Traditional Easter Sunday Dinner Menu

Clip Art: Victorian Scrapbook Image of a Pug in an Egg

Clip Art: Victorian Scrapbook Image of a Pug in an Egg

This menu for a traditional Easter Sunday dinner is from The American Family Reciept Book, by Annie R. Gregory (Assisted by One Thousand Housekeepers). Published in the early 1900s, it gives some historical insight into the Easter holiday traditions of early 20th century America and makes a reference to the White House Easter Egg Roll. You an enter a lottery for a chance to participate in the 2012 event at http://www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll

Easter Sunday

“Resurrection is the silver lining to the dark clouds of death, and we know the sun is shining beyond.”

Easter brings joy to the festival. Let the table decorations be fresh and dainty. The dominant dish should be eggs–eggs and eggs, over again.

In pagan days, the use of eggs in the spring was symbolical of nature–“the bursting forth of life.” With the Christians, it symbolizes the resurrection: “From death–Life.” The free use of eggs on Easter has now generally become a custom with all Nations, whether that nation acknowledges its religious significance or not.

White and green are the most appropriate colors for decoration. White china and pure white linen, with Easter lilies for a centerpiece, make an ideal looking table. Hard-boiled eggs sliced crosswise, make pretty garnishings for the different dishes. On this special day, for breakfast, let the eggs be cooked to order as best pleases each individual fancy. This privilege will be greatly appreciated, especially by the little folks, who like innovations.

Editor’s Note: If I’m asked, I’ll take the Rum Omelet (also from this book)

Make a very soft sweet omelet; when on the dish pour over some rum and sugar, send it to the table and then have it set on fire, basting frequently to keep it alight.

Menu

Breakfast

Oranges
Grape Nut and Cream
Eggs “to order”
Hashed Potatoes, in Cream
Rolls
Griddle Cakes and Maple Syrup
Coffee

Dinner

Consomme, with Egg-Balls
Roast Lamb and Mint Sauce
Greens, with Hard-Boiled Eggs
Egg and Watercres Salad
Strawberry Ice Cream
Easter Cakelets
Coffee

Supper

Welsh Rarebit
Filberts
Eggs, in Jelly
Easter Eggs
Palm Cakes
Russian Tea

It is a pretty custom to exchange souvenirs on Easter mornings. The candy rabbit and bonbon box of speckled eggs, fill quite a place in the boy’s heart and help him remember happily the day.

A pretty custom in my childhood was the rolling of the colored eggs out of doors on the day following Easter. I am told that this custom is now quite modern–that the children in our Capital city all repair to the White House grounds to roll their eggs, and that our Presidents, as well as the wee folks, enjoy the sport. Long live the Presidents!

How to Serve Meals

Alesandro

Alesandro Filippini

by Alessandro Filippini, head chef of the famous Delmonico’s in New York, 1889

Nearly every family of means is in the habit of giving a few dinners to its friends during the year. As a matter of course, the members of the family are, in return, invited to “dine out.”

If you invite your friends to a dinner, you should not wish them to go away dissatisfied. After a varied experience of many years, both in this country and in Europe, the author feels that no apologies are necessary if he endeavors to enlighten our epicures and dinner-givers as to how to arrange and serve a fine dinner, from commencement to close, after the manner of the French.

It should not be forgotten that much depends upon the appearance of the table, and the manner of serving the courses. In fact, more success can be attained by studied attention to the room, the table, and the serving of the courses, than in the preparation of costly viands.

On entering a dining-room, the first object which strikes the eye is the table. If the table is void of flowers, and other side decorations, including olives, radishes, and celery, tastefully arranged napkins and wineglasses, an impression is given of a boarding-house table. On the contrary, when you see a beautifully decorated and artistically arranged table, the heart is immediately gladdened.

A proper regard should be given to the comfort of the guests as regards temperature. Have the room neither too cold nor too warm; the temperature should never exceed sixty degrees. The dining-room should be well aired before dinner commences. Great care should be taken that the dinner be served very hot. Noises with plates and glasses should be avoided.

There is as much system in serving a fine dinner as there is in running a railroad, or in any other business. French dinners are generally served in three main courses, vix., Relevés, Entrées, and Rotis; all the rest are considered side courses. It depends entirely on the taste of the host as to how many main courses he desires served. The author would suggest to relevés, three entrées, and one or two rotis; this could be made an elaborate dinner.

Naturally, what you shall serve will depend entirely on what there is in market at the season. For instance, you cannot serve brook-trout in January, or canvas-back  duck during the months of June, July, August, or September. However, the very best in the market should invariably be selected.

Care should be taken to have the wines at the right temperature. Sherry, Sauterne, Chablis, and Rhine wines should always be served cold. Champagne should be served very cold, almost at the freezing-point. Bordeaux and Burgundy should be kept twelve hours before dinner in a room at a temperature of seventy degrees. Servants should be instructed not to fill the glasses more than three-fourths full; for guests are in danger of soiling their dresses, and again, it is not considered good form.