In the late 1870s an emerging concept hotel sprung up in Cincinnati, Ohio. See, it was not only a place of hospitality, it also housed business offices, its very own shopping arcade, and a restaurant. The novelty! Why, I declare! This dinning experience, as one might expect, was open to over night guests at the hotel. If they choose to have their meals included with their boarding it was call the “American Plan”. If they declined, it was called the “European Plan”. By 1890 the European plan, or boarding only, was $1 a day or $25 in today’s market. Presumably, this was per standard room. The dinging room was quite the experience. As per American tradition restaurant menus were partially in French to lend an air of sophistication to the establishment. Unfortunately, Americans are not always experts at this and some of these French sounding words were spelled a bit more phonetically to American ears, and thus spelled incorrectly. Which, to be honest, is worse than trying to pretend one is cultured, but looking all the more uncultured for trying so hard and found wanting.
Here is the Emery Hotel’s Sunday Dinner 1892
Cream of Asparagus, Consomme Royal
Sliced Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Olives, Young Onions
Filet of Sole, au Vin Blang
Boiled Chicken, Parsley Sauce
Roast Beef, Spring Lamb, Mint Sauce
Mountain Oysters, Fried, Villeroy.
Larded Sweetbreads, Braised French Peas.
Queen Fritters, a la Vanilla
Chicken Mayonnaise, Lettuce French Dressing
Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, String Beans, Egg Plant
Fruit Pudding, Brandy Sauce, Strawberry Ice Cream,
Pear Pie, Blance Mange, Vanilla Sauce, Apple Pie
Strawberries, Charlotte Russe, Assorted Cakes
Apples, Oranges Bananas
Water Crackers and Cheese, Coffee
I have not investigated some of these dishes, so I am unfamiliar what constitutes the “Royal” portion of the consommé. There is a note at the bottom of this menu that explains the Mountain Oysters:
Mountain Oysters are steer testicles. They are known by a variety of coy or coarse names such as cowboy caviar, swinging beef, barnyard jewels, Mississippi Valley Scallops, farm oysters, and calf fries. . .In old English cookbooks they are referred to rather prosaically as “stones” . . .These were usually served breaded and deep fried. The Emery Hotel took this dish well away from the ranch and made it very high class by serving it with a classic Sauce Villeroi.
Anyone for seconds?