From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Five-year-old Fruit Cake and Other Delicacies

Dinner Party Menu, 1892


On January 4, 1892, Mr. and Mrs. Sam E. Stegar of Trenton, Kentucky, had a Leap Year dinner party, Fifteen unmarried couples and a few extra guys attended the event. The party was such a social success that it even made the news in Hopkinsville, a few train stops west of Trenton.

The entire four-course menu of the Stegar's party was included in the article that appeared in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian. It was interesting. I've presented it below with some links to recipes and other background information from the period.

First Course
Florida Oranges
Bananas
Figs
Pears
Malaga, Concord, and Catawba Grapes

Second Course
Turkey and Ham
Sauce
Roast Mallard Ducks
Oyster, Egg and Chicken Salad
Oysters
Salmon
Sardines

A careless typesetter may have changed "Oyster, Egg and Chicken Salads" to "Oyster, Egg and Chicken Salad." The salmon, sardines, and oysters could have been fresh, brought by refrigerated railroad car to Trenton.

Celery (a palate cleanser after the meat course)


Third Course


Cream
Vanilla Sherbert
Lemon Pudding
Bisque
Fruit Cake, 5 years old and layered  with lemon icing. One layer was citron with vanilla, another layer was chocolate. (This fruit cake was the most interesting thing in the entire menu!)

Fourth Course

Cheese
Doughnuts
PretzelettesChocolata (Menier and Van Houten's Cocoa)
Coffee

After this feast, the guests "engaged in original wit and humor and all the latest games of fascination, until the late hour of 1 o'clock, when the weather becoming very inclement, the party adjourned." Since it was a Leap Year party, the young ladies escorted the young gentlemen safely to their homes, before heading for home themselves.

Source: Hopkinsville Kentuckian, January 1, 1892, page 2.

2 comments:

Collagemama said...

Now I'm wondering about my lunch. Sure it won't include 5 year old fruitcake, but there are a few birthday cupcakes left.

Genevieve said...

I couldn't find any old recipes at all that recommended aging a fruitcake for five years.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.