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Author Topic: What food do you serve at a victorian party  (Read 3247 times)
Stormcat
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« on: May 31, 2014, 03:51:07 am »

I've seen pamphlets advising how to dress for the party, how to act, what gifts to bring, but never what food to serve. any ideas?
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 06:13:16 am »

It depends on what sort of party you have in mind but you might start with high tea recipes:  http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/group/gaslightgastronomyandreciperevels/forum/topics/high-tea-recipes-and-preparations

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 12:14:43 pm »

Dear Ms. Stormcat:

Are you hosting the party?  Or are you thinking of bringing something to the party?
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Stormcat
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 09:17:24 pm »

Actually, I'm doing research for a steampunk novel I'm writing. There's a ball, and my main character is too shy to dance, so she hovers over the buffet all night.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 09:24:58 pm by Stormcat » Logged
Keith_Beef
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 10:02:12 pm »

Actually, I'm doing research for a steampunk novel I'm writing. There's a ball, and my main character is too shy to dance, so she hovers over the buffet all night.


That's an important bit of information. You see, the food will be very definitely determined by the setting: the food at an evening ball will be very different from that at lunchtime at a shooting weekend, obviously.


The time of year will also determine what produce is in season, and the economic status of the hosts (or the message the hosts want to send) will have an enormous influence. You can use these aspects to fill in the reader as to the aspirations, or the degree of confidence in themselves, that the hosts have. Of course, characters can pass comment on the food, its presentation, whether it is too showy, too "last season", not enough Empire produce to be the food of patriots…

And since you want this to be a buffet, not a seated dinner, this also determines the food; there will almost certainly not be turtle or mock turtle soup at your buffet. Cold meats and hams, game pie, eggs in aspic, devils on horseback…

Have a look at Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management; I'm sure you'll find plenty of ideas.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 11:36:31 am by Keith_Beef » Logged

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Keith
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 10:05:24 pm »

Don't know what happened, there. I think I must have inadvertently hit the "quote" button instead of the "edit" button.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 11:35:26 am by Keith_Beef » Logged
Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 02:13:58 am »

 Victorian  food  { for the middle and upper classes] was all about appearances.

 The Banquet of a previous era did not have noodles and dim sim. It was redolent in   20 courses [ or more] of  exotica  based soups , aperitif,  hors d' oeuvre, wines, pies,  meats [some still in their plumage] fish, bi valves, game beast, gelatines, cakes, pastries, salads  and so much more . Turtles were not a rare and endangered species then.

http://enginaire.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/grand-banquet-in-steampunk-flavour.html
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yereverluvinunclebert
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 02:57:23 am »

Try this thread:

http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,35567.0.html

It has images and links to all the Victorian brands still extant in the UK/US and Mexico and some other countries have also started a few local lists.
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 02:59:59 am »

Preferably something edible.
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Keith_Beef
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2014, 11:52:21 am »

Victorian  food  { for the middle and upper classes] was all about appearances.

 The Banquet of a previous era did not have noodles and dim sim. It was redolent in   20 courses [ or more] of  exotica  based soups , aperitif,  hors d' oeuvre, wines, pies,  meats [some still in their plumage] fish, bi valves, game beast, gelatines, cakes, pastries, salads  and so much more . Turtles were not a rare and endangered species then.

http://enginaire.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/grand-banquet-in-steampunk-flavour.html


While it's true that turtles were not endangered, they were still expensive and sometimes simply the fact that they were unobtainable led to mock turtle soup being served even in the best houses. I'm sure I've seen it on menus of dinners served at Chatworth House.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 09:34:32 pm »

Mock turtles were in abundance  back in the old days   Wink

 There has been a resurgence in Mock Turtle soup popularity and a wave of recipes on the net. They look simpler than the originals while still keeping the flavour
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Keith_Beef
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 09:43:32 pm »

Mock turtles were in abundance  back in the old days   Wink

 There has been a resurgence in Mock Turtle soup popularity and a wave of recipes on the net. They look simpler than the originals while still keeping the flavour

Since I've never had real turtle soup, I wouldn't be well placed to judge the whether mock turtle soup is a good imitation. I would simply have to decide whether I like it or not as a "Ding an sich".

I'm all up for it, personally, though SWMBO is not a great fan of offal, and I would rather not make just one or two servings…
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Captain
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2014, 11:15:18 pm »

Molded foods were apparently very popular in the 1890:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyKCTkyIjUE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XOUHgvYiLE
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yereverluvinunclebert
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2014, 01:04:44 pm »

simply open Mrs. Beeton's and start reading.
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Aubreay Fallowfield
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2014, 04:20:11 pm »

BATTENBURG
BATTENBURG
and in case you haven't got enough
BATTENBURG

Anything game orientated should be fine but whatever you serve its all about showmanship (or showladyship) It could be plain old cucumber sandwiches but on a silver platter with astonishing garnishes etc.
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2014, 08:05:46 pm »


Depending on which end of the Victorian era you are talking about, food was, generally speaking recognisably modern in most respects. Perhaps one of the most important influences was the chef  Escoffier who established and formalised french cuisine as the standard template for fine dining throughout Europe and effectively laid down much of the formal foundations of catering as an organised profession.

Another key innovation was colonialism and international trade combined with improved techniques for preserving and preparing food on an industrial scale so you see a big growth in branded larder ingredients like sauces and canned foods often including exotic spices and other ingredients as well as Indian and Asian styles of cooking having a serious influence on European tastes and becoming much more available.

There are also the classic Dickensian street food like baked potatoes and roasted chestnuts.

Perhaps the most quintessentially Victorian culinary tradition is afternoon tea and it's outdoor cousin the picnic which pretty well spans all social classes and sums up the era pretty well.
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2014, 12:23:23 am »


Depending on which end of the Victorian era you are talking about, food was, generally speaking recognisably modern in most respects. Perhaps one of the most important influences was the chef  Escoffier who established and formalised french cuisine as the standard template for fine dining throughout Europe and effectively laid down much of the formal foundations of catering as an organised profession.

Another key innovation was colonialism and international trade combined with improved techniques for preserving and preparing food on an industrial scale so you see a big growth in branded larder ingredients like sauces and canned foods often including exotic spices and other ingredients as well as Indian and Asian styles of cooking having a serious influence on European tastes and becoming much more available.

There are also the classic Dickensian street food like baked potatoes and roasted chestnuts.

Perhaps the most quintessentially Victorian culinary tradition is afternoon tea and it's outdoor cousin the picnic which pretty well spans all social classes and sums up the era pretty well.

I winder.  If having to mind an empire also meants that some balls acquired an international flair to them.  Would Indian food make it into the table?
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yereverluvinunclebert
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2014, 07:52:11 pm »

Yes, Kedegeree would be there. Curried dishes in general.
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yereverluvinunclebert
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« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2014, 07:52:50 pm »

Stilton - indispensable and essential.
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Keith_Beef
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« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2014, 11:40:47 am »

Yes, Kedegeree would be there. Curried dishes in general.

I always think of kedgeree as breakfast at a shooting party.
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