23 November 2009

The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book

The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book is one of the classic American cookbooks. Published in 1910, it was compiled by the head chef of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, Victor Hirtzler. In his preface to the volume he wrote:

“In this, my book, I have endeavored to give expression to the art of cookery as developed in recent years in keeping with the importance of the catering business, in particular the hotel business, which, in America, now leads the world.”

Hirtzler was not the kind of guy who skimped on offering at his hotel. Dinner menus often included nearly sixty entrees from hamburger to Bohemian ham, plus nearly twenty kinds of fish, twenty clam or oyster dishes, eleven soups, fourteen cheeses ,and twenty-four relishes. He had over 230 ways to serve eggs.

The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book featured menus for each day of the week and recipes to provide that particular day’s fare. Here is the menu for November 23.

Stuffed tomatoes, Noyer. Cut the tops off two nice tomatoes, scoop them out and season with salt and pepper. Mix fresh bread crumbs and chopped English walnuts in equal parts and fill the tomatoes with same. Put a piece of butter on top and bake in moderate oven for ten minutes.

Baked apples. Wash and core the apples. With a sharp knife cut a circle through the skin, around the apple, above the center, to prevent the apples from bursting. Place on a pan and fill the hole in each with sugar mixed with a little ground cinnamon. Put a small piece of butter on top of each, and a little water in the bottom of the pan. Bake in a moderate oven. Serve with their own juice. Cream separate.

Baked beans, Boston style. Soak three pounds of white beans over night in cold water. Then put same in a one and one-half gallon earthern pot with one-half cup of molasses, one soupspoonful of English mustard mixed with a cup of water, a little salt, and one whole piece of fat, parboiled salt pork. Pour in just enough water to moisten, cover, and put in bake oven for four hours. Or in a not too hot range oven for two and one-half hours. If range is used, be careful that they do not burn. Serve from pot, or in small individual pots, with Boston brown bread separate.

Ecrevisse salad, gourmet. Cover the bottoms of four dinner plates with chicory salad. In the center make a nest of celery cut in thin strips like matches. On top of that one well-washed fresh mushroom head, cut the same way, and to cap all, put the tails of six ecrevisses. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a sauce of one-third tarragon vinegar and two-thirds olive oil. Cut two truffles like matches, and with some fine chervil, sprinkle all over the salad.

Eggs Henri IV. Breaded poached eggs fried in swimming lard. Place on a piece of toast spread with puree de foie gras, and cover with sauce Perigordine.

Sauce Perigordine. To one cup of brown gravy add one spoonful of chopped truffles reduced in sherry wine. Season with salt and Cayenne pepper.

Broiled squab chicken. Split a squab from the back, salt, pepper, moisten with a little olive oil and broil. Serve on toast, with maitre d'hotel sauce, quartered lemons and watercress.

Dig in!


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