02 November 2009

The Gun Club Cook Book


To Love and to Dine are man's chief ends and when man has lost the power to enjoy them,
death has lost its sting and the victory of the gave is a hollow triumph.

Charles Browne


In Princeton, New Jersey, a group was organized for the express purpose of shooting clay pigeons. They named themselves the Nassau Gun Club. They began shooting against other teams and these teams were invited to dinner. The Nassau Gun Club built a special room at the Nassau Club for their dinners. Then a larger room was built and a large kitchen added. Before long, the recipes of the gun club were compiled into the The Gun Club Cook Book. The book was later revised with these words from its author and shooter, Charles Browne:
"Several booksellers have found the title, "The Gun Club Cook Book," misleading and have had some difficulty in attracting the attention of possible buyers. Women associated the "The Gun Club" with stalkers of game and eaters of wold flesh, while men thought of "cook Book" in terms of Women's Social Centers and Church Bazaars. We cannot remedy this, but would ask our readers to tell their friends that the Gun Club shoots only clay birds ans is situated entirely within the precincts of civilization -- if a college town can be called civilized -- and let the men know that this is no cook book of the angel-cake variety."
The gun club boys are indeed heavy on the beef, chicken, pork and lamb. Their adventurous side offers up snails, frogs legs, an occasional whale steak ( not found in fishmongers anymore), alligator tail and chop suey. Browne recommends grabbing some La Choy for this dish.

Here is a favorite oyster dish:

Panned Oysters -- à la Gun Club

Prepare a sauce by melting 1 cup of butter and when hot add 1 tablespoon finely chopped bacon -- previously crisply cooked and drained, 2 tablespoonfuls chopped parsley and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Salt , black pepper and red pepper. Mix well and keep hot but do not cook any further.

The oysters are panned in a little of their own liquor and when done (their edges are beginning to curl) the sauce is added and well mixed and the dish is immediately served. The oysters may be transferred to hot ramekins for individual service and a tablespoon of the sauce spread upon each portion.

A decade or so after The Gun Club Cook Book, Charles Browne was back with the The Gun Club Drink Book. The last copy of this title I found for sale was over $800! Do you know how much "drink" you could buy for $800?

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