—perish of absolute starvation, as many of their more fortunate brethren perish, in the course of time, from gluttony, from falling down (sometimes literally) and worshipping the Belly-god.

[Pg 35]

Years ago Sir Henry Thompson observed to a friend of the writer’s:

“Most men who seek my advice are suffering under one of two great evils—eating too much good food, or drinking too much bad liquor; and occasionally they suffer under both evils.”

“This luncheon,” writes Oliver Wendell Holmes, “is a very convenient affair; it does not require any special dress; it is informal; and can be light or heavy as one chooses.”

The American—the male American at all events—takes far more count of luncheon than of breakfast.

But in many cases luncheon and early dinner are synonymous terms. Take the family luncheon, for instance, of the middle classes, where mother, governess, and little ones all assemble in front of the roast and boiled, at the principal meal of the day, and the more or less snowy tablecloth is duly anointed with gravy by “poor baby,” in her high chair, and the youngest but one is slapped at intervals by his instructress, for using his knife for the peas—at the risk of enlarging his mouth—or for swallowing the stones of the cherries which have been dealt him, or her, from the tart. This is not the sort of meal for the male friend of the family to “drop in” at, if he value the lapels of his new frock-coat, and be given to blushing. For children have not only an evil habit of “pawing” the visitor with jammy fingers, but occasionally narrate somewhat “risky” anecdotes. And a child’s ideas of the Christian religion, nay, of the Creator[Pg 36] himself, are occasionally more quaint than reverent.

“Ma, dear,” once lisped a sweet little thing of six, “what doth God have for hith dinner?”

“S-sh-sh, my child!” replied the horrified mother, “you must not ask such dreadful questions. God doesn’t want any dinner, remember that.”

“Oh-h-h!” continued the unabashed and dissatisfied enfant terrible. And, after a pause, “then I thuppose he hath an egg with hith tea.”

In a country-house, of course, but few of the male guests turn up at the domestic luncheon, being otherwise engaged in killing something, or in trying to kill something, or in that sport which is but partially understood out of Great Britain—the pursuit of an evil-savoured animal who is practically worthless to civilisation after his capture and death.

It is in “the City” that vile man, perhaps, puts in his best work as an eater of luncheons. Some city men there be, of course—poor, wretched, half-starved clerks, whose state nobody ever seems to attempt to ameliorate—whose midday refections are not such as would have earned a meed of commendation from the late Vitellius, or from the late Colonel North. For said refections but seldom consist of more important items than a thick slice of bread and a stale bloater; or possibly a home-made sandwich of bread and Dutch cheese—the whole washed down with a tumbler of milk, or more often a tumbler of the fluid supplied by the New River Company. During the winter months a pennyworth[Pg 37] of roasted chestnuts supplies a filling, though indigestible meal to many a man whose employer is swilling turtle at Birch’s or at the big house in Leadenhall Street, and who is compelled, by the exigencies of custom, to wear a decent black coat and some sort of tall hat when on his way to and from “business.”

But the more fortunate citizens—how do they “do themselves” at luncheon? For some there is the cheap soup-house, or the chop-and-steak house reviled of Dickens, and but little changed since the time of the great novelist. Then, for the “gilt-edged” division there is


the little green house which, although now “run” by those eminent caterers, Messrs. Ring and Brymer, is still known by the name of the old Alderman who deserved so well of his fellow citizens, and who, whilst a cordon bleu of some celebrity, had also a pretty taste as a playwright. The old house has not changed one jot, either in appearance, customs, or fare. At the little counter on the ground floor may be obtained the same cheesecakes, tartlets, baked custards, and calf’s-foot jellies which delighted our grandfathers, and the same brand of Scottish whisky. Upstairs, in the soup-rooms, some of the tables are covered with damask tablecloths, whilst at others a small square of napery but partially obscures the view of the well-polished mahogany.

[Pg 38]

Turtle Soup

is still served on silver plates, whilst the cheaper juices of the bullock, the calf, and the pea, “with the usual trimmings,” repose temporarily on china or earthenware. Pâtés, whether of oyster, lobster, chicken, or veal-and-ham, are still in favour with habitué and chance customer alike, and no wonder, for these are something like pâtés. The “filling” is kept hot like the soups, in huge stewpans, on the range, and when required is ladled out into a plate, and furnished with top and bottom crust—and such crust, flaky and light to a degree; and how different to the confectioner’s or railway-refreshment pâté, which, when an orifice be made in the covering with a pickaxe, reveals nothing more appetising than what appear to be four small cubes of frost-bitten india-rubber, with a portion or two of candle end.

A more advanced meal is served in Leadenhall Street, at

The Ship and Turtle,”

said to be the oldest tavern in London, and which has been more than once swept and garnished, and reformed altogether, since its establishment during the reign of King Richard II. But they could have known but little about the superior advantages offered by the turtle as a life-sustainer, in those days; whereas at the present day some hundreds of the succulent reptiles die the death on the premises, within a month, in order that city companies, and stockbrokers, and merchants of sorts, and mining[Pg 39] millionaires, and bicycle makers, and other estimable people, may dine and lunch.

Then there are the numerous clubs, not forgetting one almost at the very door of “The House,” where the 2000 odd (some of them very odd) members are regaled on the fat of the land in general, and of the turtle in particular, day by day; and that mammoth underground palace the “Palmerston,” where any kind of banquet can be served up at a few minutes’ notice, and where “special Greek dishes” are provided for the gamblers in wheat and other cereals, at the adjacent “Baltic.” There be also other eating-houses, far too numerous to mention, but most of them worth a visit.

A “filling” sort of luncheon is a portion of a

Cheshire Cheese Pudding.

A little way up a gloomy court on the north side of Fleet Street—a neighbourhood which reeks of printers’ ink, bookmakers’ “runners,” tipsters, habitual borrowers of small pieces of silver, and that “warm” smell of burning paste and molten lead which indicates the “foundry” in a printing works—is situated this ancient hostelry. It is claimed for the “Cheese” that it was the tavern most frequented by Dr. Samuel Johnson. Mr. C. Redding, in his Fifty Years’ Recollections, Literary and Personal, published in 1858, says: “I often dined at the

Cheshire Cheese.”

Johnson and his friends, I was informed, used to do the same, and I was told I should see[Pg 40] individuals who had met them there. This I found to be correct. The company was more select than in later times, but there are Fleet Street tradesmen who well remembered both Johnson and Goldsmith in this place of entertainment.”

Few Americans who visit our metropolis go away without making a pilgrimage to this ancient hostelry, where, upstairs, “Doctor Johnson’s Chair” is on view; and many visitors carry away mementoes of the house, in the shape of pewter measures, the oaken platters upon which these are placed, and even samples of the long “churchwarden” pipes, smoked by habitués after their evening chops or steaks.

Ye Pudding,

which is served on Wednesdays and Saturdays, at 1.30 and 6.0, is a formidable-looking object, and its savour reaches even into the uttermost parts of Great Grub Street. As large, more or less, as the dome of St. Paul’s, that pudding is stuffed with steak, kidney, oysters, mushrooms, and larks. The irreverent call these last named sparrows, but we know better. This pudding takes (on dit) 17½ hours in the boiling, and the “bottom crust” would have delighted the hearts of Johnson, Boswell, and Co., in whose days the savoury dish was not. The writer once witnessed a catastrophe at the “Cheshire Cheese,” compared to which the burning of Moscow or the bombardment of Alexandria were mere trifles. 1.30 on Saturday afternoon had arrived, and the oaken benches in the refectory were filled to repletion with expectant pudding-eaters.[Pg 41] Burgesses of the City of London were there—good, “warm,” round-bellied men, with plough-boys’ appetites—and journalists, and advertising agents, and “resting” actors, and magistrates’ clerks, and barristers from the Temple, and well-to-do tradesmen. Sherry and gin and bitters and other adventitious aids (?) to appetite had been done justice to, and the arrival of the “procession”—it takes three men and a boy to carry the pièce de résistance from the kitchen to the dining-room—was anxiously awaited. And then, of a sudden we heard a loud crash! followed by a feminine shriek, and an unwhispered Saxon oath. “Tom” the waiter had slipped, released his hold, and the pudding had fallen downstairs! It was a sight ever to be remembered—steak, larks, oysters, “delicious gravy,” running in a torrent into Wine Office Court. The expectant diners (many of them lunchers) stood up and gazed upon the wreck of their hopes, and then filed, silently and sadly, outside. Such a catastrophe had not been known in Brainland since the Great Fire.

Puddings of all sorts are, in fact, favourite autumn and winter luncheon dishes in London, and the man who can “come twice” at such a “dream” as the following, between the hours of one and three, can hardly be in devouring trim for his evening meal till very late. It is a

Snipe Pudding.

[Pg 42]

A thin slice of beef-skirt,[2] seasoned with pepper and salt, at the bottom of the basin; then three snipes beheaded and befooted, and with gizzards extracted. Leave the liver and heart in, an you value your life. Cover up with paste, and boil (or steam) for two-and-a-half hours. For stockbrokers and bookmakers, mushrooms and truffles are sometimes placed within this pudding; but it is better without—according to the writer’s notion.

Most of the fowls of the air may be treated in the same way. And when eating cold grouse for luncheon try (if you can get it) a fruit salad therewith. You will find preserved peaches, apricots, and cherries in syrup, harmonise well with cold brown game.

Lancashire Hot-Pot

is a savoury dish indeed; but I know of but one eating-house in London where you can get anything like it. Here is the recipe—

Place a layer of mutton cutlets, with most of the fat and tails trimmed off, at the bottom of a deep earthenware stewpan. Then a layer of chopped sheep’s kidneys, an onion cut into thin slices, half-a-dozen oysters, and some sliced potatoes. Sprinkle over these a little salt and pepper and a teaspoonful of curry powder. Then start again with cutlets, and keep on adding layers of the different ingredients until the dish be full. Whole potatoes atop of all, and pour in the oyster liquor and some good gravy. More gravy just before the dish is ready to serve.[Pg 43] Not too fierce an oven, just fierce enough to brown the top potatoes.

In making this succulent concoction you can add to, or substitute for, the mutton cutlets pretty nearly any sort of flesh or fowl. I have met rabbit, goose, larks, turkey, and (frequently) beef therein; but, believe me, the simple, harmless, necessary, toothsome cutlet makes the best lining.

In the Cape Colony, and even as high up as Rhodesia, I have met with a dish called a Brady, which is worthy of mention here. It is made in the same way as the familiar Irish stew; but instead of potatoes tomatoes are used.

[Pg 44]


LUNCHEON (continued)

“He couldn’t hit a haystack!”

Shooting luncheons—Cold tea and a crust—Clear turtle—Such larks!—Jugged duck and oysters—Woodcock pie—Hunting luncheons—Pie crusts—The true Yorkshire pie—Race-course luncheons—Suggestions to caterers—The “Jolly Sand boys” stew—Various recipes—A race-course sandwich—Angels’ pie—“Suffolk pride”—Devilled larks—A light lunch in the Himalayas.

There is no meal which has become more “expanded” than a shooting luncheon. A crust of bread with cheese, or a few biscuits, and a flask of sherry sufficed for our forebears, who, despite inferior weapons and ammunition, managed to “bring ’em down” quite as effectually as do the shootists of this period. Most certainly and decidedly, a heavy luncheon is a mistake if you want to “shoot clean” afterwards. And bear this in mind, all ye “Johnnies” who rail at your host’s champagne and turtle, after luncheon, in a comfortable pavilion in the midst of a pheasant battue, and whose very beaters would turn up[Pg 45] their noses at a pork pie and a glass of old ale, that there is nothing so good to shoot upon as cold tea, unless it be cold coffee. I have tried both, and for a shooting luncheon par excellence commend me to a crust and a pint of cold tea, eaten whilst sitting beneath the shelter of an unpleached hedge, against the formal spread which commences with a consommé, and finishes with guinea peaches, and liqueurs of rare curaçoa. Of course, it is assumed that the shooter wishes to make a bag.

But as, fortunately for trade, everybody does not share my views, it will be as well to append a few dishes suitable to a scratch meal of this sort.

First of all let it be said that a

Roast Loin of Pork,

washed down with sweet champagne, is not altogether to be commended. I have nothing to urge against roast pork, on ordinary occasions, or champagne either; but a woodcock takes a lot of hitting.

Such a pudding as was sketched in the preceding chapter is allowable, as is also the Lancashire Hot-Pot.

Shepherd’s Pie,

i.e. minced meat beneath a mattress of mashed potatoes, with lots of gravy in the dish, baked, is an economical dish, but a tasty one; and I have never known much left for the beaters. Rabbit Pie, or Pudding, will stop a gap most effectually, and

[Pg 46]

Plover Pudding

—the very name brings water to the lips—is entitled to the highest commendation.

This is the favourite dish at the shooting luncheons of a well-known Royal Duke, and when upon one occasion the discovery was made that through some misunderstanding said pudding had been devoured to the very bones, by the loaders, the—well, “the band played,” as they say out West. And a stirring tune did that band play too.

Such Larks!

Stuff a dozen larks with a force-meat made from their own livers chopped, a little shallot, parsley, yolk of egg, salt, bread crumbs, and one green chili chopped and divided amongst the twelve. Brown in a stewpan, and then stew gently in a good gravy to which has been added a glass of burgundy.

This is a plât fit for an emperor, and there will be no subsequent danger of his hitting a beater or a dog. Another dainty of home invention is

Jugged Duck with Oysters.

Cut the fleshy parts of your waddler into neat joints, and having browned them place in a jar with nine oysters and some good gravy partly made from the giblets. Close the mouth of the jar, and stand it in boiling water for rather more than an hour. Add the strained liquor of the oysters and a little more gravy, and turn the concoction into a deep silver dish with a spirit lamp beneath. Wild duck can be jugged in the same way, but without the addition of the bivalves; and a mixture of port wine[Pg 47] and Worcester sauce should be poured in, with a squeeze of lemon juice and cayenne, just before serving.

Another dish which will be found “grateful and comforting” is an old grouse—the older the tastier. Stuff him with a Spanish onion, add a little gravy and seasoning, and stew him till the flesh leaves the bones. All these stews, or “jugs” should be served on dishes kept hot by lighted spirit beneath them. This is most important.

A Woodcock Pie

will be found extremely palatable at any shooting luncheon, although more frequently to be met with on the sideboards of the great and wealthy. In fact, at Christmas time, ’tis a pie which is specially concocted in the royal kitchen at Windsor Castle, to adorn Her Most Gracious Majesty’s board at Osborne, together with the time-honoured baron of specially fed beef. This last named joint hardly meets my views as part of a breakfast menu; but here is the recipe for the woodcock pie.

Bone four woodcocks—I don’t mean take them off the hooks when the gentleman is not in his shop, but tell your cook to take the bones out of one you’ve shot yourself—put bones and trimmings into a saucepan with one shallot, one small onion, and a sprig of thyme, cover them with some good stock, and let this gravy simmer awhile. Take the gizzards away from the heart and liver, pound, and mix these with some good veal force-meat. Place the woodcocks, skin downwards, on a board; spread over[Pg 48] each two layers of force-meat, with a layer of sliced truffles in between the two. Make your crust, either in a mould, or with the hands, put a layer of force-meat at the bottom, then two woodcocks, then a layer of truffles, then the other two woodcocks, another layer of truffles, and a top layer of force-meat, and some thin slices of fat bacon. Cover the pie, leaving a hole for the gravy, and bake in a moderate oven. After taking out pour in the gravy, then close the orifice and let the pie get cold before serving.

N.B.—It will stimulate the digging industry if one or two whole truffles have been hidden away in the recesses of the pie.

Another good pie I have met with—in the north country—was lined with portions of grouse and black game (no bones), with here and there half a hard-boiled egg. Nothing else except the necessary seasoning.

With regard to

Hunting Luncheons

it cannot be said that your Nimrod is nearly as well catered for as is the “Gun.” For, as a rule, the first-named, if he be really keen on the sport of kings has to content himself, during the interval of a “check,” with the contents of a sandwich-case, and a flask, which may contain either brown sherry or brandy and water—or possibly something still more seductive. I have heard of flasks which held milk punch, but the experience is by no means a familiar one. If your Nimrod be given to “macadamising,” instead of riding the line, or if he sicken of the[Pg 49] business altogether before hounds throw off, he can usually “cadge” a lunch at some house in the neighbourhood, even though it may only “run to” bread and cheese—or, possibly, a wedge of a home-made pork-pie—with a glass, or mug, of nut brown ale. Not that all ale is “nut brown,” but ’tis an epithet which likes me well. Would it were possible to give practical hints here as to the true way to manufacture a pork-pie! To make the attempt would, I fear, only serve to invite disaster; for the art of pork-pie making, like that of the poet, or the play-actor, should be born within us. In large households in the midland counties (wherein doth flourish the pig tart) there is, as a rule, but one qualified pie-maker—who is incapable of any other culinary feat whatever. I have even been told that it requires “special hands” to make the crust of the proper consistency; and having tasted crusts and crusts, I can implicitly believe this statement. Here is a recipe for a veritable savoury

Yorkshire Pie.

Bone a goose and a large fowl. Fill the latter with the following stuffing:—minced ham, veal, suet, onion, sweet herbs, lemon peel, mixed spices, goose-liver, cayenne, and salt, worked into a paste with the yolks of two eggs. Sew up the fowl, truss it, and stew it with the goose for twenty minutes in some good beef and giblet stock, with a small glass of sherry, in a close stewpan. Then put the fowl inside the goose, and place the goose within a pie-mould which has been lined with good hot-water paste. Let the goose rest on a cushion of stuffing,[Pg 50] and in the middle of the liquor in which he has been stewed. Surround him in the pie with slices of parboiled tongue and chunks of semi-cooked pheasant, partridge, and hare, filling in the vacancies with more stuffing, put a layer of butter atop, roof in the pie with paste, bake for three hours, and eat either hot or cold—the latter for choice.

For a skating luncheon

Irish Stew

is the recognised entrée, served in soup-plates, and washed down with hot spiced ale.

In the way of

Race-course Luncheons

our caterers have made giant strides in the last dozen years. A member of a large firm once told me that it was “out of the question” to supply joints, chops, and steaks in the dining-rooms of a grand stand, distant far from his base of operations, London. “Impossible, my dear sir! we couldn’t do it without incurring a ruinous loss.” But the whirligig of time has proved this feat to be not only possible, but one which has led to the best results for all concerned. In the matter of chops and steaks I hope to see further reforms introduced. These succulent dainties, it cannot be too widely known, are not at their best unless cut fresh from loin or rump, just before being placed on the gridiron. The longer a cut chop (raw) is kept the more of its virtue is lost. It might, possibly, cause a little extra delay, and a little extra expense, to send[Pg 51] off loins and rumps from the butcher’s shop, instead of ready-cut portions, but the experiment would answer, in the long run. The same rule, of course, should apply to restaurants and grill-rooms all over the world.

During the autumn and winter months, race-course caterers seem to have but one idea of warm comforting food for their customers, and the name of that idea is Irish stew. This is no doubt an appetising dish, but might be varied occasionally for the benefit of the habitual follower of the sport of kings. Why not pea-soup, jugged hare (hares are cheap enough), hot-pot, Scotch broth, mullagatawny, hotch-potch, stewed or curried rabbit, with rice, shepherd’s pie, haricot ox-tails, sheep’s head broth (Scotch fashion), and hare soup! What is the matter with the world-renowned stew of which we read in The Old Curiosity Shop—the supper provided by the landlord of the “Jolly Sandboys” for the itinerant showmen? Here it is again:

“‘It’s a stew of tripe,’ said the landlord, smacking his lips, ‘and cowheel,’ smacking them again, ‘and bacon,’ smacking them once more, ‘and steak,’ smacking them for the fourth time, ‘and peas, cauliflowers, new potatoes, and sparrowgrass, all working up together in one delicious gravy.’ Having come to the climax, he smacked his lips a great many times, and taking a long hearty sniff of the fragrance that was hovering about, put on the cover again with the air of one whose toils on earth were over.

“‘At what time will it be ready?’ asked Mr.[Pg 52] Codlin faintly. ‘It’ll be done to a turn,’ said the landlord, looking up at the clock, ‘at twenty-two minutes before eleven.’

“‘Then,’ said Mr. Codlin, ‘fetch me a pint of warm ale, and don’t let nobody bring into the room even so much as a biscuit till the time arrives.’”

And I do vow and protest that the above passage has caused much more smacking of lips than the most expensive, savoury menu ever thought out. True, sparrowgrass and new potatoes, and any peas but dried or tinned ones are not as a rule at their best in the same season as tripe; but why not dried peas, and old potatoes, and rice, and curry powder, and onions—Charles Dickens forgot the onions—with, maybe, a modicum of old ale added, for “body”—in this stew, on a cold day at Sandown or Kempton? Toujours Irish stew, like toujours mother-in-law, is apt to pall upon the palate; especially if not fresh made. And frost occasionally interferes with the best-laid plans of a race-course caterer.

“I don’t mind a postponed meeting,” once observed one of the “readiest” of bookmakers; “but what I cannot stand is postponed Irish stew.”

Than a good bowl of

Scotch Broth,

what could be more grateful, or less expensive?

Shin of beef, pearl barley, cabbages, leeks, turnips, carrots, dried peas (of course soaked overnight), and water—“all working up together in one delicious gravy.”


[Pg 53]

Hotch Potch.

With the addition of cutlets from the best end of a neck of mutton, the same recipe as the above will serve for this dish, which it must be remembered should be more of a “stodge” than a broth.

There are more ways than one of making a “hot-pot.” The recipe given above would hardly suit the views of any caterer who wishes to make a living for himself; but it can be done on the cheap. The old lady whose dying husband was ordered by the doctor oysters and champagne, procured whelks and ginger beer for the patient, instead, on the score of economy. Then why not make your hot-pot with mussels instead of oysters? Or why add any sort of mollusc? In the certain knowledge that these be invaluable hints to race-course caterers, I offer them with all consideration and respect.

The writer well remembers the time when the refreshments on Newmarket Heath at race-time were dispensed from a booth, which stood almost adjoining the “Birdcage.” Said refreshments were rough, but satisfying, and consisted of thick sandwiches, cheese, and bread, with “thumb-pieces” (or “thumbers”) of beef, mutton, and pork, which the luncher was privileged to cut with his own clasp-knife. Said “thumbers” seem to have gone out of favour with the aristocracy of the Turf; but the true racing or coursing sandwich still forms part of the impedimenta of many a cash-bookmaker, of his clerk, and of many a “little” backer. ’Tis a[Pg 54] solid, satisfying sandwich, and is just the sort of nourishment for a hard worker on a bitter November day. Let your steak be grilling, whilst you are enjoying your breakfast—some prefer the ox-portion fried, for these simple speculators have strange tastes—then take the steak off the fire and place it, all hot, between two thick slices of bread. The sandwich will require several paper wrappings, if you value the purity of your pocket-linings. And when eaten cold, the juices of the meat will be found to have irrigated the bread, with more or less “delicious gravy.” And, as Sam Weller ought to have said, “it’s the gravy as does it.”

“But what about the swells?” I fancy I hear somebody asking, “Is my Lord Tomnoddy, or the Duke of Earlswood to be compelled to satisfy his hunger, on a race-course, with tripe and fat bacon? Are you really advising those dapper-looking, tailor-made ladies on yonder drag to insert their delicate teeth in a sandwich which would have puzzled Gargantua to masticate?” Not at all, my good sir, or madam. The well-appointed coach should be well-appointed within and without. Of course the luncheon it contains will differ materially according to the season of the year. This is the sort of meal I will provide, an you will deign to visit the Arabian tent behind my coach, at Ascot:

Lobster mayonnaise, salmon cutlets with Tartar sauce (iced), curried prawns (iced), lobster cutlets, chaud-froid of quails, foie gras in aspic, prawns in ditto, plovers’ eggs in ditto, galantine of chicken, York ham, sweets various, including[Pg 55] iced gooseberry fool; and, as the pièce de résistance, an

Angel’s Pie.

Many people would call this a pigeon pie, for in good sooth there be pigeons in it; but ’tis a pie worthy of a brighter sphere than this.

Six plump young pigeons, trimmed of all superfluous matter, including pinions and below the thighs. Season with pepper and salt, and stuff these pigeons with foie gras, and quartered truffles, and fill up the pie with plovers’ eggs and some good force-meat. Make a good gravy from the superfluous parts of the birds, and some calf’s head stock to which has been added about half a wine-glassful of old Madeira, with some lemon-juice and cayenne. See that your paste be light and flaky, and bake in a moderate oven for three hours. Pour in more gravy just before taking out, and let the pie get cold.

This is a concoction which will make you back all the winners; whilst no heiress who nibbles at it would refuse you her hand and heart afterwards.

This is another sort of

Pigeon Pie

which is best served hot, and is more suited to the dining-room than the race-course.

Line a pie dish with veal force-meat, very highly seasoned, about an inch thick. Place on it some thin slices of fat bacon, three Bordeaux pigeons (trimmed) in halves, a veal sweetbread in slices, an[Pg 56] ox palate, boiled and cut up into dice, a dozen asparagus tops, a few button mushrooms (the large ones would give the interior of the pie a bad colour) and the yolks of four eggs. Cover with force-meat, and bake for three hours. Some good veal gravy should be served with this, which I have named

Suffolk Pride.

It is a remarkable fact in natural history that English pigeons are at their best just at the time when the young rooks leave the shelter of their nests. Therefore have I written, in the above recipe, “Bordeaux” pigeons.

Here is a quaint old eighteenth-century recipe, which comes from Northumberland, and is given verbatim, for a

Goose Pie.

Bone a goose, a turkey, a hare, and a brace of grouse; skin it, and cut off all the outside pieces—I mean of the tongue, after boiling it—lay the goose, for the outside a few pieces of hare; then lay in the turkey, the grouse, and the remainder of the tongue and hare. Season highly between each layer with pepper and salt, mace and cayenne, and put it together, and draw it close with a needle and thread. Take 20 lbs. of flour, put 5 lbs. of butter into a pan with some water, let it boil, pour it among the flour, stir it with a knife, then work it with your hands till quite stiff. Let it stand before the fire for half an hour, then raise your pie and set it to cool; then finish it, put in the meat, close the pie, and set it in a cold place. Ornament according to your taste, bandage it with calico dipped in fat. Let it stand all night before baking. It will take a long time to bake. The oven must be pretty hot[Pg 57] for the first four hours, and then allowed to slacken. To know when it is enough, raise one of the ornaments, and with a fork try if the meat is tender. If it is hard the pie must be put in again for two hours more. After it comes out of the oven fill up with strong stock, well seasoned, or with clarified butter. All standing pies made in this way.

Verily, in the eighteenth century they must have had considerably more surplus cash and time, and rather more angelic cooks than their descendants!

During cold weather the interior of the coach should be well filled with earthenware vessels containing such provender as hot-pot, hare soup, mullagatawny, lobster à l’Américaine, curried rabbit, devilled larks—with the matériel for heating these. Such cold viands as game pie, pressed beef, boar’s head, foie gras (truffled), plain truffles (to be steamed and served with buttered toast) anchovies, etc. The larks should be smothered with a paste made from a mixture of mustard, Chili vinegar, and a little anchovy paste, and kept closely covered up. After heating, add cayenne to taste.

Gourmets interested in menus may like to know what were the first déjeuners partaken of by the Tsar on his arrival in Paris in October 1869.

On the first day he had huîtres, consommé, œufs à la Parisienne, filet de bœuf, pommes de terre, Nesselrode sauce, chocolat.

Next day he ate huîtres, consommé, œufs Dauphine, rougets, noisettes d’agneau maréchal, pommes de terre, cailles à la Bohémienne, poires Bar-le-Duc.

[Pg 58]

The writer can recall some colossal luncheons partaken of at dear, naughty Simla, in the long ago, when a hill station in India was, if anything, livelier than at the present day, and furnished plenty of food for both mind and body. Our host was the genial proprietor of a weekly journal, to which most of his guests contributed, after their lights; “sport and the drama” falling to the present writer’s share. Most of the food at those luncheons had been specially imported from Europe; and although the whitebait tasted more of the hermetical sealing than of the Thames mud, most of the other items were succulent enough. There were turtle soup, and turtle fins; highly seasoned pâtés of sorts; and the native khansamah had added several dishes of his own providing and invention. A young florican (bustard) is by no means a bad bird, well roasted and basted; and though the eternal vilolif (veal olives) were usually sent away untasted, his snipe puddings were excellent. What was called picheese (twenty-five years old) brandy, from the atelier of Messrs. Justerini and Brooks, was served after the coffee; and those luncheon parties seldom broke up until it was time to dress for dinner. In fact, our memories were not often keen as to anything which occurred after the coffee, and many “strange things happened” in consequence; although as they have no particular connection with high-class cookery, they need not be alluded to in this chapter.

But, as observed before, I am of opinion that luncheon, except under certain circumstances, is a mistake.

[Pg 59]



“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we can eat and we hae meat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”

Origin—Early dinners—The noble Romans—“Vitellius the Glutton”—Origin of haggis—The Saxons—Highland hospitality—The French invasion—Waterloo avenged—The bad fairy “Ala”—Comparisons—The English cook or the foreign food torturer?—Plain or flowery—Fresh fish and the flavour wrapped up—George Augustus Sala—Doctor Johnson again.

It is somewhat humiliating to reflect that we Britons owe the art of dining to our first conquerors the Romans—a smooth-faced race of voluptuaries whose idea of a bonne bouche took the form of a dormouse stewed in honey and sprinkled with poppy-seed. But it was not until the Normans had fairly established themselves and their cookery, that the sturdy Saxon submitted himself to be educated by the foreign food-spoiler; and at a later period the frequent invasions of France by Britain—when money was “tight” in the little island—were[Pg 60] undoubtedly responsible for the commencement of the system of “decorating” food which so largely obtains to-day.

The name “dinner” is said—although it seems incredible that words should have become so corrupted—to be a corruption of dix heures, the time at which (A.M.), in the old Norman days, the meal was usually partaken of; and the time at which (P.M.), in later years, when none of the guests ever knew the hour, in that loose-and-careless period, the meal was occasionally partaken of at Limmer’s and at Lane’s, in London town. Froissart, in one of his works, mentions having waited upon the Duke of Lancaster at 5 P.M., “after his Grace had supped”; and it is certain that during the reigns of Francis I. and Louis XII. of France, the world of fashion was accustomed to dine long before the sun had arrived at the meridian, and to sup at what we now call “afternoon tea time.” Louis XIV. did not dine till twelve; and his contemporaries, Oliver Cromwell and the Merry Monarch, sat down to the principal meal at one. In 1700, two was the fashionable time; and in 1751 we read that the Duchess of Somerset’s hour for dinner was three. The hour for putting the soup on the table kept on advancing, until, after Waterloo, it became almost a penal offence to dine before six; and so to the end of the century, when we sit down to a sumptuous repast at a time when farm-labourers and artisans are either snug between the blankets, or engaged in their final wrangle at the “Blue Pig.”

The Romans in the time of Cicero had a[Pg 61] light breakfast at 3.30 A.M., lunched at noon, and attacked the cœna at periods varying between 3 and 7 P.M.—according to the season of the year. They commenced the first course with eggs, and each noble Roman was supposed to clear his palate with an apple at the conclusion of the third course. “A banquet with Vitellius,” we read, “was no light and simple repast. Leagues of sea and miles of forest had been swept to furnish the mere groundwork of the entertainment. Hardy fishermen had spent their nights on the heaving wave, that the giant turbot might flap its snowy flakes on the Emperor’s table, broader than its broad dish of gold. Many a swelling hill, clad in the dark oak coppice, had echoed to ringing shout of hunter and deep-mouthed bay of hound, ere the wild boar yielded his grim life, by the morass, and the dark grisly carcase was drawn off to provide a standing dish that was only meant to gratify the eye. Even the peacock roasted in its feathers was too gross a dainty”—especially the feather part, we should think—“for epicures who studied the art of gastronomy under Caesar; and that taste would have been considered rustic in the extreme which could partake of more than the mere fumes and savour of so substantial a dish. A thousand nightingales had been trapped and killed, indeed, for this one supper, but brains and tongues were all they contributed to the banquet; while even the wing of a roasted hare would have been considered far too coarse and common food for the imperial table.” Talk about a bean-feast!

According to Suetonius (whose name suggests[Pg 62] “duff”) the villain Nero was accustomed to dine in a superb apartment, surrounded with mechanical scenery, which could be “shifted” with every course. The suppers of “Vitellius the Glutton” cost, on the average, more than £4000 a-piece—which reads like a “Kaffir Circus” dinner at the Savoy—and the celebrated feast to which he invited his brother was down in the bill for £40,350. Now a-nights we don’t spend as much on a dinner, even when we invite other people’s wives. “It consisted”—I always think of Little Dombey and the dinner at Doctor Blimber’s, on reading these facts—“of two thousand different dishes of fish, and seven thousand of fowls, with other equally numerous meats.”

“Sharp-biting salads,” salted herrings, and pickled anchovies, were served, as hors d’œuvres during the first course of a Roman banquet, to stimulate the hunger which the rest of the meal would satisfy; but although Vitellius was, according to history, “a whale on” oysters, they do not appear to have been eaten as a whet to appetite. And it was the duty of one, or more, of the Emperor’s “freedmen” to taste every dish before his imperial master, in case poison might lurk therein. A garland of flowers around the brows was the regular wear for a guest at a “swagger” dinner party in ancient Rome, and, the eating part over, said garland was usually tilted back on the head, the while he who had dined disposed himself in an easy attitude on his ivory couch, and proffered his cup to be filled by the solicitous slave. Then commenced the[Pg 63] “big drink.” But it must be remembered that although the subsequent display of fireworks was provided from lively Early Christians, in tar overcoats, these Romans drank the pure, unadulterated juice of the grape, freely mixed with water; so that headaches i’ th’ morn were not de rigueur, nor did the subsequent massacres and other diversions in the Amphitheatre cause any feelings of “jumpiness.”

The Roman bill-of-fare, however, does not commend itself to all British epicures, one of whom wrote, in a convivial song—

“Old Lucullus, they say,
Forty cooks had each day,
And Vitellius’s meals cost a million;
But I like what is good,
When or where be my food,
In a chop-house or royal pavilion.
At all feasts (if enough)
I most heartily stuff,
And a song at my heart alike rushes,
Though I’ve not fed my lungs
Upon nightingales’ tongues,
Nor the brains of goldfinches and thrushes.”

My pen loves to linger long over the gastronomies of those shaven voluptuaries, the ancient Italians; and my Caledonian readers will forgive the old tales when it is further set forth that the Romans introduced, amongst other things,


into Bonnie Scotland. Yes, the poet’s “great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race” is but an Italian[Pg 64] dish after all. The Apician pork haggis[3] was a boiled pig’s stomach filled with fry and brains, raw eggs, and pine-apples beaten to a pulp, and seasoned with liquamen. For although some of the Romans’ tastes savoured of refinement, many of them were “absolutely beastly.” The idea of pig’s fry and pine-apples mixed is horrible enough; but take a look into the constitution of this liquamen, and wonder no longer that Gibbons wrote his Decline and Fall with so much feeling and gusto. This sauce was obtained from the intestines, gills, and blood of fishes, great and small, stirred together with salt, and exposed in an open vat in the sun, until the compound became putrid. When putrefaction had done its work, wine and spices were added to the hell-broth, which was subsequently strained and sent into the Roman market. This liquamen was manufactured in Greece, and not one of all the poets of sunny Italy seems to have satirised the “made-in-Greece” custom, which in those days must have been almost as obnoxious as the “made-in-Germany” or the “made-in-Whitechapel” scare of to-day.

The usual farinaceous ingredient of the Roman haggis was frumenty, but frequently no grain whatever was applied; and instead[Pg 65] of mincing the ingredients, as do the Scots, the ancients pounded them in a mortar, well moistened with liquamen, until reduced to pulp. We are further told in history that a Roman gladiator was capable, after playing with eggs, fish, nightingales’ tongues, dormice, and haggis, of finishing a wild boar at a sitting. But as the old lady remarked of the great tragedy, this happened a long time ago, so let’s hope it isn’t true.

The Saxon dining-table was oblong, and rounded at the ends. The cloth was crimson, with broad gilt edgings hanging low beneath the table, and, it is to be feared, often soiled by the dirty boots of the guests, who sat on chairs with covered backs, the counterfeit presentments of which are still to be seen in the Tottenham Court Road. The food consisted of fish, fowls, beef, mutton, venison, and pork—wild and domestic—either boiled, baked, or broiled, and handed to the company by the attendants on small sples. A favourite “fish joint” of the old Saxon was a cut out of the middle of a porpoise; and bread of the finest wheaten flour reposed in two silver baskets at each end of the table, above the salt, the retainers having to content themselves with coarser “household” out of a wooden cradle. Almost the only vegetable in use amongst the Saxons was colewort, although the Romans had brought over many others, years before; but hatred of anything foreign was more rampant in early Saxon days than at present. Forks were not introduced into England until during the reign of King “Jamie”: so that our[Pg 66] ancestors had perforce to “thumb” their victuals. The fair Queen Elizabeth (like much more modern monarchs) was accustomed to raise to her mouth with her virgin fingers a turkey leg and gnaw it. But even in the earliest days of the thirteenth century, each person was provided with a small silver basin and two flowered napkins of the finest linen, for finger-washing and wiping purposes. Grapes, figs, nuts, apples, pears, and almonds, constituted a Saxon dessert; and in the reign of Edward III. an Act of Parliament was passed, forbidding any man or woman to be served with more than two courses, unless on high days and holidays, when each was entitled to three.

Here is the bill for the ingredients of a big dinner provided by a City Company in the fifteenth century: “Two loins of veal and two loins of mutton, 1s. 4d.; one loin of beef, 4d.; one dozen pigeons and 12 rabbits, 9d.; one pig and one capon, 1s.; one goose and 100 eggs, 1s. 0½d.; one leg of mutton, 2½d.; two gallons of sack, 1s. 4d.; eight gallons of strong ale, 1s. 6d.; total, 7s. 6d.” Alas! In these advanced days the goose alone would cost more than the “demmed total.”

Cedric the Saxon’s dining table, described in Ivanhoe, was of a much simpler description than the one noted above; and the fare also. But there was no lack of assorted liquors—old wine and ale, good mead and cider, rich morat (a mixture of honey and mulberry juice, a somewhat gouty beverage, probably), and odoriferous pigment—which was composed of highly-spiced wine,[Pg 67] sweetened with honey. The Virgin Queen, at a later epoch, was catered for more delicately; and we read that she detested all coarse meats, evil smells, and strong wines. During the Georgian era coarse meats and strong wines were by no means out of favour; and Highland banquets especially were Gargantuan feasts, to be read of with awe. The dinner given by Fergus MacIvor, in honour of Captain Waverley, consisted of dishes of fish and game, carefully dressed, at the upper end of the table, immediately under the eye of the English stranger. “Lower down stood immense clumsy joints of beef,” says the gifted author, “which, but for the absence of pork, abhorred in the Highlands, resembled the rude festivity of the banquet of Penelope’s suitors. But the central dish was a yearling lamb, called a “hog in har’st,” roasted whole. It was set upon its legs, with a bunch of parsley in its mouth, and was probably exhibited in that form to gratify the pride of the cook, who piqued himself more on the plenty than the elegance of his master’s table. The sides of this poor animal”—the lamb, not the cook, we suppose is meant—“were fiercely attacked by the clansmen, some with dirks, others with the knives worn in the same sheath as the dagger, so that it was soon rendered a mangled and rueful spectacle.”

A spectacle which reminds the writer of a dinner table at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in the early sixties.

“Lower down,” continues Sir Walter, “the victuals seemed of yet coarser quality, though sufficiently abundant. Broth, onions, cheese, and[Pg 68] the fragments of the feast, regaled the sons of Ivor, who feasted in the open air.”

The funeral baked meats used after the interment of the chief of the Clan Quhele (described in The Fair Maid of Perth) were also on a very extensive scale, and were, like the other meal, “digested” with pailfuls of usquebaugh, for which no Highland head that supported a bonnet was ever “the waur i’ th’ morn.” And the custom of placing bagpipers behind the chairs of the guests, after they have well drunk, which is still observed in Highland regiments, was probably introduced by the aforesaid Fergus MacIvor, who really ought to have known better.

And so the years rolled on; and at the commencement of the nineteenth century, old England, instead of enjoying the blessings of universal peace, such as the spread of the Gospel of Christianity might have taught us to expect, found herself involved in rather more warfare than was good for trade, or anything else. The first “innings” of the Corsican usurper was a short but merry one; the second saw him finally “stumped.” And from that period dates the “avenging of Waterloo” which we have suffered in silence for so long. The immigration of aliens commenced, and in the tight little island were deposited a large assortment of the poisonous seeds of alien cookery which had never exactly flourished before. The combat between the Roast Beef of old England and the bad fairy “Ala,” with her attendant sprites Grease, Vinegar, and Garlic, commenced; a combat which at the[Pg 69] end of the nineteenth century looked excessively like terminating in favour of the fairy.

It has been repeatedly urged against my former gastronomic writings that they are unjustly severe on French cookery; that far greater minds than mine own have expressed unqualified approval thereof; that I know absolutely nothing about the subject; and that my avowed hatred of our lively neighbours and their works is so ferocious as to become ridiculous. These statements are not altogether fair to myself. I have no “avowed hatred” of our lively neighbours; in fact, upon one occasion on returning from the celebration of the Grand Prix, I saw a vision of——but that is a different anecdote. My lash has never embraced the entire batterie de cuisine of the chef, and there be many French plats which are agreeable to the palate, as long as we are satisfied that the matériel of which they are composed is sound, wholesome, and of the best quality. It is the cheap restaurateur who should be improved out of England. I was years ago inveigled into visiting the kitchen of one of these grease-and-garlic shops, and——but the memory is too terrible for language. And will anybody advance the statement that a basin of the tortue claire of the average chef deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with a plate of clear turtle at Birch’s or Painter’s? or that good genuine English soup, whether ox-tail, mock-turtle, pea, oyster, or Palestine, is not to be preferred to the French purée, or to their teakettle broth flavoured with carrots, cabbages, and onions, and dignified by the name of consommé?

[Pg 70]

Then let us tackle the subject of fish. Would you treat a salmon in the British way, or smother him with thick brown gravy, fried onions, garlic, mushrooms, inferior claret, oysters, sugar, pepper, salt, and nutmeg, en Matelote, or mince him fine to make a ridiculous mousse? Similarly with the honest, manly sole; would you fry or grill him plain, or bake him in a coat of rich white sauce, onion juice, mussel ditto, and white wine, or cider, à la Normande; or cover him with toasted cheese à la Cardinal?

The fairy “Ala” is likewise responsible for the clothing of purely English food in French disguises. Thus a leg of mutton becomes a gigot, a pheasant (for its transgressions in eating the poor farmer’s barley) a faisan, and is charged for at special rates in the bill; whilst the nearest to a beef-steak our lively neighbours can get is a portion of beef with the fibre smashed by a wooden mallet, surmounted by an exceedingly bilious-looking compound like axle-grease, and called a Châteaubriand; and curry becomes under the new régime, kari.

Undoubtedly, the principal reason for serving food smothered in made-gravies lies in the inferiority of the food. Few judges will credit France with the possession of better butcher’s-meat—with the exception of veal—than the perfidious island, which is so near in the matter of distance, and yet so far in the matter of custom. And it is an established fact that the fish of Paris is not as fresh as the fish of London. Hence the sole Normande, the sole au gratin, and the sole smothered in toasted cheese. But[Pg 71] when we islanders are charged at least four times as much for the inferior article, in its foreign cloak, as for the home article in its native majesty, I think the time has come to protest. It is possible to get an excellent dinner at any of the “Gordon” hotels, at the “Savoy,” the “Cecil,” and at some other noted food-houses—more especially at Romano’s—by paying a stiff price for it; but it is due to a shameful lack of enterprise on the part of English caterers that a well-cooked English dinner is becoming more difficult to procure, year after year. There be three purely British dishes which are always “hoff” before all others on the programme of club, hotel, or eating-house; and these are, Irish stew, liver-and-bacon, and tripe-and-onions. Yet hardly a week passes without a new dîner Parisien making its appearance in the advertisement columns of the newspapers; whilst the cheap-and-nasty table d’hôte, with its six or seven courses and its Spanish claret, has simply throttled the Roast Beef of Old England.

“Sir,” said Dr. Johnson, after examining a French menu, “my brain is obfuscated after the perusal of this heterogeneous conglomeration of bastard English ill-spelt, and a foreign tongue. I prithee bid thy knaves bring me a dish of hog’s puddings, a slice or two from the upper cut of a well-roasted sirloin, and two apple-dumplings.”

“William,” said George Augustus Sala to the old waiter at the “Cheshire Cheese,” “I’ve had nothing fit to eat for three months; get me a point steak, for God’s sake!”

[Pg 72]

The great lauder of foreign cookery had only that day returned from a special mission to France, to “write up” the works of the cordon bleu for the benefit of us benighted Englishmen. No man in the wide wide world knew so much, or could write so much, on the subject of and in praise of the fairy “Ala,” as George Sala; and probably no man in the wide wide world so little appreciated her efforts.

But how has it come about that the fairy “Ala” has gained such headway in this island of ours? The answer must commence another chapter.

[Pg 73]


DINNER (continued)

“It is the cause!”

Imitation—Dear Lady Thistlebrain—Try it on the dog—Criminality of the English Caterer—The stove, the stink, the steamer—Roasting v. Baking—False Economy—Dirty ovens—Frills and fingers—Time over Dinner—A long-winded Bishop—Corned beef.

Now for the cause, alluded to at the end of the last chapter.

Imprimis, the French invasion is due to the universal craze for imitation, which may be the sincerest form of flattery, but which frequently leads to bad results. For years past the fair sex of Great Britain have been looking to Paris for fashion in dress, as well as in cookery; whilst the other sex have long held the mistaken notion that “they manage things better in France.” The idea that France is the only country capable of clothing the outer and the inner man, artistically, has taken deep root. Thus, if the Duchess of Dulverton import, regardless of expense, a divine creation in bonnets from the[Pg 74] Rue de Castiglione, and air the same in church, it is good odds that little Mrs. Stokes, of the Talbot Road, Bayswater, will have had the chapeau copied, at about one-twentieth of the original cost, by the next Sabbath day. Dear Lady Thistlebrain, who has such taste (since she quitted the family mangle in Little Toke Street, Lambeth, for two mansions, a castle, and a deer park), and with whom money is no object, pays her chef the wages of an ambassador, and everybody raves over her dinners. Mrs. Potter of Maida Vale sets her “gal” (who studied higher gastronomy, together with the piano, and flower-painting on satin, at the Board School) to work on similar menus—with, on the whole, disastrous results. The London society and fashion journals encourage this snobbish idea by quoting menus, most of them ridiculous. Amongst the middle classes the custom of giving dinner parties at hotels has for some time past been spreading, partly to save trouble, and partly to save the brain of the domestic cook; so that instead of sitting down to a plain dinner, with, maybe, an entrée or two sent in by the local confectioner—around the family mahogany tree, all may be fanciful decoration, and not half enough to eat, electric light, and à la with attendance charged in the bill.

The only way to stop this sort of thing is to bring the system into ridicule, to try it on the groundlings. A fair leader of ton, late in the sixties, appeared one morning in the haunts of fashion, her shapely shoulders covered with a cape of finest Russian sables, to the general admiration and envy of all her compeers. Thereupon, what[Pg 75] did her dearest friend and (of course) most deadly rival do? Get a similar cape, or one of finer quality? Not a bit of it. She drove off, then and there, to her furriers, and had her coachman and footman fitted with similar capes, in (of course) cheaper material; and, when next afternoon she took the air in the park, in her perfectly appointed landau, her fur-clad menials created something like a panic in the camp of her enemy, whilst fur capes for fair leaders of “ton,” were, like hashed venison at a City luncheon, very soon “hoff.”

It is extremely probable that, could it be arranged to feed our starving poor, beneath the public gaze, on sôles Normandes, côtelettes à la Reform, and salmi de gibier truffé; to feast our workhouse children on bisque d’écrévisses and Ananas à la Créole, the upper classes of Great Britain would soon revert to plain roast and boiled.

But after all it is the English caterer who is chiefly to blame for his own undoing. How is it that in what may be called the “food streets” of the metropolis the foreign food-supplier should outnumber the purveyor of the Roast Beef of Old England in the proportion of fifty to one? Simply because the Roast Beef of Old England has become almost as extinct as the Dodo. There are but few English kitchens, at this end of the nineteenth century, in the which meat is roasted in front of the fire.

In order to save the cost of fuel, most English (save the mark!) cooking is now performed by gas or steam; and at many large establishments the food, whether fish, flesh, fowl, vegetables or[Pg 76] pastry, all goes, in a raw state, into a species of chest of drawers made of block-tin, in which receptacle the daily luncheons, dinners, and suppers are steamed and robbed of all flavour, save that of hot tin. The pity of it! Better, far better for mankind the à la system than to be gradually “steamed” into the tomb!

It is alleged that as good results in the way of roasting can be got from an oven as from the spit. But that oven must be ventilated—with both an inlet and an outlet ventilator, for one will not act without the other. It is also advisable that said oven should be cleaned out occasionally; for a hot oven with no joint therein will emit odours anything but agreeable, if not attended to; and it is not too sweeping a statement to say that the majority of ovens in busy kitchens are foul. The system of steaming food (the alleged “roasts” being subsequently browned in an oven) is of comparatively recent date; but the oven as a roaster was the invention of one Count Rumford, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In one of his lectures on oven-roasting, this nobleman remarked that he despaired of getting any Englishman to believe his words; so that he was evidently confronted with plenty of prejudice, which it is devoutly to be prayed still exists in English homes. For I do vow and protest that the oven odours which pervade the neighbourhood of the Strand, London, at midday, are by no means calculated to whet the appetite of the would-be luncher or diner. This is what such an authority as Mr. Buckmaster wrote on the subject of the spit versus the oven:

[Pg 77]

“I believe I am regarded as a sort of heretic on the question of roasting meat. My opinion is that the essential condition of good roasting is constant basting, and this the meat is not likely to have when shut up in an iron box; and what is not easily done is easily neglected.”

In this connection there are more heretics than Mr. Buckmaster. But if during my lifetime the days of burning heretics should be revived, I shall certainly move the Court of Criminal Appeal in favour of being roasted or grilled before, or over, the fire, instead of being deprived of my natural juices in an iron box.

Some few “roast” houses are still in existence in London, but they be few and far between; and since Mr. Cooper gave up the “Albion,” nearly opposite the stage-door of Drury Lane Theatre, the lover of good, wholesome, English food has lost one old-fashioned tavern in the which he was certain of enjoying such food.

It has been repeatedly urged in favour of French cookery that it is so economical. But economy in the preparation of food is by no means an unmixed blessing. I do not believe that much sole-leather is used up in the ordinary ragoût, or salmi; but many of us who can afford more expensive joints have a prejudice against “scrags”; whilst the tails of mutton chops frequently have a tainted flavour, and the drumsticks and backs of fowls are only fit to grill, or boil down into gravy. And it is not only the alien who is economical in his preparation of the banquet. Many of the dwellers in the highways and bye-ways of our great metropolis will boil[Pg 78] down the outer skin of a ham, and place a portion thereof, together with such scraps as may also be purchased, at a penny or twopence the plateful, at the ham and beef emporium, with maybe a “block ornament” or two from the butcher’s, in a pie dish, with a superstructure of potatoes, and have the “scrap pie” cooked at the baker’s for the Sunday dinner. Poor wretches! Not much “waste” goes on in such households. But I have known the “gal” who tortured the food in a cheap lodging-house throw away the water in which a joint had just been boiled, but whether this was from sheer ignorance, or “cussedness,” or the desire to save herself any future labour in the concoction of soup, deponent sayeth not. By the way, it is in the matter of soup that the tastes of the British and French peasantry differ so materially. Unless he or she be absolutely starving, it is next to impossible to get one of the groundlings of old England to attempt a basin of soup. And when they do attempt the same, it has been already made for them. The Scotch, who are born cooks, know much better than this; but do not, O reader, if at all thin of skin, or refined of ear, listen too attentively to the thanks which a denizen of the “disthressful counthry” will bestow upon you for a “dhirty bowl o’ bone-juice.”

How many modern diners, we wonder, know the original object of placing frills around the shank of a leg or shoulder of mutton, a ham, the shins of a fowl, or the bone of a cutlet? Fingers were made before—and a long time before—forks. In the seventeenth century—prior[Pg 79] to which epoch not much nicety was observed in carving, or eating—we read that “English gentlewomen were instructed by schoolmistresses and professors of etiquette as to the ways in which it behoved them to carve joints. That she might be able to grasp a roasted chicken without greasing her left hand, the gentle housewife was careful to trim its foot and the lower part of its legs with cut paper. The paper frill which may still be seen round the bony point and small end of a leg of mutton, is a memorial of the fashion in which joints were dressed for the dainty hands of lady-carvers, in time prior to the introduction of the carving-fork, an implement that was not in universal use so late as the Commonwealth.”

How long we should sit over the dinner-table is a matter of controversy. At the commencement of the nineteenth century, in the hard-drinking times, our forefathers were loth indeed to quit the table. But the fairer portion of the guests were accustomed to adjourn early, for tea and scandal in the withdrawing-room, the while their lords sat and quarrelled over their port, with locked doors; and where they fell there they frequently passed the night. The editor of the Almanach des Gourmands wrote: “Five hours at table are a reasonable latitude to allow in the case of a large party and recondite cheer.” But the worthy Grimod de la Reymière, the editor aforesaid, lived at a period when dinner was not served as late as 8.30 P.M. There is a legend of an Archbishop of York “who sat three entire years at dinner.” But this is one of those tales which[Pg 80] specially suited the dull, brandy-sodden brains of our ancestors. The facts are simply as follows:—the archbishop had just sat down to dinner at noon when an Italian priest called. Hearing that the dignitary was sitting at meat the priest whiled away an hour in looking at the minster, and called again, but was again “repelled by the porter.” Twice more that afternoon did the surly porter repel the Italian, and at the fourth visit “the porter, in a heate, answered never a worde, and churlishlie did shutte the gates upon him.” Then the discomfited Italian returned to Rome; and three years later, encountering an Englishman in the Eternal City, who declared himself right well known to His Grace of York, the Italian, all smiles, inquired: “I pray you, good sir, hath that archbishop finished dinner yet?” Hence the story, which was doubtless originally told by a fly-fisher.

It is not a little singular that with increasing civilisation, a gong, which is of barbaric, or semi-barbaric origin, should be the means usually employed to summon us to the dinner-table. In days of yore the horn, or cornet, was blown as the signal. Alexander Dumas tells us that “at the period when noon was the dinner hour, the horn or cornet (le cor) was used in great houses to announce dinner. Hence came an expression which has been lost; they used to say cornet (or trumpet) the dinner (cornez le diner).” And we are asked to believe that to this practice “corned” beef owes its derivation. “In days when inferior people ate little meat in the winter months save salted beef, the more usual form of the order was[Pg 81] cornez le bœuf, or ‘corn the beef.’ Richardson errs egregiously when he insists that corned beef derived its distinguishing epithet from the grains or corns of salt with which it was pickled. Corned beef is trumpeted beef, or as we should nowadays say, dinner-bell beef.”

Well—“I hae ma doots,” as the Scotsman said. I am not so sure that Richardson erred egregiously. But after all, as long as the beef be good, and can be carved without the aid of pick and spade, what does it matter? Let us to dinner!

[Pg 82]


DINNER (continued)

“The strong table groans
Beneath the smoking sirloin stretched immense.”

A merry Christmas—Bin F—A Noel banquet—Water-cress—How Royalty fares—The Tsar—BouillabaisseTournedosBisqueVol-au-ventPrè salé—Chinese banquets—A fixed bayonet—Bernardin salmi—The duck-squeezer—American cookery—“Borston” beans—He couldn’t eat beef.

A Christmas dinner in the early Victorian era! Quelle fête magnifique! The man who did not keep Christmas in a fitting manner in those days was not thought much of. “Dines by himself at the club on Christmas day!” was the way the late Mr. George Payne of sporting memory, summed up a certain middle-aged recluse, with heaps of money, who, although he had two estates in the country, preferred to live in two small rooms in St. James’s Place, S.W., and to take his meals at “Arthur’s.”

And how we boys (not to mention the little lasses in white frocks and black mittens) used to overeat ourselves, on such occasions, with no fear[Pg 83] of pill, draught, or “staying in,” before our eyes!

The writer has in his mind’s eye a good specimen of such an old-fashioned dinner, as served in the fifties. It was pretty much the same feast every Christmas. We commenced with some sort of clear soup, with meat in it. Then came a codfish, crimped—the head of that household would have as soon thought of eating a sôle au vin blanc as of putting before his family an uncrimped cod—with plenty of liver, oyster sauce, and pickled walnuts; and at the other end of the table was a dish of fried smelts. Entrées? Had any of the diners asked for an entrée, his or her exit from the room would have been a somewhat rapid one. A noble sirloin of Scotch beef faced a boiled turkey anointed with celery sauce; and then appeared the blazing pudding, and the mince-pies. For the next course, a dish of toasted (or rather stewed) cheese, home-made and full of richness, was handed round, with dry toast, the bearer of which was closely pursued by a varlet carrying a huge double-handed vessel of hot spiced-ale, bobbing or floating about in the which were roasted crab-apples and sippets of toast; and it was de rigueur for each of those who sat at meat to extract a sippet, to eat with the cheese.

How the old retainer, grey and plethoric with service, loved us boys, and how he would manœuvre to obtain for us the tit-bits! A favoured servitor was “Joseph”; and though my revered progenitor was ostensibly the head of the house, he would, on occasion, “run a bad second” to[Pg 84] “Joseph.” Memory is still keen of a certain chilly evening in September, when the ladies had retired to the drawing-room, and the male guests were invited to be seated at the small table which had been wheeled close to the replenished fire.

“Joseph,” said the dear old man, “bring us a bottle or two of the yellow seal—you know—Bin F.”

The servitor drew near to his master, and in a stage whisper exclaimed:

“You can’t afford it, sir!”

“What’s that?” roared the indignant old man.

“You can’t afford it, sir—Hawthornden’s won th’ Leger!”

“Good Gad!” A pause—and then, “Well, never mind, Joseph, we’ll have up the yellow seal, all the same.”

One of the writer’s last Christmas dinners was partaken of in a sweet little house in Mayfair; and affords somewhat of a contrast with the meal quoted above. We took our appetites away with a salad composed of anchovies, capers, truffles, and other things, a Russian sardine or two, and rolls and butter. Thence, we drifted into Bouillabaisse (a tasty but bile-provoking broth), toyed with some filets de sôle à la Parisienne (good but greasy), and disposed of a tournedos, with a nice fat oyster atop, apiece (et parlez-moi d’ça!). Then came some dickey-birds sur canapé—alleged to be snipe, but destitute of flavour, save that of the tin they had been spoiled in, and of the “canopy.” An alien cook[Pg 85] can not cook game, whatever choice confections he may turn out—at least that is the experience of the writer. We had cressons, of course, with the birds; though how water-cress can possibly assimilate with the flesh of a snipe is questionable. “Water-creases” are all very well at tea in the arbour, but don’t go smoothly with any sort of fowl; and to put such rank stuff into a salad—as my hostess’s cook did—is absolutely criminal.

To continue the Mayfair banquet, the salad was followed by a soufflée à la Noel (which reminded some of the more imaginative of our party of the festive season), some cheese straws, and the customary ices, coffee, and liqueurs. On the whole, not a bad meal; but what would old Father Christmas have said thereto? What would my revered progenitor have remarked, had he been allowed to revisit the glimpses of the moon? He did not love our lively neighbours; and, upon the only occasion on which he was inveigled across the Channel, took especial care to recross it the very next day, lest, through circumstances not under his own control, he might come to be “buried amongst these d——d French!”

The following menu may give some idea as to how


entertains its guests. Said menu, as will be seen, is comparatively simple, and many of the dishes are French only in name:—

[Pg 86]

Consommé aux œufs pochés
Bisque d’écrevisses
Turbot, sauce d’homard
Fillets de saumon à l’Indienne
Vol-au-vent Financière
Mauviettes sur le Nid
Selle de mouton de Galles rotie
Poulardes à l’Estragon
Bécassines sur croûte
Chouxfleur au gratin
Plum Pudding
Bavarois aux abricots
Glace à la Mocha

Truly a pattern dinner, this; and ’twould be sheer impertinence to comment thereon, beyond remarking that English dishes should, in common fairness, be called by English names.

Her Imperial Majesty the Tsaritza, on the night of her arrival at Darmstadt, in October 1896, sat down, together with her august husband, to the following simple meal:—

[Pg 87]

Consommé de Volaille Cronstades d’écrevisses
Filet de Turbot à la Joinville
Cimier de Chevreuil
[A haunch of Roebuck is far to be desired above
the same quarter of the red deer].
Terrine de Perdreaux
Ponche Royale
Poularde de Metz
Choux de Bruxelles
Bavarois aux Abricots
Glaces Panachées

The partiality of crowned heads towards “Bavarois aux Abricots”—“Bavarois” is simply Bavarian cheese, a superior sort of blanc mange—is proverbial. And the above repast was served on priceless Meissen china and silver. The only remarks I will make upon the above menu are that it is quite possible that the capon may have come from Metz, though not very probable. French cooks name their meat and poultry in the most reckless fashion. For instance, owing to this reckless nomenclature the belief has grown that the best ducks come from Rouen. Nothing of the sort. There are just as good ducks raised at West Hartlepool as at Rouen. “Rouen” in the bill-of-fare is simply a corruption[Pg 88] of “roan”; and a “roan duck” is a quacker who has assumed (through crossing) the reddish plumage of the wild bird. As for (alleged) Surrey fowls, most of them come from Heathfield in Sussex, whence £142,000 worth were sent in 1896.

Let us enquire into the composition of some of the high-sounding plats, served up by the average chef.

Bouillabaisse.—Of it Thackeray sang—

“This Bouillabaisse a noble dish is—
A sort of soup, or broth, or brew,
Or hotch-potch of all sorts of fishes
That Greenwich never could outdo:
Green herbs, red peppers, mussels, saffron,
Soles, onions, garlic, roach, and dace;
All these you eat at Terré’s tavern,
In that one dish of Bouillabaisse.”

Avoid eels and herrings in this concoction as too oily. Soles, mullet, John Dory, whiting, flounders, perch, roach, and mussels will blend well, and allow half a pound of fish for each person. For every pound of fish put in the stewpan a pint of water, a quarter of a pint of white wine, and a tablespoonful of salad oil. If there be four partakers, add two sliced onions, two cloves, two bay-leaves, two leeks (the white part only, chopped), four cloves of garlic, a tablespoonful chopped parsley, a good squeeze of lemon juice, half an ounce of chopped capsicums, a teaspoonful (or more ad lib.) of saffron, with pepper and salt. Mix the chopped fish in all this, and boil for half an hour. Let the[Pg 89] mixture “gallop” and strain into a tureen with sippets, and the fish served separately.

Tournedos.—No relation to tornado, and you won’t find the word in any Gallic dictionary. A tournedos is a thin collop of beef, steeped in a marinade for twenty-four hours (personally I prefer it without the aid of the marine) and fried lightly. Turn it but once. The oyster atop is simply scalded. Try this dish.

Bisque.—In the seventeenth century this was made from pigeons by the poor barbarians who knew not the gentle lobster, nor the confiding crayfish. Heat up to boiling-point a Mirepoix of white wine. You don’t know what a


is? Simply a faggot of vegetables, named after a notorious cuckold of noble birth in the time of Louis XV. Two carrots, two onions, two shalots, two bay-leaves, a sprig of thyme and a clove of garlic. Mince very small, with half a pound of fat bacon, half a pound of raw ham, pepper and salt, and a little butter. Add a sufficiency of white wine. In this mixture cook two dozen crayfish for twenty minutes, continually tossing them about till red, when take them out to cool. Shell them, all but the claws, which should be pounded in a mortar and mixed with butter. The flesh of the tails is reserved to be put in the soup at the last minute; the body-flesh goes back into the mirepoix, to which two quarts of broth are now added. Add the pounded shells to the soup, simmer for an hour and a half, strain, heat up, add a piece of[Pg 90] butter, the tails, a seasoning of cayenne, and a few quenelles of whiting.

Vol-au-vent Financière.—This always reminds me of the fearful threat hurled by the waiter in the “Bab Ballads” at his flighty sweetheart:

“Flirtez toujours, ma belle, si tu oses,
Je me vengerai ainsi, ma chère:
Je lui dirai d’quoi on compose
Vol-au-vent à la Financière!”

Make your crust—light as air, and flaky as snow, an you value your situation—and fill with button mushrooms, truffles, cock’s-combs, quenelles of chicken, and sweetbread, all chopped, seasoned, and moistened with a butter sauce. Brown gravy is objectionable. Garnish the Vol with fried parsley, which goes well with most luxuries of this sort.

There are some words which occur frequently in French cookery which, to the ordinary perfidious Briton, are cruelly misleading. For years I was under the impression that Brillat Savarin was a species of filleted fish (brill) in a rich gravy, instead of a French magistrate, who treated gastronomy poetically, and always ate his food too fast. And only within the last decade have I discovered what a

Pré Salé

really means. Literally, it is “salt meadow, or marsh.” It is said that sheep fed on a salt marsh make excellent mutton; but is it not about time for Britannia, the alleged pride of the ocean, and ruler of its billows, to put her foot down and protest against a leg of “prime Down”—but[Pg 91] recently landed from the Antipodes—being described on the card as a Gigot de pré salé?

The meals, like the ways, of the “Heathen Chinee” are peculiar. Some of his food, to quote poor Corney Grain, is “absolutely beastly.”

Li Hung Chang

was welcomed to Carlton House Terrace, London, with a dinner, in twelve courses, the following being the principal items:—Roast duck, roast pork and raspberry jam, followed by dressed cucumber. Shrimps were devoured, armour and all, with leeks, gherkins, and mushrooms. A couple of young chickens preserved in wine and vinegar, with green peas, a purée of pigeon’s legs followed by an assortment of sour jellies. The banquet concluded with sponge cakes and tea.

In his own land the

Chinaman’s Evening Repast

is much more variegated than the above. It is almost as long as a Chinese drama, and includes melon seeds, bitter almonds, bamboo sprouts, jelly-fish, cucumber, roast duck, chicken stewed in spirit dregs,[4] peas, prawns, sausages, scallions, fish-brawn, pork chops, plum blossoms, oranges, bird’s-nest soup, pigeons’ eggs in bean curd—the eggs being “postponed” ones—fungus, shrimps, macerated fish-fins, ham in flour, ham in honey, turnip cakes, roast sucking-pig, fish maws, roast[Pg 92] mutton, wild ducks’ feet, water chestnuts, egg rolls, lily seeds, stewed mushrooms, dressed crab with jam, chrysanthemum pasties, bêche-de-mer, and pigs’ feet in honey. Can it be wondered at that this nation should have been brought to its knees by gallant little Japan?

The Englishman in China

has not a particularly good time of it, in the gastronomic way, and H.M. forces in Hong Kong are largely dependent on Shanghai for supplies. There is “plenty pig” all over the land; but the dairy-fed pork of old England is preferable. And the way “this little pig goes to market” savours so strongly of the most refined cruelty that a branch of the R.S.P.C.A. would have the busiest of times of it over yonder.

Reverting to French cookery, here is an appetising dish, called a

Bernardin Salmi.

It should be prepared in the dining-room, before the eyes of the guests; and Grimod de la Reyniere (to whom the recipe was given by the prior of an abbey of Bernardin monks) recommends that the salmi should be conveyed to the mouth with a fork, for fear of devouring one’s fingers, should they touch the sauce.

Take three woodcocks, underdone, and cut them into neat portions. On a silver dish bruise the livers and trails, squeeze over them the juice of four (?) lemons, and grate over them a little of the thin rind. Add the portions of woodcock, seasoned with salt, and—according to the prior—mixed spices[Pg 93] and two teaspoonfuls of French mustard; but the writer would substitute cayenne seul; over all half a wine-glass of sherry; and then put the dish over a spirit lamp. When the mixture is nearly boiling, add a tablespoonful of salad oil, blow out the light, and stir well. Four lemons are mentioned in this recipe, as at the time it was written lemons were very small when “cocks” were “in.” Two imported lemons (or limes) will amply suffice nowadays.

A Salmi of Wild Duck

can be made almost in the same way, but here the aid of that modern instrument the Duck-Squeezer is necessary.

Cut the best of the meat in slices, off a lightly-roasted wild-duck, after brought to table; break up the carcase and place in a species of mill (silver) called a “duck-squeezer,” which possesses a spout through which the richness of the animal escapes, after being squeezed. Make a gravy of this liquor, in a silver dish (with a spirit lamp beneath), added to a small pat of butter, the juice of a lemon, a tablespoonful of Worcester sauce, with cayenne and salt to taste, and half a wine-glassful of port wine. Warm the meat through in this gravy, which must not boil.

Of course these two last-named dishes are only intended for bachelor-parties. Lovely woman must not be kept waiting for “duck-squeezers” or anything else.

The Jesuits

introduced the turkey into Europe, of which feat the Jesuits need not boast too much; for to[Pg 94] some minds there be many better edible birds; and the “gobbler” requires, when roasted or boiled, plenty of seasoning to make him palatable. The French stuff him in his roasted state, with truffles, fat force-meat, or chestnuts, and invariably “bard” the bird—“bard” is old English as well as old French—with fat bacon. The French turkey is also frequently brazed, with an abundant mirepoix made with what their cooks call “Madére,” but which is really Marsala. It is only we English who boil the “gobbler,” and stuff him (or her, for it is the hen who usually goes into the pot) with oysters, or force-meat, with celery sauce. Probably the best parts of the turkey are his legs, when grilled for breakfast, and smothered with the sauce mentioned in one of the chapters on “Breakfast”; and

Pulled Turkey

makes an agreeable luncheon-dish, or entrée at dinner, the breast-meat being pulled off the bone with a fork, and fricasseed, surrounded in the dish by the grilled thighs and pinions.

Who introduced the turkey into America deponent sayeth not. Probably, like Topsy, it “growed” there. Anyhow the bird is so familiar a table-companion in the States, that Americans, when on tour in Europe, fight very shy of him. “Tukkey, sah, cranberry sarce,” used to be the stereotyped reply of the black waiter when interrogated on the subject of the bill of fare.

Coloured Help

is, however, gradually being ousted (together[Pg 95] with sulphur matches) from the big hotels in New York, where white waiting and white food are coming into, or have come into, regular use. In fact, with the occasional addition of one or other of such special dishes as terrapin, soft-shell crab, clam chowder, and the everlasting pork and beans, a dinner in New York differs very little at the time of writing (1897) from one in London. The taste for

Clam Chowder

is an acquired one, nor will stewed tortoise ever rank with thick turtle in British estimation, although ’tis not the same tortoise which is used in London households to break the coals with. A

Canvass-back Duck,

if eaten in the land of his birth, is decidedly the most delicately-flavoured of all the “Quack” family. His favourite food is said to be wild celery, and his favoured haunts the neighbourhood of Chesapeake Bay, from whose waters comes the much prized “diamond-back” terrapin, which is sold at the rate of 50$ or 60$ the dozen. The canvass-back duck, however, suffers in transportation; in fact, the tendency of the ice-house aboard ship is to rob all food of its flavour.

But however good be the living in

New York City

—where the hotels are the best in the world, and whose Mr. Delmonico can give points to all sorts and conditions of food caterers—it is “a bit rough” in the provinces. There is a story[Pg 96] told of a young actor, on tour, who “struck” a small town out West, and put up at a small inn. In the course of time dinner was served, and the landlord waited at table. The principal cover was removed, disclosing a fine joint of coarsish, indifferently-cooked beef. Our young actor was strangely moved at the sight.

“What?” he cried. “Beef again? This is horrible! I’ve seen no other food for months, and I’m sick and tired of it. I can’t eat beef.”

Whereupon his host whipped out a huge “six-shooter” revolver, and covering the recalcitrant beef-eater, coolly remarked:

“Guess you kin!”

But I don’t believe that story, any more than I believe the anecdote of the cowboys and the daylight let through the visitor who couldn’t eat beans.

[Pg 97]


DINNER (continued)

“The combat deepens. On ye brave,
The cordon bleu, and then the grave!
Wave, landlord! all thy menus wave,
And charge with all thy devilry!”

French soup—A regimental dinner—A city banquet—Baksheesh—Aboard ship—An ideal dinner—Cod’s liver—Sleeping in the kitchen—A fricandeau—Regimental messes—Peter the Great—Napoleon the Great—Victoria—The Iron Duke—Mushrooms—A medical opinion—A North Pole banquet—Dogs as food—Plain unvarnished fare—The Kent Road cookery—More beans than bacon.

“What’s in a name?” inquired the love-sick Juliet. “What?” echoes the bad fairy “Ala.” After all the fuss made by the French over their soups, we might expect more variety than is given us. If it be true that we English have only one sauce, it is equally true that our lively neighbours have only one soup—and that one is a broth. It is known to the frequenters of restaurants under at least eleven different names Brunoise, Jardinière, Printanier, Chiffonade, Macédoine,[Pg 98] Julienne, Faubonne, Paysanne, Flamande, Mitonnage, Croûte au Pot, and, as Sam Weller would say, “It’s the flavouring as does it.” It is simply bouillon, plain broth, and weak at that. The addition of a cabbage, or a leek, or a common or beggar’s crust, will change a potage à la Jardinière into a Croûte au Pot, and vice versa. Great is “Ala”; and five hundred per cent is her profit!

The amount of money lavished by diners-about upon the productions of the alien chef would be ludicrous to consider, were not the extravagance absolutely criminal. The writer has partaken of about the most expensive dinner—English for the most part, with French names to the dishes—that could be put on the table, the charge being (including wines) one guinea per mouth. Another banquet, given by a gay youth who had acquired a large sum through ruining somebody else on the Stock Exchange—the meal positively reeking of Ala—was charged for by the hotel manager at the rate of sixteen pounds per head, also including wines. I was told afterwards, though I am still sceptical as to the veracity of the statement, that the flowers on the table at that banquet cost alone more than £75. And only on the previous Sunday, our host’s father—a just nobleman and a God-fearing—had delivered a lecture, at a popular institution, on “Thrift.”

Here follows the menu of the above-mentioned guinea meal,

[Pg 99]

A Regimental Dinner,

held at a well-known city house.

Vins.                    Hors d’Œuvres.
      Crevettes. Thon Mariné. Beurre.
Madère.  Tortue Claire et Liée.
            Gras de Tortue Vert.
            Relevés de Tortue.
Ponche Glacé.  Ailerons aux fines Herbes.
          Côtelettes à la Périgueux.
              Souché de Saumon.
Schloss Johannisberg.  Turbot au Vin Blanc.
          Blanchaille Nature et Kari.
Amontillado.  Suprême de Ris de Veau à la Princesse.
              Aspic de Homard.
Champagne.  Relevés.
       Piper Heidsieck, 1884.                 Venaison, Sauce Groseille.
Boll et Cie., 1884.              York Ham au Champagne.
Burgundy.  Poulardes à l’Estragon.
Romanée, 1855.                          ——
          Asperges. Haricots Verts.
              Pommes Rissoliées.
Port, 1851.  Canetons de Rouen.
Claret.  Ananas à la Créole. Patisserie Parisienne.
Château Léoville.                  Gelées Panachées.
Liqueurs.  Soufflés aux Fraises.
                Dessert, etc.

And some of the younger officers complained bitterly at having to pay £1:1s. for the privilege of “larking” over such a course!

[Pg 100]

There are only three faults I can find in the above programme: (1) Confusion to the man who expects the British Army to swallow green fat in French. (2) Whitebait is far too delicately flavoured a fowl to curry. (3) Too much eating and drinking.

City Dinners

are for the most part an infliction (or affliction) on the diner. With more than fourscore sitting at meat, the miracle of the loaves and fishes is repeated—with, frequently, the fish left out.

“I give you my word, dear old chappie,” once exclaimed a gilded youth who had been assisting at one of these functions, to the writer, “all I could get hold of, during the struggle, was an orange and a cold plate!”

The great and powerful system of


of course, enters largely into these public entertainments; and the man who omits to fee the waiter in advance, as a rule, “gets left.” Bookmakers and others who go racing are the greatest sinners in this respect. A well-known magnate of the betting-ring (1896) invariably, after arriving at an hotel, hunts up the chef, and sheds upon him a “fiver,” or a “tenner,” according to the size of the house, and the repute of its cookery. And that metallician and his party are not likely to starve during their stay, whatever may be the fate of those who omit to “remember” the Commissariat Department. I have seen the same bookmaker carry, with his own hands, the remains of a great dish of “Hot-pot”[Pg 101] into the dining-room of his neighbours, who had been ringing for a waiter, and clamouring for food for the best part of an hour, without effect.

The same system prevails aboard ship; and the passenger who has not propitiated the head steward at the commencement of the voyage will not fare sumptuously. The steamship companies may deny this statement; but ’tis true nevertheless.

Dinner Afloat.

Here is an average dinner-card during a life on the ocean wave:

Julienne soup, boiled salmon with shrimp sauce, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, jugged hare, French beans à la Maître d’Hôtel, chicken curry, roast turkey with purée of chestnuts, fanchouettes (what are they?), sausage rolls, greengage tarts, plum-puddings, lemon-jellies, biscuits and cheese, fruit, coffee.

Plenty of variety here, though some epicures might resent the presence of a sausage-roll (the common or railway-station bag of mystery) on the dinner table. But since the carriage of live stock aboard passenger ships has been abandoned, the living is not nearly as good; for, as before observed, the tendency of the ice-house is to make all flesh taste alike. Civilisation has, doubtless, done wonders for us; but most people prefer mutton to have a flavour distinct from that of beef.


Ideal Dinner

was partaken of in a little old-fashioned hostelry[Pg 102] (at the west end of London), whose name the concentrated efforts of all the wild horses in the world would not extract. Familiarity breeds contempt, and publicity oft kills that which is brought to light. Our host was a wine-merchant in a large way of business.

“I can only promise you plain food, good sirs,” he mentioned, in advance—“no foreign kick-shaws; but everything done to a turn.”

Six of us started with clear turtle, followed by a thick wedge out of the middle of a patriarchal codfish, with plenty of liver. And here a pause must be made. In not one cookery-book known to mankind can be found a recipe for cooking the

Liver of a Cod.

Of course it should not be cooked with the fish, but in a separate vessel. The writer once went the rounds of the kitchens to obtain information on this point.

“’Bout half-an-hour,” said one cook, a “hard-bitten” looking food-spoiler.

Ma foi! I cook not at all the liver of the cod,” said an unshorn son of Normandy. “He is for the malade only.”

After asking a number of questions, and a journey literally “round the town,” the deduction made from the various answers was that a piece of liver enough for six people would take eighteen minutes, after being placed in boiling water.

To continue with our dinner. No sauce with the oysters, but these simply scalded in their own liquor. Then came on a monster steak, an inch thick, cut from the rump immediately[Pg 103] before being placed on the gridiron. And here a word on the grilling of a steak. We English place it nearer the fire than do our lively neighbours, whose grills do not, in consequence, present that firm surface which is the charm of an English steak. The late Mr. Godfrey Turner of the Daily Telegraph (who was almost as great an authority as Mr. Sala on gastronomies) once observed to the writer, “Never turn your steak, or chop, more than once.” Though by no means a disciple of Ala, he was evidently a believer in the French method of grilling, which leaves a sodden, flabby surface on the meat. The French cook only turns a steak once; but if he had his gridiron as close to the fire as his English rival, the chef would inevitably cremate his morçeau d’bœuf. I take it that in grilling, as in roasting, the meat should, in the first instance, almost touch the glowing embers.

We had nothing but horse-radish with our steak, which was succeeded by golden plovers (about the best bird that flies) and marrow bones. And a dig into a ripe Stilton concluded a banquet which we would not have exchanged for the best efforts of Francatelli himself.

Yes—despite the efforts of the bad fairy Ala, the English method of cooking good food—if deftly and properly employed—is a long way the better method. Unfortunately, through the fault of the English themselves, this method is but seldom employed deftly or properly. And at a cheap English eating-house the kitchen is usually as dirty and malodorous as at an inexpensive[Pg 104] foreign restaurant. As both invariably serve as sleeping apartments during the silent watches of the night, this is, perhaps, not altogether to be wondered at.

But there is one plât in the French cookery book which is not to be sneered at, or even condemned with faint praise. A properly-dressed fricandeau is a dainty morsel indeed. In fact the word fricand means, in English, “dainty.” Here is the recipe of the celebrated Gouffé for the Fricandeau:

Three pounds of veal fillet, trimmed, and larded with fat bacon. Put in the glazing stewpan the trimmings, two ounces of sliced carrot, two ditto onion, with pepper and salt. Lay the fricandeau on the top; add half a pint of broth; boil the broth till it is reduced and becomes thick and yellow; add a pint and a half more broth, and simmer for an hour and a quarter—the stewpan half covered. Then close the stewpan and put live coals on the top. Baste the fricandeau with the gravy—presumably after the removal of the dead coals—every four minutes till it is sufficiently glazed; then take it out and place on a dish. Strain the gravy, skim off the fat, and pour over the meat. It may be added that a spirit lamp beneath the dish is (or should be) de rigueur.

In their clubs, those (alleged) “gilded saloons of profligacy and debauchery, favoured of the aristocracy,” men, as a rule dine wisely, and well, and, moreover, cheaply. The extravagant diner-out, with his crude views on the eternal fitness of things, selects an hotel, or restaurant, in the which, although the food may be of the worst[Pg 105] quality, and the cookery of the greasiest, the charges are certain to be on the millionaire scale. For bad dinners, like bad lodgings, are invariably the dearest.

At the Mess-Table

of the British officer there is not much riot or extravagance nowadays, and the food is but indifferently well cooked; though there was a time when the youngest cornet would turn up his nose at anything commoner than a “special cuvée” of champagne, and would unite with his fellows in the “bear-fight” which invariably concluded a “guest night,” and during which the messman, or one of his myrmidons, was occasionally placed atop of the ante-room fire. And there was one messman who even preferred that mode of treatment to being lectured by his colonel. Said officer was starchy, punctilious, and long-winded, and upon one occasion, when the chaplain to the garrison was his guest at dinner, addressed the terrified servant somewhat after this wise:

“Mr. Messman—I have this evening bidden to our feast this eminent divine, who prayeth daily that we may receive the fruits of the earth in due season; to which I, an humble layman, am in the habit of responding: ‘We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.’ Mr. Messman, don’t let me see those d——d figs on the table again.”

At a military guest-night in India, a turkey and a “Europe” ham are—or were—de rigueur at table; and on the whole the warrior fares well, if the khansamah do not attempt luxuries.[Pg 106] His chicken cutlets are not despicable, and we can even forgive the repetition of the vilolif but his bifisteakishtoo (stewed steak) is usually too highly-spiced for the European palate. Later in the evening, however, he will come out strong with duvlebone, and grilled sardines in curlpapers. The presence of the bagpipes, in the mess-room of a Highland regiment, when men have well drunk, is cruelly unkind—to the Saxon guest at all events. The bagpipe is doubtless a melodious instrument (to trained ears), but its melodies are apt to “hum i’ th’ head o’er muckle ye ken,” after a course of haggis washed down with sparkling wines and old port.

“Tell me what a man eats,” said Brillat Savarin, “and I’ll tell you what he is.”

Peter the Great

did not like the presence of “listening lacqueys” in the dining-room. Peter’s favourite dinner was, like himself, peculiar: “A soup, with four cabbages in it; gruel; pig, with sour cream for sauce; cold roast meat with pickled cucumbers or salad; lemons and lamprey, salt meat, ham, and Limburg cheese.”

“Lemons and lamprey” must have had a roughish seat, atop of pig and sour cream. I once tasted lampreys—only once. It was in Worcestershire, and said lampreys were stewed (I fancy) in burgundy, and served in a small tureen—en casserole, our lively neighbours would have called the production, which was grateful, but much embarrassed with richness.

[Pg 107]

Napoleon the Great,

whose tastes were simple, is said to have preferred a broiled breast of mutton to any other dinner-dish. Napoleon III., however, encouraged extravagance of living; and Zola tells us in Le Débâcle that the unfortunate emperor, ill as he was, used to sit down to so many courses of rich foods every night until “the downfall” arrived at Sédan, and that a train of cooks and scullions with (literally) a “batteriede cuisine, was attached to his staff.

Her Majesty

Queen Victoria’s dinner-table is invariably graced with a cold sirloin of beef, amongst other joints; and the same simple fare has satisfied the aspirations and gratified the palate of full many a celebrity. The great

Duke of Wellington

was partial to a well-made Irish stew; and nothing delighted Charles Dickens more than a slice out of the breast of a hot roast-goose.

A word about the mushroom. Although said to be of enormous value in sauces and ragouts, I shall always maintain that the mushroom is best when eaten all by his quaint self. His flavour is so delicate that ’tis pitiful to mix him with fish, flesh, or fowl—more especially the first-named. I have seen mushrooms and bacon cooked together, and I have seen beef-steak (cut into small pieces) and bacon cooked together, and it was with some difficulty that my Irish host got me out of the kitchen. If ever I am[Pg 108] hanged, it will be for killing a cook. Above all never eat mushrooms which you have not seen in their uncooked state. The mushroom, like the truffle, loses more flavour the longer he is kept; and to “postpone” either is fatal.

“The plainer the meal the longer the life.” Thus an eminent physician—already mentioned in these pages. “We begin with soup, and perhaps a glass of cold punch, to be followed by a piece of turbot, or a slice of salmon with lobster sauce; and while the venison or South-down is getting ready, we toy with a piece of sweetbread, and mellow it with a bumper of Madeira. No sooner is the mutton or venison disposed of, with its never-failing accompaniments of jelly and vegetables, than we set the whole of it in a ferment with champagne, and drown it with hock and sauterne. These are quickly followed by the wing and breast of a partridge, or a bit of pheasant or wild duck; and when the stomach is all on fire with excitement, we cool it for an instant with a piece of iced pudding, and then immediately lash it into a fury with undiluted alcohol in the form of cognac or a strong liqueur; after which there comes a spoonful or so of jelly as an emollient, a morsel of ripe Stilton as a digestant, a piquant salad to whet the appetite for wine, and a glass of old port to persuade the stomach, if it can, into quietness. All these are more leisurely succeeded by dessert, with its baked meats, its fruits, and its strong drinks, to be afterwards muddled with coffee, and complicated into a rare mixture with tea, floating with the richest cream.”

[Pg 109]

Hoity, toity! And not a word about a French plât, or even a curry, either! But we must remember that this diatribe comes from a gentleman who has laid down the theory that cold water is not only the cheapest of beverages, but the best. Exception, too, may be taken to the statement that a “piquant salad” whets the appetite for wine. I had always imagined that a salad—and, indeed, anything with vinegar in its composition—rather spoilt the human palate for wine than otherwise. And what sort of “baked meats” are usually served with desert?

How the Poor Live.

An esteemed friend who has seen better days, sends word how to dine a man, his wife, and three children for 7½d. He heads his letter

The Kent Road Cookery.

A stew is prepared with the following ingredients: 1 lb. bullock’s cheek (3½d.), ½ pint white beans (1d.), ½ pint lentils (1d.), pot-herbs (1d.), 2 lb. potatoes (1d.)—Total 7½d.

When he has friends, the banquet is more expensive: 1 lb. bullock’s cheek (3½d.), ½ lb. cow-heel (2½d.), ½ lb. leg of beef (3d.), 1 pint white beans (2d.), ½ pint lentils (1d.), pot-herbs (1d.), 5 lb. potatoes (2d.)—total 1s. 3d.

As we never know what may happen, the above menus may come in useful.

Doctor Nansen’s Banquet

on the ice-floe, to celebrate his failure to discover the Pole, was simple enough, at all events. But[Pg 110] it would hardly commend itself to the fin de siècle “Johnny.” There was raw gull in it, by way of a full-flavoured combination of poisson and entrée; there was meat chocolate in it, and peli—I should say, pemmican. There were pancakes, made of oatmeal and dog’s blood, fried in seal’s blubber. And I rather fancy the relevé was Chien au nature. For in his most interesting work, Across Greenland, Doctor Nansen has inserted the statement that the man who turns his nose up at raw dog for dinner is unfit for an Arctic expedition. For my own poor part, I would take my chance with a Porterhouse steak, cut from a Polar bear.

Prison Fare.

Another simple meal. Any visitor to one of H.M. penitentiaries may have noticed in the cells a statement to the effect that “beans and bacon” may be substituted for meat, for the convicts’ dinners, on certain days. “Beans and bacon” sounds rural, if not absolutely bucolic. “Fancy giving such good food to the wretches!” once exclaimed a lady visitor. But those who have sampled the said “beans and bacon” say that it is hardly to be preferred to the six ounces of Australian dingo or the coarse suet-duff (plumless) which furnish the ordinary prison dinner. For the tablespoonful of pappy beans with which the captive staves off starvation are of the genus “haricot”; and the parallelogram of salted hog’s-flesh which accompanies the beans does not exceed, in size, the ordinary railway ticket.

[Pg 111]



“Herbs and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses.”

Use and abuse of the potato—Its eccentricities—Its origin—Hawkins, not Raleigh, introduced it into England—With or without the “jacket”?—Don’t let it be à-la-ed—Benevolence and large-heartedness of the cabbage family—Peas on earth—Pythagoras on the bean—“Giving him beans”—“Haricot” a misnomer—“Borston” beans—Frijoles—The carrot—Crécy soup—The Prince of Wales—The Black Prince and the King of Bohemia.

Item, the Potato, earth-apple, murphy, or spud; the most useful, as well as the most exasperating gift of a bountiful Providence. Those inclined to obesity may skip the greater part of this chapter. You can employ a potato for almost anything. It comes in very handy for the manufacture of starch, sugar, Irish stew, Scotch whisky, and Colorado beetles. Cut it in half, and with one half you restore an old master, and with the other drive the cat from the back garden. More deadly battles have been waged over the proper way to cook a potato, than over a parish boundary, or an Irish eviction. Strong-headed men hurl the[Pg 112] spud high in air, and receive and fracture it on their frontal bones; whilst a juggler like Paul Cinquevalli can do what he likes with it. Worn inside the pocket, it is an infallible cure for chronic rheumatism, fits, and tubercular meningitis. Worn inside the body it will convert a living skeleton into a Daniel Lambert. Plant potatoes in a game district, and if they come up you will find that after the haulms have withered you can capture all your rich neighbour’s pheasants, and half the partridges in the country. A nicely-baked potato, deftly placed beneath the root of his tail, will make the worst “jibber” in the world travel; whilst, when combined with buttermilk, and a modicum of meal, the earth-apple has been known to nourish millions of the rising generation, and to give them sufficient strength and courage to owe their back rents, and accuracy of aim for exterminating the brutal owner of the soil.

The waiter, bless ye! the harmless, flat-footed waiter, doesn’t know all this. Potatoes to him are simply 2d. or 3d. in the little account, according to whether they be “biled, mash, or soty”; and if questioned as to the natural history of the floury tuber, he would probably assume an air of injured innocence, and assure you that during his reign of “thirty-five year, man and boy,” that establishment had “never ’ad no complaints.”

The potato is most eccentric in disposition, and its cultivator should know by heart the beautiful ode of Horace which commences

Aequam memento rebus in arduis . . .

[Pg 113]

The experiences of the writer as a potato grower have been somewhat mixed, and occasionally like the following:—Set your snowflakes in deeply-trenched, heavily-manured ground, a foot apart. In due time you will get a really fine crop of groundsel, charlock, and slugs, with enough bind-weed to strangle the sea-serpent. Clear all this rubbish off, and after a week or two the eye will be gladdened with the sight of the delicate green leaf of the tuber peeping through the soil. Slow music. Enter the Earl of Frost. No; they will not all be cut off. You will get one tuber. Peel it carefully, and place it in the pig-stye—the peeling spoils the quality of the pork. Throw the peeling away—on the bed in which you have sown annuals for choice—and in the late Spring you will have a row of potatoes which will do you credit.

But this is frivolous. The origin of the potato is doubtful; but that it was used by the ancients, in warfare, is tolerably certain. Long before the Spaniards reached the New World it was cultivated largely by the Incas; and it was the Spaniards who brought the tuber to Europe, in the beginning of the sixteenth century. It was brought to England from Virginia by Sir John Hawkins in 1563; and again in 1586 by Sir Francis Drake, to whom, as the introducer of the potato, a statue was erected at Offenburg, in Baden, in 1853. In schools and other haunts of ignorance, the credit for the introduction of the tuber used to be and is (I believe) still given to Sir Walter Raleigh, who has been wrongly accredited with as many “good things” as have[Pg 114] been Theodore Hook or Sidney Smith. And I may mention en parenthèse, that I don’t entirely believe that cloak story. For many years the tuber was known in England as the “Batata”—overhaul your Lorna Doone—and in France, until the close of the eighteenth century, the earth apple was looked upon with suspicion, as the cause of leprosy and assorted fevers; just as the tomato, at the close of the more civilised nineteenth century, is said by the vulgar and swine-headed to breed cancer.

Now then, With or without the jacket? And the reader who imagines that I am going to answer the question has too much imagination. As the old butler in Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone observes, there is much to be said on both sides. Personally I lean to the “no-jacket” side, unless the tuber be baked; and I would make it penal to serve a potato in any other way than boiled, steamed, or baked.[5] The bad fairy Ala should have no hand in its manipulation; and there be few æsthetic eaters who would not prefer the old-fashioned “ball of flour” to slices of the sodden article swimming in a bath of grease and parsley, and called a Sauté. The horrible concoction yclept “preserved potatoes,” which used to be served out aboard sailing vessels, after the passengers had eaten all the real articles, and which tasted like bad pease-pudding dressed with furniture polish, is, happily, deceased. And the best potatoes, the same breed which our fathers and our forefathers munched in the Covent Garden[Pg 115] “Cave of Harmony,” grow, I am credibly informed, in Jermyn Street. Moreover if you wish to spoil a dish of good spuds, there is no surer way than by leaving on the dish-cover. So much for boiling ’em—or steaming ’em.

The Cabbage is a fine, friendly fellow, who makes himself at home, and generally useful, in the garden; whilst his great heart swells, and swells, in the full knowledge that he is doing his level best to please all. Though cut down in the springtime of his youth, his benevolence is so great that he will sprout again from his headless trunk, if required, and given time for reflection. The Romans introduced him into Great Britain, but there was a sort of cow-cabbage in the island before that time which our blue forefathers used to devour with their bacon, and steaks, in a raw state.

“The most evolved and final variety of the cabbage,” writes a savant, “is the Cauliflower, in which the vegetative surplus becomes poured into the flowering head, of which the flowering is more or less checked; the inflorescence becoming a dense corymb instead of an open panicle, and the majority of the flowers aborting”—the head gardener usually tells you all this in the Scottish language—“so as to become incapable of producing seed. Let a specially vegetative cabbage repeat the excessive development of its leaf parenchyma, and we have the wrinkled and blistered Savoy, of which the hardy constitution, but comparative coarseness, become also more intelligible; again a specially vegetative cauliflower gives us an easily grown and hardy winter variety,[Pg 116] Broccoli”—Broccilo in Costerese—“from which, and not from the ordinary cauliflower, a sprouting variety arises in turn.”

In Jersey the cabbage-stalks are dried, varnished, and used as spars for thatched roofs, as also for the correction of the youthful population. Cook all varieties of the cabbage in water already at the boil, with a little salt and soda in it. The French sprinkle cheese on a cauliflower, to make it more tasty, and it then becomes

Choufleur aû Gratin.

Remove the green leaves, and underboil your cauliflower. Pour over it some butter sauce in which have been mixed two ounces of grated cheese—half Gruyère and half Parmesan. Powder with bread crumbs, or raspings, and with more grated cheese. Lastly, pour over it a teaspoonful of oiled butter. Place in a hot oven and bake till the surface is a golden brown, which should be in from ten to fifteen minutes. Serve in same dish.

Vegetarians should be particularly careful to soak every description of cabbage in salt and water before cooking. Otherwise the vegetarians will probably eat a considerable portion of animal food.

Here occurs an opportunity for the recipe for an elegant dish, which the French call Perdrix aux Choux, which is simply

Partridge Stewed with Cabbage, etc.

A brace of birds browned in the stewpan with butter or good dripping, and a portion of a hand of pickled pork in small pieces, some chopped onion[Pg 117] and a clove or two. Add some broth, two carrots (chopped), a bay-leaf, and a chopped sausage or two. Then add a Savoy cabbage, cut into quarters, and seasoned with pepper and salt. Let all simmer together for an hour and a half. Then drain the cabbage, and place it, squashed down, on a dish. Arrange the birds in the middle, surround them with the pieces of pork and sausage, and pour over all the liquor from the stew.

This is an excellent dish, and savours more of Teutonic than of French cooking. But you mustn’t tell a Frenchman this, if he be bigger than yourself.

The toothsome Pea has been cultivated in the East from time immemorial, though the ancient Greeks and Romans do not appear to have had knowledge of such a dainty. Had Vitellius known the virtues of duck and green peas he would probably have not been so wrapt up in his favourite dormice, stuffed with poppy-seed and stewed in honey. The ancient Egyptians knew all about the little pulse, and not one of the leaders of society was mummified without a pod or two being placed amongst his wrappings. And after thousand of years said peas, when sown, have been known to germinate. The mummy pea-plant, however, but seldom bears fruit. Our idiotic ancestors, the ancient Britons, knew nothing about peas, nor do any of their descendants appear to have troubled about the vegetable before the reign of the Virgin Queen. Then they were imported from Holland, together with schnapps, curaçoa, and other things, and no “swagger” banquet was held without a dish[Pg 118] of “fresh-shelled ’uns,” which were accounted “fit dainties for ladies, they came so far and cost so dear.” In England up-to-date peas are frequently accompanied by pigeon pie at table; the dove family being especially partial to the little pulse, either when attached to the haulm, in the garden, or in a dried state. So that the crafty husbandman, who possesses a shot gun, frequently gathereth both pea and pigeon. A chalky soil is especially favourable to pea cultivation; and deal sawdust sprinkled well over the rows immediately after the setting of the seed will frustrate the knavish tricks of the field mouse, who also likes peas. The man who discovered the affinity between mint and this vegetable ought to have received a gold medal, and I would gladly attend the execution of the caitiff who invented the tinned peas which we get at the foreign restaurants, at three times the price of the English article.

Here is a good simple recipe for Pea Soup, made from the dried article:

Soak a quart of split peas in rain-water for twelve hours. Put them in the pot with one carrot, one onion, one leek, a sprig or two of parsley (all chopped), one pound of streaky bacon, and three quarts of the liquor in which either beef, mutton, pork, or poultry may have been boiled. Boil for nearly three hours, remove the bacon, and strain the soup through a tammy. Heat up, and serve with dried mint, and small cubes of fat bacon fried crisp.

Green-Pea Soup is made in precisely the same way; but the peas will not need soaking[Pg 119] beforehand, and thrifty housewives put in the shells as well.

Harmless and nutritious a vegetable as the Bean would appear to be, it did not altogether find favour with the ancients. Pythagoras, who had quaint ideas on the subject of the human soul, forbade his disciples to eat beans, because they were generated in the foul ooze out of which man was created. Lucian, who had a vivid imagination, describes a philosopher in Hades who was particularly hard on the bean, to eat which he declared was as great a crime as to eat one’s father’s head. And yet Lucian was accounted a man of common sense in his time. The Romans only ate beans at funerals, being under the idea that the souls of the dead abode in the vegetable. According to tradition, the “caller herrin’” hawked in the streets of Edinburgh were once known as “lives o’ men,” from the risks run by the fishermen. And the Romans introduced the bean into England by way of cheering up our blue forefathers. In the Roman festival of Lemuralia, the father of the family was accustomed to throw black beans over his head, whilst repeating an incantation. This ceremony probably inspired Lucian’s philosopher—for whom, however, every allowance should be made, when we come to consider his place of residence—with his jaundiced views of the Faba vulgaris. Curiously enough, amongst the vulgar folk, at the present day, there would seem to be some sort of prejudice against the vegetable; or why should “I’ll give him beans” be a synonymous threat with “I’ll do him all the mischief I can?”

[Pg 120]

There is plenty of nourishment in a bean; that is the opinion of the entire medical faculty. And whilst beans and bacon make a favourite summer repast for the farm-labourer and his family, the dish is also (at the commencement of the bean season) to be met with at the tables of the wealthy. The aroma of the flower of the broad bean was once compared, in one of John Leech’s studies in Punch, to “the most delicious ’air oil,” but, apart from this fragrance, there is but little sentiment about the Faba vulgaris. A much more graceful vegetable is the Phaseolus vulgaris, the kidney, or, as the idiotic French call it, the haricot bean. It is just as sensible to call a leg of Welsh mutton a pré salé, or salt meadow. No well-behaved hashed venison introduces himself to our notice unless accompanied by a dish of kidney beans. And few people in Europe besides Frenchmen and convicts eat the dried seeds of this form of bean, which is frequently sown in suburban gardens to form a fence to keep out cats. But the suburban cat knows a trick worth a dozen of that one; and no bean that was ever born will arrest his progress, or turn him from his evil ways. It is criminal to smother the kidney bean with melted butter at table. A little oil, vinegar, and pepper agree with him much better.

In the great continent of America, the kidney-bean seed, dried, is freely partaken of. Pork and “Borston” beans, in fact, form the national dish, and right good it is. But do not attempt any violent exercise after eating the same. The Mexicans are the largest bean-eaters in the[Pg 121] world. They fry the vegetables in oil or stew them with peppers and onions, and these frijoles form the principal sustenance of the lower orders. An English “bean feast” (Vulg. beano) is a feast at which no beans, and not many other things, are eaten. The intelligent foreigner may take it that beano simply means the worship of Bacchus.

With the exception of the onion there is no more useful aid to cookery of all sorts than the lowly carrot, which was introduced into England—no, not by the Romans—from Holland, in the sixteenth century. And the ladies who attended the court of Charles I. were in the habit of wearing carrot leaves in the hair, and on their court robes, instead of feathers. A similar fashion might be revived at the present epoch, with advantage to the banking account of vile man.

As the Flemish gardeners brought over the roots, we should not despise carrots cooked in the Flemish way. Simmer some young carrots in butter, with pepper and salt. Add cream (or milk and yolk of eggs), a pinch of sugar, and a little chopped parsley.

H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, according to report, invariably eats carrot soup on the 26th of August. The French call it “Crécy” soup, because their best carrots grow there; and Crécy it may be remembered was also the scene of a great battle, when one Englishman proved better than five Frenchmen. In this battle the Black Prince performed prodigies of valour, afterwards assuming the crest of the late Bohemian King—three ostrich feathers (surely these should be carrot tops?) with the motto “Ich Dien.”

[Pg 122]

Crécy Soup.

Place a mirepoix of white wine in the pot, and put a quantity of sliced carrots atop. Moisten with broth, and keep simmering till the carrots are done. Then pour into a mortar, pound, and pass through a tammy. Thin it with more broth, sweeten in the proportion of one tablespoonful of sugar to two gallons of soup; heat up, pop a little butter in at the finish, and in serving it add either small cubes of fried bread, or rice boiled as for curry (see page 145).

[Pg 123]


VEGETABLES (continued)

“Earth’s simple fruits; we all enjoy them.
Then why with sauces rich alloy them?”

The brief lives of the best—A vegetable with a pedigree—Argenteuil—The Elysian Fields—The tomato the emblem of love—“Neeps”—Spinach—“Stomach-brush”—The savoury tear-provoker—Invaluable for wasp-stings—Celery merely cultivated “smallage”—The “Apium”—The parsnip—O Jerusalem!—The golden sunflower—How to get pheasants—A vegetarian banquet—“Swelling wisibly.”

It is one of the most exasperating laws and ordinations of Nature that the nicest things shall last the shortest time. “Whom the gods love die young,” is an ancient proverb; and the produce of the garden which is most agreeable to man invariably gives out too soon. Look at peas. Every gardener of worth puts in the seed so that you may get the different rows of marrow-fats and telephones and ne plus ultras in “succession”; and up they all come, at one and the same time, whilst, if you fail to pick them all at once, the combined efforts of mildew and the sun will soon[Pg 124] save you the labour of picking them at all. Look at strawberries; and why can’t they stay in our midst all the year round, like the various members of the cabbage family?

Then look at Asparagus. The gardener who could persuade the heads of this department to pop up in succession, from January to December would earn more money than the Prime Minister. The favourite vegetable of the ancient Romans was introduced by them, with their accustomed unselfishness, into Britain, where it has since flourished—more particularly in the alluvial soil of the Thames valley in the neighbourhood of Mortlake and Richmond, ground which is also especially favourable to the growth of celery. In an ancient work called De Re Rustica, Cato the Elder, who was born 234 B.C., has much to say—far more, indeed, than I can translate without the aid of a dictionary or “crib”—about the virtues and proper cultivation of asparagus; and Pliny, another noble Roman, devotes several chapters of his Natural History (published at the commencement of the Christian era) to the same subject. “Of all the productions of your garden” says this Mr. Pliny, “your chief care will be your asparagus.” And the cheerful and sanguine householder of to-day who sows his asparagus, and expects to get it “while he waits” has ample consolation for disappointment in the reflection that his labours will benefit posterity, if not the next tenant.

The foreigners can beat us for size, in the matter of asparagus; but ours is a long way in front for flavour. In France the vegetable is[Pg 125] very largely grown at Argenteuil on the Seine, a district which has also produced, and still produces, a wine which is almost as dangerous to man as hydrocyanic acid, and which was invariably served in the restaurants, after the sitting had been a lengthy one, no matter what special brand might have been ordered. English hosts play the same game with their “military” ports and inferior sherries. The Argenteuil asparagus is now grown between the vines—at least 1000 acres are in cultivation—hence the peculiar flavour which, however grateful it may be to Frenchmen, is somewhat sickly and not to be compared with that of the “little gentleman in Green,” nearly the whole of whom we English can consume with safety to digestion.

According to Greek mythology, asparagus grew in the Elysian fields; but whether the blessed took oil and vinegar with it, or the “bill-sticker’s paste,” so favoured in middle-class kitchens of to-day, there is no record. It goes best, however, with a plain salad dressing—a “spot” of mustard worked into a tablespoonful of oil, and a dessert-spoonful of tarragon vinegar, with pepper and salt ad lib.

Asparagus is no longer known in the British pharmacopœia, but the French make large medicinal use of its root, which is supposed to still the action of the heart, like foxglove, and to act as a preventive of calculi. In cooking the vegetable, tie in small bundles, which should be stood on end in the saucepan, so that the delicate heads should be steamed, and not touched by the boiling water. Many cooks will contest this[Pg 126] point; which, however, does not admit of argument.

There was once a discussion in a well-known hostelry, as to whether the


was a fruit or a vegetable. Eventually the head-waiter was invited to solve the great question. He did so on the spot.

“Tumarter, sir? Tumarter’s a hextra.”

And as a “hextra” it has never since that period ceased to be regarded. A native of South America, the plant was introduced into Europe by the Spaniards, late in the sixteenth century, and the English got it in 1596. Still until a quarter of a century ago the tomato has not been largely cultivated, save by the market gardener; in fact in private gardens it was conspicuous by its absence. Those who eat it do not invariably succumb to cancer; and the dyspeptic should always keep it on the premises. As the tomato is also known as the “love-apple,” a great point was missed by our old friend Sergeant Buzfuz, in the celebrated Bardell v. Pickwick trial, when referring to the postscript, “chops, and tomato sauce.” Possibly Charles Dickens was not an authority on veget—— I beg pardon, “hextras.”

Here is a French recipe for

Tomate au Gratin:

Cut open the tops and scoop out the pulp. Pass it through a sieve, to clear away the pips, and mix with it either a modicum of butter, or oil, some chopped shalot and garlic, with pepper and salt.[Pg 127] Simmer the mixture for a quarter of an hour, then stir in some bread-crumbs, previously soaked in broth, and some yolks of egg. When cold, fill the tomato skins with the mixture, shake some fine bread raspings over each, and bake in quick oven for ten or twelve minutes.



is not, as might be sometimes imagined, entirely composed of compressed deal splinters, but is a vegetable which was cultivated in India long before the Britons got it. The Scotch call turnips “neeps”; but the Scotch will do anything. Probably no member of the vegetable family is so great a favourite with the insect pests sent on earth by an all-wise Providence to prevent mankind having too much to eat. But see that you get a few turnips to cook when there is roast duck for dinner.


was introduced into Spain by the Arabs, and as neither nation possessed at that time, at all events, the attribute of extra-cleanliness, they must have eaten a great deal of “matter in the wrong place,” otherwise known as dirt. For if ever there was a vegetable the preparation of which for table would justify any cook in giving notice to leave, it is spinach.

The Germans have nick-named it “stomach-brush,” and there is no plant growing which conduces more to the health of man. But there has been more trouble over the proper way to[Pg 128] serve it at table than over Armenia. The French chop up their épinards and mix butter, or gravy, with the mess. Many English, on the other hand, prefer the leaves cooked whole. It is all a matter of taste.

But I seem to scent a soft, sweet fragrance in the air, a homely and health-giving reek, which warns me that I have too long neglected to touch upon the many virtues of the


Indigenous to India in the form of


(or gar-leek, the original onion), the Egyptians got hold of the tear-provoker and cultivated it 2000 years before the Christian era. So that few of the mortals of whom we have ever read can have been ignorant of the uses of the onion, or gar-leek. But knowledge and practice have enabled modern gardeners to produce larger bulbs than even the most imaginative of the ancients can have dreamt of. To mention all the uses to which the onion is put in the kitchen would be to write a book too weighty for any known motive power to convey to the British Museum; but it may be briefly observed of the juice of the Cepa that it is invaluable for almost any purpose, from flavouring a dish fit to set before a king, to the alleviation of the inflammation caused by the poison-bearing needle which the restless wasp keeps for use within his, or her, tail. In fact, the inhabited portion of the globe had better be without noses than without onions.

[Pg 129]

Like the tomato, Celery is a “hextra”—and a very important one. If you buy the heads at half-a-crown per hundred and sell them at threepence a portion, it will not exercise your calculating powers to discover the profits which can be made out of this simple root. Celery is simply cultivated “smallage”; a weed which has existed in Britain since the age of ice. It was the Italians who made the discovery that educated smallage would become celery; and it is worthy of note that their forefathers, the conquerors of the world, with the Greeks, seem to have known “no touch of it”—as a relish, at all events; though some writers will have it that the “Apium,” with which the victors at the Isthmian and other games were crowned was not parsley but the leaf of the celery plant. But what does it matter? Celery is invaluable as a flavourer, and when properly cultivated, and not stringy, a most delightful and satisfactory substance to bite. In fact a pretty woman never shows to more advantage than when nibbling a crisp, “short” head of celery—provided she possess pretty teeth.

With boiled turkey, or ditto pheasant, celery sauce is de rigueur; and it should be flavoured slightly with slices of onion, an ounce of butter being allowed to every head of celery. The French are fond of it stewed; and as long as the flavour of the gravy, or jus, does not disguise the flavour of the celery, it is excellent when thus treated. Its merits in a salad will be touched upon in another chapter.

The Parsnip is a native of England, where[Pg 130] it is chiefly used to make an inferior kind of spirit, or a dreadful brand of wine. Otherwise few people would trouble to cultivate the parsnip; for we can’t be having boiled pork or salt fish for dinner every day. The Vegetable Marrow is a member of the pumpkin family and is a comparatively tasteless occupant of the garden, its appearance in which heralds the departure of summer. In the suburbs, if you want to annoy the people next door, you cannot do better than put in a marrow plant or two. If they come to anything, and get plenty of water, they will crawl all over your neighbour’s premises; and unless he is fond of the breed, and cuts and cooks them, they make him mad. The frugal housewife, blessed with a large family, makes jam of the surplus marrows; but I prefer a conserve of apricot, gooseberry, or greengage. Another purpose to which to put this vegetable is—

Scoop out the seeds, after cutting it in half, lengthways. Fill the space with minced veal (cooked), small cubes of bacon, and plenty of seasoning—some people add the yoke of an egg—put on the other half marrow, and bake for half-an-hour.

This Baked Marrow is a cheap and homely dish which, like many another savoury dish, seldom finds its way to the rich man’s dining-room.

The Artichoke is a species of thistle; and the man who pays the usual high-toned restaurant prices for the pleasure of eating such insipid food, is an—never mind what. Boil the thing[Pg 131] in salt and water, and dip the ends of the leaves in oil and vinegar, or Holland sauce, before eating. Then you will enjoy the really fine flavour of the—oil and vinegar, or Holland sauce.

The so-called Jerusalem Artichoke is really a species of sunflower. Its tuber is not a universal favourite, though it possesses far from a coarse flavour. The plant has nothing whatever to do with Jerusalem, and never had. Put a tuber or two into your garden, and you will have Jerusalem artichokes as long as you live on those premises. For the vegetable will stay with you as long as the gout, or the rate-gatherer. Pheasants are particularly partial to this sort of crop.

By far the best vegetable production of the gorgeous East is the


’Tis oval in shape, and about the size of a hen’s egg, the surface being purple in colour. It is usually cut in twain and done “on the grating”; I have met something very like the brinjal in Covent Garden; but can find no record of the vegetable’s pedigree in any book.

Although there are still many vegetarian restaurants in our large towns, the prejudice against animal food is, happily, dying out; and if ridicule could kill, we should not hear much more of the “cranks” who with delightful inconsistency, would spurn a collop of beef, and gorge themselves on milk, in every shape and form. If milk, butter, and cheese be not[Pg 132] animal food I should like to know what is? And it is as reasonable to ask a man to sustain life on dried peas and mushrooms as to feed a tiger on cabbages.

Once, and only once, has the writer attempted a

Vegetarian Banquet.

It was savoury enough; and possessed the additional merit of being cheap. Decidedly “filling at the price” was that meal. We—I had a messmate—commenced with (alleged) Scotch broth—which consisted principally of dried peas, pearl barley, and oatmeal—and a large slice of really excellent brown bread was served, to each, with this broth. Thereupon followed a savoury stew of onions and tomatoes, relieved by a “savoury pie,” apparently made from potatoes, leeks, bread crumbs, butter, and “postponed” mushrooms. We had “gone straight” up to now, but both shied a bit at the maccaroni and grated cheese. We had two bottles of ginger beer apiece, with this dinner, which cost less than three shillings for the two, after the dapper little waitress had been feed. On leaving, we both agreed to visit that cleanly and well-ordered little house again, if only from motives of economy; but within half an hour that programme was changed.

Like the old lady at the tea-drinking, I commenced to “swell wisibly”; and so did my companion.

“Mon alive!” he gasped. “I feel just for all the wor-rld like a captive balloon, or a[Pg 133] puffy-dunter—that’s a puffing whale, ye ken. I’ll veesit yon onion-hoose nae mair i’ ma life!”

And I think it cost us something like half a sovereign in old brandy to neutralise the effects of that vegetarian banquet.

[Pg 134]



“Thou com’st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee.”

Different modes of manufacture—The “native” fraud—“That man’s family”—The French kari—A Parsee curry—“The oyster in the sauce”—Ingredients—Malay curry—Locusts—When to serve—What to curry—Prawn curry—Dry curry, a champion recipe—Rice—The Bombay duck.

The poor Indian grinds his coriander seeds, green ginger, and other ingredients between two large flat stones; taking a whiff at the family “hubble-bubble” pipe at intervals. The frugal British housewife purchases (alleged) curry powder in the warehouse of Italy—where it may have lived on, like Claudian, “through the centuries”—stirs a spoonful or two into the hashed mutton, surrounds it with a wall of clammy rice, and calls it Benares Curry, made from the recipe of a very dear uncle who met his death while tiger-shooting. And you will be in the minority if you do not cut this savoury meat with a knife, and eat potatoes, and very often cabbage, with[Pg 135] it. The far-seeing eating-house keeper corrals a Lascar or a discharged Mehtar into the firm, gives him his board, a pound a month, and a clean puggaree and Kummerbund daily, and “stars” him in the bill as an “Indian chef, fresh from the Chowringhee Club, Calcutta.” And it is part of the duties of this Oriental—supposed by the unwary to be at least a prince in his native land—to hand the portions of curry, which he may or may not have concocted, to the appreciative guests, who enjoy the repast all the more from having the scent of the Hooghly brought across the footlights. I was once sadly and solemnly reproved by the head waiter of a very “swagger” establishment indeed for sending away, after one little taste, the (alleged) curry which had been handed me by an exile from Ind, in snow-white raiment.

“You really ought to have eaten that, sir,” said the waiter, “for that man’s family have been celebrated curry-makers for generations.”

I smole a broad smile. In the Land of the Moguls the very babies who roll in the dust know the secret of curry-making. But that “that man” had had any hand in the horrible concoction placed before me I still resolutely decline to believe. And how can a man be cook and waiter at the same time? The “native curry-maker,” depend on it, is more or less of a fraud; and his aid is only invoked as an excuse for overcharging.

At the Oriental Club are served, or used to be served, really excellent curries, assorted; for as there be more ways than one of killing a cat, so[Pg 136] are there more curries than one. The French turn out a horrible mixture, with parsley and mushrooms in it, which they call kari; it is called by a still worse name on the Boulevards, and the children of our lively neighbours are frequently threatened with it by their nurses.

On the whole, the East Indian method is the best; and the most philanthropic curry I ever tasted was one which my own Khitmughar had just prepared, with infinite pains, for his own consumption. The poor heathen had prospected a feast, as it was one of his numerous “big days”; so, despising the homely dhal, on the which, with a plate of rice and a modicum of rancid butter, he was wont to sustain existence, he had manufactured a savoury mess of pottage, the looks of which gratified me. So, at the risk of starting another Mutiny, it was ordained that the slave should serve the refection at the table of the “protector of the poor.” And a pukkha curry it was, too. Another dish of native manufacture with which the writer became acquainted was a

Parsee Curry.

The eminent firm of Jehangeer on one occasion presented a petition to the commanding-officer that they might be allowed to supply a special curry to the mess one guest-night. The request was probably made as an inducement to some of the young officers to pay a little on account of their “owings” to the firm; but it is to be feared that no special vote of thanks followed the sampling of that special curry. It was a curry![Pg 137] I tasted it for a week (as the Frenchman did the soup of Swindon); and the Parsee chef must have upset the entire contents of the spice-box into it. I never felt more like murder than when the hotel cook in Manchester put nutmeg in the oyster sauce; but after that curry, the strangling of the entire firm of Jehangeer would, in our cantonments, at all events, have been brought in “justifiable homicide.”

“Oyster sauce” recalls a quaint simile I once heard a bookmaker make use of. He was talking of one of his aristocratic debtors, whom he described as sure to pay up, if you could only get hold of him. “But mark you,” continued the layer of odds, “he’s just about as easy to get hold of as the oyster in the sauce, at one of our moonicipal banquets!” But return we to our coriander seeds. There is absolutely no reason why the frugal housewife in this country should not make her own curry powder from day to day, as it may be required. Here is an average Indian recipe; but it must be remembered that in the gorgeous East tastes vary as much as elsewhere, and that Bengal, Bombay, Madras (including Burmah), Ceylon, and the Straits Settlements, have all different methods of preparing a curry.

A few coriander and cumin seeds—according to taste—eight peppercorns, a small piece of turmeric, and one dried chili, all pounded together.

When making the curry mixture, take a piece of the heart of a cabbage, the size of a hen’s egg; chop it fine and add one sour apple in thin slices the size of a Keswick codlin, the juice of a medium-sized[Pg 138] lemon, a salt-spoonful of black pepper, and a tablespoonful of the above curry powder. Mix all well together; then take six medium-sized onions which have been chopped small and fried a delicate brown, a clove of garlic, also chopped small, two ounces of fresh butter, two ounces of flour, and one pint of beef gravy. Boil up this lot (which commences with the onions), and when boiling stir in the rest of the mixture. Let it all simmer down, and then add the solid part of the curry, i.e. the meat, cut in portions not larger than two inches square.

Remember, O frugal housewife, that the turmeric portion of the entertainment should be added with a niggard hand. “Too much turmeric” is the fault which is found with most curries made in England. I remember, when a boy, that there was an idea rooted in my mind that curries were made with Doctor Gregory’s Powder, an unsavoury drug with which we were periodically regaled by the head nurse; and there was always a fierce conflict at the dinner-table when the bill-of-fare included this (as we supposed) physic-al terror. But it was simply the taste of turmeric to which we took exception.

What is Turmeric? A plant in cultivation all over India, whose tubers yield a deep yellow powder of a resinous nature. This resinous powder is sold in lumps, and is largely used for adulterating mustard; just as inferior anchovy sauce is principally composed of Armenian Bole, the deep red powder with which the actor makes up his countenance. Turmeric is also used medicinally in Hindustan, but not this side of Suez, although in chemistry it affords an[Pg 139] infallible test for the presence of alkalies. The Coriander has become naturalised in parts of England, but is more used on the Continent. Our confectioners put the seeds in cakes and buns, also comfits, and in Germany, Norway, Sweden, and (I fancy) Russia, they figure in household bread. In the south of England, coriander and caraway seeds are sown side by side, and crops of each are obtained in alternate years. The coriander seed, too, is largely used with that of the caraway and the cumin, for making the liqueur known as Kümmel.

Cumin is mentioned in Scripture as something particularly nice. The seeds are sweet-savoured, something like those of the caraway, but more potent. In Germany they put them into bread, and the Dutch use them to flavour their cheeses. The seeds we get in England come principally from Sicily and Malta.

And now that my readers know all about the ingredients of curry-powder—it is assumed that no analysis of the chili, the ginger-root, or the peppercorn, is needed—let them emulate the pupils of Mr. Wackford Squeers, and “go and do it.”

Another Recipe for curry-powder includes fenugreek, cardamoms, allspice, and cloves; but I verily believe that this was the powder used in that abominable Parsee hell-broth, above alluded to, so it should be cautiously approached, if at all. “Fenugreek” sounds evil; and I should say a curry compounded of the above ingredients would taste like a “Number One” pick-me-up. Yet another recipe (Doctor Kitchener’s) specifies six ounces of coriander seed, five ounces[Pg 140] of turmeric (ower muckle, I’m of opeenion) two ounces each of black pepper and mustard seed (ochone!), half an ounce of cumin seed, half an ounce of cinnamon (donner und blitzen!), and one ounce of lesser cardamoms. All these things are to be placed in a cool oven, kept therein one night, and pounded in a marble mortar next morning, preparatory to being rubbed through a sieve. “Kitchener” sounds like a good cooking name; but, with all due respect, I am not going to recommend his curry-powder.

A Malay curry is made with blanched almonds, which should be fried in butter till lightly browned. Then pound them to a paste with a sliced onion and some thin lemon-rind. Curry powder and gravy are added, and a small quantity of cream. The Malays curry all sorts of fish, flesh, and fowl, including the young shoots of the bamboo—and nice tender, succulent morsels they are. At a hotel overlooking the harbour of Point de Galle, Ceylon, “run,” at the time of the writer’s visit, by a most convivial and enterprising Yankee, a canning concocter of all sorts of “slings” and “cocktails,” there used to be quite a plethora of curries in the bill-of-fare. But for a prawn curry there is no place like the City of Palaces. And the reason for this super-excellence is that the prawns—but that story had, perhaps, best remain untold.

Curried Locusts formed one of the most eccentric dishes ever tasted by the writer. There had come upon us that day a plague of these all-devouring insects. A few billions called on us, in our kitchen gardens, in passing; and whilst[Pg 141] they ate up every green thing—including the newly-painted wheelbarrow, and the regimental standard, which had been incautiously left out of doors—our faithful blacks managed to capture several impis of the marauding scuts, in revenge; and the mess-cook made a right savoury plât of their hind-quarters.

It is criminal to serve curry during the entrée period of dinner. And it is worse form still to hand it round after gooseberry tart and cream, and trifle, as I have seen done at one great house. In the land of its birth, the spicy pottage invariably precedes the sweets. Nubbee Bux marches solemnly round with the mixture, in a deep dish, and is succeeded by Ram Lal with the rice. And in the Madras Presidency, where dry curry is served as well as the other brand, there is a procession of three brown attendants. Highly-seasoned dishes at the commencement of a long meal are a mistake; and this is one of the reasons why I prefer the middle cut of a plain-boiled Tay salmon, or the tit-bit of a lordly turbot, or a flake or two of a Grimsby cod, to a sole Normande, or a red mullet stewed with garlic, mushrooms, and inferior claret. I have even met homard à l’Américaine, during the fish course, at the special request of a well-known Duke. The soup, too, eaten at a large dinner should be as plain as possible; the edge being fairly taken off the appetite by such concoctions as bisque, bouillabaisse, and mulligatawny—all savoury and tasty dishes, but each a meal in itself. Then I maintain that to curry whitebait is wrong; partly because curry should on no account be served[Pg 142] before roast and boiled, and partly because the flavour of the whitebait is too delicate for the fish to be clad in spices and onions. The lesson which all dinner-givers ought to have learnt from the Ancient Romans—the first people on record who went in for æsthetic cookery—is that highly-seasoned and well-peppered dishes should figure at the end, and not the commencement of a banquet. Here follows a list of some of the productions of Nature which it is allowable to curry.

What to Curry.

Turbot. Sole. Cod.

Lobster. Crayfish. Prawns,—but not the so-called “Dublin Prawn,” which is delicious when eaten plain boiled, but no good in a curry.

Whelks.[6] Oysters. Scallops.

Mutton. Veal. Pork. Calf’s Head. Ox Palate. Tripe.[6]

Eggs. Chicken. Rabbit (the “bunny” lends itself better than anything else to this method of cooking). Pease. Kidney Beans.[6] Vegetable Marrow. Carrots. Parsnips. Bamboo Shoots. Locust Legs.

A mistaken notion has prevailed for some time amongst men and women who write books, that the Indian curry mixture is almost red-hot to the taste. As a matter of fact it is of a far milder nature than many I have tasted “on this side.” Also the Anglo-Indian does not sustain life entirely on food flavoured with turmeric and garlic. In fact, during a stay of seven years in the[Pg 143] gorgeous East, the writer’s experience was that not one in ten touched curry at the dinner table. At second breakfast—otherwise known as “tiffin”—it was a favoured dish; but the stuff prepared for the meal of the day—or the bulk thereof—usually went to gratify the voracious appetite of the “mehters,” the Hindus who swept out the mess-rooms, and whose lowness of “caste” allowed them to eat “anything.” An eccentric meal was the mehter’s dinner. Into the empty preserved-meat tin which he brought round to the back door I have seen emptied such assorted pabulum as mock turtle soup, lobster salad, plum pudding and custard, curry, and (of course), the surplus vilolif; and in a few seconds he was squatting on his heels, and spading into the mixture with both hands.

In the Bengal Presidency cocoa-nut is freely used with a curry dressing; and as some men have as great a horror of this addition, as of oil in a salad, it is as well to consult the tastes of your guests beforehand.

A Prawn Curry I have seen made in Calcutta as follows, the proportions of spices, etc., being specially written down by a munshi:—

Pound and mix one tablespoonful of coriander seed, one tablespoonful of poppy seed, a salt-spoonful of turmeric, half a salt-spoonful of cumin seed, a pinch of ground cinnamon, a ditto of ground nutmeg, a small lump of ginger, and one salt-spoonful of salt. Mix this with butter, add two sliced onions, and fry till lightly browned. Add the prawns, shelled, and pour in the milk of a cocoa-nut. Simmer for twenty minutes, and add some lime juice.

[Pg 144]

But the champion of curries ever sampled by the writer was a dry curry—a decided improvement on those usually served in the Madras Presidency—and the recipe (which has been already published in the Sporting Times and Lady’s Pictorial), only came into the writer’s possession some years after he had quitted the land of temples.

Dry Curry.

1 lb. of meat (mutton, fowl, or white fish).
1 lb. of onions.
1 clove of garlic.
2 ounces of butter.
1 dessert-spoonful of curry powder.
1 dessert-spoonful of curry paste.
1 dessert-spoonful of chutnee (or tamarind preserve,
according to taste).

A very little cassareep, which is a condiment (only obtainable at a few London shops) made from the juice of the bitter cassava, or manioc root. Cassareep is the basis of that favourite West Indian dish “Pepper-pot.”

Salt to taste.
A good squeeze of lemon juice.

First brown the onions in the butter, and then dry them. Add the garlic, which must be mashed to a pulp with the blade of a knife. Then mix the powder, paste, chutnee, and cassareep into a thin paste with the lemon juice. Mash the dried onions into this, and let all cook gently till thoroughly mixed. Then add the meat, cut into small cubes, and let all simmer very gently for three hours. This sounds a long time, but it must be remembered that the recipe is for a dry curry; and when served there should be no liquid about it.

’Tis a troublesome dish to prepare; but,[Pg 145] judging from the flattering communications received by the writer, the lieges would seem to like it. And the mixture had better be cooked in a double or porridge-saucepan, to prevent any “catching.”

Already, in one of the breakfast chapters, has the subject of the preparation of rice, to be served with curry, been touched upon; but there will be no harm done in giving the directions again.

Rice for Curry

Soak a sufficiency of rice in cold water until by repeated strainings all the dirt is separated from it. Then put the rice into boiling water, and let it “gallop” for nine or ten minutes—no longer. Strain the water off through a colander, and dash a little cold water over the rice to separate the grains. Put in a hot dish, and serve immediately.

A simple enough recipe, surely? So let us hear no more complaints of stodgy, clammy, “puddingy” rice. Most of the cookery books give far more elaborate directions, but the above is the method usually pursued by the poor brown heathen himself.

Soyer’s recipe resembles the above; but, after draining the water from the cooked rice, it is replaced in the saucepan, the interior of which has in the interim been anointed with butter. The saucepan is then placed either near the fire (not on it), or in a slow oven, for the rice to swell.

Another way:

After washing the rice, throw it into plenty of boiling water—in the proportion of six pints of water[Pg 146] to one pound of rice. Boil it for five minutes, and skim it; then add a wine-glassful of milk for every half pound of rice, and continue boiling for five minutes longer. Strain the water off through a colander, and put it dry into the pot, on the corner of the stove, pouring over the rice a small piece of butter, which has been melted in a tablespoonful of the hot milk and water in which the rice was boiled. Add salt, and stir the rice for five minutes more.

The decayed denizen of the ocean, dried to the consistency of biscuit, and known in Hindustan as a Bombay Duck, which is frequently eaten with curry, “over yonder,” does not find much favour, this side of Port Said, although I have met the fowl in certain city restaurants. The addition is not looked upon with any particular favour by the writer.

“I have yet to learn” once observed that great and good man, the late Doctor Joseph Pope,[7] to the writer, in a discussion on “postponed” game, “that it is a good thing to put corruption into the human stomach.”

[Pg 147]



“O green and glorious, O herbaceous meat!
’Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat.
Back to the world he’d turn his weary soul,
And dip his fingers in the salad bowl!”     

Nebuchadnezzar v. Sydney Smith—Salt?—No salad-bowl—French origin—Apocryphal story of Francatelli—Salads and salads—Water-cress and dirty water—Salad-maker born not made—Lobster salad—Lettuce, Wipe or wash?—Mayonnaise—Potato salad—Tomato ditto—Celery ditto—A memorable ditto.

If Sydney Smith had only possessed the experience of old King Nebuchadnezzar, after he had been “turned out to grass,” the witty prebend might not have waxed quite so enthusiastic on the subject of “herbaceous meat.” Still the subject is a vast and important one, in its connection with gastronomy, and lends itself to poetry far easier than doth the little sucking pig, upon whom Charles Lamb expended so great and unnecessary a wealth of language.

But look at the terse, perfunctory, and far from satisfactory manner in which the[Pg 148] Encyclopædia attacks the subject. “Salad,” we read, “is the term given to a preparation of raw herbs for food. It derives its name from the fact that salt is one of the chief ingredients used in dressing a salad.” This statement is not only misleading but startling; for in the “dressing” of a salad it would be the act of a lunatic to make salt the “chief ingredient.”

Long before they had learnt the art of dressing the herbs, our ancestors partook of cresses (assorted), celery, and lettuces, after being soaked in water for a considerable period; and they dipped the raw herbs into salt before consuming them. In fact, in many a cheap eating-house of to-day, the term “salad” means plain lettuce, or cress, or possibly both, absolutely undressed—in a state of nature, plus plenty of dirty water. Even the English cook of the end of the nineteenth century cannot rid himself, or herself, of the idea that lettuce, like water-cress, knows the running brook, or the peaceful pond, as its natural element. And thirty years before the end of that century, a salad bowl was absolutely unknown in nine-tenths of the eating-houses of Great Britain.

There is no use in blinking the fact that it is to our lively neighbours that we owe the introduction of the salad proper. Often as the writer has been compelled, in these pages, to inveigh against the torturing of good fish and flesh by the alien cook, and the high prices charged for its endowment with an alien flavour, let that writer (figuratively) place a crown of endive, tipped with baby onions, upon the brows[Pg 149] of the philanthropist who dressed the first salad, and gave the recipe to the world. That recipe has, of course, been improved upon; and although the savant who writes in the Encyclopædia proclaims that “salad has always been a favourite food with civilised nations, and has varied very little in its composition,” the accuracy of both statements is open to question.

“Every art,” observes another writer, “has its monstrosities; gastronomy has not been behind-hand; and though he must be a bold man who will venture to blaspheme the elegancies of French cookery, there comes a time to every Englishman who may have wandered into a mistaken admiration of sophisticated messes, when he longs for the simple diet of his native land, and vows that the best cookery in the world, and that which satisfies the most refined epicureanism, sets up for its ideal—plainness of good food, and the cultivation of natural tastes.”

And yet the French have taught us, or tried to teach us, how to prepare a dish of raw herbs, in the simplest way in the world!

“Now a salad,” says the same writer, “is simplicity itself, and here is a marvel—it is the crowning grace of a French dinner, while, on the other hand, it is little understood and villainously treated at English tables.” Ahem! I would qualify that last statement. At some English tables I have tasted salads compared with which the happiest effort of the chef deserves not to be mentioned in the same garlic-laden breath. And “garlic-laden breath” naturally reminds me of the story of Francatelli—of which anecdote I do[Pg 150] not believe one word, by the way. It was said of Franc., whilst chef at the Reform Club, that his salads were such masterpieces, such things of beauty, that one of the members questioned him on the subject.

“How do you manage to introduce such a delicious flavour into your salads?”

“Ah! that should be my secret,” was the reply. “But I will tell him to you. After I have made all my preparations, and the green food is mixed with the dressing, I chew a little clove of garlic between my teeth—so—and then breathe gently over the whole.”

But, as observed before, I do not believe that garlic story.

O salad, what monstrosities are perpetrated in thy name! Let the genteel boarding-house cook-maid, the young lady who has studied harmony and the higher mathematics at the Board School, spread herself over the subject; and then invite the angels to inspect the matter, and weep! For this is the sort of “harmony” which the “paying guest,” who can appreciate the advantages of young and musical society, an airy front bed-chamber, and a bicycle room, is expected to enthuse over at the table d’hôte: a mélange of herbs and roots, including water-cress and giant radishes, swimming in equal parts of vinegar and oil, and a large proportion of the water in which the ingredients have been soaking for hours—said ingredients being minced small, like veal collops, with a steel knife. And the same salad, the very identical horror, obtrudes itself on the table at other genteel establishments than boarding-houses.[Pg 151] For they be “mostly fools” who people the civilised world.

Let it be laid down as a golden rule, that the concoction of a salad should never, or hardly ever, be entrusted to the tender mercies of the British serving-maid. For the salad-maker, like the poet, is born, not made; and the divine afflatus—I don’t mean garlic—is as essential in the one as in the other. We will take the simple mixture, what is commonly known as the

French Salad,

first. This is either composed, in the matter of herbs, of lettuce, chopped taragon, chervil, and chives; or of endive, with, “lurking in the bowl,” a chapon, or crust of bread on which a clove of garlic has been rubbed. But the waiter, an he be discreet, will ask the customer beforehand if he prefer that the chapon be omitted. The dressing is simplicity itself:

Within the bowl of a table-spoon are placed, in succession, a spot of made mustard, and a sprinkling of black pepper and salt. The bowl is filled up with vinegar, and with a fork in the other hand the waiter stirs quickly the mustard, etc., afterwards emptying the contents of the spoon over the green-stuff. Then the spoon is refilled—either twice or thrice, ad lib.—with Lucca oil, which is also poured over the salad. Then the final mixing takes place, in the salad bowl.

But there be many and elaborate ways of salad-making. Here is the writer’s idea of a

Lobster Salad

for half-a-dozen guests:

[Pg 152]

In a soup plate, mix the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs—boiled for thirty minutes, and afterwards thrown into cold water—into a smooth paste with a teaspoonful of made mustard, and a tablespoonful of plain vinegar, added drop by drop. Keep on stirring, and add a dessert-spoonful of tarragon vinegar, a few drops of essence of anchovies, a teaspoonful (not heaped) of salt, about the same quantity of sifted sugar, and a good pinch of cayenne. [The tendency of black pepper is to make a salad gritty, which is an abomination.] Lastly, add, drop by drop, three tablespoonfuls of oil. Pour this dressing (which should be in a continual state of stir) into your salad bowl. Add the pickings of a hen lobster cut into dice, and atop of the lobster, lettuces which have been shred with clean fingers, or with ivory forks; a little endive may be added, with a slice or two of beetroot; but no onion (or very little) in a lobster salad. A few shreds of anchovy may be placed atop; with beetroot cut into shapes, the whites of the eggs, and the coral of the lobster, for the sake of effect; but seek not, O student, to achieve prettiness of effect to the detriment of practical utility. I need hardly add that the sooner after its manufacture a salad is eaten, the better will be its flavour. And the solid ingredients should only be mixed with the dressing at the very last moment; otherwise a sodden, flabby effect will be produced, which is neither pleasing to the eye, nor calculated to promote good digestion.

I am perfectly aware that the above is not a strict Mayonnaise dressing, in which the egg yolks should be raw, instead of cooked. But, like the Scotsman, I have “tried baith,” and prefer my own way, which more resembles the sauce Tartare, than the Mayonnaise of our lively[Pg 153] neighbours, who, by the way, merely wipe, instead of wash, their lettuces and endive, to preserve, as they say, the flavour. Of course this is a matter of taste, but the writer must own to a preference for the baptised article, which must, however, on no account be left to soak, but be simply freed from dirt, grit, and—other things.

What is the origin of the word “Mayonnaise”? No two Frenchmen will give you the same answer. “Of or belonging to Mayonne” would seem to be the meaning of the word; but then there is no such place as Mayonne in the whole of France. Grimod de la Reyniere maintained that the proper word was “Bayonnaise,” meaning a native of Bayonne, on the Spanish frontier. Afterwards Grimod, who was a resourceful man, got hold of another idea, and said that the word was probably “Mahonnaise,” and so named in honour of Marshal Richelieu’s capture of the stronghold of Mahon, in the island of Minorca. But what had this victory got to do with a salad dressing? What was the connection of raw eggs and tarragon vinegar with Marshal Richelieu? Then up came another cook, in the person of Carême, who established it as an absolute certainty that the genuine word was “Magnonnaise,” from the word “manier,” to manipulate. But as nobody would stand this definition for long, a fresh search had to be made; and this time an old Provençal verb was dug up—mahonner, or more correctly maghonner, to worry or fatigue. And this is now said by purists to be the source of Mayonnaise—“something worried,” or fatigued. And the[Pg 154] reason for the gender of the noun is said to be that in ancient times lovely woman was accustomed to manipulate the salad with her own fair fingers. In the time of Rousseau, the phrase retourner la salade avec les doigts was used to describe a woman as being still young and beautiful; just as in Yorkshire at the present time, “she canna mak’ a bit o’ bread” is used to describe a woman who is of no possible use in the house. So a Mayonnaise or a Mahonnaise—I care not which be the correct spelling—was a young lady who “fatigued” the salad. More shame to the gallants of the day, who allowed “fatigue” to be associated with youth and beauty!

But can it possibly matter what the word means, when the mixture is smooth and savoury; and so deftly blended that no one flavour predominates? And herein lies the secret of every mixture used for the refreshment of the inner man and woman; whether it be a soup, a curry, a trifle, a punch, or a cup—no one ingredient should be of more weight or importance than another. And that was the secret of the “delicious gravy” furnished by the celebrated stew at the “Jolly Farmers,” in The Old Curiosity Shop of Charles Dickens.

Mayonnaise (we will drop for the nonce, the other spelling) is made thus:

In the proportions of two egg yolks to half a pint of Lucca oil, and a small wine-glassful of tarragon vinegar. Work the yolks smooth in a basin, with a seasoning of pepper (cayenne for choice), salt, and—according to the writer’s views—sifted sugar. Then a few drops of oil, and fewer of vinegar;[Pg 155] stirring the mixture all the time, from right to left, with a wooden, or ivory, spoon. In good truth ’tis a “fatiguing” task; and as in very hot weather the sauce is liable to decompose, or “curdle,” before the finishing touches are put to it, it may be made over ice.

“Stir, sisters, stir,
Stir with care!”

is the motto for the Mayonnaise-mixer. And in many cases her only reward consists in the knowledge that through her art and patience she has helped to make the sojourn of others in this vale of tears less tearful and monotonous.

“Onion atoms” should “lurk within the bowl,” on nearly every occasion, and as for a potato salad—don’t be afraid, I’m not going to quote any more Sydney Smith, so don’t get loading your guns—well, here is the proper way to make it.

Potato Salad.

Cut nine or ten average-sized kidney potatoes (cooked) into slices, half an inch thick, put them in a salad bowl, and pour over them, after mixing, two tablespoonfuls of vinegar, one tablespoonful of tarragon vinegar, six tablespoonfuls of oil, one of minced parsley, a dessert-spoonful of onions chopped very fine, with cayenne and salt to taste. Shredded anchovies may be added, although it is preferable without; and this salad should be made a couple of hours or so before partaken of.

The German recipe for a potato salad is too nasty to quote; and their Herring Salad, although said to be a valuable restorative of nerve[Pg 156] power, by no means presents an attractive appearance, when served at table. Far more to the mind and palate of the average epicure is a

Tomato Salad.

This is the author’s recipe:

Four large tomatoes and one Spanish onion, cut into thin slices. Mix a spot of mustard, a little white pepper and salt, with vinegar, in a table-spoon, pour it over the love apples, etc., and then add two tablespoonfuls of oil. Mix well, and then sprinkle over the mixture a few drops of Lea and Perrins’s Worcester Sauce. For the fair sex, the last part of the programme may be omitted, but on no account leave out the breath of sunny Spain. And mark this well. The man, or woman, who mixes tomatoes with lettuces, or endives, in the bowl, is hereby sentenced to translate the whole of this book into Court English.

Celery Salad.

An excellent winter salad is made with beetroot and celery, cut in thin slices, and served—with or without onions—either with a mayonnaise sauce, or with a plain cream sauce: to every tablespoonful of cream add a teaspoonful of tarragon vinegar, a little sugar, and a suspicion of cayenne. This salad looks best served in alternate slices of beet and celery, on a flat silver dish, around the sauce.

A Gentleman Salad Maker.

Although in the metropolis it is still customary, in middle-class households, to hire “outside help” on the occasion of a dinner-party, we have[Pg 157] not heard for some time of a salad-dresser who makes house-to-house visitations in the exercise of his profession. But, at the end of the 18th century, the Chevalier d’Allignac, who had escaped from Paris to London in the evil days of the Revolution, made a fortune in this way. He was paid at the rate of £5 a salad, and naturally, soon started his own carriage, “in order that he might pass quickly from house to house, during the dining hours of the aristocracy.” High as the fee may appear to be, it is impossible to measure the width of the gulf which lies between the salad as made by a lover of the art, and the kitchen-wench; and a perfect salad is, like a perfect curry, “far above rubies.”

A Memorable Salad

was once served in my own mansion. The chef, who understood these matters well, when her hair was free from vine leaves, had been celebrating her birthday or some other festival; and had mixed the dressing with Colza oil. Her funeral was largely attended.

[Pg 158]



“Epicurean cooks
Sharpen with cloyless sauce his appetite.”

Roman salad—Italian ditto—Various other salads—Sauce for cold mutton—Chutnine—Raw chutnee—Horse-radish sauce—Christopher North’s sauce—How to serve a mackerel—Sauce Tartare—Ditto for sucking pig—Delights of making Sambal—A new language.

It has, I hope, been made sufficiently clear that neither water-cress nor radishes should figure in a dressed salad; from the which I would also exclude such “small deer” as mustard and cress. There is, however, no black mark against the narrow-leaved Corn Salad plant, or “lamb’s lettuce”; and its great advantage is that it can be grown almost anywhere during the winter months, when lettuces have to be “coddled,” and thereby robbed of most of their flavour.

Instead of yolk of egg, in a dressing, cheese may be used, with good results, either cream cheese—not the poor stuff made on straws, but what are known as “napkin,” or “New Forest” cheeses—or Cheddar.[Pg 159] Squash it well up with oil and vinegar, and do not use too much. A piece of cheese the size of an average lump of sugar will be ample, and will lend a most agreeable flavour to the mixture.

Roman Salad

Lucullus and Co.—or rather their cooks—had much to learn in the preparation of the “herbaceous meat” which delighted Sydney Smith. The Romans cultivated endive; this was washed free from “matter in the wrong place,” chopped small—absolutely fatal to the taste—anointed with oil and liquamen, topped up with chopped onions, and further ornamented with honey and vinegar. But before finding fault with the conquerors of the world for mixing honey with a salad, it should be remembered that they knew not “fine Demerara,” nor “best lump,” nor even the beet sugar which can be made at home. Still I should not set a Roman salad before my creditors, if I wanted them to have “patience.” An offer of the very smallest dividend would be preferable.

Italian Salad.

The merry Italian has improved considerably upon the herbaceous treat (I rather prefer “treat” to “meat”) of his ancestors; though he is far too fond of mixing flesh-meat of all sorts with his dressed herbs, and his boiled vegetables. Two cold potatoes and half a medium sized beet sliced, mixed with boiled celery and Brussels sprouts, form a common salad in the sunny South; the dressing being usually oil and vinegar, occasionally[Pg 160] oil seule, and sometimes a Tartare sauce. Stoned olives are usually placed atop of the mess, which includes fragments of chicken, or veal and ham.

Russian Salad.

This is a difficult task to build up; for a sort of Cleopatra’s Needle, or pyramid, of cooked vegetables, herbs, pickles, etc., has to be erected on a flat dish. Carrots, turnips, green peas, asparagus, French beans, beetroot, capers, pickled cucumbers, and horse-radish, form the solid matter of which the pyramid is built.

Lay a stratum on the dish, and anoint the stratum with Tartare sauce. Each layer must be similarly anointed, and must be of less circumference than the one underneath, till the top layer consists of one caper. Garnish with bombs of caviare, sliced lemon, crayfish, olives, and salted cucumber; and then give the salad to the policeman on fixed-point duty. At least, if you take my advice.

Anchovy Salad.

This is usually eaten at the commencement of dinner, as a hors d’œuvre.

Some shreds of anchovy should be arranged “criss-cross” in a flat glass dish. Surround it with small heaps of chopped truffles, yolk and white of hard-boiled eggs, capers, and a stoned olive or two. Mix all the ingredients together with a little Chili vinegar, and twice the quantity of oil.

The mixture is said to be invaluable as an appetiser; but the modest oyster on the deep shell—if he has not been fattened at the bolt-hole of the main sewer—is to be preferred.

[Pg 161]

Cooked vegetables, for salad purposes, are not, nor will they ever be, popular in England, Nine out of ten Britains will eat the “one sauce” with asparagus, in preference to the oiled butter, or plain salad dressing, of mustard, vinegar, pepper, salt, and oil; whilst ’tis almost hopeless to attempt to dissuade madame the cook from smothering her cauliflowers with liquefied paste, before sending them to table. Many a wild weed which foreign nations snatch greedily from the soil, prior to dressing it, is passed by with scorn by our islanders, including the dandelion, which is a favourite of our lively neighbours, for salad purposes, and is doubtless highly beneficial to the human liver. So is the cauliflower; and an eminent medical authority once gave out that the man who ate a parboiled cauliflower, as a salad, every other day, need never send for a doctor. Which sounds rather like fouling his own nest.

Fruit Salad.

This is simply a French compôte of cherries, green almonds, pears, limes, peaches, apricots in syrup slightly flavoured with ginger; and goes excellent well with any cold brown game. Try it.

Orange Salad.

Peel your orange, and cut it into thin slices. Arrange these in a glass dish, and sugar them well. Then pour over them a glass of sherry, a glass of brandy, and a glass of maraschino.

Orange Sauce.

Cold mutton, according to my notions, is[Pg 162] “absolutely beastly,” to the palate. More happy homes have been broken up by this simple dish than by the entire army of Europe. And ’tis a dish which should never be allowed to wander outside the servants’ hall. The superior domestics who take their meals in the steward’s room, would certainly rise in a body, and protest against the indignity of a cold leg, or shoulder. As for a cold loin—but the idea is too awful. Still, brightened up by the following condiment, cold mutton will go down smoothly, and even gratefully:—

Rub off the thin yellow rind of two oranges on four lumps of sugar. Put these into a bowl, and pour in a wine-glass of port, a quarter pint of dissolved red-currant jelly, a teaspoonful of mixed mustard—don’t be frightened, it’s all right—a finely-minced shallot, a pinch of cayenne, and some more thin orange rind. Mix well. When heated up, strain and bottle off.

But amateur sauces should, on the whole, be discouraged. The writer has tasted dozens of imitations of Lea and Perrins’s “inimitable,” and it is still inimitable, and unapproachable. It is the same with chutnee. You can get anything in that line you want at Stembridge’s, close to Leicester Square, to whom the writer is indebted for some valuable hints. But here is a recipe for a mixture of chutnee and pickle, which must have been written a long time ago; for the two operations are transposed. For instance, the onions should be dealt with first.

[Pg 163]


Ten or twelve large apples, peeled and cored, put in an earthenware jar, with a little vinegar (on no account use water) in the oven. Let them remain till in a pulp, then take out, and add half an ounce of curry powder, one ounce of ground ginger, half a pound of stoned raisins, chopped fine, half a pound moist sugar, one teaspoonful cayenne pepper, one tablespoonful salt. Take four large onions (this should be done first), chop very fine, and put them in a jar with a pint and a half of vinegar. Cork tightly and let them remain a week. Then add the rest of the ingredients, after mixing them well together. Cork tightly, and the chutnine will be ready for use in a month. It improves, however, by keeping for a year or so.

Raw Chutnee

is another aid to the consumption of cold meat, and I have also seen it used as an accompaniment to curry, but do not recommend the mixture.

One large tomato, one smaller Spanish onion, one green chili, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Pulp the tomato; don’t try to extract the seeds, for life is too short for that operation. Chop the onion and the chili very fine, and mix the lot up with a pinch of salt, and the same quantity of sifted sugar.

I know plenty of men who would break up their homes (after serving the furniture in the same way) and emigrate; who would go on strike, were roast beef to be served at the dinner-table unaccompanied by horse-radish sauce. But this is a relish for the national dish which is frequently overlooked.

[Pg 164]

Horse-radish Sauce.

Grate a young root as fine as you can. It is perhaps needless to add that the fresher the horse-radish the better. No vegetables taste as well as those grown in your own garden, and gathered, or dug up, just before wanted. And the horse-radish, like the Jerusalem artichoke, comes to stay. When once he gets a footing in your garden you will never dislodge him; nor will you want to. Very well, then:

Having grated your horse, add a quarter of a pint of cream—English or Devonshire—a dessert-spoonful of sifted sugar, half that quantity of salt, and a tablespoonful of vinegar. Mix all together, and, if for hot meat, heat in the oven, taking care that the mixture does not curdle. Many people use oil instead of cream, and mix grated orange rind with the sauce. The Germans do not use oil, but either make the relish with cream, or hard-boiled yolk of egg. Horse-radish sauce for hot meat may also be heated by pouring it into a jar, and standing the jar in boiling water—“jugging it” in fact.

Celery Sauce,

for boiled pheasant, or turkey, is made thus:

Two or three heads of celery, sliced thin, put into a saucepan with equal quantities of sugar and salt, a dust of white pepper, and two or three ounces of butter. Stew your celery slowly till it becomes pulpy, but not brown, add two or three ounces of flour, and a good half-pint of milk, or cream. Let it simmer twenty minutes, and then rub the mixture through a sieve.

[Pg 165]

The carp as an item of food is, according to my ideas, a fraud. He tastes principally of the mud in which he has been wallowing until dragged out by the angler. The ancients loved a dish of carp, and yet they knew not the only sauce to make him at all palatable.

Sauce for Carp.

One ounce of butter, a quarter pint of good beef gravy, one dessert-spoonful of flour, a quarter pint of cream and two anchovies chopped very small. Mix over the fire, stir well till boiling, then take off, add a little Worcester sauce, and a squeeze of lemon, just before serving.

Christopher North’s Sauce.

This is a very old recipe. Put a dessert-spoonful of sifted sugar, a salt-spoonful of salt, and rather more than that quantity of cayenne, into a jar. Mix thoroughly, and add, gradually, two tablespoonfuls of Harvey’s sauce, a dessert-spoonful of mushroom ketchup, a tablespoonful of lemon juice, and a large glass of port. Place the jar in a saucepan of boiling water, and let it remain till the mixture is very hot, but not boiling. If bottled directly after made, the sauce will keep for a week, and may be used for duck, goose, pork, or (Christopher adds) “any broil.” But there is but one broil sauce, the Gubbins Sauce, already mentioned in this work.

Sauce for Hare.

What a piece of work is a hare! And what a piece of work it is to cook him in a laudable fashion!

[Pg 166]

Crumble some bread—a handful or so—soak it in port wine, heat over the fire with a small lump of butter, a tablespoonful of red-currant jelly, a little salt, and a tablespoonful of Chili vinegar. Serve as hot as possible.

Mackerel is a fish but seldom seen at the tables of the great. And yet ’tis tasty eating, if his Joseph’s coat be bright and shining when you purchase him. When stale he is dangerous to life itself. And he prefers to gratify the human palate when accompanied by

Gooseberry Sauce,

which is made by simply boiling a few green gooseberries, rubbing them through a sieve, and adding a little butter and a suspicion of ginger. Then heat up. “A wine-glassful of sorrel or spinach-juice,” observes one authority, “is a decided improvement.” H’m. I’ve tried both, and prefer the gooseberries unadorned with spinach liquor.

Now for a sauce which is deservedly popular all over the world, and which is equally at home as a salad dressing, as a covering for a steak off a fresh-run salmon, or a portion of fried eel; the luscious, the invigorating

Sauce Tartare,

so called because no tallow-eating Tartar was ever known to taste thereof. I have already given a pretty good recipe for its manufacture, in previous salad-dressing instructions, where the yolks of hard-boiled eggs are used. But chopped chervil, shallots, and (occasionally) gherkins, are added to the Tartare arrangement; and frequently[Pg 167] the surface is adorned with capers, stoned olives, and shredded anchovies.

In the chapters devoted to dinners, no mention has been made of the sucking pig, beloved of Charles Lamb.[8] This hardened offender should be devoured with

Currant Sauce:

Boil an ounce of currants, after washing them and picking out the tacks, dead flies, etc., in half a pint of water, for a few minutes, and pour over them a cupful of finely grated crumbs. Let them soak well, then beat up with a fork, and stir in about a gill of oiled butter. Add two tablespoonfuls of the brown gravy made for the pig, a glass of port, and a pinch of salt. Stir the sauce well over the fire. It is also occasionally served with roast venison; but not in the mansions of my friends.

What is sauce for Madame Goose is said to[Pg 168] be sauce for Old Man Gander. Never mind about that, however. The parents of young Master Goose, with whom alone I am going to deal, have, like the flowers which bloom in the spring, absolutely nothing to do with the case. This is the best

Sauce for the Goose

known to civilisation:

Put two ounces of green sage leaves into a jar with an ounce of the thin yellow rind of a lemon, a minced shallot, a teaspoonful of salt, half a ditto of cayenne, and a pint of claret. Let this soak for a fortnight, then pour off the liquid into a tureen; or boil with some good gravy. This sauce will keep for a week or two, bottled and well corked up.

And now, having given directions for the manufacture of sundry “cloyless sauces”—with only one of the number having any connection with Ala, and that one a sauce of world-wide reputation, I will conclude this chapter with a little fancy work. It is not probable that many who do me the honour to skim through these humble, faultily-written, but heartfelt gastronomic hints are personally acquainted with the cloyless


who is a lady of dusky origin. But let us quit metaphor, and direct the gardener to

Cut the finest and straightest cucumber in his crystal palace. Cut both ends off, and divide the remainder into two-inch lengths. Peel these, and let them repose in salt to draw out the water, which[Pg 169] is the indigestible part of the cucumber. Then take each length, in succession, and with a very sharp knife—a penknife is best for the purpose—pare it from surface to centre, until it has become one long, curly shred. Curl it up tight, so that it may resemble in form the spring of a Waterbury watch. Cut the length through from end to end, until you have made numerous long thin shreds. Treat each length in the same way, and place in a glass dish. Add three green chilies, chopped fine, a few chopped spring onions, and some tiny shreds of the Blue Fish of Java. Having performed a fishless pilgrimage in search of this curiosity, you will naturally fall back upon the common or Italian anchovy, which, after extracting the brine and bones, and cleansing, chop fine. Pour a little vinegar over the mixture.

“Sambal” will be found a delicious accompaniment to curry—when served on a salad plate—or to almost any description of cold meat and cheese. It is only fair to add, however, that the task of making the relish is arduous and exasperating to a degree; and that the woman who makes it—no male Christian in the world is possessed of a tithe of the necessary patience, now that Job and Robert Bruce are no more—should have the apartment to herself. For the labour is calculated to teach an entirely new language to the manufacturer.

[Pg 170]



“We are such stuff
As dreams are made of.”

Cleopatra’s supper—Oysters—Danger in the Aden bivalve—Oyster stew—Ball suppers—Pretty dishes—The Taj Mahal—Aspic—Bloater paste and whipped cream—Ladies’ recipes—Cookery colleges—Tripe—Smothered in onions—North Riding fashion—An hotel supper—Lord Tomnoddy at the “Magpie and Stump.”

That cruel and catlike courtesan, Cleopatra, is alleged to have given the most expensive supper on record, and to have disposed of the bonne bouche herself, in the shape of a pearl, valued at the equivalent of £250,000, dissolved in vinegar of extra strength. Such a sum is rather more than is paid for a supper at the Savoy, or the Cecil, or the Metropole, in these more practical times, when pearls are to be had cheaper; and there is probably about as much truth in this pearl story as in a great many others of the same period. I have heard of a fair declassée leader of fashion at Monte Carlo, who commanded that her major domo should be put to death for not having[Pg 171] telegraphed to Paris for peaches, for a special dinner; but the woman who could melt a pearl in vinegar, and then drink——halte la! Perhaps the pearl was displayed in the deep shell of the oyster of which the “noble curtesan” partook? We know how Mark Antony’s countrymen valued the succulent bivalve; and probably an oyster feast at Wady Halfa or Dongola was a common function long before London knew a “Scott’s,” a “Pimm’s,” or a “Sweeting’s.”

Thanks partly to the “typhoid scare,” but principally to the prohibitive price, the “native” industry of Britain has been, at the latter end of the nineteenth century, by no means active, although in the illustrated annuals Uncle John still brings with him a barrel of the luscious bivalves, in addition to assorted toys for the children, when he arrives in the midst of a snow-storm at the old hall on Christmas Eve. But Uncle John, that good fairy of our youth, when Charles Dickens invented the “festive season,” and the very atmosphere reeked of goose-stuffing, resides, for the most part, “in Sheffield,” in these practical days, when sentiment and goodwill to relatives are rapidly giving place to matters of fact, motor cars, and mammoth rates.

The Asiatic oyster is not altogether commendable, his chief merit consisting in his size. Once whilst paying a flying visit to the city of Kurachi, I ordered a dozen oysters at the principal hotel. Then I went out to inspect the lions. On my return I could hardly push my way into the coffee-room. It was full of oyster! There was[Pg 172] no room for anything else. In fact one Kurachi oyster is a meal for four full-grown men.

More tragic still was my experience of the bivalves procurable at Aden—which cinder-heap I have always considered to be a foretaste of even hotter things below. Instead of living on coal-dust (as might naturally be expected) the Aden oyster appears to do himself particularly well on some preparation of copper. The only time I tasted him, the after consequences very nearly prevented my ever tasting anything else, on this sphere. And it was only the comfort administered by the steward of my cabin which got me round.

“Ah!” said that functionary, as he looked in to see whether I would take hot pickled pork or roast goose for dinner. “The last time we touched at Aden, there was two gents ’ad ’ysters. One of ’em died the same night, and the other nex’ mornin’.”

I laughed so much that the poison left my system.

Yet still we eat oysters—the Sans Bacilles brand, for choice. And if we can only persuade the young gentleman who opens the bivalves to refrain from washing the grit off each in the tub of dirty water behind the bar, so much the better. And above all, the bivalves should be opened on the deep shell, so as to conserve some of the juice; for it is advisable to get as much of the bivalve as we can for the money. Every time I crunch the bones of a lark I feel that I am devouring an oratorio, in the way of song; and whilst the bivalve is sliding down the “red lane” it may[Pg 173] be as well to reflect that “there slips away fourpence”; or, as the Scotsman had it, “bang went saxpence!”

In connection with Mr. Bob Sawyer’s supper party in Pickwick, it may be recollected that “the man to whom the order for the oysters had been sent had not been told to open them; it is a very difficult thing to open an oyster with a limp knife or a two-pronged fork: and very little was done in this way.”

And in one’s own house, unless there be an adept at oyster-opening present, the simplest way to treat the bivalve is the following. It should be remembered that a badly-opened oyster will resemble in flavour a slug on a gravel walk. So roast him, good friends, in his own fortress.

Oysters in their own Juice.

With the tongs place half-a-dozen oysters, mouths outwards, between the red-hot coals of the parlour or dining-room fire—the deep shell must be at the bottom—and the oysters will be cooked in a few minutes, or when the shells gape wide. Pull them out with the tongs, and insert a fresh batch. No pepper, vinegar, or lemon juice is necessary as an adjunct; and the oyster never tastes better.

At most eating-houses,

Scalloped Oysters

taste of nothing but scorched bread-crumbs; and the reason is obvious, for there is but little else in the scallop shell. Natives only should be used.

[Pg 174]

Open and beard two dozen, and cut each bivalve in half. Melt two ounces of butter in a stewpan, and mix into it the same allowance of flour, the strained oyster liquor, a teacupful of cream, half a teaspoonful of essence of anchovies, and a pinch of cayenne—death to the caitiff who adds nutmeg—and stir the sauce well over the fire. Take it off, and add the well-beaten yolks of two eggs, a tablespoonful of finely chopped parsley, and a teaspoonful of lemon juice. Put in the oysters, and stir the whole over a gentle fire for five minutes. Put the mixture in the shells, grate bread-crumbs over, place a small piece of butter atop, and bake in a Dutch oven before a clear fire until the crumbs are lightly browned, which should be in about a quarter of an hour.

Oyster Stew

is thoroughly understood in New York City. On this side, the dish does not meet with any particular favour, although no supper-table is properly furnished without it.

Open two dozen oysters, and take the beards off. Put the oysters into a basin and squeeze over them the juice of half a lemon. Put the beards and the strained liquor into a saucepan with half a blade of mace, half a dozen peppercorns ground, a little grated lemon rind, and a pinch of cayenne. Simmer gently for a quarter of an hour, strain the liquid, thicken it with a little butter and flour, add a quarter of a pint (or a teacupful) of cream, and stir over the fire till quite smooth. Then put in the oysters, and let them warm through—they must not boil. Serve in a soup tureen, and little cubes of bread fried in bacon grease may be served with the stew, as with pea-soup.

Be very careful to whose care you entrust your barrel, or bag, of oysters, after you have got[Pg 175] them home. A consignment of the writer’s were, on one memorable and bitter cold Christmas Eve, consigned to the back dairy, by Matilda Anne. Result—frostbite, gapes, dissolution, disappointment, disagreeable language.

Ball Suppers.

More hard cash is wasted on these than even on ball dresses, which is saying a great deal. The alien caterer, or charcutier, is chiefly to blame for this; for he it is who has taught the British matron to wrap up wholesome food in coats of grease, inlaid with foreign substances, to destroy its flavour, and to bestow upon it an outward semblance other than its own. There was handed unto me, only the other evening, what I at first imagined to be a small section of the celebrated Taj Mahal at Agra, the magnificent mausoleum of the Emperor Shah Jehan. Reference to the bill-of-fare established the fact that I was merely sampling a galantine of turkey, smothered in some white glazy grease, inlaid with chopped carrot, green peas, truffles, and other things. And the marble column (also inlaid) which might have belonged to King Solomon’s Temple, at the top of the table, turned out to be a Tay salmon, decorated à la mode de charcutier, and tasting principally of garlic. A shriek from a fair neighbour caused me to turn my head in her direction; and it took some little time to discover, and to convince her, that the item on her plate was not a mouse, too frightened to move, but some preparation of the liver of a goose, in “aspic.”

[Pg 176]

This said Aspic—which has no connection with the asp which the fair Cleopatra kept on the premises, although a great French lexicographer says that aspic is so called because it is as cold as a snake—is invaluable in the numerous “schools of cookery” in the which British females are educated according to the teaching of the bad fairy Ala. The cold chicken and ham which delighted our ancestors at the supper-table—what has become of them? Yonder, my dear sir, is the fowl, in neat portions, minced, and made to represent fragments of the almond rock which delighted us whilst in the nursery. The ham has become a ridiculous mousse, placed in little accordion-pleated receptacles of snow-white paper; and those are not poached eggs atop, either, but dabs of whipped cream with a preserved apricot in the centre.

It was only the other day that I read in a journal written by ladies for ladies, of a dainty dish for luncheon or supper: croûtons smeared with bloater paste and surmounted with whipped cream; and in the same paper was a recipe for stuffing a fresh herring with mushrooms, parsley, yolk of egg, onion, and its own soft roe. I am of opinion that it was a bad day for the male Briton when the gudewife, with her gude-daughter, and her gude cook, abandoned the gude roast and boiled, in favour of the works of the all-powerful Ala.

And now let us proceed to discuss the most homely supper of all, and when I mention the magic word

[Pg 177]


there be few of my readers who will not at once allow that it is not only the most homely of food, but forms an ideal supper. This doctrine had not got in its work, however, in the ’sixties, at about which period the man who avowed himself an habitual tripe-eater must have been possessed of a considerable amount of nerve. Some of the supper-houses served it—such as the Albion, the Coal Hole, and more particularly, “Noakes’s,” the familiar name for the old Opera Tavern which used to face the Royal Italian Opera House, in Bow Street, Covent Garden. But the more genteel food-emporiums fought shy of tripe until within three decades of the close of the nineteenth century. Then it began to figure on the supper bills, in out-of-the-way corners; until supper-eaters in general discovered that this was not only an exceedingly cheap, but a very nourishing article of food, which did not require any special divine aid to digest. Then the price of tripe went up 75 per cent on the programmes. Then the most popular burlesque artiste of any age put the stamp of approval upon the new supper-dish, and tripe-dressing became as lucrative a profession as gold-crushing.

There is a legend afloat of an eminent actor—poor “Ned” Sothern, I fancy, as “Johnny” Toole would never have done such a thing—who bade some of his friends and acquaintance to supper, and regaled them on sundry rolls of house flannel, smothered with the orthodox onion sauce. But that is another story.[Pg 178] Practical jokes should find no place in this volume, which is written to benefit, and not alarm, posterity. Therefore let us discuss the problem

How to Cook Tripe.

Ask for “double-tripe,” and see that the dresser gives it you nice and white. Wash it, cut into portions, and place in equal parts of milk and water, boiling fast. Remove the saucepan from the hottest part of the fire, and let the tripe keep just on the boil for an hour and a half. Serve with whole onions and onion sauce—in this work you will not be told how to manufacture onion sauce—and baked potatoes should always accompany this dish to table.

Some people like their tripe cut into strips rolled up and tied with cotton, before being placed in the saucepan; but there is really no necessity to take this further trouble. And if the cook should forget to remove the cotton before serving, you might get your tongues tied in knots. In the North Riding of Yorkshire, some of the farmers’ wives egg-and-bread-crumb fillets of tripe, and fry them in the drip of thick rashers of ham which have been fried previously. The ham is served in the centre of the dish, with the fillets around the pig-pieces. This is said to be an excellent dish, but I prefer my tripe smothered in onions, like the timid “bunny.”

Edmund Yates, in his “Reminiscences,” describes “nice, cosy, little suppers,” of which in his early youth he used to partake, at the house of his maternal grandfather, in Kentish Town. “He[Pg 179] dined at two o’clock,” observed the late proprietor of the World, “and had the most delightful suppers at nine; suppers of sprats, or kidneys, or tripe and onions; with foaming porter and hot grog afterwards.”

I cannot share the enthusiasm possessed by some people for Sprats, as an article of diet. When very “full-blown,” the little fish make an excellent fertiliser for Marshal Niel roses; but as “winter whitebait,” or sardines they are hardly up to “Derby form.”

Sprats are not much encouraged at the fashionable hotels; and when tripe is brought to table, which is but rarely, that food is nearly always filleted, sprinkled with chopped parsley, and served with tomato sauce.

This is the sort of supper which is provided in the “gilt-edged” caravanserais of the metropolis, the following being a verbatim copy of a bill of fare at the Hotel Cecil:—

Souper, 5s.
Consommé Riche en tasses.
Laitances Frites, Villeroy.
Côte de Mouton aux Haricots Verts.
Chaudfroid de Mauviettes. Strasbourg evisie.
Biscuit Cecil.

A lady-like repast this; and upon the whole, not dear. But roast loin of mutton hardly sounds tasty enough for a meal partaken of somewhere about the stroke of midnight. Still, such a supper is by no means calculated to “murder sleep.” Upon the other hand it is a[Pg 180] little difficult to credit the fact that the whole of the party invited by “My Lord Tomnoddy” to refresh themselves at the “Magpie and Stump,” including the noble host himself, should have slumbered peacefully, with a noisy crowd in the street, after a supper which consisted of

“Cold fowl and cigars,
Pickled onions in jars,
Welsh rabbits and kidneys,
Rare work for the jaws.”

[Pg 181]


SUPPER (continued)

“To feed were best at home;
From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.”

Old supper-houses—The Early Closing Act—Evans’s—Cremorne Gardens—The “Albion”—Parlour cookery—Kidneys fried in the fire-shovel—The true way to grill a bone—“Cannie Carle”—My lady’s bower—Kidney dumplings—A Middleham supper—Steaks cut from a colt by brother to “Strafford” out of sister to “Bird on the Wing.”

The Early Closing Act of 1872 had a disastrous effect upon the old London supper-houses. What Mr. John Hollingshead never tired of calling the “slap-me-and-put-me-to-bed law” rang the knell of many a licensed tavern, well-conducted, where plain, well-cooked food and sound liquor were to be obtained by men who would have astonished their respective couches had they sought them before the small hours.


The “Cave of Harmony” of Thackeray was a different place to the “Evans’s” of my youthful[Pg 182] days. Like the younger Newcome, I was taken there in the first instance, by the author of my being. But Captain Costigan was conspicuous by his absence; and “Sam Hall” was non est. I noted well the abnormal size of the broiled kidneys, and in my ignorance of anatomy, imagined that Evans’s sheep must be subjected to somewhat the same process—the “ordeal by fire”—as the Strasbourg geese. And the potatoes—zounds, sirs! What potatoes! “Shall I turn it out, sir?” inquired the attentive waiter; and, as he seized the tuber, enveloped in the snow-white napkin, broke it in two, and ejected a floury pyramid upon my plate, I would, had I known of such a decoration in those days, have gladly recommended that attendant for the Distinguished Service order. In the course of many visits I never saw any supper commodity served here besides chops, steaks, kidneys, welsh-rarebits, poached eggs, and (I think) sausages; and the earliest impression made upon a youthful memory was the air of extreme confidence which pervaded the place. We certainly “remembered” the waiter; but not even a potato was paid for until we encountered the head functionary at the exit door; and his peculiar ideas of arithmetic would have given Bishop Colenso a succession of fits.

Who “Evans” was, we neither knew nor cared. “Paddy” Green, with his chronic smile, was enough for us; as he proffered his ever-ready snuff-box, inquired after our relatives—“Paddy,” like “Spanky” at Eton, knew everybody—and implored silence whilst the quintette Integer Vitæ was being sung by the choir. We[Pg 183] used to venerate that quintette far more than any music we ever heard in church, and I am certain “Paddy” Green would have backed his little pack of choristers—who, according to the general belief, passed the hours of daylight in waking the echoes of St. Paul’s Cathedral, or Westminster Abbey, and therefore, at Evans’s, always looked a bit stale and sleepy—against any choir in the world. As for Harry Sidney, the fat, jolly-looking gentleman who was wont to string together the topics of the day and reproduce them, fresh as rolls, set to music, we could never hear enough of him; and I wish I had now some of the half-crowns which in the past were bestowed upon Herr Von Joel, the indifferent siffleur, who was “permanently retained upon the premises,” and who was always going to take a benefit the following week.

“Kidneys and ’armony”—that was the old programme in the “Cave.” And then the march of time killed poor old Paddy, and another management reigned. Gradually the “lady element” was introduced, and a portion of the hall was set apart for the mixed assembly. And then came trouble, and, finally, disestablishment. And for some time before the closing of the Cave as a place of entertainment, it was customary to remove the fine old pictures (what became of them, I wonder), from the walls, at “Varsity Boat Race” time. For the undergraduate of those days was nothing if not rowdy. Youth will have its fling; and at Evans’s the fling took the form of tumblers. Well do I recollect a fight in “the old style” in the very part of the “Cave” where[Pg 184] eminent barristers, actors, and other wits of a past age, used to congregate. The premier boxer of Cambridge University had been exercising his undoubted talents as a breaker of glass, during the evening, and at length the overwrought manager obliged him with an opponent worthy of his fists in the person of a waiter who could also put up his fists. Several rounds were fought, strictly according to the rules of the Prize Ring, and in the result, whilst the waiter had sustained considerable damage to his ribs, the “Cambridge gent” had two very fine black eyes. Well do I remember that “mill,” also the waiter, who afterwards became an habitual follower of the turf.

If Cremorne introduced the fashion of “long drinks,” sodas, and et ceteras, the suppers served in the old gardens had not much to recommend them. A slice or two of cold beef, or a leg of a chicken, with some particularly salt ham, formed the average fare; but those who possessed their souls with patience occasionally saw something hot, in the way of food—chiefly cutlets. The great virtue of the cutlet is that it can be reheated; and one dish not infrequently did duty for more than one party. The rejected portion, in fact, would “reappear” as often as a retiring actor. “I know them salmon cutlets,” the waiter in Pink Dominoes used to observe, “as well as I know my own mother!” In fact, Cremorne, like the “night houses” of old, was not an ideal place to sup at.

But, per contra, the “Albion” was. Until the enforcement of the “slap-me-and-put-me-to-bed”[Pg 185] policy there was no more justly celebrated house of entertainment than the one which almost faced the stage door of Drury Lane theatre, in Great Russell Street. One of the brothers Cooper—another kept the Rainbow in Fleet Street—retired on a fortune made here, simply by pursuing the policy of giving his customers the best of everything. And a rare, Bohemian stamp of customers he had, too—a nice, large-hearted, open-handed lot of actors, successful and otherwise, dramatic critics ditto, and ditto journalists, also variegated in degree; with the usual, necessary, leavening of the “City” element. The custom of the fair sex was not encouraged at the old tavern; though in a room on the first floor they were permitted to sup, if in “the profession” and accompanied by males, whose manners and customs could be vouched for. In winter time, assorted grills, of fish, flesh, and fowl, were served as supper dishes; whilst tripe was the staple food. Welsh rarebits, too, were in immense demand. And I think it was here that I devoured, with no fear of the future before my plate, a

Buck Rarebit.

During the silent watches of the rest of the morning, bile and dyspepsia fought heroically for my soul; and yet the little animal is easy enough to prepare, being nothing grander than a Welsh rarebit, with a poached egg atop. But the little tins (silver, like the forks and spoons, until the greed and forgetfulness of mankind necessitated the substitution of electro-plate) which the Hebes[Pg 186] at the “Old Cheshire Cheese” fill with fragments of the hostelry’s godfather—subsequently to be stewed in good old ale—are less harmful to the interior of the human diaphragm.

A favourite Albion supper-dish during the summer months was

Lamb’s Head and Mince.

I have preserved the recipe, a gift from one of the waiters—but whether Ponsford, Taylor, or “Shakespeare” (so-called because he bore not the faintest resemblance to the immortal bard) I forget—and here it is:

The head should be scalded, scraped, and well washed. Don’t have it singed, in the Scottish fashion, as lamb’s wool is not nice to eat. Then put it, with the liver (the sweetbread was chopped up with the brain, I fancy), into a stewpan, with a Spanish onion stuck with cloves, a bunch of parsley, a little thyme, a carrot, a turnip, a bay leaf, some crushed peppercorns, a tablespoonful of salt, and half a gallon of cold water. Let it boil up, skim, and then simmer for an hour. Divide the head, take out the tongue and brain, and dry the rest of the head in a cloth. Mince the liver and tongue, season with salt and pepper, and simmer in the original gravy (thickened) for half-an-hour. Brush the two head-halves with yolk of egg, grate bread crumbs over, and bake in oven. The brain and sweetbread to be chopped and made into cakes, fried, and then placed in the dish around the head-halves.

Ah me! The old tavern, after falling into bad ways, entertaining “extra-ladies” and ruined gamesters, has been closed for years.[Pg 187] The ground floor was a potato warehouse the last time I passed the place. And it should be mentioned that the actors, journalists, etc., who, in the ’seventies, possessed smaller means, or more modest ambitions, were in the habit of supping—on supping days—at a cheaper haunt in the Strand, off (alleged) roast goose. But, according to one Joseph Eldred, a comedian of some note and shirt-cuff, the meat which was apportioned to us here was, in reality, always bullock’s heart, sliced, and with a liberal allowance of sage and onions. “It’s the seasoning as does it,” observed Mr. Samuel Weller.

Then there was another Bohemian house of call, and supper place, in those nights—the “Occidental,” once known as the “Coal Hole,” where, around a large, beautifully polished mahogany table, many of the wits of the town—“Harry” Leigh and “Tom” Purnell were two of the inveterates—sat, and devoured Welsh rarebits, and other things. The house, too, could accommodate not a few lodgers; and one of its great charms was that nobody cared a button what time you retired to your couch, or what time you ordered breakfast. In these matters, the Occidental resembled the “Limmer’s” of the “Billy Duff” era, and the “Lane’s” of my own dear subaltern days.

Parlour Cookery.

It was after the last-named days that, whilst on tour with various dramatic combinations—more from necessity than art, as far as I was concerned—that the first principles of parlour[Pg 188] cookery became impregnated in mine understanding. We were not all “stars,” although we did our best. Salaries were (according to the advertisements) “low but sure”; and (according to experiences) by no means as sure as death, or taxes. The “spectre” did not invariably assume his “martial stalk,” of a Saturday; and cheap provincial lodgings do not hold out any extra inducement in the way of cookery. So, whilst we endured the efforts of the good landlady at the early dinner, some of us determined to dish up our own suppers. For the true artist never really feels (or never used to feel, at all events) like “picking a bit” until merely commercial folks have gone to bed.

Many a time and oft, with the aid of a cigar box (empty, of course), a couple of books, and an arrangement of plates, have I prepared a savoury supper of mushrooms, toasted cheese, or a kebob of larks, or other small fowl, in front of the fire. More than once have I received notice to quit the next morning for grilling kidneys on the perforated portion of a handsome and costly steel fire-shovel. And by the time I had become sufficiently advanced in culinary science to stew tripe and onions, in an enamel-lined saucepan, the property of the “responsible gent,” we began to give ourselves airs. Landladies’ ideas on the subject of supper for “theatricals,” it may be mentioned, seldom soared above yeast dumplings. And few of us liked the name, even, of yeast dumplings.

But perhaps the champion effort of all was when I was sojourning in the good city of[Pg 189] Carlisle—known to its inhabitants by the pet name of “Cannie Carle.” A good lady was, for her sins, providing us with board and lodging, in return for (promised) cash. My then companion was a merry youth who afterwards achieved fame by writing the very funniest and one of the most successful of three-act farces that was ever placed upon the stage. Now there is not much the matter with a good joint of ribs of beef, roasted to a turn. But when that beef is placed on the table hot for the Sunday dinner, and cold at every succeeding meal until finished up, one’s appetite for the flesh of the ox begins to slacken. So we determined on the Wednesday night to “strike” for a tripe supper.

“Indeed,” protested the good landlady, “ye’ll get nae tripe in this hoose, cannie men. Hae ye no’ got guid beef, the noo?”

Late that night we had grilled bones for supper; not the ordinary

Grilled Bones

which you get in an eating house, but a vastly superior article. We, or rather my messmate, cut a rib from off the aforementioned beef, scored the flesh across, and placed the bone in the centre of a beautifully clear fire which had been specially prepared. It was placed there by means of the tongs—a weapon of inestimable value in Parlour Cookery—and withdrawn by the same medium. Some of the black wanted scraping off the surface of the meat, but the grill was a perfect dream. The Gubbins Sauce, already mentioned in this volume, had not at that time been invented; but[Pg 190] as I was never without a bottle of Tapp Sauce—invaluable for Parlour Cookery; you can get it at Stembridge’s—we had plenty of relish. Then we severed another rib from the carcase, and served it in the same manner. For it was winter time and we had wearied of frigid ox.

Next morning the landlady’s face was a study. I rather think that after some conversation, we propitiated her with an order for two for the dress circle; but it is certain that we had tripe that evening.

An ideal supper in miladi’s boudoir is associated, in the writer’s mind, with rose-coloured draperies, dainty china, a cosy fire, a liberal display of lingerie, a strong perfume of heliotrope and orris root—and miladi herself. When next she invites her friends, she will kindly order the following repast to be spread:—

Clear soup, in cups.
Fillets of soles Parisienne.
Chaudfroid of Quails.
Barded sweetbreads.
Perigord pâté.

By way of contrast, let me quote a typical supper-dish which the “poor player” used to order, when he could afford it.

Kidney Dumpling.

Cut a large Spanish onion in half. Take out the heart, and substitute a sheep’s kidney, cut into four. Season with salt and pepper, join the two halves, and enclose in a paste. Bake on a buttered tin, in a moderate oven, for about an hour.

N.B.—Be sure the cook bakes this dumpling, as it is not nice boiled.

[Pg 191]

An artistic friend who at one time of his life resided near the great horse-training centre of Middleham, in Yorkshire, gave a steak supper at the principal inn, to some of the stable attendants. The fare was highly approved of.

“Best Scotch beef I ever put tooth into!” observed the “head lad” at old Tom Lawson’s stables.

“Ah!” returned the host, who was a bit of a wag, “your beef was cut from a colt of Lord Glasgow’s that was thought highly of at one time; and he was shot the day before yesterday.”

And it was so. For Lord Glasgow never sold nor gave away a horse, but had all his “failures” shot.

And then a great cry went up for brown brandy.

[Pg 192]



“Thou didst eat strange flesh,
Which some did die to look on.”

The ups and downs of life—Stirring adventures—Marching on to glory—Shooting in the tropics—Pepper-pot—With the Rajah Sahib—Goat-sacrifices at breakfast time—Simla to Cashmere—Manners and customs of Thibet—Burmah—No place to get fat in—Insects—Voracity of the natives—Snakes—Sport in the Jungle—Loaded for snipe, sure to meet tiger—With the gippos—No baked hedgehog—Cheap milk.

The intelligent reader may have gathered from some of the foregoing pages that the experiences of the writer have been of a variegated nature. As an habitual follower of the Turf once observed:

“When we’re rich we rides in chaises,
And when we’re broke we walks like ——”

Never mind what. It was an evil man who said it, but he was a philosopher. Dinner in the gilded saloon one day, on the next no dinner at all, and the key of the street. Such is life!

Those experiences do not embrace a mortal[Pg 193] combat with a “grizzly” in the Rockies, nor a tramp through a miasma-laden forest in Darkest Africa, with nothing better to eat than poisonous fungi, assorted grasses, red ants, and dwarfs; nor yet a bull fight. But they include roughing it in the bush, on underdone bread and scorched kangaroo, a tramp from Benares to the frontier of British India, another tramp or two some way beyond that frontier, a dreadful journey across the eternal snows of the Himalayas, a day’s shooting in the Khyber Pass, a railway accident in Middlesex, a mad elephant (he had killed seven men, one of them blind) hunt at Thayet Myoo, in British Burmah, a fine snake anecdote or two, a night at Cambridge with an escaped lunatic, a tiger story (of course), and a capture for debt by an officer of the Sheriff of Pegu, with no other clothing on his body than a short jacket of gaily coloured silk, and a loin cloth. My life’s history is never likely to be written—chiefly through sheer laziness on my own part, and the absence of the gambling instinct on that of the average publisher—but like the brown gentleman who smothered his wife, I have “seen things.”

In this chapter no allusion will be made to “up river” delights, the only idea of “camping out” which is properly understood by the majority of “up to date” young men and maidens; for this theme has been already treated, most comically and delightfully, by Mr. Jerome, in the funniest book I ever read. My own camping experiences have been for the most part in foreign lands, though I have seen the sun rise, whilst reclining beneath the Royal trees in St. James’s[Pg 194] Park; and as this book is supposed to deal with gastronomy, rather than adventure, a brief sketch of camp life must suffice.

On the march! What a time those who “served the Widdy”—by which disrespectful term, our revered Sovereign was not known in those days—used to have before the continent of India had been intersected by the railroad! The absence of one’s proper quantum of rest, the forced marches over kutcha (imperfectly made) bye-roads, the sudden changes of temperature, raids of the native thief, the troubles with “bobbery” camels, the still more exasperating behaviour of the bail-wallahs (bullock-drivers), the awful responsibilities of the officer-on-baggage-guard, on active duty, often in the saddle for fifteen hours at a stretch, the absolutely necessary cattle-raids, by the roadside—all these things are well known to those who have undergone them, but are far too long “another story” to be related here. As for the food partaken of during a march with the regiment, the bill-of-fare differed but little from that of the cantonments; but the officer who spent a brief holiday in a shooting expedition had to “rough it” in more ways than one.

There was plenty of game all over the continent in my youthful days, and the average shot need not have lacked a dinner, even if he had not brought with him a consignment of “Europe” provisions. English bread was lacking, certainly, and biscuits, native or otherwise—“otherwise” for choice, as the bazaar article tasted principally of pin-cushions and the smoke of dried and lighted[Pg 195] cow-dung—or the ordinary chupatti, the flat, unleavened cake, which the poor Indian manufactures for his own consumption. Cold tea is by far the best liquid to carry—or rather to have carried for you—whilst actually shooting; but the weary sportsman will require something more exciting, and more poetical, on his return to camp. As for solid fare it was usually


for dinner, day by day. We called it Pepper-pot—that is to say, although it differed somewhat from the West Indian concoction of that name, for which the following is the recipe:—

Put the remains of any cold flesh or fowl into a saucepan, and cover with cassaripe—which has been already described in the Curry chapter as extract of Manioc root. Heat up the stew and serve.

Our pepper-pot was usually made in a gipsy-kettle, suspended from a tripod. The foundation of the stew was always a tin of some kind of soup. Then a few goat chops—mutton is bad to buy out in the jungle—and then any bird or beast that may have been shot, divided into fragments. I have frequently made a stew of this sort, with so many ingredients in it that the flavour when served out at table—or on the bullock-trunk which often did duty for a table—would have beaten the wit of man to describe. There was hare soup “intil’t” (as the Scotsman said to the late Prince Consort), and a collop or two of buffalo-beef, with snipe, quails, and jungle-fowl. There were half the neck of an[Pg 196] antelope and a few sliced onions lurking within the bowl. And there were potatoes “intil’t,” and plenty of pepper and salt. And for lack of cassaripe we flavoured the savoury mess with mango chutnee and Tapp sauce. And if any cook, English or foreign, can concoct a more worthy dish than this, or more grateful to the palate, said cook can come my way.

The old dak gharry method of travelling in India may well come under the head of Camping Out. In the hot weather we usually progressed—or got emptied into a ditch—or collided with something else, during the comparative “coolth” of the night; resting (which in Hindustan usually means perspiring and calling the country names) all day at one or other of the dak bungalows provided by a benevolent Government for the use of the wandering sahib. The larder at one of those rest-houses was seldom well filled. Although the khansamah who prostrated himself in the sand at your approach would declare that he was prepared to supply everything which the protector-of-the-poor might deign to order, it would be found on further inquiry that the khansamah had, like the Player Queen in Hamlet, protested too much—that he was a natural romancer. And his “everything” usually resolved itself into a “spatch-cock,” manufactured from the spectral rooster, who had heralded the approach of the sahib’s caravan.

A Rajah’s

ideas of hospitality are massive. Labouring under the belief that the white sahib when not eating[Pg 197] must necessarily be drinking, the commissariat arrangements of Rajahdom are on a colossal scale—for the chief benefit of his major domo. I might have bathed in dry champagne, had the idea been pleasing, whilst staying with a certain genial prince, known to irreverent British subalterns as “Old Coppertail”; whilst the bedroom furniture was on the same liberal scale. True, I lay on an ordinary native charpoy, which might have been bought in the bazaar for a few annas, but there was a grand piano in one corner of the apartment, and a buhl cabinet containing rare china in another. There was a coloured print of the Governor-General over the doorway, and an oil painting of the Judgment of Solomon over the mantelshelf. And on a table within easy reach of the bed was a silver-plated dinner service, decked with fruits and sweetmeats, and tins of salmon, and pots of Guava jelly and mixed pickles, and two tumblers, each of which would have easily held a week-old baby. And there was a case of champagne beneath that table, with every appliance for cutting wires and extracting the corks.

Another time the writer formed one of a small party invited to share the hospitality of a potentate, whose estate lay on the snowy side of Simla. The fleecy element, however, was not in evidence in June, the month of our visit, although towards December Simla herself is usually wrapt in the white mantle, and garrisoned by monkeys, who have fled from the land of ice. Tents had been erected for us in a barren-looking valley, somewhat famous, however, for the cultivation of[Pg 198] potatoes. There was an annual celebration of some sort, the day after our arrival, and for breakfast that morning an al fresco meal had been prepared for us, almost within whispering distance of an heathen temple. And it was a breakfast! There was a turkey stuffed with a fowl, to make the breast larger, and there was a “Europe” ham. A tin of lobster, a bottle of pickled walnuts, a dreadful concoction, alleged to be an omelette, but looking more like the sole of a tennis shoe, potatoes, boiled eggs, a dish of Irish stew, a fry of small fish, a weird-looking curry, a young goat roasted whole, and a plum pudding!

The tea had hardly been poured out—Kussowlie beer, Epps’s cocoa, and (of course) champagne, and John Exshaw’s brandy were also on tap—when a gentleman with very little on proceeded to decapitate a goat at the foot of the temple steps. This was somewhat startling, but when the (presumed) high-priest chopped off the head of another bleating victim, our meal was interrupted. The executions had been carried out in very simple fashion. First, the priest sprinkled a little water on the neck of the victim (who was held in position by an assistant), and then retired up the steps. Then, brandishing a small sickle, he rushed back, and in an instant off went the head, which was promptly carried, reeking with gore, within the temple. But if, as happened more than once, the head was not sliced off at the initial attempt, it was left on the ground when decapitation had been at length effected. The deity inside was evidently a bit particular!

[Pg 199]

Nine goats had been sacrificed, ere our remonstrances were attended to; and we were allowed to pursue our meal in peace. But I don’t think anybody had goat for breakfast that morning.

Later on, the fun of the fair commenced, and the paharis, or hill men, trooped in from miles round, with their sisters, cousins, and aunts. Their wives, we imagined, were too busily occupied in carrying their accustomed loads of timber to and fro. Your Himalayan delights in a fair, and the numerous swings and roundabouts were all well patronised; whilst the jugglers, and the snake charmers—in many instances it was difficult to tell at a glance which was charmer and which snake—were all well patronised. Later on, when the lamps had been lit, a burra nâtch was started, and the Bengali Baboos who had come all the way from Simla in dhoolies to be present at this, applauded vigorously. And our host being in constant dread lest we should starve to death or expire of thirst, never tired of bidding us to a succession of banquets at which we simply went through the forms of eating, to please him. And just when we began to get sleepy these simple hill folks commenced to dance amongst themselves. They were just a little monotonous, their choregraphic efforts. Parties of men linked arms and sidled around fires of logs, singing songs of their mountain homes the while. And as they were evidently determined to make a night of it, sleep for those who understood not the game, with their tents close handy, was out of the question. And when, as soon as we[Pg 200] could take our departure decently and decorously, we started up the hill again, those doleful monotonous dances were still in progress, although the fires were out, and the voices decidedly husky. A native of the Himalayas is nothing if not energetic—in his own interests be it understood.

A few months later I formed one of a small party who embarked on a more important expedition than the last named, although we traversed the same road. It is a journey which has frequently been made since, from Simla to Cashmere, going as far into the land of the Great Llama as the inhabitants will allow the stranger to do—which is not very far; but, in the early sixties there were but few white men who had even skirted Thibet. In the afternoon of life, when stirring the fire has become preferable to stirring adventure, it seems (to the writer at all events) very like an attempt at self-slaughter to have travelled so many hundreds of miles along narrow goatpaths, with a khud (precipice) of thousands of feet on one side or the other; picking one’s way, if on foot, over the frequent avalanche (or “land slip,” as we called it in those days) of shale or granite; or if carried in a dhoolie—which is simply a hammock attached by straps to a bamboo pole—running the risk of being propelled over a precipice by your heathen carriers. It is not the pleasantest of sensations to cross a mountain torrent by means of a frail bridge (called a jhula) of ropes made from twigs, and stretched many feet above the torrent itself, nor to “weather”[Pg 201] a corner, whilst clinging tooth and nail to the face of a cliff. And when there is any riding to be done, most people would prefer a hill pony to a yak, the native ox of Thibet. By far the best part of a yak is his beautiful silky, fleecy tail, which is largely used in Hindustan, by dependants of governors-general, commanders-in-chief, and other mighty ones, for the discomfiture of the frequent fly. A very little equestrian exercise on the back of a yak goes a long way; and if given my choice, I would sooner ride a stumbling cab-horse in a saddle with spikes in it.

But those days were our salad ones; we were not only “green of judgment,” but admirers of the beautiful, and reckless of danger. But it was decidedly “roughing it.” As it is advisable to traverse that track as lightly laden as possible, we took but few “Europe” provisions with us, depending upon the villages, for the most part, for our supplies. We usually managed to buy a little flour, wherewith to make the inevitable chupati, and at some of the co-operative stores en route, we obtained mutton of fair flavour. We did not know in those days that flesh exposed to the air, in the higher ranges of the Himalayas, will not putrefy, else we should have doubtless made a species of biltong of the surplus meat, to carry with us in case of any famine about. So “short commons” frequently formed the bill of fare. Our little stock of brandy was carefully husbanded, against illness; and, judging from the subsequent histories of two of the party, this was the most miraculous[Pg 202] feature of the expedition. For liquid refreshment we had neat water, and thé à la mode de Thibet. Doctor Nansen, in his book on the crossing of Greenland, inveighs strongly against the use of alcohol in an Arctic expedition; but I confess that the first time I tasted Thibet tea I would have given both my ears for a soda and brandy. The raw tea was compressed into the shape of a brick, with the aid of—we did not inquire what; its infusion was drunk, either cold or lukewarm, flavoured with salt, and a small lump of butter which in any civilised police court would have gained the vendor a month’s imprisonment without the option of a fine.

The people of the district were in the habit of gorging themselves with flesh when they could get it; and polyandry was another of their pleasant customs. We saw one lady who was married to three brothers, but did not boast of it. Thibet is probably the most priest-ridden country in the world, and ought to be the most religious; for the natives can grind out their prayers, on wheels, at short intervals, in pretty much the same way as we grind our coffee in dear old England.

But we reached the promised land at last; and here at least there was no lack of food and drink. Meat was cheap in those days; and one of the party, without any bargaining whatever, purchased a sheep for eight annas, or one shilling sterling. Mutton is not quite as cheap at the time of writing this book (1897), I believe; but in the long ago there were but few English[Pg 203] visitors to the land of Lalla Rookh, and those who did go had to obtain permission of the Rajah, through the British Resident.

With improved transit, and a railroad from Rangoon to Mandalay, matters gastronomic may be better in British Burmah nowadays; but in the course of an almost world-wide experience I have never enjoyed food less than in Pagoda-land during the sixties. And as a Burmese built house was not a whit more comfortable than a tent, and far less waterproof, this subject may well be included in the chapter headed “Camping Out.” Fruits there were, varied and plentiful; and if you only planted the crown of a pine-apple in your compound one evening you would probably find a decent-sized pine-apple above ground next—well, next week. At least so they told me when I arrived in the country. This fruit, in fact, was so plentiful that we used to peel the pines, and gnaw them, just like a school-boy would gnaw the ordinary variety of apple. But we had no mutton—not up the country, that is to say; and we were entirely dependent upon Madras for potatoes. Therefore, as there was only a steamer once a month from Madras to Rangoon, which invariably missed the Irrawaddy monthly mail-boat, we “exiles” had to content ourselves with yams, or the abominable “preserved” earth-apple. The insects of the air wrestled with us at the mess-table, for food; and the man who did not swallow an evil-tasting fly of some sort in his soup was lucky.[9] As for the food of the Burman himself,[Pg 204] “absolutely beastly” was no name for it. Strips of cat-fish the colour of beef were served at his marriage feasts; and he was especially fond of a condiment the name of which was pronounced nuppee—although that is probably not the correct spelling, and I never studied the language of that country—which was concocted from a smaller description of fish, buried in the earth until decomposition had triumphed, and then mashed up with ghee (clarified—and “postponed”—butter). There was, certainly, plenty of shooting to be obtained in the district; but, as it rained in torrents for nine months in every year, the shooter required a considerable amount of nerve, and, in addition to a Boyton suit, case-hardened lungs and throat. And, singularly enough, it was an established fact that if loaded for snipe you invariably met a tiger, or something else with sharp teeth, and vice versa. Also, you were exceptionally fortunate if you did not step upon one of the venomous snakes of the country, of whom the hamadryad’s bite was said to be fatal within five minutes. I had omitted to mention that snake is also a favourite food of the Burman; and as I seldom went home of an evening without finding a rat-snake or two in the verandah, or the arm-chair, the natives had snake for breakfast, most days. The rat-snake is, however, quite harmless to life.

I have “camped out” in England once or[Pg 205] twice; once with a select circle of gipsies, the night before the Derby. I wished merely to study character; and, after giving them a few words of the Romany dialect, and a good deal of tobacco, I was admitted into their confidences. But the experience gained was not altogether pleasing, nor yet edifying; nor did we have baked hedgehog for supper. In fact I have never yet met the “gippo” (most of them keep fowls) who will own to having tasted this bonne bouche of the descriptive writer. Possibly this is on account of the scarcity of the hedgehog. “Tea-kettle broth”—bread sopped in water, with a little salt and dripping to flavour the soup—on the other hand, figures on most of the gipsy menus. And upon one occasion, very early in the morning, another wanderer and the writer obtained much-needed liquid refreshment by milking the yield of a Jersey cow into each other’s mouths, alternately. But this was a long time ago, and in the neighbourhood of Bagshot Heath, and it was somebody else’s cow; so let no more be said about it.

I fear this chapter is not calculated to make many mouths water. In fact what in the world has brought it into the midst of a work on gastronomy I am at a loss to make out. However here it is.

[Pg 206]



“Flow wine! Smile woman!
And the universe is consoled.”

Derivation of punch—“Five”—The “milk” brand—The best materials—Various other punches—Bischoff or Bishop—“Halo” punch—Toddy—The toddy tree of India—Flip—A “peg”—John Collins—Out of the guard-room.

The subject of Punch is such an important one that it may be placed first on the list of dainty beverages which can be made by the art or application of man or woman.

First, let us take the origin of the word. Doctor Kitchener, an acknowledged authority, during his lifetime, on all matters connected with eating and drinking, has laid it down that punch is of West Indian origin, and that the word when translated, means “five”; because there be five ingredients necessary in the concoction of the beverage. But Doctor Kitchener and his disciples (of whom there be many) may go to the bottom of the cookery class; for although from the large connection which rum and limes have[Pg 207] with the mixture, there would seem to be a West Indian flavour about it; the word “five,” when translated into West Indianese, is nothing like “punch.” Having satisfied themselves that this is a fact, modern authorities have tried the East Indies for the source of the name, and have discovered that panch in Hindustani really does mean “five.” “Therefore,” says one modern authority, “it is named punch from the five ingredients which compose it—(1) spirit, (2) acid, (3) spice, (4) sugar, (5) water.” Another modern authority calls punch “a beverage introduced into England from India, and so called from being usually made of five (Hindi, panch) ingredients—arrack, tea, sugar, water, and lemon juice.” This sounds far more like an East Indian concoction than the other; but at the same time punch—during the latter half of the nineteenth century at all events—was as rare a drink in Hindustan as bhang in Great Britain. The panch theory is an ingenious one, but there are plenty of other combinations (both liquid and solid) of five to which the word punch is never applied; and about the last beverage recommended by the faculty for the consumption of the sojourner in the land of the Great Mogul, would, I should think, be the entrancing, seductive one which we Britons know under the name of punch. Moreover it is not every punch-concoctor who uses five ingredients. In the minds of some—youthful members of the Stock Exchange, for the most part—water is an altogether unnecessary addition to the alcoholic mixture which is known by the above name. And what manner of man would add spice to[Pg 208] that delight of old Ireland, “a jug o’ punch?” On the other hand, in many recipes, there are more than five ingredients used.

But after all, the origin of the name is of but secondary importance, as long as you can make punch. Therefore, we will commence with a few recipes for

Milk Punch.

1. Three bottles of rum.
The most delicately-flavoured rum is the “Liquid
Sunshine” brand.
One bottle of sherry.
13 lbs of loaf-sugar.
The rind of six lemons, and the juice of twelve.
One quart of boiling skimmed milk.

Mix together, let the mixture stand eight days, stirring it each day. Strain and bottle, and let it stand three months. Then re-bottle, and let the bottles lie on their sides in the cellar for two years, to mature. The flavour will be much better than if drunk after the first period of three months.

It is not everybody, however, who would care to wait two years, three months, and eight days for the result of his efforts in punch-making. Therefore another recipe may be appended; and in this one no “close time” is laid down for the consumption of the mixture.

2. Put into a bottle of rum or brandy the thinly-pared rinds of three Seville oranges, and three lemons. Cork tightly for two days. Rub off on 2 lbs of lump sugar the rinds of six lemons, squeeze the juice from the whole of the fruit over the 2 lbs of sugar, add three quarts of boiling water, one of boiling milk, half a teaspoonful of nutmeg, and mix all thoroughly[Pg 209] well together until the sugar is dissolved. Pour in the rum or brandy, stir, and strain till clear; bottle closely.

There is more than one objection to this recipe. (1) Rum, and not brandy (by itself), should be used for milk punch. (2) There is an “intolerable amount” of water; and (3) the nutmeg had better remain in the spice-box.

3. Cut off the thin yellow rind of four lemons and a Seville orange, taking care not to include even a fragment of the white rind, and place in a basin. Pour in one pint of Jamaica rum, and let it stand, covered over, twelve hours. Then strain, and mix with it one pint of lemon juice, and two pints of cold water, in which one pound of sugar-candy has been dissolved; add the whites of two eggs, beaten to a froth, three pints more of rum, one pint of madeira, one pint of strong green tea, and a large wine-glassful of maraschino. Mix thoroughly, and pour over all one pint of boiling milk. Let the punch stand a little while, then strain through a jelly-bag, and either use at once, or bottle off.

Here let it be added, lest the precept be forgotten, that the

Very best Materials

are absolutely necessary for the manufacture of punch, as of other compound drinks. In the above recipe for instance by “madeira,” is meant “Rare Old East Indian,” and not marsala, which wine, in French kitchens, is invariably used as the equivalent of madeira. There must be no inferior sherry, Gladstone claret, cheap champagne, nor potato-brandy, used for any of[Pg 210] my recipes, or I will not be responsible for the flavour of the beverage. The following is the best idea of a milk punch known to the writer:—

4. Over the yellow rind of four lemons and one Seville orange, pour one pint of rum. Let it stand, covered over, for twelve hours. Strain and mix in two pints more of rum, one pint of brandy, one pint of sherry, half-a-pint of lemon juice, the expressed juice of a peeled pine-apple, one pint of green tea, one pound of sugar dissolved in one quart of boiling water, the whites of two eggs beaten up, one quart of boiling milk. Mix well, let it cool, and then strain through a jelly-bag, and bottle off.

This punch is calculated to make the epicure forget that he has just been partaking of conger-eel broth instead of clear turtle.

Cambridge Milk Punch.

This a fairly good boys’ beverage, there being absolutely “no offence in’t.” Put the rind of half a lemon (small) into one pint of new milk, with twelve lumps of sugar. Boil very slowly for fifteen minutes, then remove from the fire, take out the lemon rind, and mix in the yolk of one egg, which has been previously blended with one tablespoonful of cold milk, two tablespoonfuls of brandy, and four of rum. Whisk all together, and when the mixture is frothed, it is ready to serve.

Oxford Punch.

There is no milk in this mixture, which sounds like “for’ard on!” for the undergraduate who for the first time samples it.

[Pg 211]

Rub off the yellow rind of three lemons with half-a-pound of loaf sugar. Put the result into a large jug, with the yellow rind of one Seville orange, the juice of three Seville oranges and eight lemons, and one pint of liquefied calf’s-foot jelly. Mix thoroughly, then pour over two quarts of boiling water, and set the jug on the hob for thirty minutes. Strain the mixture into a punch-bowl, and when cool add one small bottle of capillaire (an infusion of maidenhair fern, flavoured with sugar and orange-flower water); one pint of brandy, one pint of rum, half-a-pint of dry sherry, and one quart of orange shrub—a mixture of orange-peel, juice, sugar, and rum.

After drinking this, the young student will be in a fit state to sally forth, with his fellows, and “draw” a Dean, or drown an amateur journalist.

I have a very old recipe, in MS., for “Bischoff,” which I take to be the original of the better known beverage called “Bishop,” for the manufacture of which I have also directions. For the sake of comparison I give the two.


Cut into four parts each, three Seville oranges, and slightly score the rinds across with a sharp knife. Roast the quarters lightly before a slow fire, and put them into a bowl with two bottles of claret, with a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Infuse this mixture over a slow heat for five or six hours, then pass it through a jelly-bag, and sweeten. It may be drunk hot or cold, but in any case must never be allowed to boil.

[Pg 212]


Two drachmas each of cloves, mace, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice, boiled in half-a-pint of water for thirty minutes. Strain. Put a bottle of port in a saucepan over the fire, add the spiced infusion, and a lemon stuck with six cloves. Whilst this is heating gradually—it must not boil—take four ounces of loaf sugar, and with the lumps grate off the outer rind of a lemon into a punch-bowl. Add the sugar, and juice, and the hot wine, etc. Add another bottle of port, and serve either hot or cold.

I am prepared to lay a shade of odds on the “op” against the “off.”

Another old recipe has been quoted in some of my earlier public efforts, under different names. I have improved considerably upon the proportion of the ingredients, and now hand the whole back, under the name of

Halo Punch.

With a quarter pound of loaf sugar rub off the outer rind of one lemon and two Seville oranges. Put rind and sugar into a large punch-bowl with the juice and pulp, mix the sugar well with the juice and one teacupful of boiling water, and stir till cold. Add half-a-pint of pine-apple syrup, one pint of strong green tea, a claret-glassful of maraschino, a smaller glassful of noyeau, half-a-pint of white rum, one pint of brandy, and one bottle of champagne. Strain and serve, having, if necessary, added more sugar.

Note well the proportions. This is the same beverage which some Cleveland friends of mine, having read the recipe, thought boiling would[Pg 213] improve. The result was—well, a considerable amount of chaos.

Glasgow Punch.

The following is from Peter’s Letters to his Kinsfolk, and is from the pen of John Gibson Lockhart:—

The sugar being melted with a little cold water, the artist squeezed about a dozen lemons through a wooden strainer, and then poured in water enough almost to fill the bowl. In this state the liquor goes by the name of sherbet, and a few of the connoisseurs in his immediate neighbourhood were requested to give their opinion of it—for in the mixing of the sherbet lies, according to the Glasgow creed, at least one-half of the whole battle. This being approved of by an audible smack from the lips of the umpires, the rum was added to the beverage, I suppose, in something about the proportion from one to seven.

Does this mean one of sherbet and seven of rum, or the converse?

Last of all, the maker cut a few limes, and running each section rapidly round the rim of his bowl, squeezed in enough of this more delicate acid to flavour the whole composition. In this consists the true tour-de-maitre of the punch-maker.

Well, possibly; but it seems a plainish sort of punch; and unless the rum be allowed to preponderate, most of us would be inclined to call the mixture lemonade. And I do not believe that since Glasgow has been a city its citizens ever drank much of that.

A few more punches, and then an anecdote.

[Pg 214]

Ale Punch.

One quart of mild ale in a bowl, add one wine-glassful of brown sherry, the same quantity of old brandy, a tablespoonful of sifted sugar, the peel and juice of one lemon, a grate of nutmeg, and an iceberg.

N.B.—Do not insert old ale, by mistake. And for my own part, I think it a mistake to mix John Barleycorn with wine (except champagne) and spirits.

Barbadoes Punch.

A tablespoonful of raspberry syrup, a ditto of sifted sugar, a wine-glassful of water, double that quantity of brandy, half a wine-glassful of guava jelly, liquid, the juice of half a lemon, two slices of orange, one slice of pine-apple, in a long tumbler. Ice and shake well and drink through straws.

Curaçoa Punch.

Put into a large tumbler one tablespoonful of sifted sugar, one wine-glassful of brandy, the same quantity of water, half a wine-glassful of Jamaica rum, a wine-glassful of curaçoa, and the juice of half a lemon; fill the tumbler with crushed ice, shake, and drink through straws.

Grassot Punch.

This has nothing to do with warm asparagus, so have no fear. It is simply another big-tumbler mixture, of one wine-glassful of brandy, a liqueur-glassful of curaçoa, a squeeze of lemon, two teaspoonfuls sugar, one of syrup of strawberries, one wine-glassful of water, and the thin rind of a lemon; fill up the tumbler with crushed ice, shake, and put slices of ripe apricots atop. Drink how you like.

[Pg 215]

Most of the above are hot-weather beverages, and the great beauty of some of them will be found in the small quantity of water in the mixture. Here is a punch which may be drunk in any weather, and either hot or cold.

Regent Punch.

Pour into a bowl a wine-glassful of champagne, the same quantities of hock, curaçoa, rum, and madeira. Mix well, and add a pint of boiling tea, sweetened. Stir well and serve.

Apropos of the derivation of “punch,” I was unaware until quite recently that Messrs. Bradbury’s & Agnew’s little paper had any connection therewith. But I was assured by one who knew all about it, that such was the case.

“What?” I exclaimed. “How can the London Charivari possibly have anything to do with this most seductive of beverages?”

“My dear fellow,” was the reply, “have you never heard of Mark Lemon?”

I turned to smite him hip and thigh; but the jester had fled.

And now a word or two as to “Toddy.” One of the authorities quoted in the punch difficulty declares that toddy is also an Indian drink. So it is. But that drink no more resembles what is known in more civilised lands as toddy than I resemble the late king Solomon. The palm-sap which the poor Indian distils into arrack and occasionally drinks in its natural state for breakfast after risking his neck in climbing trees to get it, can surely have no connection with hot whisky and water? Yet the authority[Pg 216] says so; but he had best be careful ere he promulgates his theory in the presence of Scotsmen and others who possess special toddy-glasses. This is how I make

Whisky Toddy.

The Irish call this whisky punch. But do not let us wrangle over the name. Into an ordinary-sized tumbler which has been warmed, put one average lump of sugar, a ring of thin lemon peel, and a silver teaspoon. Fill the tumbler one quarter full of water as near boiling point as possible. Cover over until the sugar be dissolved and peel be infused. Then add one wine-glassful—not a small one—of the best whisky you can find—the “Pollok” brand, and the “R.B.” are both excellent. Then drink the toddy, or punch; for should you attempt to add any more water you will incur the lifelong contempt of every Irishman or Scotsman who may be in the same room. If Irish whisky be used, of course you will select “John Jameson.”

’Twixt ale-flip and egg-flip there is not much more difference than ’twixt tweedledum and tweedledee. Both are equally “more-ish” on a cold evening; and no Christmas eve is complete without a jug of one or the other.


Pour into a saucepan three pints of mild ale, one tablespoonful of sifted sugar, a blade of mace, a clove, and a small piece of butter; and bring the liquor to a boil. Beat up in a basin the white of one egg and the yolks of two, mixed with about a wine-glassful of cold ale. Mix all together in the saucepan, then pour into a jug, and thence into another jug, from a height, for some minutes, to froth the flip thoroughly but do not let it get cold.

[Pg 217]


Heat one pint of ale, and pour into a jug. Add two eggs, beaten with three ounces of sugar, and pour the mixture from one jug to the other, as in the preceding recipe. Grate a little nutmeg and ginger over the flip before serving.

Were I to ask What is

A Peg?

I should probably be told that a peg was something to hang something or somebody else on, or that it was something to be driven through or into something else. And the latter would be the more correct answer, for at the time of my sojourn in the great continent of India, a peg meant a large brandy-and-soda. At that time whisky was but little known in Punkahland, and was only used high up in the Punjaub during the “cold weather”—and it is cold occasionally in that region, where for some months they are enabled to make ice—but that is une autre histoire. Rum I once tasted at Simla, and gin will be dealt with presently. But since the visit of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, a peg has always signified a whisky-and-soda. And yet we have not heard of any particular decrease in the death-rate. Despite what those who have only stayed a month or two in the country have committed to print, alcohol is not more fatal in a tropical country than a temperate one. But you must not overdo your alcohol. I have seen a gay young spark, a fine soldier, and over six feet in height, drink eight pegs of a morning, ere he got[Pg 218] out of bed. There was no such thing as a “split soda”—or a split brandy either—in those days. We buried him in the Bay of Bengal just after a cyclone, on our way home.

By the way, the real meaning of “peg” was said to be the peg, or nail, driven into the coffin of the drinker every time he partook. And the coffin of many an Anglo-Indian of my acquaintance was all nails. A

John Collins

is simply a gin-sling with a little curaçoa in it. That is to say, soda-water, a slice of lemon, curaçoa—and gin. But by altering the proportions this can be made a very dangerous potion indeed. The officers of a certain regiment—which shall be nameless—were in the habit of putting this potion on tap, after dinner on a guest night. It was a point of honour in those evil, though poetical, times, to send no guest empty away, and more than one of those entertained by this regiment used to complain next morning at breakfast—a peg, or a swizzle, and a hot pickle sandwich—of the escape of “Private John Collins” from the regimental guard-room. For towards dawn there would not be much soda-water in that potion—which was usually served hot at that hour.

[Pg 219]



“Can any mortal mixture
Breathe such divine, enchanting ravishment?”


“The evil that men do lives after them.”

Five recipes for claret cup—Balaclava cup—Orgeat—Ascot cup—Stout and champagne—Shandy-gaff for millionaires—Ale cup—Cobblers which will stick to the last—Home Ruler—Cherry brandy—Sloe gin—Home-made, if possible—A new industry—Apricot brandy—Highland cordial—Bitters—Jumping-powder—Orange brandy—“Mandragora”—“Sleep rock thy brain!”

I suppose there are almost as many recipes for claret cup as for a cold in the head. And of the many it is probable that the greater proportion will produce a cup which will neither cheer nor inebriate; for the simple reason that nobody, who was not inebriated already, would be physically capable of drinking enough of it. Let us first of all take the late Mr. Donald’s recipe for

[Pg 220]

Claret Cup:

A. 1 bottle claret.
1 wine-glassful fine pale brandy.
½ do. chartreuse yellow.
½ do. curaçoa.
¼ do. maraschino.
2 bottles soda or seltzer.[10]
1 lemon, cut in thin slices.
A few sprigs of borage; not much.
Ice and sugar to taste.

Here is a less expensive recipe:

B. Put into a bowl the rind of one lemon pared very thin, add some sifted sugar, and pour over it a wine-glassful of sherry; then add a bottle of claret, more sugar to taste, a sprig of verbena, one bottle of aerated water, and a grated nutmeg; strain and ice it well.

Once more let the fact be emphasised that the better the wine, spirit, etc., the better the cup.

Here is a good cup for Ascot, when the sun is shining, and you are entertaining the fair sex.

C. Put in a large bowl three bottles of claret (St. Estephe is the stamp of wine), a wine-glassful (large) of curaçoa, a pint of dry sherry, half a pint of old brandy, a large wine-glassful of raspberry syrup, three oranges and one lemon cut into slices; add a few sprigs of borage and a little cucumber rind, two bottles of seltzer water, and three bottles of Stretton water. Mix well, and sweeten. Let it stand for an[Pg 221] hour, and then strain. Put in a large block of ice, and a few whole strawberries. Serve in small tumblers.

Another way and a simpler:

D. Pour into a large jug one bottle of claret, add two wine-glassfuls of sherry, and half a glass of maraschino. Add a few sliced nectarines, or peaches, and sugar to taste (about a tablespoonful and a half). Let it stand till the sugar is dissolved, then put in a sprig of borage. Just before using add one bottle of Stretton water, and a large piece of ice.

My ideal claret cup:

E. 2 bottles Pontet Canet.
2 wine-glassfuls old brandy.
1 wine-glassful curaçoa.
1 pint bottle sparkling moselle.
2 bottles aerated water.

A sprig or two of borage, and a little lemon peel.

Sugar ad lib.: one cup will not require much.

Add the moselle and popwater just before using; then put in a large block of ice.

Those who have never tried can have no idea of the zest which a small proportion of moselle lends to a claret cup.

My earliest recollection of a cup dates from old cricketing days beneath “Henry’s holy shade,” on “a match day”—as poor old “Spanky” used to phrase it; a day on which that prince of philosophers and confectioners sold his wares for cash only. Not that he had anything to do with the compounding of the

Cider Cup.

[Pg 222]

Toast a slice of bread and put it at the bottom of a large jug. Grate over the toast nearly half a small nutmeg, and a very little ginger. Add a little thin lemon rind, and six lumps of sugar. Then add two wine-glasses of sherry, and (if for adults) one of brandy. (If for boys the brandy in the sherry will suffice.) Add also the juice of a small lemon, two bottles of lively water, and (last of all) three pints of cider. Mix well, pop in a few sprigs of borage, and a block or two of ice.

Remember once more that the purer the cider the better will be the cup. There is an infinity of bad cider in the market. There used to be a prejudice against the fermented juice of the apple for all who have gouty tendencies; but as a “toe-martyr” myself, I can bear testimony to the harmlessness of the “natural” Norfolk cider made at Attleborough, in the which is no touch of Podagra.

For a good

Champagne Cup

vide Claret Cup A. Substituting the “sparkling” for the “ruby,” the ingredients are precisely the same.

A nice, harmless beverage, suitable for a tennis party, or to accompany the “light refreshments” served at a “Cinderella” dance, or at the “breaking-up” party at a ladies’ school, is

Chablis Cup.

Dissolve four or five lumps of sugar in a quarter of a pint of boiling water, and put it into a bowl with a very thin slice of lemon rind; let it stand for half-an-hour, then add a bottle of chablis, a sprig of verbena, a wine-glassful of sherry, and half-a-pint of[Pg 223] water. Mix well, and let the mixture stand for a while, then strain, add a bottle of seltzer water, a few strawberries or raspberries, and a block of ice. Serve in small glasses.

Balaclava Cup.

“Claret to right of ’em,
‘Simpkin’ to left of ’em—
Cup worth a hundred!”

Get a large bowl, to represent the Valley—which only the more rabid abstainer would call the “Valley of Death.” You will next require a small detachment of thin lemon rind, about two tablespoonfuls of sifted sugar, the juice of two lemons, and half a cucumber, cut into thin slices, with the peel on. Let all these ingredients skirmish about within the bowl; then bring up your heavy cavalry in the shape of two bottles of Château something, and one of the best champagne you have got. Last of all, unmask your soda-water battery; two bottles will be sufficient. Ice, and serve in tumblers.

Crimean Cup.

This is a very serious affair. So was the war. The cup, however, leads to more favourable results, and does not, like the campaign, leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Here are the ingredients:

One quart of syrup of orgeat (to make this vide next recipe), one pint and a half of old brandy, half a pint of maraschino, one pint of old rum, two large and one small bottles of champagne, three bottles of Seltzer-water, half-a-pound of sifted sugar, and the juice of five lemons. Peel the lemons, and put the thin rind in a mortar, with the sugar. Pound them[Pg 224] well, and scrape the result with a silver spoon into a large bowl. Squeeze in the juice of the lemons, add the seltzer water, and stir till the sugar is quite dissolved. Then add the orgeat, and whip the mixture well with a whisk, so as to whiten it. Add the maraschino, rum, and brandy, and strain the whole into another bowl. Just before the cup is required, put in the champagne, and stir vigorously with a punch ladle. The champagne should be well iced, as no apparent ice is allowable in this mixture.


Blanch and pound three-quarters of a pound of sweet almonds, and thirty bitter almonds, in one tablespoonful of water. Stir in by degrees two pints of water and three pints of milk. Strain the mixture through a cloth. Dissolve half-a-pound of loaf sugar in one pint of water. Boil and skim well, and then mix with the almond water. Add two tablespoonfuls of orange-flower water, and half-a-pint of old brandy. Be careful to boil the eaû sucré well, as this concoction must not be too watery.

Ascot Cup.

Odds can be laid freely on this; and the host should stay away from the temptations of the betting-ring, on purpose to make it. And—parenthetically be it observed—the man who has no soul for cup-making should never entertain at a race meeting. The servants will have other things to attend to; and even if they have not it should be remembered that a cup, or punch, like a salad, should always, if possible, be mixed by some one who is going to partake of the same.

[Pg 225]

Dissolve six ounces of sugar in half-a-pint of boiling water; add the juice of three lemons, one pint of old brandy, a wine-glassful of cherry brandy, a wine-glassful of maraschino, half a wine-glassful of yellow chartreuse, two bottles of champagne. All these should be mixed in a large silver bowl. Add a few sprigs of borage, a few slices of lemon, half-a-dozen strawberries, half-a-dozen brandied cherries, and three bottles of seltzer water. Put the bowl, having first covered it over, into the refrigerator for one hour, and before serving, put a small iceberg into the mixture, which should be served in little tumblers.

How many people, I wonder, are aware that

Champagne and Guinness’ Stout

make one of the best combinations possible? You may search the wide wide world for a cookery book which will give this information; but the mixture is both grateful and strengthening, and is, moreover, far to be preferred to what is known as

Rich Man’s Shandy Gaff,

which is a mixture of champagne and ale. The old Irishman said that the “blackgyard” should never be placed atop of the “gintleman,” intending to convey the advice that ale should not be placed on the top of champagne. But the “black draught” indicated just above is well worth attention. It should be drunk out of a pewter tankard, and is specially recommended as a between-the-acts refresher for the amateur actor.

[Pg 226]

Ale Cup.

Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a round of hot toast; lay on it a thin piece of the rind, a tablespoonful of pounded sugar, a little grated nutmeg, and a sprig of balm. Pour over these one glass of brandy, two glasses of sherry, and three pints of mild ale. Do not allow the balm to remain in the mixture many minutes.

One of the daintiest of beverages is a

Moselle Cup.

Ingredients: One bottle of moselle. One glass of brandy. Four or five thin slices of pine-apple. The peel of half a lemon, cut very thin. Ice; and sugar ad lib. Just before using add one bottle of sparkling water.

Sherry Cobbler

although a popular drink in America, is but little known on this side of the Atlantic. Place in a soda-water tumbler two wine-glassfuls of sherry, one tablespoonful of sifted sugar, and two or three slices of orange. Fill the tumbler with crushed ice, and shake well. Drink through straws.

Champagne Cobbler.

Put into a large tumbler one tablespoonful of sifted sugar, with a thin paring of lemon and orange peel; fill the tumbler one-third full of crushed ice, and the remainder with champagne. Shake, and ornament with a slice of lemon, and a strawberry or two. Drink through straws.

[Pg 227]

Home Ruler.

This was a favourite drink at the bars of the House of Commons, during the reign of the Uncrowned King. It was concocted of the yolks of two raw eggs, well beaten, a little sugar added, then a tumbler of hot milk taken gradually into the mixture, and last of all a large wine-glassful of “J.J.” whisky.


In treating of cordials, it is most advisable that they be home made. The bulk of the cherry brandy, ginger brandy, etc., which is sold over the counter is made with inferior brandy; and frequently the operation of blending the virtue of the fruit with the spirit has been hurried.

We will commence with the discussion of the favourite cordial of all,

Cherry Brandy.

This can either be made from Black Gean cherries, or Morellas, but the latter are better for the purpose. Every pound of cherries will require one quarter of a pound of white sugar, and one pint of the best brandy. The cherries, with the sugar well mixed with them, should be placed in wide-mouthed bottles, filled up with brandy; and if the fruit be previously pricked, the mixture will be ready in a month. But a better blend is procured if the cherries are untouched, and this principle holds good with all fruit treated in this way, and left corked for at least three months.

Sloe Gin.

For years the sloe, which is the fruit of the black-thorn, was used in England for no other[Pg 228] purpose than the manufacture of British Port. But at this end of the nineteenth century, the public have been, and are, taking kindly to the cordial, which for a long time had been despised as an “auld wife’s drink.” As a matter of fact, it is just as tasty, and almost as luscious as cherry brandy. But since sloe gin became fashionable, it has become almost impossible for dwellers within twenty or thirty miles of London to make the cordial at home. For sloes fetch something like sixpence or sevenpence a pound in the market; and in consequence the hedgerows are “raided” by the (otherwise) unemployed, the fruit being usually picked before the proper time, i.e. when the frost has been on it. The manufacture of sloe gin is as simple as that of cherry brandy.

All that is necessary to be done is to allow 1 lb. of sugar (white) to 1 lb. of sloes. Half fill a bottle—which need not necessarily be a wide-mouthed one—with sugared fruit, and “top up” with gin. If the sloes have been pricked, the liquor will be ready for use in two or three months; but do not hurry it.

In a year’s time the gin will have eaten all the goodness out of the unpricked fruit, and it is in this gradual blending that the secret (as before observed) of making these cordials lies. As a rule, if you call for sloe gin at a licensed house of entertainment, you will get a ruby-coloured liquid, tasting principally of gin—and not good gin “at that.” This is because the making has been hurried. Properly matured sloe gin should be the colour of full-bodied port wine.

[Pg 229]

Apricot Brandy.

This is a cordial which is but seldom met with in this country. To every pound of fruit (which should not be quite ripe) allow one pound of loaf sugar. Put the apricots into a preserving-pan, with sufficient water to cover them. Let them boil up, and then simmer gently until tender. Remove the skins. Clarify and boil the sugar, then pour it over the fruit. Let it remain twenty-four hours. Then put the apricots into wide-mouthed bottles, and fill them up with syrup and brandy, half and half. Cork them tightly, with the tops of corks sealed. This apricot brandy should be prepared in the month of July, and kept twelve months before using.

Highland Cordial.

Here is another rare old recipe. Ingredients, one pint of white currants, stripped of their stalks, the thin rind of a lemon, one teaspoonful of essence of ginger, and one bottle of old Scotch whisky. Let the mixture stand for forty-eight hours, and then strain through a hair sieve. Add one pound of loaf sugar, which will take at least a day to thoroughly dissolve. Then bottle off, and cork well. It will be ready for use in three months, but will keep longer.


One ounce of Seville orange-peel, half an ounce of gentian root, a quarter of an ounce of cardamoms. Husk the cardamoms, and crush them with the gentian root. Put them in a wide-mouthed bottle, and cover with brandy or whisky. Let the mixture remain for twelve days, then strain, and bottle off for use, after adding one ounce of lavender drops.

[Pg 230]

Ginger Brandy.

Bruise slightly two pounds of black currants, and mix them with one ounce and a half of ground ginger. Pour over them one bottle and a half of best brandy, and let the mixture stand for two days. Strain off the liquid, and add one pound of loaf sugar which has been boiled to a syrup in a little water. Bottle and cork closely.

Jumping Powder

comes in very handy, on a raw morning, after you have ridden a dozen miles or so to a lawn meet. “No breakfast, thanks, just a wee nip, that’s all.” And the ever ready butler hands round the tray. If you are wise, you will declare on

Orange Brandy

which, as a rule, is well worth sampling, in a house important enough to entertain hunting men. And orange brandy “goes” much better than any other liqueur, or cordial, before noon.

It should be made in the month of March. Take the thin rinds of six Seville oranges, and put them into a stone jar, with half-a-pint of the strained juice, and two quarts of good old brandy. Let it remain three days, then add one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar—broken, not pounded—and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Let the liquor stand a day, strain it through paper till quite clear, pour into bottles, and cork tightly. The longer it is kept the better.

[Pg 231]


“Can’t sleep.” Eh? What! not after a dry chapter on liquids? Drink this, and you will not require any rocking.

Simmer half-a-pint of old ale, and just as it is about to boil pour it into a tumbler, grate a little nutmeg over it, and add a teaspoonful of moist sugar, and two tablespoonfuls of brandy. Good night, Hamlet!

[Pg 232]



“Something too much of this.”


“A nipping and an eager air.”

Evil effects of dram-drinking—The “Gin-crawl”—Abstinence in H.M. service—City manners and customs—Useless to argue with the soaker—Cocktails—Pet names for drams—The free lunch system—Fancy mixtures—Why no Cassis?—Good advice like water on a duck’s back.

Whilst holding the same opinion as the epicure who declared that good eating required good drinking, there is no question but that there should be a limit to both. There is, as Shakespeare told us, a tide in the affairs of man, so why should there not be in this particular affair? Why should it be only ebb tide during the few hours that the man is wrapped in the arms of a Bacchanalian Morpheus, either in bed or in custody? The abuse of good liquor is surely as criminal a folly as the abstention therefrom; and the man who mixes his liquors injudiciously lacks that refinement of taste and understanding[Pg 233] which is necessary for the appreciation of a good deal of this book, or indeed of any other useful volume. Our grandfathers swore terribly, and drank deep; but their fun did not commence until after dinner. And they drank, for the most part, the best of ale, and such port wine as is not to be had in these days of free trade (which is only an euphemism for adulteration) and motor cars. Although mine own teeth are, periodically, set on edge by the juice of the grape consumed by an ancestor or two; although the gout within me is an heritage from the three-, aye! and four-, bottle era, I respect mine ancestors, in that they knew not “gin and bitters.” The baleful habit of alcoholising the inner sinner between meal times, the pernicious habit of dram-drinking, or “nipping,” from early morn till dewy eve, was not introduced into our cities until the latter half of the nineteenth century had set in. “Brandy-and-soda,” at first only used as a “livener”—and a deadly livener it is—was unknown during the early Victorian era; and the “gin-crawl,” that interminable slouch around the hostelries, is a rank growth of modernity.

The “nipping habit” came to us, with other pernicious “notions,” from across the Atlantic Ocean. It was Brother Jonathan who established the bar system; and although for the most part, throughout Great Britain, the alcohol is dispensed by young ladies with fine eyes and a great deal of adventitious hair, and the “bar-keep,” with his big watch chain, and his “guns,” placed within easy reach, for quick-shooting saloon practice, is unknown on this side, the[Pg 234] hurt of the system (to employ an Americanism) “gets there just the same.” There is not the same amount of carousing in the British army as in the days when I was a “gilded popinjay” (in the language of Mr. John Burns; “a five-and-twopenny assassin,” in the words of somebody else). In those days the use of alcohol, if not absolutely encouraged for the use of the subaltern, was winked at by his superiors, as long as the subalterns were not on duty, or on the line of march—and I don’t know so much about the line of march, either. But with any orderly or responsible duty to be done, the beverage of heroes was not admired. “Now mind,” once observed our revered colonel, in the ante-room, after dinner, “none of you young officers get seeing snakes and things, or otherwise rendering yourselves unfit for service; or I’ll try the lot of you by court martial, I will, by ——.” Here the adjutant let the regimental bible drop with a bang. Tea is the favourite ante-room refreshment nowadays, when the officer, young or old, is always either on duty, or at school. And the education of the modern warrior is never completed.

But the civilian—sing ho! the wicked civilian—is a reveller, and a winebibber, for the most part. Very little business is transacted except over what is called “a friendly glass.” “I want seven hundred an’ forty-five from you, old chappie,” says Reggie de Beers of the “House,” on settling day. “Right,” replies his friend young “Berthas”: “toss you double or quits. Down with it!” And it would be a cold day[Pg 235] were not a magnum or two of “the Boy” to be opened over the transaction. The cheap eating-house keeper who has spent his morning at the “market,” cheapening a couple of pigs, or a dozen scraggy fowls, will have spent double the money he has saved in the bargain, in rum and six-penny ale, ere he gets home again; and even a wholesale deal in evening journals, between two youths in the street, requires to be “wetted.” Very sad is it not? But, as anything which I—who am popularly supposed to be something resembling a roysterer, but who am in reality one of the most discreet of those who enjoy life—can write is not likely to work a change in the system which obtains amongst English-speaking nations, perhaps the sooner I get on with the programme the better. Later on I may revert to the subject.

Amongst daylight (and midnight, for the matter of that) drinks, the Cocktail, that fascinating importation from Dollarland, holds a prominent place. This is a concoction for which, with American bars all over the Metropolis, the cockney does not really require any recipe. But as I trust to have some country readers, a few directions may be appended.

Brandy Cocktail.

One wine-glassful of old brandy, six drops of Angostura bitters, and twenty drops of curaçoa, in a small tumbler—all cocktails should be made in a small silver tumbler—shake, and pour into glass tumbler, then fill up with crushed ice. Put a shred of lemon peel atop.

[Pg 236]

Champagne Cocktail.

One teaspoonful of sifted sugar, ten drops of Angostura bitters, a small slice of pine-apple, and a shred of lemon peel. Strain into glass tumbler, add crushed ice, and as much champagne as the tumbler will hold. Mix with a spoon.

Bengal Cocktail.

Fill tumbler half full of crushed ice. Add thirty drops of maraschino, one tablespoonful of pine-apple syrup, thirty drops of curaçoa, six drops of Angostura bitters, one wine-glassful of old brandy. Stir, and put a shred of lemon peel atop.

Milford Cocktail.

(Dedicated to Mr. Jersey.)

Put into a half-pint tumbler a couple of lumps of best ice, one teaspoonful of sifted sugar, one teaspoonful of orange bitters, half a wine-glassful of brandy. Top up with bottled cider, and mix with a spoon. Serve with a strawberry, and a sprig of verbena atop.

Manhattan Cocktail.

Half a wine-glassful of vermouth (Italian), half a wine-glassful of rye whisky (according to the American recipe, though, personally, I prefer Scotch), ten drops of Angostura bitters, and six drops of curaçoa. Add ice, shake well, and strain. Put a shred of lemon peel atop.

Yum Yum Cocktail.

Break the yolk of a new-laid egg into a small tumbler, and put a teaspoonful of sugar on it. Then six drops of Angostura bitters, a wine-glassful[Pg 237] of sherry, and half a wine-glassful of brandy. Shake all well together, and strain. Dust a very little cinnamon over the top.

Gin Cocktail.

Ten drops of Angostura bitters, one wine-glassful of gin, ten drops of curaçoa, one shred of lemon peel. Fill up with ice, shake, and strain.

Newport Cocktail.

Put two lumps of ice and a small slice of lemon into the tumbler, add six drops of Angostura bitters, half a wine-glassful of noyau, and a wine-glassful of brandy. Stir well, and serve with peel atop.

Saratoga Cocktail.

This is a more important affair, and requires a large tumbler for the initial stage. One teaspoonful of pine-apple syrup, ten drops of Angostura bitters, one teaspoonful of maraschino, and a wine-glassful of old brandy. Nearly fill the tumbler with crushed ice, and shake well. Then place a couple of strawberries in a small tumbler, strain the liquid on them, put in a strip of lemon peel, and top up with champagne.

Whisky Cocktail.

Put into a small tumbler ten drops of Angostura bitters, and one wine-glassful of Scotch whisky. Fill the tumbler with crushed ice, shake well, strain into a large wine-glass, and place a strip of peel atop.

But the ordinary British “bar-cuddler”—as he is called in the slang of the day—recks not of cocktails, nor, indeed, of Columbian combinations[Pg 238] of any sort. He has his own particular “vanity,” and frequently a pet name for it. “Gin-and-angry-story” (Angostura), “slow-and-old” (sloe-gin and Old Tom), “pony o’ Burton, please miss,” are a few of the demands the attentive listener may hear given. Orange-gin, gin-and-orange-gin, gin-and-sherry (O bile where is thy sting?), are favourite midday “refreshers”; and I have heard a well-known barrister call for “a split Worcester” (a small wine-glassful of Worcester sauce with a split soda), without a smile on his expressive countenance. “Small lem. and a dash” is a favourite summer beverage, and, withal, a harmless one, consisting of a small bottle of lemonade with about an eighth of a pint of bitter ale added thereto. In one old-fashioned hostelry I wot of—the same in which the chair of the late Doctor Samuel Johnson is on view—customers who require to be stimulated with gin call for “rack,” and Irish whisky is known by none other name than “Cork.” The habitual “bar-cuddler” usually rubs his hands violently together, as he requests a little attention from the presiding Hebe; and affects a sort of shocked surprise at the presence on the scene of any one of his friends or acquaintances. He is well-up, too, in the slang phraseology of the day, which he will ride to death on every available opportunity. Full well do I remember him in the “How’s your poor feet?” era; and it seems but yesterday that he was informing the company in assertive tones, “Now we shan’t be long!” The “free lunch” idea of the Yankees is only thoroughly carried out in the “North Countree,”[Pg 239] where, at the best hotels, there is often a great bowl of soup, or a dish of jugged hare, or of Irish stew, pro bono publico; and by publico is implied the hotel directorate as well as the customers. In London, however, the free lunch seldom soars above salted almonds, coffee beans, cloves, with biscuits and American cheese. But at most refreshment-houses is to be obtained for cash some sort of a restorative sandwich, or bonne bouche, in the which anchovies and hard-boiled eggs play leading parts; and amongst other restorative food, I have noticed that parallelograms of cold Welsh rarebit are exceedingly popular amongst wine-travellers and advertisement-agents. The genius who propounded the statement that “there is nothing like leather” could surely never have sampled a cold Welsh rarebit!

Bosom Caresser.

Put into a small tumbler one wine-glassful of sherry, half a wine-glassful of old brandy, the yolk of an egg, two teaspoonfuls of sugar, and two grains of cayenne pepper; add crushed ice, shake well, strain, and dust over with nutmeg and cinnamon.

A Nicobine,

(or “Knickerbein” as I have seen it spelt), used to be a favourite “short” drink in Malta, and consisted of the yolk of an egg (intact) in a wine-glass with layers of curaçoa, maraschino, and green chartreuse; the liquors not allowed to mix with one another. The “knickerbein” recipe differs materially from this, as brandy is[Pg 240] substituted for chartreuse, and the ingredients are shaken up and strained, the white of the egg being whisked and placed atop. But, either way, you will get a good, bile-provoking mixture. In the

West Indies,

if you thirst for a rum and milk, cocoa-nut milk is the “only wear”; and a very delicious potion it is. A favourite mixture in Jamaica was the juice of a “star” apple, the juice of an orange, a wine-glassful of sherry, and a dust of nutmeg. I never heard a name given to this.

Bull’s Milk.

This is a comforting drink for summer or winter. During the latter season, instead of adding ice, the mixture may be heated.

One teaspoonful of sugar in a large tumbler, half-a-pint of milk, half a wine-glassful of rum, a wine-glassful of brandy; add ice, shake well, strain, and powder with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Fairy Kiss.

Put into a small tumbler the juice of a quarter of lemon, a quarter of a wine-glassful each of the following:—Vanilla syrup, curaçoa, yellow chartreuse, brandy. Add ice, shake, and strain.

Flash of Lightning.

One-third of a wine-glassful each of the following, in a small tumbler:—Raspberry syrup, curaçoa, brandy, and three drops of Angostura bitters. Add ice, shake and strain.

[Pg 241]

Flip Flap.

One wine-glassful of milk in a small tumbler, one well-beaten egg, a little sugar, and a wine-glassful of port. Ice, shake, strain, and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Maiden’s Blush.

Half a wine-glassful of sherry in a small tumbler, a quarter of a wine-glassful of strawberry syrup, and a little lemon juice. Add ice, and a little raspberry syrup. Shake, and drink through straws.

Athole Brose

is compounded, according to a favourite author, in the following manner:—

“Upon virgin honeycombs you pour, according to their amount, the oldest French brandy and the most indisputable Scotch whisky in equal proportions. You allow this goodly mixture to stand for days in a large pipkin in a cool place, and it is then strained and ready for drinking. Epicures drop into the jug, by way of imparting artistic finish, a small fragment of the honeycomb itself. This I deprecate.”

Tiger’s Milk.

Small tumbler. Half a wine-glassful each of cider and Irish whisky, a wine-glassful of peach brandy. Beat up separately the white of an egg with a little sugar, and add this. Fill up the tumbler with ice; shake, and strain. Add half a tumbler of milk, and grate a little nutmeg atop.


[Pg 242]

Large tumbler. Equal quantities (a liqueur glass of each) of maraschino, curaçoa, brandy, with a little orange peel, and sugar. Add a glass of champagne, and a small bottle of seltzer water. Ice, and mix well together. Stir with a spoon.

Happy Eliza.

Put into a skillet twelve fresh dried figs cut open, four apples cut into slices without peeling, and half a pound of loaf sugar, broken small. Add two quarts of water, boil for twenty minutes, strain through a—where’s the brandy? Stop! I’ve turned over two leaves, and got amongst the Temperance Drinks. Rein back!

Mint Julep.

This, properly made, is the most delicious of all American beverages. It is mixed in a large tumbler, in the which are placed, first of all, two and a half tablespoonfuls of water, one tablespoonful of sugar (crushed), and two or three sprigs of mint, which should be pressed, with a spoon or crusher, into the sugar and water to extract the flavour. Add two wine-glassfuls of old brandy—now we shan’t be long—fill up with powdered ice, shake well, get the mint to the top of the tumbler, stalks down, and put a few strawberries and slices of orange atop. Shake in a little rum, last of all, and drink through straws.


(An eighteenth-century recipe.)

“Take three gills of sweet cream, a grated rind of lemon, and juice thereof, three-quarters of a pint of sack or Rhenish wine. Sweeten to your taste with loaf sugar, then beat in a bowl with a whisk[Pg 243] for one hour, and fill your glasses and drink to the king.”

We are tolerably loyal in this our time; still it is problematical if there exist man or woman in Merry England, in our day who would whisk a mixture for sixty minutes by the clock, even with the prospect of drinking to the reigning monarch.

Brandy Sour.

This is simplicity itself. A teaspoonful of sifted sugar in a small tumbler, a little lemon rind and juice, one wine-glassful of brandy. Fill nearly up with crushed ice, shake and strain. Whisky Sour is merely Scotch whisky treated in the same kind, open-handed manner, with the addition of a few drops of raspberry syrup.

Blue Blazer.

Don’t be frightened; there is absolutely no danger. Put into a silver mug, or jug, previously heated, two wine-glassfuls of overproof (or proof) Scotch whisky, and one wine-glassful of boiling water. Set the liquor on fire, and pass the blazing liquor into another mug, also well heated. Pass to and fro, and serve in a tumbler, with a lump of sugar and a little thin lemon peel. Be very particular not to drop any of the blazer on the cat, or the hearth-rug, or the youngest child. This drink would, I should think, have satisfied the aspirations of Mr. Daniel Quilp.

One of the most wholesome of all “refreshers,” is a simple liquor, distilled from black-currants, and known to our lively neighbours as

[Pg 244]


This syrup can be obtained in the humblest cabaret in France; but we have to thank the eccentric and illogical ways of our Customs Department for its absence from most of our own wine lists. The duty is so prohibitive—being half as much again as that levied on French brandy—that it would pay nobody but said Customs Department to import it into England; and yet the amount of alcohol contained in cassis is infinitesimal. Strange to say nobody has ever started a cassis still on this side. One would imagine that the process would be simplicity itself; as the liquor is nothing but cold black-currant tea, with a suspicion of alcohol in it.

Sligo Slop.

This is an Irish delight. The juice of ten lemons, strained, ten tablespoonfuls of sifted sugar, one quart of John Jameson’s oldest and best whisky, and two port wine-glassfuls of curaçoa, all mixed together. Let the mixture stand for a day or two, and then bottle. This should be drunk neat, in liqueur-glasses, and is said to be most effectual “jumping-powder.” It certainly reads conducive to timber-topping.

Take it altogether the daylight drink is a mistake. It is simply ruin to appetite; it is more expensive than those who indulge therein are aware of at the time. It ruins the nerves, sooner or later; it is not conducive to business, unless for those whose heads are especially hard; and it spoils the palate for the good wine which[Pg 245] is poured forth later on. The precept cannot be too widely laid down, too fully known:

Do not drink between Meals!

Better, far better the three-bottle-trick of our ancestors, than the “gin-crawl” of to-day.

[Pg 246]



“Let me not burst in ignorance.”


“A chiel’s amang ye, taking notes.”

Thomas Carlyle—Thackeray—Harrison Ainsworth—Sir Walter Scott—Miss Braddon—Marie Corelli—F. C. Philips—Blackmore—Charles Dickens—Pickwick reeking with alcohol—Brandy and oysters—Little DorritGreat Expectations—Micawber as a punch-maker—David Copperfield—“Practicable” food on the stage—“Johnny” Toole’s story of Tiny Tim and the goose.

Considering the number of books which have been published during the nineteenth century, it is astonishing how few of them deal with eating and drinking. We read of a banquet or two, certainly, in the works of the divine William, but no particulars as to the cuisine are entered into. “Cold Banquo” hardly sounds appetising. Thomas Carlyle was a notorious dyspeptic, so it is no cause for wonderment that he did not bequeath to posterity the recipes for a dainty dish or two, or a good Derby Day “Cup.” Thackeray understood but little about cookery,[Pg 247] nor was Whyte Melville much better versed in the mysteries of the kitchen. Harrison Ainsworth touched lightly on gastronomy occasionally, whilst Charles Lamb, Sydney Smith, and others (blessings light on the man who invented the phrase “and others”) delighted therein. Miss Braddon has slurred it over hitherto, and Marie Corelli scorns all mention of any refreshment but absinthe—a weird liquid which is altogether absent from these pages. In the lighter novels of Mr. F. C. Philips, there is but little mention of solid food except devilled caviare, which sounds nasty; but most of Mr. Philips’s men, and all his women, drink to excess—principally champagne, brandy, and green chartreuse. And one of his heroines is a firm believer in the merits of cognac as a “settler” of champagne.

According to Mr. R. D. Blackmore, the natives of Exmoor did themselves particularly well, in the seventeenth century. In that most delightful romance Lorna Doone is a description of a meal set before Tom Faggus, the celebrated highwayman, by the Ridd family, at Plover’s Barrows:—

“A few oysters first, and then dried salmon, and then ham and eggs, done in small curled rashers, and then a few collops of venison toasted, and next a little cold roast pig, and a woodcock on toast to finish with.”

This meal was washed down with home-brewed ale, followed by Schiedam and hot water.

One man, and one man alone, who has left his name printed deep on the sands of time as a writer, thoroughly revelled in the mighty[Pg 248] subjects of eating and drinking. Need his name be mentioned? What is, after all, the great secret of the popularity of

Charles Dickens

as a novelist? His broad, generous views on the subject of meals, as expressed through the mouths of most of the characters in his works; as also the homely nature of such meals, and the good and great deeds to which they led. I once laid myself out to count the number of times that alcoholic refreshment is mentioned in some of the principal works of the great author; and the record, for Pickwick alone, was sufficient to sweep from the surface of the earth, with its fiery breath, the entire Blue Ribbon Army. Mr. Pickwick was what would be called nowadays a “moderate drinker.” That is to say, he seldom neglected an “excuse for a lotion,” nor did he despise the “daylight drink.” But we only read of his being overcome by his potations on two occasions; after the cricket dinner at Muggleton, and after the shooting luncheon on Captain Boldwig’s ground. And upon the latter occasion I am convinced that the hot sun had far more to do with his temporary obfuscation than the cold punch. Bob Sawyer and Ben Allen were by no means exaggerated types of the medical students of the time. The “deputy sawbones” of to-day writes pamphlets, drinks coffee, and pays his landlady every Saturday. And it was a happy touch of Dickens to make Sawyer and Allen eat oysters, and wash them down with neat brandy, before breakfast.[Pg 249] I have known medical students, aye! and full-blown surgeons too, who would commit equally daring acts; although I doubt much if they would have shone at the breakfast-table afterwards, or on the ice later in the day. For the effect exercised by brandy on oysters is pretty well known to science.

Breathes there a man with soul so dead as not to appreciate the delights of Dingley Dell? Free trade and other horrors have combined to crush the British yeoman of to-day; but we none the less delight to read of him as he was, and I do not know a better cure for an attack of “blue devils”—or should it be “black dog?”—than a good dose of Dingley Dell. The wholesale manner in which Mr. Wardle takes possession of the Pickwickians—only one of whom he knows intimately—for purposes of entertainment, is especially delightful, and worthy of imitation; and I can only regret the absence of a good, cunningly-mixed “cup” at the picnic after the Chatham review. The wine drunk at this picnic would seem to have been sherry; as there was not such a glut of “the sparkling” in those good old times. And the prompt way in which “Emma” is commanded to “bring out the cherry brandy,” before his guests have been two minutes in the house, bespeaks the character of dear old Wardle in once. “The Leathern Bottle,” a charming old-world hostelry in that picturesque country lying between Rochester and Cobham, would hardly have been in existence now, let alone doing a roaring trade, but for the publication of Pickwick;[Pg 250] and the notion of the obese Tupman solacing himself for blighted hopes and taking his leave of the world on a diet of roast fowl bacon, ale, etc., is unique. The bill-of-fare at the aforementioned shooting luncheon might not, perhaps, satisfy the aspirations of Sir Mota Kerr, or some other nouveau riche of to-day, but there was plenty to eat and drink. Here is the list, in Mr. Samuel Weller’s own words:

“Weal pie, tongue: a wery good thing when it ain’t a woman’s: bread, knuckle o’ ham, reg’lar picter, cold beef in slices; wery good. What’s in them stone jars, young touch-and-go?”

“Beer in this one,” replied the boy, taking from his shoulder a couple of large stone bottles, fastened together by a leathern strap, “cold punch in t’other.”

“And a wery good notion of a lunch it is, take it altogether,” said Mr. Weller.

Possibly; though cold beef in slices would be apt to get rather dryer than was desirable on a warm day. And milk punch hardly seems the sort of tipple to encourage accuracy of aim.

Mrs. Bardell’s notion of a nice little supper we gather from the same immortal work, was “a couple of sets of pettitoes and some toasted cheese.” The pettitoes were presumably simmered in milk, and the cheese was, undoubtedly, “browning away most delightfully in a little Dutch oven in front of the fire.” Most of us will smack our lips after this description; though details are lacking as to the contents of the “black bottle” which was produced from “a small closet.” But amongst students of Pickwick, “Old Tom” is a hot favourite.

[Pg 251]

The Deputy Shepherd’s particular “vanity” appears to have been buttered toast and reeking hot pine-apple rum and water, which sounds like swimming-in-the-head; and going straight through the book, we next pause at the description of the supper given by the medical students, at their lodgings in the Borough, to the Pickwickians.

“The man to whom the order for the oysters had been sent had not been told to open them; it is a very difficult thing to open an oyster with a limp knife or a two-pronged fork; and very little was done in this way. Very little of the beef was done either; and the ham (which was from the German-sausage shop round the corner) was in a similar predicament. However, there was plenty of porter in a tin can; and the cheese went a great way, for it was very strong.”

Probably the oysters had not been paid for in advance, and the man imagined that they would be returned upon his hands none the worse. For at that time—as has been remarked before, in this volume on gastronomy—the knowledge that an oyster baked in his own shells, in the middle of a clear fire, is an appetising dish, does not appear to have been universal.

It is questionable if a supper consisting of a boiled leg of mutton “with the usual trimmings” would have satisfied the taste of the “gentleman’s gentleman” of to-day, who is a hypercritic, if anything; but let that supper be taken as read. Also let it be noted that the appetite of the redoubtable Pickwick never seems to have failed him, even in the sponging-house—five to one[Pg 252] can be betted that those chops were fried—or in the Fleet Prison itself. And mention of this establishment recalls the extravagant folly of Job Trotter (who of all men ought to have known better) in purchasing “a small piece of raw loin of mutton” for the refection of himself and ruined master; when for the same money he could surely have obtained a sufficiency of bullock’s cheek or liver, potatoes, and onions, to provide dinner for three days. Vide the “Kent Road Cookery,” in one of my earlier chapters. The description of the journeys from Bristol to Birmingham, and back to London, absolutely reeks with food and alcohol; and it has always smacked of the mysterious to myself how Sam Weller, a pure Cockney, could have known so much of the capacities of the various hostelries on the road. Evidently his knowledge of other places besides London was “peculiar.” Last scene of all in Pickwick requiring mention here, is the refection given to Mr. Solomon Pell in honour of the proving of the late Dame Weller’s last will and testament. “Porter, cold beef, and oysters,” were some of the incidents of that meal, and we read that “the coachman with the hoarse voice took an imperial pint of vinegar with his oysters, without betraying the least emotion.”

It is also set down that brandy and water, as usual in this history, followed the oysters; but we are not told if any of those coachmen ever handled the ribbons again, or if Mr. Solomon Pell spent his declining days in the infirmary.

In fact, there are not many chapters in Charles Dickens’ works in which the knife and fork do[Pg 253] not play prominent parts. The food is, for the most part, simple and homely; the seed sown in England by the fairy Ala had hardly begun to germinate at the time the novels were written. Still there is, naturally, a suspicion of Ala at the very commencement of Little Dorrit, the scene being laid in the Marseilles prison, where Monsieur Rigaud feasts off Lyons sausage, veal in savoury jelly, white bread, strachino cheese, and good claret, the while his humble companion, Signor John Baptist, has to content himself with stale bread, through reverses at gambling with his fellow prisoner. After that, there is no mention of a “square meal” until we get to Mr. Casby’s, the “Patriarch.” “Everything about the patriarchal household,” we are told, “promoted quiet digestion”; and the dinner mentioned began with “some soup, some fried soles, a butter-boat of shrimp sauce, and a dish of potatoes.” Rare old Casby! “Mutton, a steak, and an apple pie”—and presumably cheese—furnished the more solid portion of the banquet, which appears to have been washed down with porter and sherry wine, and enlivened by the inconsequent remarks of “Mr. F.’s Aunt.”

In Great Expectations occurs the celebrated banquet at the Chateau Gargery on Christmas Day, consisting of a leg of pickled pork and greens, a pair of roast stuffed fowls, a handsome mince pie, and a plum-pudding. The absence of the savoury pork-pie, and the presence of tar-water in the brandy are incidents at that banquet familiar enough to Sir Frank Lockwood, Q.C., M.P., and other close students of Dickens,[Pg 254] whose favourite dinner-dish would appear to have been a fowl, stuffed or otherwise, roast or boiled.

In Oliver Twist we get casual mention of oysters, sheep’s heads, and a rabbit pie, with plenty of alcohol; but the bill of fare, on the whole, is not an appetising one. The meat and drink at the Maypole Hotel, in Barnaby Rudge, would appear to have been deservedly popular; and the description of Gabriel Varden’s breakfast is calculated to bring water to the most callous mouth:

“Over and above the ordinary tea equipage the board creaked beneath the weight of a jolly round of beef, a ham of the first magnitude, and sundry towers of buttered Yorkshire cake, piled slice upon slice in most alluring order. There was also a goodly jug of well-browned clay, fashioned into the form of an old gentleman not by any means unlike the locksmith, atop of whose bald head was a fine white froth answering to his wig, indicative, beyond dispute, of sparkling home brewed ale. But better than fair home-brewed, or Yorkshire cake, or ham, or beef, or anything to eat or drink that earth or air or water can supply, there sat, presiding over all, the locksmith’s rosy daughter, before whose dark eyes even beef grew insignificant, and malt became as nothing.”


There is not much eating in A Tale of Two Cities; but an intolerable amount of assorted “sack.” In Sketches by Boz we learn that Dickens had no great opinion of public dinners, and that oysters were, at that period, occasionally opened by the fair sex. There is a nice flavour[Pg 255] of fowl and old Madeira about Dombey and Son, and the description of the dinner at Doctor Blimber’s establishment for young gentlemen is worth requoting:

“There was some nice soup; also roast meat, boiled meat, vegetables, pie, and cheese.” [Cheese at a small boys’ school!] “Every young gentleman had a massive silver fork and a napkin; and all the arrangements were stately and handsome. In particular there was a butler in a blue coat and bright buttons” [surely this was a footman?] “who gave quite a winey flavour to the table beer, he poured it out so superbly.”

Dinner at Mrs. Jellyby’s in Bleak House is one of the funniest and most delightful incidents in the book, especially the attendance. “The young woman with the flannel bandage waited, and dropped everything on the table wherever it happened to go, and never moved it again until she put it on the stairs. The person I had seen in pattens (who I suppose to have been the cook) frequently came and skirmished with her at the door, and there appeared to be ill-will between them.” The dinner given by Mr. Guppy at the “Slap Bang” dining house is another feature of this book—veal and ham, and French beans, summer cabbage, pots of half-and-half, marrow puddings, “three Cheshires” and “three small rums.” Of the items in this list, the marrow pudding seems to be as extinct—in London, at all events—as the dodo. It appears to be a mixture of bread, pounded almonds, cream, eggs, lemon peel, sugar, nutmeg, and marrow; and sounds nice.

[Pg 256]

David Copperfield’s dinner in his Buckingham Street chambers was an event with a disastrous termination. “It was a remarkable want of forethought on the part of the ironmonger who had made Mrs. Crupp’s kitchen fireplace, that it was capable of cooking nothing but chops and mashed potatoes. As to a fish-kettle, Mrs. Crupp said ‘Well! would I only come and look at the range? She couldn’t say fairer than that. Would I come and look at it?’ As I should not have been much the wiser if I had looked at it I said never mind fish. But Mrs. Crupp said, ‘Don’t say that; oysters was in, and why not them?’ So that was settled. Mrs. Crupp then said ‘What she would recommend would be this. A pair of hot roast fowls—from the pastry cook’s; a dish of stewed beef, with vegetables—from the pastry cook’s; two little corner things, as a raised pie and a dish of kidneys—from the pastry cook’s; a tart, and (if I liked) a shape of jelly—from the pastry cook’s. This,’ Mrs. Crupp said, ‘would leave her at full liberty to concentrate her mind on the potatoes, and to serve up the cheese and celery as she could wish to see it done.’”

Then blessings on thee, Micawber, most charming of characters in fiction, mightiest of punch-brewers! The only fault I have to find with the novel of David Copperfield is that we don’t get enough of Micawber. The same fault, however, could hardly be said to lie in the play; for if ever there was a “fat” part, it is Wilkins Micawber.

Martin Chuzzlewit bubbles over with eating and drinking; and “Todgers” has become as[Pg 257] proverbial as Hamlet. In Nicholas Nickleby, too, we find plenty of mention of solids and liquids; and as a poor stroller myself at one time, it has always struck me that “business” could not have been so very bad, after all, in the Crummles Combination; for the manager, at all events, seems to have fared particularly well. Last on the list comes The Old Curiosity Shop, with the celebrated stew at the “Jolly Sandboys,” the ingredients in which have already been quoted by the present writer. With regard to this stew all that I have to remark is that I should have substituted an ox-kidney for the tripe, and left out the “sparrowgrass,” the flavour of which would be quite lost in the crowd of ingredients. But there! who can cavil at such a feast? “Fetch me a pint of warm ale, and don’t let nobody bring into the room even so much as a biscuit till the time arrives.”

Codlin may not have been “the friend”; but he was certainly the judge of the “Punch” party.

In this realistic age, meals on the stage have to be provided from high-class hotels or restaurants; and this is, probably, the chief reason why there is so little eating and drinking introduced into the modern drama. Gone are the nights of the banquet of pasteboard poultry, “property” pine-apples, and gilded flagons containing nothing more sustaining than the atmosphere of coal-gas. Not much faith is placed in the comic scenes of a pantomime nowadays; or it is probable that the clown would purloin real York hams, and stuff Wall’s sausages into the pockets of his ample pants. Champagne is champagne under[Pg 258] the present regime of raised prices, raised salaries, raised everything; and it is not so long since I overheard an actor-manager chide a waiter from a fashionable restaurant, for forgetting the Soubise sauce, when he brought the cutlets.

In my acting days we usually had canvas fowls, stuffed with sawdust, when we revelled on the stage; or, if business had been particularly good, the poultry was made from breakfast rolls, with pieces skewered on, to represent the limbs. And the potables—Gadzooks! What horrible concoctions have found their way down this unsuspecting throttle! Sherry was invariably represented by cold tea, which is palatable enough if home-made, under careful superintendence, but, drawn in the property-master’s den, usually tasted of glue. Ginger beer, at three-farthings for two bottles, poured into tumblers containing portions of a seidlitz-powder, always did duty for champagne; and as for port or claret—well, I quite thought I had swallowed the deadliest of poisons one night, until assured it was only the cold leavings of the stage-door-keeper’s coffee!

The story of Tiny Tim who ate the goose is a pretty familiar one in stage circles. When playing Bob Cratchit, in The Christmas Carol at the Adelphi, under Mr. Benjamin Webster’s management, Mr. J. L. Toole had to carve a real goose and a “practicable” plum-pudding during the run of that piece, forty nights. And the little girl who played Tiny Tim used to finish her portions of goose and pudding with such amazing celerity that Mr. Toole became quite alarmed on her account.

[Pg 259]

“‘I don’t like it,’ I said,” writes dear friend “Johnny,” in his Reminiscences; “‘I can’t conceive where a poor, delicate little thing like that puts the food. Besides, although I like the children to enjoy a treat’—and how they kept on enjoying it for forty nights was a mystery, for I got into such a condition that if I dined at a friend’s house, and goose was on the table, I regarded it as a personal affront—I said, referring to Tiny Tim, ‘I don’t like greediness; and it is additionally repulsive in a refined-looking, delicate little thing like this; besides, it destroys the sentiment of the situation—and when I, as Bob, ought to feel most pathetic, I am always wondering where the goose and the pudding are, or whether anything serious in the way of a fit will happen to Tiny Tim before the audience, in consequence of her unnatural gorging!’ Mrs. Mellon laughed at me at first, but eventually we decided to watch Tiny Tim together.

“We watched as well as we could, and the moment Tiny Tim was seated, and began to eat, we observed a curious shuffling movement at the stage-fireplace, and everything that I had given her, goose and potatoes, and apple-sauce disappeared behind the sham stove, the child pretending to eat as heartily as ever from the empty plate. When the performance was over, Mrs. Mellon and myself asked the little girl what became of the food she did not eat, and, after a little hesitation, she confessed that her little sister (I should mention that they were the children of one of the scene-shifters) waited[Pg 260] on the other side of the fireplace for the supplies, and then the whole family enjoyed a hearty supper every night.

“Dickens was very much interested in the incident. When I had finished, he smiled a little sadly, I thought, and then, shaking me by the hand, he said, ‘Ah! you ought to have given her the whole goose.’”

[Pg 261]



“Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some antibilious antidote
Cleanse the stuff’d bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the soul.”

William of Normandy—A “head” wind at sea—Beware the druggist—Pick-me-ups of all sorts and conditions—Anchovy toast for the invalid—A small bottle—Straight talks to fanatics—Total abstinence as bad as the other thing—Moderation in all things—Wisely and slow—Carpe diem—But have a thought for the morrow.

“I care not,” observed William of Normandy to his quartermaster-general, on the morning after the revelry which followed the Battle of Hastings, “who makes these barbarians’ wines; send me the man who can remove the beehive from my o’erwrought brain.”

This remark is not to be found in Macaulay’s History of England; but learned authorities who have read the original MS. in Early Norman, make no doubt as to the correct translation.

“It is excellent,” as the poet says, “to have a giant’s thirst; but it is tyrannous to use it[Pg 262] like a giant.” And not only “tyrannous” but short-sighted. For the law of compensation is one of the first edicts of Nature. The same beneficent hand which provides the simple fruits of the earth for the delectation of man, furnishes also the slug and the wasp, to see that he doesn’t get too much. Our friend the dog is deprived of the power of articulation, but he has a tail which can be wagged at the speed of 600 revolutions to the minute. And the man who overtaxes the powers of his inner mechanism during the hours of darkness is certain to feel the effects, to be smitten of conscience, and troubled of brain, when he awakes, a few hours later on. As this is not a medical treatise it would be out of place to analyse at length the abominable habit which the human brain and stomach have acquired, of acting and reacting on each other; suffice it to say that there is no surer sign of the weakness and helplessness of poor, frail, sinful, fallen humanity than the obstinacy with which so many of us will, for the sake of an hour or two’s revelry, boldly bid for five times the amount of misery and remorse. And this more especially applies to a life on the ocean wave. The midshipmite who over-estimates his swallowing capacity is no longer “mast-headed” next morning; but the writer has experienced a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, ere the effects of a birthday party on the previous night had been surmounted; and the effects of “mast-heading” could hardly have been less desirable. In that most delightful work for the young, Dana’s Two years before the Mast, we read:

[Pg 263]

“Our forecastle, as usual after a liberty-day, was a scene of tumult all night long, from the drunken ones. They had just got to sleep toward morning, when they were turned up with the rest, and kept at work all day in the water, carrying hides, their heads aching so that they could hardly stand. This is sailors’ pleasure.”

Dana himself was ordered up aloft, to reef “torpsles,” on his first morning at sea; and he had probably had some sort of a farewell carouse, ’ere quitting Boston. And the present writer upon one occasion—such is the irony of fate—was told off to indite a leading article on “Temperance” for an evening journal, within a very few hours of the termination of a “Derby” banquet.

But how shall we alleviate the pangs? How make that dreadful “day after” endurable enough to cause us to offer up thanks for being still allowed to live? Come, the panacea, good doctor!

First of all, then, avoid the chemist and his works. I mean no disrespect to my good friend Sainsbury, or his “Number One Pick-me-up,” whose corpse-reviving claims are indisputable; but at the same time the habitual swallower of drugs does not lead the happiest life. I once knew a young subaltern who had an account presented to him by the cashier of the firm of Peake and Allen, of the great continent of India, for nearly 300 rupees; and the items in said account were entirely chloric ether, extract of cardamoms—with the other component parts of a high-class restorative, and interest. Saddening! The next thing to avoid, the first thing in the morning, is soda-water, whether diluted with brandy or[Pg 264] whisky. The “peg” may be all very well as an occasional potation, but, believe one who has tried most compounds, ’tis a precious poor “livener.” On the contrary, although a beaker of the straw-coloured (or occasionally, mahogany-coloured) fluid may seem to steady the nerves for the time being, that effect is by no means lasting.

But the same panacea will not do in every case. If the patient be sufficiently convalescent to digest a


(I do not mean a M.R.C.S.) his state must be far from hopeless. A “Doctor” is a mixture of beaten raw egg—not forgetting the white, which is of even more value than the yolk to the invalid—brandy, a little sifted sugar, and new milk. But many devotees of Bacchus could as soon swallow rum-and-oysters, in bed. And do not let us blame Bacchus unduly for the matutinal trouble. The fairy Ala has probably had a lot to do with that trouble. A “Doctor” can be made with sherry or whisky, instead of brandy; and many stockbrokers’ clerks, sporting journalists, and other millionaires prefer a


who appears in the form of a large tumbler containing a couple of eggs beaten, and filled to the brim with the wine of the champagne district.

A Scorcher

is made with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into a large wine-glass; add a liqueur-glassful of[Pg 265] old brandy, or Hollands, and a dust of cayenne. Mix well, and do not allow any lemon-pips to remain in the glass.

Prairie Oyster.

This is an American importation. There is a legend to the effect that one of a hunting party fell sick unto death, on the boundless prairie of Texas, and clamoured for oysters. Now the close and cautious bivalve no more thrives in a blue grass country than he possesses the ability to walk up stairs, or make a starting-price book. So one of the party, an inventive genius, cudgelled his brains for a substitute. He found some prairie hen’s eggs, and administered the unbroken yolks thereof, one at a time, in a wine-glass containing a teaspoonful of vinegar. He shook the pepper-castor over the yolks and added a pinch of salt. The patient recovered. The march of science has improved on this recipe. Instead of despoiling the prairie hen, the epicure now looks to Madame Gobble for a turkey egg. And a

Worcester Oyster

is turned out ready made, by simply substituting a teaspoonful of Lea and Perrins’ most excellent sauce for vinegar.

Brazil Relish.

This is, I am assured, a much-admired restorative in Brazil, and the regions bordering on the River Plate. It does not sound exactly the sort of stimulant to take after a “bump supper,” or a “Kaffir” entertainment, but here it is: Into a[Pg 266] wine-glass half full of curaçoa pop the unbroken yolk of a bantam’s egg. Fill the glass up with maraschino. According to my notion, a good cup of hot, strong tea would be equally effectual, as an emetic, and withal cheaper. But they certainly take the mixture as a pick-me-up in Brazil.


is a favourite stimulant with our American cousins. Beat up an egg in a tumbler—if you have no metal vessels to shake it in, the shortest way is to put a clean white card, or a saucer, over the mouth of the tumbler, and shake—then add a little sugar, a glass of port, and some pounded ice. Strain before drinking. Leaving out the ice and the straining, this is exactly the same “refresher” which the friends of a criminal, who had served his term of incarceration in one of H.M. gaols, were in the habit of providing for him; and when the Cold Bath Fields Prison was a going concern, there was a small hostelry hard by, in which, on a Monday morning, the consumption of port wine (fruity) and eggs (“shop ’uns,” every one) was considerable. This on the word of an ex-warder, who subsequently became a stage-door keeper.

One of the most unsatisfactory effects of good living is that the demon invoked over-night does not always assume the same shape in your waking hours. Many sufferers will feel a loathing for any sort of food or drink, except cold water. “The capting,” observed the soldier-servant to a visitor (this is an old story), “ain’t[Pg 267] very well this morning, sir; he’ve just drunk his bath, and gone to bed again.” And on the other hand, I have known the over-indulger absolutely ravenous for his breakfast. “Brandy and soda, no, dear old chappie; as many eggs as they can poach in five minutes, a thick rasher of York ham, two muffins, and about a gallon and a half of hot coffee—that’s what I feel like.” Medical men will be able to explain those symptoms in the roysterer, who had probably eaten and drunk quite as much over-night as the “capting.” For the roysterer with a shy appetite there are few things more valuable than an

Anchovy Toast.

The concoction of this belongs to bedroom cookery, unless the sitting-room adjoins the sleeping apartment. For the patient will probably be too faint of heart to wish to meet his fellow-men and women downstairs, so early. The mixture must be made over hot water. Nearly fill a slop-basin with the boiling element, and place a soup-plate over it. In the plate melt a pat of butter the size of a walnut. Then having beaten up a raw egg, stir it in. When thoroughly incorporated with the butter add a dessert-spoonful of essence of anchovies. Cayenne ad lib. Then let delicately-browned crisp toast be brought, hot from the fire. Soak this in the mixture, and eat as quickly as you can. The above proportions must be increased if more than one patient clamours for anchovy toast; and this recipe is of no use for a dinner, or luncheon toast; remember that. After the meal is finished turn in between[Pg 268] the sheets again for an hour; then order a “Doctor,” or a “Surgeon-Major” to be brought to the bedside. In another twenty minutes the patient will be ready for his tub (with the chill off, if he be past thirty, and has any wisdom, or liver, left within him). After dressing, if he live in London and there be any trace of brain-rack remaining, let him take a brisk walk to his hair-dresser’s, having his boots cleaned en route. This is most important, whether they be clean or dirty; for the action of a pair of briskly-directed brushes over the feet will often remove the most distressing of headaches. Arrived at the perruquier’s, let the patient direct him to rub eau de Cologne, or some other perfumed spirit, into the o’er-taxed cranium, and to squirt assorted essences over the distorted countenance. A good hard brush, and a dab of bay rum on the temples will complete the cure; the roysterer will then be ready to face his employer, or the maiden aunt from whom he may have expectations.

If the flavour of the anchovy be disagreeable, let the patient try the following toast, which is similar to that used with wildfowl: Melt a pat of butter over hot water, stir in a dessert-spoonful of Worcester sauce, the same quantity of orange juice, a pinch of cayenne, and about half a wine-glassful of old port. Soak the toast in this mixture. The virtues of old port as a restorative cannot be too widely known.

St. Mark’s Pick-me-up.

The following recipe was given to the writer by a member of an old Venetian family.

[Pg 269]

Ten drops of Angostura in a liqueur-glass, filled up with orange bitters. One wine-glassful of old brandy, one ditto cold water, one liqueur-glassful of curaçoa, and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well together. I have not yet tried this, which reads rather acid.

For an


athlete, who may not take kindly to his rations, there is no better cure than the lean of an underdone chop (not blue inside) hot from the fire, on a hot plate, with a glass of port poured over. A

Hot-pickle Sandwich

should be made of two thin slices of crisp toast (no butter) with chopped West Indian pickles in between. And for a

Devilled Biscuit

select the plain cheese biscuit, heat in the oven, and then spread over it a paste composed of finely-pounded lobster worked up with butter, made mustard, ground ginger, cayenne, salt, chili vinegar, and (if liked) a little curry powder. Reheat the biscuit for a minute or two, and then deal with it. Both the last-named restoratives will be found valuable (?) liver tonics; and to save future worry the patient had better calculate, at the same time, the amount of Estate Duty which will have to be paid out of his personalty, and secure a nice dry corner, out of the draught, for his place of sepulture. A

[Pg 270]

Working-Man’s Livener,

(and by “working-man” the gentleman whose work consists principally in debating in taverns is intended) is usually a hair of the dog that bit him over-night; and in some instances where doubt may exist as to the particular “tufter” of the pack which found the working-man out, the livener will be a miscellaneous one. For solid food, this brand of labourer will usually select an uncooked red-herring, which he will divide into swallow-portions with his clasp-knife, after borrowing the pepper-castor from the tavern counter. And as new rum mixed with four-penny ale occasionally enters into the over-night’s programme of the horny-handed one, he is frequently very thirsty indeed before the hour of noon.

I have seen a journalist suck half a lemon, previously well besprinkled with cayenne, prior to commencing his matutinal “scratch.” But rum and milk form, I believe, the favourite livener throughout the district which lies between the Adelphi Theatre and St. Paul’s Cathedral. And, according to Doctor Edward Smith (the chief English authority on dietetics), rum and milk form the most powerful restorative known to science. With all due respect to Doctor Smith I am prepared to back another restorative, commonly known as “a small bottle”; which means a pint of champagne. I have prescribed this many a time, and seldom known it fail. In case of partial failure repeat the dose. A valuable if seldom-employed restorative is made with

[Pg 271]


as one of the ingredients. Make half-a-pint of beef-tea in a tumbler with this extract. Put the tumbler in a refrigerator for an hour, then add a liqueur-glassful of old brandy, with just a dust of cayenne. This is one of the very best pick-me-ups known to the faculty. A


for recuperative purposes is made with the following ingredients:—a wine-glassful of Hollands, a liqueur-glassful of curaçoa, three drops of Angostura bitters, a little sugar, and half a small bottle of seltzer-water. Churn up the mixture with a swizzle-stick, which can be easily made with the assistance of a short length of cane (the ordinary school-treat brand) a piece of cork, a bit of string, and a pocket knife.

A very extraordinary pick-me-up is mentioned by Mr. F. C. Philips, in one of his novels, and consists of equal parts of brandy and chili vinegar in a large wine-glass. Such a mixture would, in all probability, corrode sheet-iron. I am afraid that writers of romance occasionally borrow a little from imagination.

The most effectual restorative for the total abstainer is unquestionably, old brandy. It should be remembered that a rich, heavy dinner is not bound to digest within the human frame, if washed down with tea, or aerated beverages. In fact, from the personal appearances of many worthy teetotallers I have known digestion cannot be their strong suit. Then many abstainers[Pg 272] only abstain in public, for the sake of example. And within the locked cupboard of the study lurks a certain black bottle, which does not contain Kopps’s ale. Therefore I repeat that the most effectual restorative for the total abstainer—whether as a direct change, or as a hair of the dog—is brandy.

Our ancestors cooled their coppers with small ale, and enjoyed a subsequent sluice at the pump in the yard; these methods are still pursued by stable-helpers and such like. A good walk acts beneficially sometimes. Eat or drink nothing at all, but try and do five miles along the turnpike road within the hour. Many habitual roysterers hunt the next morning, with heads opening and shutting alternately, until the fox breaks covert, when misery of all sorts at once takes to itself wings. And I have heard a gallant warrior, whilst engaged in a Polo match on York Knavesmire, protest that he could distinctly see two Polo balls. But he was not in such bad case as the eminent jockey who declined to ride a horse in a hood and blinkers, because “one of us must see, and I’m hanged if I can!” It was the same jockey who, upon being remonstrated with for taking up his whip at the final bend, when his horse was winning easily, replied: “whip be blowed! it was my balance pole: I should have fell off without it!”

Straight Talks.

In the lowest depth there is a lower depth, which not only threatens to devour, but which will infallibly devour the too-persistent roysterer.[Pg 273] For such I labour not. The seer of visions, the would-be strangler of serpents, the baffled rat-hunter, and other victims to the over-estimation of human capacity will get no assistance, beyond infinite pity, from the mind which guides this pen. The dog will return to his own vomit; the wilful abuser of the goods sent by a bountiful Providence is past praying for. But to others who are on the point of crossing the Rubicon of good discretion I would urge that there will assuredly come a time when the pick-me-up will lose its virtue, and will fail to chase the sorrow from the brow, to minister to the diseased mind. Throughout this book I have endeavoured to preach the doctrine of moderation in enjoyment. Meat and drink are, like fire, very good servants, but the most oppressive and exacting of slave-drivers. Therefore enjoy the sweets of life, whilst ye can; but as civilised beings, as gentlemen, and not as swine. For here is a motto which applies to eating and drinking even more than to other privileges which we enjoy:

“Wisely, and slow;
They stumble who run fast!”

A resort to extremes is always to be deprecated, and many sensible men hold the total abstainer in contempt, unless he abstain simply and solely because a moderate use of “beer and baccy” makes him ill; and this man is indeed a rarity. The teetotaller is either a creature with no will-power in his composition, a Pharisee, who thanks Providence that he is not as other men, or a[Pg 274] lunatic. There can be no special virtue in “swearing off” good food and good liquor; whether for the sake of example, or for the sake of ascending a special pinnacle and posing to the world as the incarnation of perfection and holiness. In the parable, the Publican was “justified” rather than the Pharisee, because the former had the more common sense, and knew that if he set up as immaculate and without guile he was deceiving himself and nobody else. But here on earth, in the nineteenth century, the Publican stands a very poor chance with the Pharisee, whether the last-named assume the garb of “Social Purity,” or “Vigilance,” or the sombre raiment of the policeman. This is not right. This is altogether wrong. The total abstainer, the rabid jackass who denies himself—or claims that he does so—the juice of the grape, and drinks the horrible, flatulent, concoctions known as “temperance beverages,” is just as great a sinner against common sense as that rabid jackass the habitual glutton, or drunkard, who, in abusing the good things of life—the gifts which are given us to enjoy—is putting together a rod of rattlesnakes for his own back.

There is nothing picturesque about drunkenness; and there is still less of manliness therein. There is plenty of excuse for the careless, happy-go-lucky, casual over-estimater, who revels, on festive occasions, with his boon companions. ’Tis a poor heart that never rejoices; and wedding-feasts, celebrations of famous victories, birthday parties, and Christmas festivities have been, and will continue to be, held by high and[Pg 275] low, from the earliest times. But there is no excuse, but only pity and disgust, for the sot who sits and soaks—or, worse still, stands and soaks—in the tavern day after day, and carries the brandy-bottle to bed with him. I have lived through two-thirds of the years allotted to man, and have never yet met the man who has done himself, or anybody else, any good by eating or drinking to excess. Nor is the man who has benefited himself, or society, through scorning and vilifying good cheer, a familiar sight in our midst. “Keep in the middle of the road,” is the rule to be observed; and there is no earthly reason why the man who may have applied “hot and rebellious liquors” to his blood, as a youth, should not enjoy that “lusty winter” of old age, “frosty but kindly,” provided those warm and warlike liquors have been applied in moderation.

I will conclude this sermon with part of a verse of the poet Dryden’s imitation of the twenty-ninth Ode of Horace, though its heathen carpe diem sentiments should be qualified by a special caution as to the possible ill effects of bidding too fierce a defiance to the “reaction day.”

“Happy the man, and happy he alone,
He who can call to-day his own;
He who, secure within, can say;—
To-morrow, do thy worst, I’ve liv’d to-day!”

[Pg 277]


Ala,” the fairy, 68

“Albion,” the, 77

Alexander Dumas, 80

Allowable breakfast-dishes, 14

Almanach des Gourmands, 79, 184

Anchovy toast, 267

Angel’s pie, 55

Apium, the, 129

Apricot brandy, 229

Artichoke, the, 130
Jerusalem, 131

Ascot luncheon, 54

Asparagus, 124
with eggs, 17

Aspic, 176

Athole brose, 241

Baksheesh, 100

Ball suppers, 175

Banquet, a vegetarian, 132

“Beano,” a, 121

Beans, 119
“Borston,” 120

Beef, “can’t eat,” 96

Bernardin salmi, a, 92

Birch’s, 37

Bischoff, 211

Biscuit, a devilled, 269

Bishop, 212

Bisque, 89

Bitters, 229

Blackmore, R. D., 247

Blue blazer, 243

Bombay duck, a, 146

Bones, grilled, 189

Bosom caresser, a, 239

Bouillabaisse, 88

Bovril, 271

Braddon, Miss, 247

Brandy, apricot, 229
cherry, 227
ginger, 230
orange, 230
sour, 243

Brazil relish, 265

Breakfast, allowable dishes at, 14
French, 27
Indian, 31
Mediterranean, 26
with “my tutor,” 32

Brillat Savarin, 106

Brinjal, the, 131

Broth, Scotch, 52

Buckmaster, 77

Bull’s milk, 240

Burmah, food in, 203

Burns, John, 234

[Pg 278]Cabbage, the, 115

Calcutta jumble, 16

“Cannie Carle,” 189

Canvass-back duck, a, 95

Carlton House Terrace, 91

Carlyle, Thomas, 246

Carrot, the, 121

Cassis, 244

Cauliflower, the, 115

Cedric the Saxon, 66

Celery, 129
sauce, 164

Champagne and stout, 225

Charles Dickens, 52, 248

Chateaûbriand, a, 70

Chef, Indian, 135

“Cheshire Cheese,” the, 39
pudding, 39

Chinaman’s meal, a, 91

Chops, 50

Chota Hazri, 29

Choufleur aû gratin, 116

Chowringhee Club, the, 135

Christmas dinner, a, 82

Chutnee, raw, 163

Chutnine, 163

Cinquevalli, Paul, 112

City dinners, 100

Clam chowder, 95

Cleopatra, 170

“Coal-hole,” the, 187

Cobbler, champagne, 226
sherry, 226

Cocktail, Bengal, 236
brandy, 235
champagne, 236
gin, 237
Manhattan, 236
Milford, 236
Newport, 237
Saratoga, 237
whisky, 237
Yum Yum, 236

Cod liver, 102

Coffee tree, the, 7

Cold mutton, 162

Collins, John, 218

Coloured help, 94

Corelli, Marie, 247

Cow, milking a, 205

Crécy soup, 122

Cremorne Gardens, 184

Cup, ale, 226
Ascot, 224
Balaclava, 223
Chablis, 222
champagne, 222
cider, 221
claret, 220
Crimean, 223
Moselle, 226

Curry, Benares, 134
dry Madras, 144
locust, 140
Malay, 140
Parsee, 136
powder, 139
Prawn, 143
rice for, 17, 145
what to, 142
when served, 141

Cyclone, a, 262

Dana, 263

Delmonico, 95

Devilled biscuit, a, 269

Dickens, Charles, 52, 248

Dingley Dell, 249

Dinner, afloat, 101
city, 100
Christmas, 82
an ideal, 101

Doctor, a, 264
Samuel Johnson, 71

Donald, 220

Duck, Bombay, 146
canvass-back, 95
jugged, with oysters, 46
Rouen, 87
-squeezer, 93

[Pg 279]Dumas, Alexander, 80

Dumpling, kidney, 190

Early Christians, 63
Closing Act, 181

Eggs and bacon, 13

Elizabeth, Queen, 66

Englishman in China, the, 92

Evans’s, 181

Fairy “Ala,” the, 68
kiss, a, 240

Fergus MacIvor, 67

Fin’an haddie, 23

Fixed bayonet, a, 91

Flash of lightning, a, 240

Flip, ale-, 216
egg-, 217
-flap, 241

Fowls, Surrey, 88

Free trade, 8

French soup, 97

Fricandeau, a, 104

Garlic, 128

Gin, sloe, 227

Ginger brandy, 230

Glasgow, the late Lord, 191

Goats, sacrifice of, 198

Goose pie, 56

Gordon hotels, 71

Green, “Paddy,” 182

Greenland, across, 110

Grilled bones, 189

Grouse pie, 48

Gubbins sauce, 14

Haggis, 63

Halibut steak, a, 20

Happy Eliza, 242

Hawkins, Sir John, 113

Hawthornden, 84

Help, coloured, 94

Highland cordial, 229

Hollingshead, John, 181

Home Ruler, 227

Horatius Flaccus, 112

Horse-radish sauce, 164
steaks, 191

Hotch potch, 53

Hotel breakfasts, 17
“Parish,” 21

Hot-pot, Lancashire, 42

Hunting luncheons, 48

Indian breakfasts, 31

Irish stew, 50

James I., King, 64

Japan, 92

Jesuits, the, 93

Johnson, Doctor, 71

John Collins, 218

“Jolly Sandboys,” the, 51

“Joseph,” 83

Jugged duck with oysters, 46

Jumping powder, 230

Kent Road Cookery, the, 109

Kidney dumpling, 190
in fire-shovel, 188

King James I., 64

Kiss, a fairy, 240

Kitchener, Doctor, 139

Knickerbein, a, 239

Lamb, Charles, 146

Lamb’s head and mince, 186

Lampreys, 106

Lancashire hot-pot, 42

Large peach, a, 15

Larks, such, 46

Lightning, a flash of, 240

Li Hung Chang, 91

Liver, cod’s, 102

Lorna Doone, 247

Louis XII., 60
XIV., 60

Lucian, 119

Luncheon, Ascot, 54
[Pg 280]race-course, 50
Simla, 58

Macaulay, Lord, 261

Madère, 94

Maiden’s blush, 241

Majesty, Her, 107

Mandragora, 231

Marrow, vegetable, 130

Marsala, 94

Mayfair, 85

Mayonnaise, 153

Mediterranean breakfast, a, 26

Mess-table, the, 105

Miladi’s boudoir, 190

Milk, bull’s, 240

Mint julep, 242

Mirepoix, a, 89

Mutton, cold, 162

Nansen’s banquet on the ice, 109

Napoleon the Great, 107

Nero, 62

New York City, 95

Nipping habit, the, 233

“No cheques accepted,” 18

Off to Gold-land, 25

“Old Coppertail,” 197

Onion, the, 128

Orange brandy, 230
sauce, 161

Orgeat, 224

Out West, 96

Oven, the, 76

Overtrained, 269

Oysters, Aden, 172
in their own juice, 173
Kurachi, 171
prairie, 265
sauce, 137
scalloped, 173
stewed, 174
Worcester, 265

“Paddy” Green, 182

Parsnip, the, 129

Parlour cookery, 187

Payne, George, 82

Peake and Allen, 263

Pea soup, 118

Pease, 117

“Peg,” a, 217

Pepper-pot, 195

Peter the Great, 106

Physician, an eminent, 108

Pick-me-up, “Number One,” 263
St. Mark’s, 268

Pickles, hot, 269

Pie, angel’s, 55
goose, 56
grouse, 48
pigeon, 55
pork, 49
Wardon, 5
woodcock, 47
Yorkshire, 49

Poor, how they live, 109

Pope, Doctor Joseph, 146

Possets, 242

Pork, roast, 45

Potato, the, 111
salad, 155

Port-flip, 266

Powder, jumping, 230

Pré salé, a, 90

Prison fare, 110

“Property” food, 258

Pudding, Cheshire cheese, 39
plover, 46
rabbit, 45
snipe, 41

Pulled turkey, 94

Punch, 206
ale, 214
Barbadoes, 214
Cambridge, 210
Curaçoa, 214
Grassot, 214
[Pg 281]Glasgow, 213
Halo, 212
milk, 208
Oxford, 210
Regent, 215

Queen Elizabeth, 66

Rabbit pie, 45

Race-course luncheons, 50
sandwich, 53

Rajah’s hospitality, a, 196

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 113

Rat snakes, 204

Regimental dinner, a, 99

Rice for curry, 17, 145

Richardson, 81

Roasting, 76

Romans, the, 59

Royalty, 85

Rouen ducks, 87

Salad, anchovy, 160
a memorable, 157
boarding-house, 150
celery, 156
cheese in, 158
corn, 158
Francatelli’s, 150
French, 151
fruit, 161
herring, 155
Italian, 159
lobster, 151
maker, a gentleman-, 156
orange, 161
potato, 155
Roman, 159
Russian, 160
tomato, 156

Salads, 147

Sala, George Augustus, 71

Salmi Bernardin, 92
of wild-duck, 93

Salmon steak, 24

Sandhurst R.M.C., 67

Sandwich, a race-course, 53

Sambal, 168

St. Leger, the, 84

Sauce, carp, 165
celery, 164
Christopher North’s, 165
currant, 167
goose, 168
gooseberry, 166
Gubbins, 14
hare, 165
horse-radish, 164
orange, 161
oyster, 137
Tapp, 190
Tartare, 166

Savarin, Brillat, 90

Saxon dining-table, a, 65

Scorcher, a, 264

Scott, Sir Walter, 67

Scalloped oysters, 173

Scotch broth, 52

Shandy gaff, rich man’s, 225

Shepherd’s pie, 45

Ship and Turtle, the, 38

Sidney, Harry, 183

Simla, luncheon at, 58
to Cashmere, 200

Sligo slop, 244

Sloe gin, 227

Smith, Sydney, 147

Snipe pudding, 41

Soup, French, 97

“Spanky,” 182

Spinach, 127

Sprats, 179

Staff of life, the, 7

Steaks, 50
salmon, 24
thoroughbred horse, 191

Steam-chest, the, 76

Stew, Irish, 50
“Jolly Sandboys,” 51
oyster, 174

[Pg 282]Stout and champagne, 225

Straight talks, 272

Suetonius, 61

Suffolk pride, 56

Such larks, 46

Supper, Hotel Cecil, 179
ball, 175

Surgeon-major, a, 264

Surrey fowls, 88

Swizzle, a, 271

Tapp sauce, 190

Tartar sauce, 166

Tea, 6
à la Française, 28

Thibet, 200

Thumb-piece, 53

Tiger’s milk, 241

Toddy, 215
whisky, 216

Tomato, the, 126

Tomnoddy, Lord, 180

Toole, John Lawrence, 258

Tournedos, a, 89

Tripe, 177
how to cook, 178

Tsar, the, 57

Tsaritza, the, 86

Turkey, the, 94
pulled, 94

Turmeric, 139

Turnip, 127

Turner, Godfrey, 103

Vegetarian banquet, a, 132

Vitellius, 61

Vol-au-Vent financière, 90

Waiter, the, 112

Wardon pie, a, 5

Wellington, Duke of, 107

West Indies, the, 240

West, out, 96

Whisky, sour, 243

Wild-duck, salmi of, 93

William the Conqueror, 261

Woodcock pie, 47

Working man, the, 270

Wyndham, 241

Yates, Edmund’s Reminiscences, 178

York, New, 95

Yorkshire pie, 49




[1] It is incorrect to speak of bread as the sole “staff of life.” Eggs, milk, cheese, potatoes, and some other vegetables, supply between them far more phosphoric acid than is to be got from bread, either white or brown. And a man could support existence on “beer and baccy” as well as he could do so on bread alone.

[2] In most recipes for puddings or pies, rump steak is given. But this is a mistake, as the tendency of that part of the ox is to harden, when subjected to the process of boiling or baking. Besides the skirt—the thick skirt—there be tit-bits to be cut from around the shoulder.

[3] The cannie Scot, however, never made his haggis from anything belonging to the pig. The dislike of the Scots to pork dates from very long ago, as we read in a note to Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley. King “Jamie” carried this prejudice to England, and is known to have abhorred pork almost as much as he did tobacco. His proposed banquet to the “Deil” consisted of a loin of pork, a poll (or head) of ling, with a pipe of tobacco for digestion.

[4] This dish must somewhat resemble the “Fixed Bayonet,” which at one time was the favourite tit-bit of “Tommy Atkins,” when quartered in India. It consisted of a fowl, stuffed with green chilis, and boiled in rum. The fowl was picked to the bones, and the soldier wound up with the soup. Very tasty!

[5] Kidney potatoes should always be boiled, as steaming makes them more “waxy.”

[6] Doubtful starters.

[7] Formerly Assistant-Surgeon Royal Artillery. A celebrated lecturer on “The Inner Man,” and author of Number One, and How to take Care of Him, etc.

[8] “Of all the delicacies in the whole mundus edibilis I will maintain it to be the most delicate—princeps obsoniorum. I speak not of your grown porkers—things between pig and pork—those hobbydehoys; but a young and tender suckling, under a moon old, guiltless as yet of the sty, with no original speck of the amor immunditiae, the hereditary failing of the first parents, yet manifest—his voice as yet not broken, but something between a childish treble and a grumble—the mild forerunner or praeludium of a grunt. He must be roasted. I am not ignorant that our ancestors ate them seethed, or boiled—but what a sacrifice of the exterior tegument!

“His sauce should be considered. Decidedly a few bread-crumbs, done up with his liver and brains, and a dash of mild sage. But banish, dear Mrs. Cook, I beseech you, the whole onion tribe. Barbecue your whole hogs to your palate, steep them in shalots, stuff them out with plantations of the rank and guilty garlic—you cannot poison them, or make them stronger than they are; but consider, he is a weakling—a flower.”—Lamb on Pig.

[9] Our then commanding officer was noted for his powers of self-control. I once noticed him leave the table hurriedly, and retire to the verandah. After an interval he returned, and apologised to the President. Our revered chief had only swallowed a flying bug. And he never even used a big D.

[10] An excellent aerated water and a natural one, is obtained from springs in the valley beneath the Long Mynd, near Church Stretton, in Shropshire. In fact, the Stretton waters deserve to be widely known, and are superior to most of the foreign ones.

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