This bill of fare comes from Aunt Babette's Cook Book. Foreign and Domestic Receipts for the Household. A valuable collection of receipts and hints for the housewife, many of which are not to be found elsewhere. (1897), which can be read for free here at Feeding America.
Aunt Babette entreats us to remember:
WE may live without poetry, music and art:
We may live without conscience, without heart:
We may live without friends, we may live without books,
But civilized man can not live without cooks.
He may live without books--what is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope--what is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love--what is passion but pining?
But where is the man that can live without dining?
Indeed, Aunt Babette. Indeed. In the end, Ben and Jerry are always there, when others have failed us.
Roll out some crackers until they are like flour. Season the cutlets with salt and ground ginger, sprinkle them well on both sides and dip each cutlet first in beaten egg and then in the rolled crackers. Have some nice goose oil or poultry drippings hot in a spider before you lay in the cutlets (if you put the cutlets in before the fat is hot they will stick to the spider) and fry a nice brown. Lay on a hot platter and garnish with parsley and slices of lemon.
I used beef instead of veal, because veal is hard to find and expensive. Veal is meat from calves. I was also out of goose oil.
Old potatoes may be used (in fact it is the only way that old potatoes should be sent to the table). Pare and let them lie in cold water until time to cook.
Boil in salt water, drain thoroughly when done and mash them in the pot with a potato masher, working in a large tablespoonful of nice butter and enough milk to make them resemble dough, and be sure not to allow any lumps to form in your dish. Garnish with parsley.
CANNED GREEN PEAS.
Use the imported canned peas for "extra occasions." Heat, add a tablespoonful of sugar, some minced parsley and a teaspoonful of flour wet with cold water to thicken. A piece of fresh butter improves them. You may prepare them in sweet cream, which is also very nice. Use about half a cupful with a teaspoonful of flour.
I used frozen peas.
Beat light the yelks of six eggs with half a cup of sugar. Boil a quart of milk, beat up the whites of six eggs very stiff, and put them into the boiling milk, a spoonful at a time. Take out the boiled whites and lay them on a platter, now pour the hot milk gradually on the beaten yelks, when thoroughly mixed return to the fire to boil. When it begins to thicken, remove. When cool flavor with vanilla or bitter almond. Pour into a deep glass dish; put the whites on top, and garnish with jelly or candied fruit. Eat cold.
FLOATING ISLAND (modernized and cut to 1/3)
Beat the yolks of 2 eggs with 1/6 C. of sugar. Wash the beaters really, really well and beat the whites in a separate bowl until they have stiff peaks.
Heat 1 1/3 C. milk and drop a few spoonfuls of whites in at a time, about a tablespoon. Flip them over after a few seconds, and fish them out with a slotted spoon when they feel sort of bouncy when you poke them against the side of the pan with your spoon.
Repeat with the rest of the whites. Pour the milk that accumulated under the whites back into the rest of the milk. Temper the yolk mixture by whisking in a little of the hot milk into the yolks to heat them up gradually, then whisking the yolk into the milk. Cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat, and stir in 1 t. vanilla. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate. When it is nice and cool, float the whites on top and decorate with jelly.
Cream one cup of butter with two cups of sugar and add gradually the yelks of four eggs, one at a time. Sift three cups of flour, measure again after sifting, and add a teaspoonful of baking powder in last sifting. Add alternately the sifted flour and a cup of sweet milk. Add last the stiff-beaten whites of the eggs. Flavor to taste. Bake in a loaf or in jelly-tins.
I didn't make these. Just couldn't handle two desserts today.
Cutlets: Really good. The ginger was nice, and I may use some in the future when I'm making chicken fried steak.
Green Peas: The sauce was really, really thick. And a lot like glue. I struggled to finish mine. The recipe suggests using cream instead of water, which I think sounds fantastic.
Mashed Potatoes: I missed gravy. Without gravy, mashed potatoes are just bland. I rationed out bites of the cutlets to eat with the mashed potatoes. On my last bite of mashed potatoes and cutlet, Ron tried to steal my very last bite of meat. I fended him off with my fork.
Floating Island: Well. The bottom is kind of like runny custard. I like custard. The "islands" were... interesting. They weren't bad, they just had a really weird texture, like bouncy foamy foof. Ron says they were like styrofoam, like the popcorn packing kind. He was also in charge of "garnishing with jelly" while I made peas. I bravely gave up some of my store of precious homemade plum cardamon syrup. He poured some on top. It sank into the custard. He poured it on a second time. It also sank into the custard. He poured it on a third time. It burned down, fell over, and then sank into the custard. But the fourth time... the fourth time it stayed! Possibly because of the solid 3 inches of syrup on the bottom holding it up. In the end it was mainly syrup with some custard dribbled on top. The custard I skimmed off the top was good though, with a bit of island. Ron is fired from decorating floating islands with syrup in the future though.