Friday, March 25, 2016

Easter Menus & Entertainment from the 19th Century

Here are a couple of samples from Easter Dinners and Entertaining from a couple sources. Have a Blessed Easter.

Cream Tomato Soup
Paris Eggs Brown Bread
Roast Tenderloin of Beef Succotash
Asparagus White Turnips Tomatoes
Cabbage Salad
Ambrosia Nuts Raisins Cake

The most characteristic Easter rite, and the one most widely diffused, is the use of patch (i. e. Easter) Eggs They are usually stained of various colors and people mutually make presents of them; sometimes they are kept as amulets, sometimes eaten; games are also played by striking them against one another. There can be little doubt that the use of eggs at this season was originally symbolical of the revivification of nature—the springing
Source: Mrs. Owen's New Cook-Book ©1897

"There is a tender hue that tips the first young leaves of spring,
A trembling beauty in their notes when young birds learn to sing
A purer look when first on earth the gushing brook appears,
A liquid depth in infant eyes that fades with summer years."

IN the early days of ecumenical councils it was a mooted point when Easter should be celebrated. The Christian Jews kept the feast on the same day as their Passover, the fourteenth of Nisan, the month corresponding to our March or April; but the Gentile church observed the first Sunday following this, because Christ rose from the dead on that day. It was not until the fourth century that the Council of Nice decided upon the first Sunday after the full moon which follows the twenty-first of March. The contest was waged long and heavily, but the Western churches were victorious; a vote settled it.
Perhaps this victory decided the later and more splendid religious ceremonials of Easter, which are much more observed in Rome and in all Catholic countries than those of Christmas. Constantine gratified his love of display by causing Easter to be celebrated with unusual pomp and parade. Vigils and night watches were instituted, people remaining all night in the churches in Rome, and carrying high wax tapers through the streets in processions.
People in the North, glad of an escape from four months of darkness, watch to see the sun dawn on an Easter morning. They have a superstitious feeling about this observance, which came originally from Egypt, and is akin to the legend that the statue of Memnon sings when the first ray of the sun touches it.
It is the queen of feasts in all Catholic churches, the world over. In early days, the fasting of Lent was restricted to one day, the Friday of Passion Week, Good Friday; then it extended to forty hours, then to forty days, — showing how much fashion, even in churchly affairs, has to do with these matters. One witty author says that, "people who do not believe in anything will observe Lent, for it is the fashion."
Certainly, the little dinners of Lent, in fashionable society, are amongst the most agreeable of all entertainments. The crime cTecrevisse, the oyster and clam soups, the newly arrived shad, the codfish a la royale and other tempting dainties are very good, and the dinner being small, and at eight o'clock, there is before it a long twilight for the drive in the Park.
A pope of Rome once offered a prize to the man who would invent one thousand ways of cooking eggs, for eggs can always be eaten in Lent, and let us hope that he found them. The greatest coxcomb of all cooks, Louis Ude, who was prone to demand a carriage and five thousand a year, was famous for his little Lenten menus, and could cook fish and eggs marvellously. The amusements of Lent have left one joke in New York. Roller skates were once a very fashionable amusement for Lenten afternoons, though now gone out, and a club had rented Irving Hall for their playground and chosen Festina lente, " Make haste slowly," for their motto. It was a very witty motto, but some wise Malaprop remarked, " What a very happy selection, ' Festivals of Lent!'"
However, Lent once passed, with its sewing circles and small whist-parties, then conies the brilliant Easter, with its splendid dinners, its weddings, its christenings and caudle parties, its ladies' lunches, its Meadow Brook hunt, its asparagus parties, and the chickens of gayety which are hatched out of Easter eggs. It is a great day for the confectioner. In Paris, that city full of gold and misery, the splendour and luxury of the Easter egg bonbonniere is fabulous. A few years since a Paris house furnished an Easter egg for a Spanish infanta, which cost eight hundred pounds sterling.
Easter dinners can be made delightful. They are simple, less heavy, hot, and stuffy, than those of midwinter. That enemy of the feminine complexion, the furnace, is put out. It no longer sends up its direful sirocco behind one's back. Spring lamb and mint sauce, asparagus and fresh dandelion salad, replace the heavy joint and the canned vegetables. A foreigner said of us that we have everything canned, even the canvas-back duck and the American opera. Everything should be fresh. The ice-cream man devises allegorical allusions in his forms, and there are white dinners for young brides, and roseate dinners for debutantes.

For a gorgeous ladies' lunch, behold a menu. This is for Easter Monday : —
Little Neck clams.
Chablis. Beef tea or consommi in cups.

CStelettes de cervelles & la cardinal. Cucumbers.
Little ducks with fresh mushrooms.
Champagne. Artichokes.

Sweetbread d la Richelieu.
Asparagus, Hollandaise sauce.
Roman punch.
Pdtl de foie gras.
Roast snipe.
Tomato salad, lettuce.
Ice creams, in form of nightingales' nests
Strawberries, sugared fruit, nougat cakes.

Of course, a season of such rejoicing, when "Christians stand praying, each in an exalted attitude, with outstretched hands and uplifted faces, expressing joy and gladness," is thought to be very propitious for marriage. There is generally a wedding every day, excepting Friday, during Easter week. A favourite spring travelling-dress for an Easter bride is fawn coloured cashmere, with a little round hat and bunch of primroses.
For a number of choir boys to sing an epithalamium, walking up the aisle before the bride, is a new and very beautiful Easter fashion.
A favourite entertainment for Easter is a christening. Christening parties are becoming very important functions in the art of entertaining. Many Roman Catholics are so anxious for the salvation of the little new soul, that they have their children baptized as soon as possible, but others put off this important ceremony until mamma can go to church, when little master is five weeks old. Then friends are invited to the ceremony very much in this fashion: —
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton request the pleasure of your company at the baptism of their infant daughter at the Cathedral, Monday, March 30, at 12 o'clock. At home, after the ceremony, 14 W. Ellicott Square.
Source: The Art of Entertaining ©1892

1 comment:

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