Robinson Crusoe Quote

"He preferred, however, "gourmandization," was an idolater of a certain decent, commodious fish, called a turtle, and worshipped the culinary image wherever he nozed it put up."
---The Contradiction (1796)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

LMB Part 2: Who gets the Alamode Pyes??

Two posts ago, I addressed some of more peculiar dishes served at the 1727 Lord Mayor's Banquet.  But  it wasn't as if everyone there was eating the same thing.  Almost every table in Guildhall (there were twenty of them) had a separate bill of fare that had to be approved far in advance of the feast.
Official LMB Invitation
Note that late-comers to the Banquet
(after 3pm) won't be admitted
So I started to think about who was eating what.  What were specifically "royal foods"?  Much has been made by historians about ladies' affinities for sugar.  Do these assumptions hold up?  Finally, what about the King's entourage of servants –– the yeomen, the horse grenadiers, the musicians –– many of whom were entertained in nearby taverns.  What do these meals say about the specific tastes of different social ranks?
The following dishes were served only at the King's Table:
--Red Deer collar'd (other tables got venison, but not the animal in its entirety.)
--Italian Collops
--Olio Pattys

But the aldermen seemed to get some dishes that the King didn't get.  
--Basilick Squabbs
--Indian Creame
--March Pan (Marzipan?)
--Royall Harts

And the servants, surprisingly, seem to be the only ones who get good old English "Sir Loynes of Beef" on the menu.

Why was this?  At first I thought that the aldermen (who are actually organizing the feast) might be more interested in more fashionable, exotic fare while the King's table would rely on the tried and true staples of centuries past.  But it's hard to tell.  French terms –– "blamange" "a la Spring" and "Alamode Pyes"–– pop up often at the more elite tables, although the dinners get less and less interesting as you move down the social scale.

Guildhall: Where the Magic Happened
Damn ... that's a lot of work for just two cooks and four confectioners working under them.  I mean, they had a team of about 50 servants to help out, but still!

So the reader can imagine my sigh of relief when I noticed that the party-planners gave the cooks a little token of appreciation just before the big day.  

ORDERED that the cooks have two bottles of canary, four bottles of white port, and six bottles of red port delivered them ...  for their refreshment.