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International Menus

Australian-themed Dinner - Astrid Bear
A Chinese Menu - Susan Collicot
Russian Dinner Menu - David Goldblatt
An Irish Meal From an Irishman - Brian Tansey
Irish Country Meals and Customs - Lois
English Dinner Menu - Jay Reay
Zoo Dinner Menu - John Meyn
Selections from English Wedding Menus - Rowen
Gunroom Buffet Menu - Mary S.
Thai Cooking - John Gosden
An Afghani Menu - Bruce Trinque
Traditional Foods in Argentina - Satyam
Eight recipes from Around the Roman Table - Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome

Australian-themed Dinner - Astrid Bear
We did a sort of Australian-themed dinner the other night. My mother was up visiting and wanted to try cooking kangaroo (there's a local game and odd meat purveyor here) so we had medallions of roo pan-seared medium rare with an Asian plum sauce. Girdle (griddle) scones to go with the soup. And a nice big pavlova for dessert, with raspberries, blueberries, and kiwi. Yums all around.

A Chinese Menu - Susan Collicot
To start off the dinner, we had bbq pork that was specially made for us by a friend's mother, who makes the very best bbq pork I have ever tasted anywhere. She says someday she'll teach me how to make it, if her son marries a non-cooker. Foo.
Then we had:
Chinese Dumpling Soup
Then continued with two dishes, a side and a main dish.
The side dish: Snow Peas with Soy-Ginger Sauce
The main dish: Kung Pao Chicken
Accompanying the meal was plenty of freshly brewed black tea of many varieties, plus some TsingTao beer. Finished off the evening with fortune cookies with wonderfully flowery phrases. Then we sat and digested for quite some time - a very late evening for everyone.

Russian Dinner Menu - David Goldblatt
1) Vodka
2) Pickled Herring
3) Kippers
4) Gefilte Fish
5) Borstch (beet soup) with the hot potato and sour cream
6) More Vodka
7) Russian tea, served in a glass with sugar cubes
8) Halavah (sesame candy) and or Marzapan
9) Skol - more Wodka
10) Kreplok
11) more Wodka, lots of Horseradish and Onions and potatoes
Have fun, talk real loud, dance like your going to die tomorrow

An Irish Meal From an Irishman - Brian Tansey
When asked about corned beef, Brian replied:
And yes we do eat corned beef (silverside) here but I suppose the stereotypical 'Oirish' meal would be salty bacon and cabbage with some floury spuds and a lump of butter! Followed by the mandatory pint of porter.

Irish Country Meals and Customs - Lois
This from a description of Irish country meals and customs, 18-19th Century:
Breakfast, generally served at about 9:00 a.m. would have consisted of toasted spiced bread flavoured with caraway seeds (costing 1d each), a pint of home brewed ale, coffee towards the end of the century, occasionally white wheaten bread (whitened so some suspected with ground bones stolen from charnel houses) and the traditional home made soda farls baked in a pot oven that hung from the crane over the fire. Marmalade and honey were commonly served. The great groaning side boards laden with roast beef, game pie and the like only really appeared for hunting breakfasts which would have been washed down with mulled wine.
The main meal of the day started at around 3:00 or 4:00. En famille it would be just potatoes and buttermilk, as Dorothea Herbert records in her diary, the same diet as that of the labourers. ... A formal dinner party would last for four or five hours. While Cuffesborough, being a minor house, had no curtains in any rooms, even great houses had curtainless eating parlours so that they would not retain the smell of the food and smoke. On the mahogany table a candelabra would have thrown a kindly light on the pock marked faces of the diners even though wax candles were ferociously taxed and cost nearly £1.00 a dozen.
Ladies would sit at one end of the table in order of social precedence, while the men sat at the other end. All the dishes for each course would be laid on the table at the same time.
Sir John Caldwell describes a County Down dinner party in 1772:
"Stewed trout, chine of beef, a tureen of soup in the middle, a little pie at each side, and four trifling things at the corners. The second course of nine dishes made out much the same way with some hashed turkey, a fine neck of roasted pork with apple sauce, a wild duck roasted, fried rabbits, a plumb pudding, some tartlets, etc. The cloth was taken away and then the fruit - a pine apple - not good, peaches, grapes, figs, apples, pears, jellies, creams, ices and the rest." Generally speaking guests helped themselves, though often there would be a footman on hand to pass dishes from one end of the table to the other - seasoned guests knew to bribe the footman before dinner! At the end of the main courses the tablecloth, which had been used by the diners to wipe their mouths, was removed to expose the mahogany and the desert was served.
At this point (a couple of hours after sitting down) the company would become more informal and seats would be changed.
Eventually, at around 7:00, the hostess would lead the ladies to the withdrawing room for tea and scandal, leaving the gentlemen to two hours of politics, ribaldry and wine. At 9:00 or so the gentlemen would join the ladies and play cards, amateur theatricals, party games or just sit drinking more wine or tea and cakes. At midnight a light supper of cold meats might be served and the guests would leave at around 1:00. No wonder that considerate hosts always gave their parties at a full moon. Guests who had travelled far would stay the night and the young unmarrieds would share the barrack room, modesty being maintained by means of a curtain hanging across the room to segregate the sexes. Dorothea Herbert describes staying at Castle Blunden in 1780. Only the old nanny was there to protect the girls from the waggeries of the gentlemen. Routing them from spying on them en chemise the girls overturned the chamber pot whose whole contents meandered into the men's barrack - "immediately the house rang with their laughter and left us au despair."
Richard Cumberland describes Lord Eyre of Eyrecourt in the 1770s as "dividing the day to give the afternoon much the largest share of it. During which from an early dinner to the hour of rest he never left his chair nor did the claret ever quit the table. His lordship was not very curious. He had no books and not one of the windows of his castle was made to open, but luckily he had no liking for fresh air. For sport he would organise a cock fight in the hall. From supper till morning he would drink rum shrub to keep down the claret."
A near neighbour of the Palmers at Castlewood, on the banks of the Nore was Henry French Barrington, a brother of Jonah Barrington, whose autobiography is full of rich detail. He describes a housewarming bachelor party in 1778 at which the young Palmers were almost certainly present. A hogshead of claret, served cold, mulled or buttered was the beverage, with a prologue of cherry brandy. A fat cow, chickens, bacon and bread were the only viands. A piper provided the entertainment. The next morning Jonah turned up at 10:00 to find the guests insensible with drink asleep around the dining table, while the piper lay on his back apparently dead surrounded by four candles burnt to their sockets and the tablecloth laid over him. On investigating the stables he found four more diners who had got as far as their horses before "being overtaken by Morpheus" in the straw. Two of the slumberers in the dining room had fallen asleep against the newly plastered wall. The plaster had been still damp when they set their heads against it but the heat from the candles and the fire had set it like marble and their hair, stocks and half their heads were thoroughly and irrevocably imbedded in the wall. It took Mr. Kelly, the local wig maker, an hour to excavate the unfortunates, clipping with scissors and digging with an oyster knife.
Jonah Barrington, writing of this 50 years later in 1825 wonders what the grandsons of these joyous sportsmen would make of such a feast, mincing their fish and tid-bits at their favourite restaurant; amalgamating their ounce of salad on a silver salver; employing six sauces to coax one appetite and lisping out for a scented waiter - paying him the price of feast for the modicum of a Lilliputian.

English Dinner Menu - Jay Reay
Charlezzzzz asked:
Isn't "gammon" one of the awful things the English eat when the horrible-eating mood is upon them? Smothered in marmite? And when the roast beef isn't boiled grey enough to please them?

Jay responds:
Now I knows y'all jurst havin' a little furn he-arr, but I cannot sit by and let this grave calumny on fine British cuisine go by unchallenged. I'm rising to the bait and I'll regret it I know, but...
Gammon is a fine piece of smoked pig meat - better than bacon - which is delicious cold or hot with mashed potato, peas and pickles. Smothered in marmite forsooth!
"Gammon" in the context of the game relates to gaming (gambling) but can also refer to being cheated. Which you won't be if you choose a good leg of gammon for your next hearty British meal. I haven't seen grey boiled beef, me bully, since school days, when it came second only to tadpole pudding in the ranks of food to be consumed with all senses shut down.
Beef in Britain - the most nefarious antics of other jealous countries within the EC notwithstanding - is superb, especially Aberdeen Angus. Roasted so as to bleed very slightly in the middle, it is among the foods of the gods, alongside: smoked salmon; a rack of pink Spring Welsh lamb with new potatoes and a touch of real mint sauce; grilled trout; a leg of wild boar; Cumberland sausages; neeps, tatties and a fine haggis from McSweens of E'mbra (I own up to taking a little whisky gravy with mine for preference); venison steaks; Dover sole (adorned only with a little butter and parsley); fine carrots al dente; Arrange Pilot potatoes mashed in their skins with butter and black pepper; Jersey Royals in season; cabbage lightly steamed with carroway seeds; all manner of legumes; English apple pie; Fife blackcurrents; fruit scones with raspberry jam and Devon clotted cream; Atholl brose... The litany of the finest food in the world - all from Britain - could go on sir, beyond the capabilities of the Internet to hold it, so I will desist to let another in to praise the food of the Gods.

Zoo Dinner Menu - John Meyn
Choron, the chef at the Parisian restaurant Voisin, is remembered for his Christmas Day banquet during the siege of 1870. With food supplies scarcer than hens' teeth (and drumsticks, for that matter), this resourceful chef emptied the local zoo and created a feast of stuffed donkey's head, elephant consommé and roast camel. Much of it was served up in a diluted bearnaise sharpened with tomato puree, and even now Sauce Choron remains part of the basic French repertoire. Inventiveness and elan create celebrity of their own.
Menu served at the Cafe Voisin, 261, rue St. Honore, Paris.
Source: The Art of French Cooking, by B. Winer
December 25, 1870
99th Day of the Siege
Franco-Prussian War

Butter - Radishes - Stuffed Donkey's Head - Sardines

Puree of Red Beans with croutons - Elephant consomme

Fried Gudgeon - Roast Camel English style

Haunch of Wolf, Venison sauce
Cat flanked by Rats
Watercress Salad
Antelope Terrine with Truffles
Mushrooms Bordelaise
Buttered Green Peas

Rice Cake with Jam

Gruyere Cheese

Sherry Mouton Rothschild 1864
La Tour Blanche 1861 Roman Conti 1858
Ch. Palmer 1864 Bellenger frappe
Grand Porto 1827

Selections from English Wedding Menus - Rowen
Crown of Galia Melon filled with Berry Compote (Galia melon is apparently a cross between canteloupe and honeydew)
Stilton and Celery Soup
Baked Sea Bream with Tomato Salsa
Pasta Provençale with Fresh Parmesan
Cranachan with Raspberries (This seems to involve oatmeal, drambuie and cream)
Marmalade Pudding
Filet of Plaice topped with Lemon Thyme Butter
Cullen Skink
Lime Posset
Courgette and Tomato Risotto with Goat's Cheese (Courgette seems to be Zuchinni)
Terrines and confits and pates and smoked salmon and turnips and leeks and duck and venison, and creme brulee at the end of every meal!

Gunroom Buffet Menu - Mary S.
Appetizers: Lutefisk and Marmite on Hardtack
Entree: Grilled Millers
Durian for afters
Send in your acceptances right away (there's not a moment to lose)

Thai Cooking - John Gosden
They do make good food - but mostly the best things are sea food (especially big prawns) in a simple sauce with ginger and cashew nuts, or curried with coconut milk (that's good for chicken too).

An Afghani Menu - Bruce Trinque
The centerpiece of my meal was, if I get the name right, Kebeli Palow, a rice dish with slivered carrots, raisins, almonds, and spices I would not try to guess -- absolutely delicious -- together with sauteed lamb (which was so tender as to fall apart at the touch) in a spicy sauce.
Melanie had beef shish kabob, the beef thoroughly penetrated by a wonder blend of spice, with spinach rice (almost as good as the kebeli palow), and grilled eggplant topped with a yogurt sauce. This was followed by fernee (sort of a custard with delicious unidentified spices) and Afghan tea (a less sweet version of chai).

Traditional Foods in Argentina - Satyam
Besides Cod (bacalao), there was 'puchero' which is a stew of beef, pork, chicken, white and red sausage (the red from paprika), bacon, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, assorted beans (white, red and black), corn and whatever else fancied the cook. It has no dressing but salt. The puchero is served dry with the broth, which is quite clear since none of the ingredients give much color, kept for later meals.
One food that was traditional from the region where my grandmother came from was 'zorza'. Preparation started three or four days before. Beef and pork meat is cut in cubes about half an inch on the side, mixed with hot paprika and red wine. It is left in the open for those three or four days. By the end of that period the meat was practically cooked by the spices and wine. Finally a thickly crusted pie was made with it, the thick layer of dough soaked in the broth of wine, spices and meat juices. When my grandmother died, my mother tried to do zorza but used an aluminum pot instead of the earthenware my grandmother used to marinate the meat. The pot ended up corroded by the mixture. Nobody in the family suffered from ulcers, though.
It is interesting how techniques originally devised to preserve food later turn into delicacies. My grandmother didn't care much for fresh cod but loved the salted one, which was the only one available in her inland village of her youth. The use of wine and paprika to preserve meat was the consequence of the lack of cold storage. Same goes for cold cuts, sausages and such, all different means of preserving perishable meat when there was no refrigeration.
Now, we pay dearly for these 'delicacies' while in those days, by the end of the winter, people who had nothing to eat but preserved food would love to have fresh beef, vegetables and fruit.
We have a saying, 'A cada chancho le llega su San Martin' (to each pig its Saint Martin) which is also imported unchanged from the northern hemisphere. It is meant to express things unavoidable, like taxes and death. Since pigs don't pay taxes ..... It comes from Saint Martin of Tours, November 12th, which was the day pigs were killed and turned into sausages and ham. The date was important because it was the end of the fatting season and the start of the first cold days but before the rains. You couldn't process the meat on hot or wet days, because it would spoil before you had time to do it. In Argentina, that same date is about three weeks after the end of winter, when pigs would have consumed most of their body fat, and the start of the hot season, not the best of times to start doing sausages when you have no refrigerator.