Friday, June 12, 2009

Not Exactly Fast Food

Please give a warm Nineteen Teen welcome to Mandy Hubbard, author of the adorable Prada and Prejudice, which hit stores this week! Mandy offers us insight into some of the more interesting aspects of mealtime. Enjoy!

First of all, thanks so much to Regina and Marissa for hosting me! Research is never my favorite part of writing (unless it’s watching a movie like Pride and Prejudice and drooling over Colin Firth) so I love Nineteen Teen, because I can get a little research in at a time.

In Prada and Prejudice, Callie Montgomery is a modern girl who ends up in 1815. One of her biggest challenges is navigating meal times, because she’s never sure what it is on her plate! I myself am not a very adventurous person when it comes to food—I’d be out of place at a fine dining establishment, never mind 1815!

While writing, I saved a number of recipes that I thought might disgust Callie, so I thought I’d share one of the more, em, interesting ones. (Courtesy of:

A Calves Head Hash
Your calves head being slit and cleansed half boiled, cold cut one side into thin slices, fry it in a pan of brown butter then toss pan on the stove with a pt of gravy, as much strong broth, a quarter of a pt of claret, as much white wine, a handful of savory balls, 2 or 3 shivered pallats, a pt of oysters, cocks combs, lambstones, and sweet breads boiled and blanched, sliced with mushroom truffles, Murrells, 2 or 3 anchovies, as many shallots, and faggot of sweet herbs tossed up, stewed together. Season it with savory spice, then scotch. Ye other side cross, cross flour baste, and broil it.

The Hash being thickened with brown butter, put it in the dish. Lay over and about it fried balls of the tongue sliced, larded with bacon, lemon peel, and beetroot, then fry in batter of eggs sliced sweetbreads, sippets, and oysters and lay in the head and place these on and about the dish and garnish it with sliced orange and lemon.

Can you imagine a girl who is used to McDonald’s and pizza sitting down and seeing a calf’s head staring back at her? EWWW.

Another interesting thing to note is that wealthy households cooked far more than they could ever eat—at least at the main table. It wasn’t uncommon to have ten items in each course! Callie had to learn to pace herself throughout the meal, picking at each course as she waited for the next one to arrive.

Lastly, I found it interesting that the kitchen and the dining room were never adjacent. Aristocrats did not want to smell the scents wafting in from the kitchen or hear the clanging of pots and plates. Servants had to race from the kitchen to the table to ensure it didn’t get cold before they served it!

I never envied the poor footmen trying to keep things warm and still get there on time! Thanks for joining us, Mandy!


QNPoohBear said...

I love research and my research tells me that I could not possibly eat anything in the 19th century. Thanks for a fun post. I will be sure to look for your book next time I'm out.

FitToSeeJane said...

Fun post. Some of the food looks disgusting, but the idea of servants bringing a plate of food to my room before breakfast sounds divine!

Christina Farley said...

I love the comparisons. It sounds like a great read with lots of laughs.

Lexie said...

While in Ireland visiting our mother's relatives, my younger sister got tricked by some of our Irish cousins into eating some Calves' Head Hash. Apparently, unlike when I went visiting a decade or so ago, the current crop of Irish cousins didn't want to get her blacked out drunk for the first time--they wanted to trick their American Cousin into eating the most disgusting things. So she had Calves Head Hash (which our Aunt Lauren makes well,...or so they say), true haggis and something to do with shepard's pie (we've only ever had it with beef...never with lamb...).

She wasn't so happy when she came back XD she expected to learn how to hold her liquor--not how to keep her stomach from being violently ill at the mere thought of food!