Loved reading the Brown Palace menu from 1904. When I saw the roast lamb with stewed oyster plant, I wondered how many people have ever heard of an oyster plant these days.
An oyster plant is a white root with the taste of oysters. It grows to about the thickness of a finger and is best after frost in the spring of the year. The Brown Palace menu, however, was for late Novemeber. Wonder if they canned the root? Or, being a root, could have just stored it in a cellar.
In a 1903 book by Jessup Whitehead, “The Steward’s handbook and guide to party catering…” there is a recipe for stewed oyster plant: scraped, boiled in water containing a little vinegar, salt, and flour to slightly whiten it; when tender, cut in short pieces in white sauce. The book also had a recipe for oyster plant fritters. Wonder why the oyster plant went out of fashion?
AND some info on Chicken Marengo — it’s an Italian savoury dish, named for being the dish that Napoleon Bonaparte ate after the Battle of Marengo (fought in June 1800 between French and Austrian forces near Alessandria, Italy). According to Wikipedia:
“Acording to tradition Napoleon demanded a quick meal after the battle and his chef was forced to work with the meager results of a forage: a chicken (and some eggs), tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, olive oil, and crayfish.. The chef cut up the chicken (reportedly with a sabre) and fried it in olive oil, made a sauce from the tomatoes, garlic and onions (plus a bit of cognac from Napoleon’s flask), cooked the crayfish, fried the eggs and served them as a garnish, with some of the soldier’s bread ration on the side. Napoleon reportedly liked the dish and (having won the battle) considered it lucky. He refused to have the ingredients altered on future occasions even when his chef tried to omit the crayfish.”
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