Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Mere 100 Years Ago

Image from

"Table d'hote is the feature of San Francisco's restaurant life. It is the ideal method for those who wish a good dinner and who have not the inclination, or the knowledge, to order a special dinner. It is also the least expensive way of getting a good dinner. It also saves an exhibition of ignorance regarding the dishes, for if you are in doubt all you have to do is to leave it to the waiter, and he will bring the best there is on the day's menu and will serve it properly.

It is really something to elicit wonder when one considers the possibilities of a table d'hote dinner in some of the less expensive restaurants. Take, for instance, the Buon Gusto, in Broadway. This restaurant boasts a good chef, and the food is the finest the market affords. Here is served a six course dinner for fifty cents, and the menu card is typical of this class of restaurants. What is provided is shown by the following taken from the bill of fare as it was served us:

Hor d'ouvres—four kinds; five kinds of salad; two kinds of soup; seven kinds of fish; four kinds of paste; broiled spring chicken; green salad with French dressing; ice cream or rum omelet; mixed fruits; demi tasse.

With this is served a pint of good table wine.

As one goes up with the scale of prices in the restaurants that charge $1, $1.25, $1.50, $2, $2.50, and $3 for their dinners it will be found that the difference lies chiefly in the variety from which to choose and from the surroundings and service.

Take, for example, the following typical menu for a dollar dinner, served at the Fior d'Italia, and compare it with the fifty-cent dinner just mentioned:

Salami and anchovies; salad; chicken broth with Italian paste; fillet of English sole, sauce tartare; spaghetti or ravioli; escallop of veal, caper sauce; French peas with butter; roast chicken with chiffon salad; ice cream or fried cream; assorted fruits and cakes; demi tasse. Wine with this dinner is extra.

Now going a step up in the scale we come to the $1.50 dinner as follows:

Anchovies, salami (note that it is the same as above); combination salad; tortellini di Bologna soup; striped bass a la Livornaise; ravioli a la Genoese and spaghetti with mushrooms; chicken saute, Italian style, with green peas; squab with lettuce; zabaione; fruit; cheese; coffee. Wine is extra.

Let us now look at the menu of the $3.50 dinner, without wine:

Pate 'de foie gras—truffles on toast; salad; olives; Alice Fallstaff; Italian ham "Prosciutto;" soup—semino Italiani with Brodo de Cappone; pompano a la papillote; tortellini with fungi a funghetto; fritto misto; spring chicken saute; Carcioffi all'Inferno; Capretto al Forno con Insallata; omelet Celestine; fruit; cheese, and black coffee.

This dinner must be ordered three days in advance."

From Bohemia in San Francisco, by Clarence E. Edwards, published 1914.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

2 Timothy 4:7

In seven hours and forty-five minutes.

You Know You're In For A Great Weekend When...

This is the first thing you see upon pulling into the New Mexico ("Land of Enchantment and Really, Really Big Poisonous Snakes") Welcome Center.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Knitting -- a Chair Set from 1945

A knitted "chair set" from the days when upholstered furniture had to last a lifetime.  McCall's Needlework & Crafts, Summer 1945.  The pattern is on my Flickr account.

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

I have managed to strain an oblique muscle, coughing.  The only thing that doesn't hurt is lying in the recliner (I am so looking forward to our flight to New Mexico on Friday).

Vintage Ephemera - St Patrick's Day Card

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vintage Images -- Fleurs

From Marie Claire, October 1937, courtesy of Patricia's lovely site.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Compliments of the Season

(Japanese matchbox from Agence Eureka)

Some selections suitable for Lent.


2 hard-cooked eggs
2 cups medium white sauce
2 cups flaked cooked fish
salt and pepper
1 cup buttered bread crumbs

Rub egg yolks through sieve and chop egg whites.  Mix well with white sauce.  Arrange alternate layers of fish and sauce in greased baking dish.  Season fish with salt and pepper.  Cover with buttered crumbs.  Bake in moderate oven (350⁰ F) 20 minutes or until crumbs are browned.  Serves 4.


1 cup cooked fish
1/2 cup cooked mushrooms
1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup butter
salt and pepper
few grains nutmeg
4 eggs, beaten

Remove skin and bones from fish, add mushrooms and chop very fine.  Rub through sieve.  Cook crumbs and milk in double boiler 10 minutes.  Add butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add fish and beaten eggs.  Pour into greased molds or custard cups.  Bake in moderate oven (350⁰ F) until firm, about 30 minutes.  Unmold and serve with hollandaise sauce or tomato sauce.  Serves 4.

This mixture may be baked in a large mold, about 60 minutes.


1 teaspoon onion juice*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup medium white sauce
2 eggs, separated
1 cup flaked cooked fish

Add onion juice, salt and pepper to white sauce.  Stir in beaten egg yolks and flaked fish.  Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.  our into greased baking dish and place in pan of hot water.  Bake in moderate oven (350⁰ F) 60 minutes.  Serve from the same dish.  Serves 4.


2 cups flaked cooked fish
1 cup cooked rice
2 hard-cooked eggs
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Heat fish, rice and chopped egg whites in butter.  Season and sprinkle with sieved egg yolks.  Serves 6.

(*often called for in mid-century American cooking.  Why not just mince an onion and be done with it?)

From The American Woman's Cook Book, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, 1950.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Sunday, March 1, 2015


Just when I was congratulating myself for going three winters without my sinuses felling me.  I've been lying on the sofa since Wednesday, keeping the Kleenex™ and Robitussin™ people in business.