The leading ladies of Washington have been called upon to furnish a special dinner for your readers. They have responded nobly, and from the wife of the President to the leading society cooks of the congressional circles, have with their own hands written out recipes for Christmas dishes which their own kitchens have proved good.
The dishes they recommend are not expensive, and the dainties here described are all within the limit of a family with an income of $1200 a year or less.
The Christmas dinner of the President and his cabinet will be like yours. They will have their turkey and their plum pudding, and at the White House the menu, which has been written out for you by the President’s cooks, will be as follows:
PRESIDENT HARRISON’S CHRISTMAS DINNER
Blue Point oysters, half shell.
Bouches a la reine.
Turkey, cranberry jelly.
Potatoes duchesse. Stewed celery.
Terrapin a la Maryland.
Lettuce salad, plain dressing.
Mince pie. American plum pudding.
Ice cream. Tutti frutti.
Lady’s fingers, macaroons, Carlsbad wafers
The cabinet officials will eat nearly the same, only Secretary Rusk will have to omit the mince pie, for that robust genial gentleman has dyspepsia.
Vice President and Mrs Morton tell me that their Christmas dinner will not include much more than turkey and plum pudding. “It is children’s day with us,” said Mrs Morton, “and we have a simple menu. We have few relatives to invite, and we give the day and the dinner to our five daughters.”
MRS PRESIDENT HARRISON’S SAUSAGE ROLLS
I begin my recipes with two from the White House. Mrs President Harrison has kindly written out directions for making delicious sausage rolls, and Mrs Mary Harrison McKee furnishes me a recipe for escalloped oysters prepared with macaroni. Mrs Harrison’s recipe is on a sheet of White House paper of the size of an ordinary business envelope. It is written in her own hand and it is as follows:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON
Make a light biscuit dough made with milk and let it rise overnight. In the morning, roll out thin and cut into shape with a biscuit cutter. In the centre of each, place a roll of sausage the size of a good-sized hickory nut and roll it up in the dough. After letting them stand in the pan for a few minutes, bake and serve hot.
These rolls are also good cold, and when children, we used to have them to take to school for our luncheon in bad weather.
MRS MCKEE’S RECIPE FOR ESCALLOPED OYSTERS PREPARED WITH MACARONI
Boil the macaroni soft, put a layer into a baking dish. Cover with oysters, pepper, salt and butter then another layer of macaroni, then a layer of oysters until the dish is filled. Bake.
The favorite breakfast dish in the chief justice’s family on a Christmas morning are cod fish balls. They will be made in a way undreamed of. Mrs Fuller learned the art when a bride visiting the chief justice’s Maine home. Two of his old aunts taught her. She prefaces the recipe with an injunction that the codfish should be carefully picked. Here it is:
Equal parts of cod fish and mashed potatoes, thoroughly mixed with cooked red beets chopped fine. Mold into balls, brown in the fat of salt pork, and garnish with the crisp bits of fried pork.
Mrs Field also gives the method of preparing a turkey for a Christmas feast:
The turkey should be cooped up and fed well some time before Christmas. Three days before it is slaughtered, it should have an English walnut forced down the throat three times a day and a glass of sherry wine once a day. The meat will be deliciously tender and have a nutty flavor.
MRS SENATOR KENNA’S REGENTS PUNCH
In connection with this, I give you a recipe for Regent’s punch, which Mrs Senator Kenna uses at her receptions. It is taken by her from Marion Harland’s cookbook, but Mrs Kenna uses it and she writes that it is delicious.
One pound of loaf sugar or rock candy, one large cup of strong tea (made), three wine glasses of brandy, three wine glasses of rum, one bottle of imported champagne, two oranges (juice only), three lemons, one large lump of ice.
“Tell your readers,” said a man, a gentleman of the old school, and in beverages as of cookery, “Tell your readers that better punch was never brewed.”