In 1927 our dinner menu consists of grape-fruit as an appetizer, roast young chicken, gravy, stuffing, duchesse potatoes, string beans, currant jelly and celery, with cinnamon apples and nut bread for desert. I’m not sure about the grapefruit but everything else looks delicious. The potatoes would have been a bit of extra work, but worth it.
Duchesse Potatoes. Mash freshly boiled potatoes with butter, hot milk, pepper and salt until like a thick cream. They must be beaten free from lumps. Put through the pastry tube, and carry the mixture around and around to make attractive little baskets. Brush these with the yolk of egg beaten with milk, and set in oven until browned.
The 1953 dinner is robust, but not quite as elegant. Clear tomato soup, beef a la mode, cabbage and potatoes, fruit salad in orange ice rings, and damson plum pudding. Hmmm…the dessert book for the series doesn’t list damson plum pudding, but there is an English Plum Pudding in the Steamed Desserts section.
English Plum Pudding
¾ cup sifted cake flour
1 t. salt
¾ t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. mace
½ pound raisins, chopped
¼ pound citron, chopped
1/8 pound lemon peel, chopped
1/8 pound blanched almonds, chopped
½ cup fine bread crumbs
¾ cup hot milk
½ pound brown sugar
5 eggs, separated
½ pound suet, chopped
¼ cup fruit juice, any kind (I guess you could use damson juice, if you could find it)
½ glass currant jelly
Sift flour, salt, soda and spices together; stir in fruit and almonds. Soften crumbs in milk 10 minutes. Beat sugar into beaten egg yolks; add suet and crumbs; stir into flour-fruit mixture. Add fruit juice and jelly and mix well; fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into greased mold, cover tightly and steam for 3 ½ hours. Serves 12.
(All those chopped ingredients makes me think of Calvin Trillin’s snarky comment that the reason the British boil their food to death is in case a dinner guest should happen to arrive without his teeth).
I’ll vote for the 1927 dinner, even with the grapefruit.