Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heliogabalus, Delights from the Roman Empire made with Glorious Garum

The Roses of Heliogabalus, Leo Reiffenstein, 1891

Laura from Silk Road Gourmet has made garum (she discusses garum brilliantly HERE and the process of making it HERE) and and aged it for nearly a year before sending it out to a lucky few who have been asked to make something with it.  The lucky few includes some rather remarkable food historians like Ken Albala, Charles Perry (he's already written his contribution ––  Pullus Frontonianus) and Sally Grainger, I am so honored to be included in this illustrious group –– WOW. 

Now I get to come closer to the flavor of ancient Rome than I ever thought possible because I have real garum to season my dishes.  For the record, garum was a condiment used in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine cuisine.  It was a kind of fermented fish sauce that employed the digestive juices of the innards of the fish to make a refined product.  It’s those juices which makes it different from the fish sauce we find in Asian cuisine today.  Mixed with wine (oenogarum) or water (hydrogarum) it was used on everything.  It was even considered a cure for ailments and was used as an ingredient in some cosmetics. The finished product contained amino acids, minerals and B vitamins as well as monosodium glutamate  ­­–– it added an umami flavor to boot.  Its factories were the original bad industrial neighbors –– no one wanted to live downwind of a garum factory.  Residue of a garum container found in Pompei revealed that the garum made there was made from Bogues, a summer-swarming fish of the family of sea breams like porgies in the US. I believe each region used their local fish to make their own garum and that styles varied with regions and their picean populations.

After making murri (that I wrote about HERE), I know what an ancient condiment can do for the taste of a dish… it is revelatory.  But what to make to honor the gift of this fabled ancient fish sauce/seasoning?  I decided to take a detour from the pages of Apicius and go Imperial to get me in the mood for cooking with such a treat –– just a little off the well-known Roman path –– taking a journey inspired by a painting.

When you imagine cuisine during the last gasps of the Roman Empire, most people think of mad Emperors and their insane parties before they think of the recipes and elegant entertaining of the legendary gourmand, Apicius.  Of course it is only through those writings that we have a clearer idea of  what was probably eaten at those wild orgies that only unlimited power (so no consequences for obscene indulgence), bottomless reasources and centuries of inbreeding could invent.  Most people know about the delusional Nero (37-68) of course and equally delusional and cruel Caligula (12-41) (thanks to the glorious I Claudius PBS show in the 1970s) but not many know about a later emperor, Heliogabalus (also known as Elagabalus) (203-22) and that is too bad.  He was quite a piece of work.

The Roses of Heliogabalus, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1888

I first discovered him through the painting, The Roses of Heliogabalus, by Alma-Tadema many years ago and thought the work was charming –– a rose  petal dinner –– glorious excess, right? 

Wrong.  A year ago,  I came across the painting again but this time looked up Heliogabalus/Elagabalus (thank you, Wikipedia).  Boy, was I wrong.  The painting depicts Emperor Heliogabalus suffocating his guests to death in rose petals for fun… yes, for fun.  Not so charming after all, but quite a legend.  Did it happen?

Elagabalus on a wall painting at Castle Forchtenstein, 17th c

The more I read history and live through it, the more I know that there is no way to say “accurate history”.  Some facts are accurate (like someone died on such and such a date), but commentary on history’s players is insanely subjective even when done in the moment (just think Fox News vs The New York Times).  Done much later, it can be pure fiction and events become grander or more horrific like the telling of any ancient ‘fish story’ that goes from catching a 2 pound salmon to a death match with a 200 pound leviathon –– and that’s just  within one or two generations of a story over a lifetime or two, not centuries!

Members of the Decadent Movement in the late 19th century ( I love the Decadent Movement, btw, the art and the writing) took an unearthly shine to Heliogabulus and wrote books, plays and operas as well as painting a good deal of/about him and his outré lifestyle.  Lara Marks in  Beauty and the Beast: Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater, R.L. Stevenson and their contemporaries, writes that “Many decadent aurthors have paid attention to the child emperor Heliogabalus: Lorrain, Lombard, Huysmans, George, Wilde (who devotes a few sentences to him in Dorian Gray), Gautier, Flaubert, D’Annunzio, and Gourmont, amongst others.  According to several historians from antiquity, the aesthete and hedonist Heliogabalus was a sadist, a masochist, a practitioner of tranvestism, and someone who was continually in search of new pleasures, strange as they perhaps might appear to us.”

 But was he a monster?  Fact is, there is precious little written about him during his short, teenaged reign as a foreign-import Emperor (he was born in Syria, in the town of Emesa or Homs as it exists today –– where all the trouble is brewing in Syria).  His 4 years in charge were rather dull.  His Dutch biographer Martijn Icks points out  “After Elagabalus had defeated Macrimus in 218 and gained the throne, he seems to have taken no decisions of great importance. No wars were waged during his reign. There were no important economic reforms, nor were there any grand monuments added to the face of the Eternal City, with the exception of one or two big to Elagabal (sun god).”

Simeon Solomon, Heliogabalus, 1866

He did wear “the garb of a Syrian priest, a long sleeved tunic down to his feet that was easily confused with female dress: and he made up his face and danced around the altar to the sound of cymbals and drums.” said Judith Weingarten. All this exoticism was too much for the Romans who got rid of him fairly quickly.  Still, the most virulent commentaries on his escapades were written in the 4th century work, Historia Augusta,  200 years after his death.


A contemporary of Heliogabalus, Cassius Dio, did mention a comment by an enemy of the emperor. He said Macrinus wrote to the senate that Heliogabalus was a boy and that he was mad –– but this guy was hardly going to be fair and balanced about someone he wanted to take out.  Cassius Dio also reported that Heliogabalus married and divorced 5 women including a Vestal Virgin (a monstrous deed that horrified Rome) but that his most lasting relationship was with a chariot driver named Hierocles whom he referred to as his husband. 

The later histories go into the insane parties, reports that Heliogabalus was a transgendered soul who wanted female parts attached to him, that he prostituted himself not only in brothels but in the Imperial palace itself.  Kurt Vonnegut tells a favorite story of Heliogabalus that involves a metal bull at the Emperor’s dinners into which a person was placed and locked inside.  Then a fire was lit beneath it so that the screams that issued from the open mouth of the bull were the sound track to the dinner –– one would imagine invitations to these events were looked upon with dread. Oh yes, it is said he invented the whoopee-cushion (put the screams and raspberries together in your head for the worst party-mix tape ever).  However, this story was written centuries after his death and it is probable that it was utterly apocryphal.

It is true that Damnatio memoria  (a state-issued erasure from history) was decreed after he was killed and his body tossed unceremoniously in the river, but for what exactly we will never know for sure.  In his case the fiction that arose after the censure was probably wilder than the truth. At the very least his foreign ways and foreign gods won him no friends (he installed a woman in the Senate –– an innovation that went away the moment he did).

Still, Imperial parties must have been something. Even before Heliogabalus and his rose parties,  Petronius in 60AD talked about oil rubdowns before dinner, olives served from bags on a life-size bronze donkey, dormice dipped in honey and rolled in poppyseeds. Everyone knows about dining on hummingbird tongues and other wildly exotic creatures that were ingested at these Imperial feasts but the fact is that most of the time Emperors probably ate many of the same things that appear in Apician cookbooks (that I wrote about HERE).  And why not?  The food is so remarkably good, sophisticated and modern in so many ways.  It would shine at any banquet with or without the golden dishes, bushels of rose-petals and silk cushions (whoopee or otherwise).

The green sauces for the chicken are not unlike a more complex pesto that would become ubiquitous in Italian cuisine a milennium or so later. The Romans loved sauces and I loved the many recipes for the sauces so much, I just couldn’t stop at one so made 2, both are fabulous.  Although I could only guess at the proportions, one turned out slightly sweet and the other slightly tangy. They are delicious with salmon.

The asparagus ‘quiche’ is brilliantly flavored and accessorized with meat ( I did take the liberty of substituting grouse meat for ‘figpeckers’ but duck breast would work well as would chicken tenders if you wanted a milder flavor) and reminded me of the subtle beauty of the Japanese custard dish, chawan mushi (that I wrote about HERE .

Just a note for ingredients.  As you may have surmised, herbs like lovage and rue are not on supermarket shelves.  I sent for mine (and they arrived in 4 days) from a wonderful resource I found last year when I needed hyssop and pennyroyal for medieval recipes.   The Grower’s Exchange in Virginia has a remarkable selection of unusual herbs and beautiful plants.  The arrive in perfect condition and after 3 deliveries I can say that with confidence.   Hyssop is one of my favorite discoveries and tastes like many sweet herbs all in one plant, pennyroyal is an incredibly sweet mint that is wonderful and lovage is a good-sized perennial that looks like giant parsley and tastes like celery… you only need a bit to flavor a dish. Rue is interesting, bitter and bad for you in large quantities (like pennyroyal).  It has been used for thousands of years in cooking and as a medicine for everything from insect repellant to eye wash.

The recipes (written in capitals) that follow are taken verbatim from Apicius.  After that are my versions.

[222] ANOTHER [sauce]

Sauce 1 Aliter

1 date, seeded
3 T broth
½ t pepper
2 t chopped lovage
2 t chopped rue
2 T toasted pine nuts
½ t powdered mustard
2 t honey
1 T garum or fish sauce
½ t celery seed
¼ c chopped parsley
3 T vinegar
1 to 2 T oil to taste

Warm the broth and soak the date in it till softened. Puree in a blender with the stock.  Add the herbs and nuts and spices, puree. Add the vinegar and oil and blend.


Sauce 2, Aliter Ius in Avibus

1 t pepper
2 t lovage
¼ c parsley
2 t mint
½ t fennel pollen
2 T wine
1 T garum or  fish sauce
¼ c roasted hazelnuts
1 t honey
2 T vinegar
2 T broth
2 T oil
½ t celery seed
1 t catmint or catnip or pennyroyal, chopped

Put first 8 ingredients into a blender and blend ingredients including the hazelnuts, then toss in the rest and grind.

Perfect Simple Roast Chicken

1-4 pound chicken, trussed
1 T garum or fish sauce
1 t pepper
1 -2 t salt (Thomas Keller recommends liberal salting for a crisp skin… it works)

Preheat oven to 450º

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.  Leave on a rack in the fridge for 1 hour, uncovered.  Remove then rub the chicken with garum and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place on the rack in a pan and fill pan ½” full with stock or water (use the drippings for a lovely gravy on the side)

Cook for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving for crisp skinned but very juicy chicken.

Asparagus Custard with Grouse Breast
8 Asparagus cut into stalks and tips
2 T stock
2 T wine
2 T oil + 2 t oil
1 t pepper
4 eggs
1 T garum
breasts from 1 grouse (you can get Scottish Grouse from D'Artagnan), or a D'Artagnan duck breast  or even chicken breast

Steam the asparagus tips for 5 minutes and the stalks for 8.  Chop the stalks and puree with 2 T stock.

Warm the oven to 375º

In an ovenproof skillet, warm the pepper, oil, wine and stock for a few minutes.

Whisk 4 eggs with the asparagus puree and the garum

Pour into the skillet and heat on the stovetop over medium heat for a few minutes until the eggs are slightly set on the bottom.  Put in the oven for 10 minutes.

Salt and pepper the breasts and sauté in 2 t oil for a few moments on each side and remove. Let rest for a few moments.  Slice into 3 or 4 slices each and reserve.

After the first 10 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and lay the reserved asparagus tips and meat into the eggs which should be nearly set.  Put back in the over for 5 more minutes or until set.  Serve hot or cold.

Thanks again to my friend Linda at Statewide Marble in Jersey City for the gorgeous piece of stone.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

La Grande Bouffe –– Food, Sex and Excess in Film –– with Lobster

It’s hard to believe but Marco Ferreri’s La Grande Bouffe was made 40 years ago.  It was a movie the New York Times called "vulgar vaudeville on an epic scale...a mordant, chilling, hilarious dirty movie" that I saw as a kid and it had a profound effect on me –– one of both horror and fascination.


The premise of the French film was fairly simple and rather dark –– 4 friends get together for one last blast of a weekend to end their lives (for a variety of reasons) by eating themselves to death. All of the characters are named for the actors who play them (a bit disturbing at the beginning). 

Pilot Marcello Mastroianni is an aging roué who was burnt out and just going through the motions of being a “sex maniac”… even a collection of ladies of the night couldn’t stay his feelings of hopelessness and an emptiness that nothing could fill.  In the end, a classic Bugatti (designed by the genius Ettore Bugatti) that he had just gotten running again and the freezing cold was his suicide weapon… his appetites couldn’t kill him.

The chef, played by Ugo Tognazzi, created magnificent meals and show-stopping dishes –– only to have them fall short of satisfying him.  In the end he ate himself to death with a baroque masterpiece of goose in champagne, chicken in sherry and duck in port cooked separately then joined in a grand, towered paté presentation en brioche served before 2 dead guests in the freezer. 

The child-man judge, played by Phillippe Noiret,  still lives with his old wet nurse (whose ample bosom still holds a disturbing attraction). The Judge is the host of the Bacchanalia that is held on his unused family estate. The house is brilliantly eccentric–– the art direction is amazing, the kitchen to die for.

Television host and estranged father, played by Michel Piccoli, is the melancholy, piano-playing flatulent who dies loudly and painfully without dignity after stuffing himself to death.  

Andréa Ferréol

The extra guest at the party is played by the remarkable Andréa Ferréol, a prim schoolteacher who happens on the group quite by chance as she herds her class on a tour that includes a famous tree on the Judge’s property. We soon discover her appetites are extraordinary.  Hers was the first full-figure that I found attractive… she is nearly bursting out of her skin like a ripe fruit or a voluptuary in an old Italian masterpiece.  She eats and loves the men under the table as ‘twere. For her,  this is an opening and not a closing.

Watching it again, now that I am older and schooled in the ways of food, the menues themselves were rather remarkable.  I thought I would share my notes with you (after re-watching it on Youtube where you can see the whole film) about what was eaten over that weekend:

Blood sausage
Wild Boar
Venison from the Couves forest

Suckling pig, stuffed with chestnuts, smoked bacon, truffles (garnished with pears)

Guinea hens fed on juniper and grain
Ardennes roosters
Bresse chickens
Hindquarter of Charolais beef
Salt marsh lamb from Mont Saint-Michel

Tête de veau

                    Oysters with Perrier Jouet Champagne

Quail on skull skewers

Marrow bones
Crépes Suzette
Turkey fed with cognac, served with purées of apple and chestnut
Kidneys Bordelaise (we are told Roussel loved to have them with hot chocolate and cream, enjoying many courses at once)
Crayfish a la Mozart on a bed of rice a la Sully, with Sauce Aurora
Stuffed pullets/poularde
Charcoal grilled turkey on the amazing rotisserie in the kitchen

Tarte Niçoise – Pizza Provençal

Many pastas, including Marcello’s pasta with mushroom cream sauce

A huge cake

To a young person just starting out in life, the film was a cautionary parable that gave me quite a jolt. It asked the question, when you need more, more, more –– what is the hunger you are not satisfying?

I’ve mused many times about my “fork List’ of dishes to make the meal to end all meals but never have considered eating as a suicide technique.  Honestly, the best food and wine I ever had I didn’t always finish.

Why such dark musings, you may ask?

As many of you know, my days and nights of late have been completely absorbed by making a movie.  Not such a far stretch from my labors here at the blog, especially with a few food scenes involved in the film.  The idea of a "grande bouffe" in my film got me reflecting on that fascinating film.

In Tom Jones, the seduction starts with lobster …

                               and moves on to oysters

Food and film have been very cozy for quite some time, showing up with great frequency since Tom Jones had his tête a tête with the fulsome wench in the 1960’s British film Tom Jones).  Food and sex are often conflated.  Sensual dining often is a precursor to sex or a G-rated substitute for more carnal pursuits.

Molly O’Neill in a 1997 NYT articles said “Food has been both plot and motive. It has been both grand and sumptuous, poignant and dreary, sexy and scary…. Some pundits have suggested that food has become the sex and violence of our culture (perhaps thinking about the searing chili pepper in ''9 Weeks''). But Doris Weisberg, who teaches a course on food in film at New York University, says that cinema grub is like a big lump of mashed potatoes, a mutable prop for the director's vision.”

‘Weisberg sees the rise of food in film as a reflection of our current preoccupation with eating. A film can play on our love-hate relationship with food, the status conferred by food or the fear we have of it."

Stephanie and Miguel with the goose

The goose was provided by my friends at Shiltz Foods –– the smoked goose looked this good right out of the package –– amazing!

In our film, El Cielo es Azul, we had 2 big scenes involving food.  The first was a glorious goose (that I got from Shiltz Goose Farm), served by the enormously attractive Stephanie Sigman  (a Mexican actress best known for her striking portrayal of a beauty queen turned drug mule in Miss Bala this year) to Miguel Rodarte  (who did the hysterical Saving Private Perez last year) and Osvaldo Benavides  (star of many Mexican television series). Here the dinner is celebratory.  The 2 lovers eat well but not excessively, and Miguel’s character, the odd-man-out, stuffs himself into a food coma.

The second meal involves a character that has denied herself the pleasures of life for a long time.  She leaves her prison and goes for a last blast –– a pleasurable not destructive “Grande Bouffe” –– a lobster dinner and a night with an enamored younger man.  The woman is played by the radiant Barbara Sukowa who began her film career in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz in 1980, followed by Lola in 1981, and received further accolades in Margarethe von Trotta’s films Die bleierne Zeit in ‘81, and Rosa Luxemburg in ’86 and Vision in 2009 and a superlative actress.

For this we went to a seafood restaurant in the Hamptons for our location.  The poor owners didn’t know what hit them when 50-odd people showed up to film “just a table of 3 people”.  I think they were imagining something much, much smaller.  As we rearranged their place many, many times for coverage of the complex scene,  they went from amused to horrified.  Sadly, all they wanted was to see the end of us and thought the experience was horrid.  We wanted to help them put everything back in place (what we always do on locations) but they preferred to do it themselves. It’s probably the only time this has happened to me, so I felt badly about it.  Our other locations were thrilled with us and pleased at the way we left their spaces.

Throughout it all, the chef was professional.  He didn’t enjoy that his lovely food was destroyed for the scene, in a way it is rather mad, isn’t it?  Sometimes that’s what has to happen… in film it is not always about pretty.  The scene began after the meal had been going on for some time and the diners were misbehaving a bit –– the table reflected that happening. They decided to skip the “before” shot when things were lovely.

Barbara, Miguel and Osvaldo with my art director, Nadya stepping in as the waitress (when an actress was MIA)

                The tall Plateau de Fruit de Mer tiered serving dish

 The wines for the meal were provided by Mannie Berk at The Rare Wine Company.  We had a 2011 Bodegas Olivares Rosado (rose), 2010 Elio Perrone Barbera Tasmorcan (red), 2010 Feital Auratus (white) and a 2011 Elio Perrone Moscato d'Asti Sourgal (sweet & fizzy!).  Although we don’t let actors drink on set… we all tried them afterwards and loved what we had!


Lobster seems to be a theme that ran through Le Grande Bouffe, Tom Jones and El Cielo es Azul, so I thought that lobster should be my dish… and what’s not to love about lobster? 

I had loved the seafood plateau idea.  I thought of it the first time I read the scene to give height to the table and the effect was just what I had hoped.  I snagged the shell dish after the film wrapped and love the look of it (even if there was a warning on the dish not to eat food from it… I imagine a lobster just sitting in it wouldn’t be a bad thing?).

The lobster is cracked for ease of serving and then a classic mayonnaise is served with it… I really could drink the sauce… it is simple and addictive.  Couldn’t be simpler or more delicious, served with the lovely wines from The Rare Wine Company!

And finally, I have a thing about tossing bones or shells.  What a waste.  Anytime I have lobster I make lobster stock.  I toss all the shells in a pan, add white wine and water and a few herbs, lemon and shallots and cook for an hour or so.  I strain and reduce the liquid to 2 cups and you're ready to make my favorite Lobster Bisque!

Thomas Keller does a rendition of a Ferdinand Point recipe in the NYT this week called Bohemian Lobster that employs many of the same flavors.  I guess lobster is in the air in April.

Cold Lobster with a Remoulade Mayonnaise

1 or 2 lobsters, cooked and chilled and split

Remoulade Sauce

1 c mayonnaise
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T chopped gherkins
½ T chopped capers
t each of fresh chopped parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon
¼ t chopped anchovy or sea salt to taste
splash of worchestershire
juice of ½ a lemon

Combine all and serve with the lobster.  There will be leftovers… and that’s a good thing.
There is enough Remoulade for 2 lobsters easily.

  Lobster Bisque for 2 

1 shallot
1 1/2 T butter
1-2 T cognac
2 T flour

1/2 to 1 T tomato paste to taste
1 c heavy cream
2 c reduced lobster stock*
1 T sherry
pinches of fresh parsley, thyme, chives, chervil, tarragon... what ever you have on hand
pinch of cayenne and paprika
tiny pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
cut up lobster tail or shrimp (optional)

Saute the shallot in the butter over low heat.  When it is softened, add the cognac and allow to evaporate.  Add the flour and stir for a moment so it loses it's raw taste. Add the tomato paste, then slowly add cream and lobster stock and stir.  Add the sherry, chopped herbs, peppers and seasoning and stir.

Remove from heat and let steep for a few minutes.  At this point you can strain for a more elegant presentation.  Add the chunks of  lobster or shrimp if you wish and heat the soup gently to warm and/or cook the meat.  Serve, hot in small cups.

*take left-over lobster shells, put in a pan with chopped carrot, add a cup of white wine and water to cover and add fresh herbs, shallot and a squeeze of lemon.  Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours over low heat. I had about 5 cups. Strain and reduce to about 2 cups.

*** PS. The film Le Grande Bouffe is R rated, there is nudity and it is rather racy... not just about food!

Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday

Friday, April 6, 2012

Chicken a la King, Ladies Who Lunch, Circa 1913

I’ve been working like a dog recently on a wonderful movie.  For all of you who lead hectic lives… you must, like me, long for a simpler time when there were “ladies who lunch” after a particularly grueling day. 

I daydream about lounging like the lovely lady above, elegantly attired and insouciant… waiting for course after course of small plates to tease my taste buds and fuel girly chatter.  As it is, my reality is a grabbed nibble of chips, an apple on the fly or stainless steel trays of goop over burners –– not inspiring at all.  No wonder this lifestyle seems like a dream (especially since I look more like a bag lady on the job than a perfectly coiffed, fur-muff-wielding damsel).

I found this recipe whilst looking for something else in the NYT archives.  It is treasure of Edwardian delights suggested by the Maitre d’Hotel of the Plaza Hotel in NY, a M. Lattard in January of 1913. One could pass the article’s dining suggestions along to ones cook for ones enjoyment.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?


As you can see, the recipe is quite simple.  The unusual part came from the rice cakes that were served with it.  I had always had chicken a la king on toast or biscuits so this was an unusual presentation that took a little detective work to find recipes for but then Chicken a la King takes a little detective work in itself –– its history is very unclear with multiple stories.

Wikipedia said  that Delmonico's chef Charles Ranhofer served “Chicken à la Keene in the 1880s, named after Foxhall Parker Keene. Another version claims it was created in 1881 at Claridge's Hotel in London and named for James R. Keene, father of Foxhall”.

“Another account claims chef George Greenwald of the Brighton Beach Hotel in Brighton Beach created it in 1890s, naming it after patron E. Clarke King and his wife.”

“The most likely account is that Chicken à la King was created in the 1890s by hotel cook William "Bill" King of the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Several obituaries in early March 1915 credited King after he died on March 4, 1915. A New York Tribune editorial at the time of King's death stated: “The name of William King is not listed among the great ones of the earth. No monuments will ever be erected to his memory, for he was only a cook. Yet what a cook! In him blazed the fire of genius which, at the white heat of inspiration, drove him one day, in the old Bellevue, in Philadelphia, to combine bits of chicken, mushrooms, truffles, red and green peppers and cream in that delight-some mixture which ever after has been known as "Chicken a la King.””


My recipe for Chicken a la King is based on the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book recipe that I found in the book I inherited from my grandmother… simple and classic.

1850 edition

The 1846 recipe for these little rice cakes from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt-Book by Catharine Beecher is pretty simple too.  I used brown rice for fun and a pinch of sugar as many of the recipes had a good deal of sugar in them.  These little pancakes were very popular in the 19th century. Saleratus, if you don’t know (I didn’t) is baking soda! I also looked at a recipe on Vintage Recipes   for some assistance with the griddle cakes


Chicken a la King inspired by the Boston Cooking School for 2

4 T melted butter
½ to ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
2 T flour
½ c hot chicken broth
½ cup hot milk
½ c hot cream  (** if you want to lower the calories use only milk)
1 cup cooked white meat chicken, cubed
1 t fresh marjoram
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of mace
1 -2 T sherry or madeira to taste
1 egg yolk
2 T pimento
1 T parsley

Sauté the mushrooms in 1 T butter over a m/low heat till cooked through.
Remove the mushrooms and add the rest of the butter and the flour and cook for a few moments to remove the raw taste of the flour.

Slowly add the stock, milk and cream and add the salt and pepper and mace to taste and stir until thickened. Add the mushrooms to warm and the sherry or madeira.  Gently add the egg yolk over very low heat.

Sprinkle with parsley and pimento. Serve with the rice griddle cakes.

Rice Griddle Cakes

1 ½ c salted boiled rice (brown or white)
1 c milk

2 c milk
2 c flour
1 egg
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 t baking soda dissolved in 1 t. hot water
1 T breadcrumbs

Soak the cooked rice overnight in 1 c milk.

Combine the rice with the rest of the ingredients and cook on a buttered skillet or griddle until done.  Keep warm and covered in a low oven. This makes more than you need.  You can freeze they or use them for canapes later!