07 October 2009

Hostess

Etiquette Wednesday at Lucindaville features the "hostess" section of Hostess. Here we are concentrating on Rosemary Hume's cookbook section. Since Constance Spry has alluded to the fact that formal cooks are no longer de rigueur for the average household, the new "cook-hostess" must now be adept at being the cook of the house.

Constance Spry was the author of numerous cookbooks, though most people recognize that Rosemary Hume was the actual "cook" and Spry was the "name". Hume "invented" one of the most famous culinary dishes of the 1950's -- Coronation Chicken. The dish was considered luxurious in the rather austere Fifties. It consisted of a poached young roasting fowl which has been cooked, cooled and deboned. It is swathed in a mildly spicy sauce of sautéed curried onions, red wine, tomato purée, lemon, home-made apricot purée, mayonnaise and double cream. Like many dishes, Coronation Chicken has been re-interpreted and butchered beyond recognition, until falling completely out of favor. With Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee in 2003, the dish made a resurgence.

In Hostess, Rosemary Hume developed a series of several full menus for the cook-hostess to use for any occasion from a simple luncheon to a Coming-of-Age Party. Hume says:
"Though in some menus the preparation may look formidable it must be remembered that while certain things are cooking others can be in course of preparation.

If you are to achieve satisfactory results, with unnecessary inconvenience to yourself, then it is important that you should concentrate the time you spend in the kitchen."

My favorite recipe is for a savory little snack, basically fried bacon stuffed with cheese. It's a heart stopper, quite literally.

Bacon Savory

Allow two thin rashers of streaky bacon per savory and one thin slice of Gruyère or Kraft cheese
seasoned flour
beaten egg
dried white breadcrumbs
oil or good drippings for frying
watercress to garnish

Spread out a rasher and cut in half. Lay side by side on the board and place a thin slice of cheese on the top. Season well with pepper. Cover with another rasher cut in the same way -- press down well. dust with seasoned flour, then cover with the egg and roll in the crumbs. Press them well on.
Fry until golden brown in smoking hot oil or drippings. Drain well, then dish and garnish with watercress.

Well, it's not Coronation Chicken and eating a lot of this will ensure you will never see your Golden Jubilee, but once in a while...

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