The fine art of feasting in the years gone by Home
In the years gone by, when civilization was cruder, mere quantity, mere extravagance, were considred impressive. Up until the
time of our grandfathers or our fathers, one did not dine, one feasted - tables groaned under the weight of food. Today ten courses
of the richest foods do not indicate that the hostess is a woman of the world. The proof demanded now is more subtle, far more
difficult; - exquisite quality in every detail.
Flaubert, the great French novelist, gives as an appalling description of a feast in the old days of Carthage - "Then the tables
were covered with meat, antelopes with their horns, peacocks with their plumes, sheep boiled whole in sweet wine, haunches
of she-camel and of buffalo, hedgehogs with garum, fried grasshoppers and preserved dormice. Everything was running over with
pickles, truffles and asafoetida. Pyramids of fruit fell in ruins of portions of honeycomb - Salammbo Gustave Flaubert.
Gaunt, half starved Ichabod Crane gazed unraptured at the feast in Van Tassel's mansion - "There was the doughty dough-nut,
the tenderer oly-koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller, sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and
the whole family of cakes. And then there were apple pies, and peach pies and pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked
beef; and morever delectable dishes of preserved plums and peaches and pears and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and
roasted chickens together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy - piggledy." - Washington Irving's Sketchbook.
As Americans dine. The subtle discrimination that makes an American dinner is shown in each detail. Only the choicest, far-
sought fruits, the rarest fish, game, the most delicate ices. And most important of all is the coffee.
The "homely" fare in "Ivanhoe" consisted with swine's flesh dressed in several modes, also fowls, deer, goats and hares and
various fish and the smaller sorts of wild fowl, together with huge loaves of cakes and bread and sundry confections made of
fruits and honey. - Ivanhoe, Walter Scott.
The Evening World, Wednesday, January28, 1920.