Modern Practical Cookery has a suggested menu for ‘A Little Dinner’ in March, with a table dressing of mauve tulips and yellow jonquils. The book was published in the early thirties,
Clear soup á la Royale
Fried Sole and Tartar Sauce
Forty years later in 1973, the Readers Digest Cookery Year also offers menus and here is a selection:
avocado pears with prawns
steak au poivre
buttered broccoli and potato croquettes
Modern practical cookery had never heard of avocados, and in 1973 serving them with prawns would have seemed modern and interesting. As for the rest of the menu, I’m sure a similar version would have appeared on a 1930’s dining table.
Danish liver pâté
almond rice and buttered broccoli
Pastes were popular in the 1930’s but a pressed pâté doesn’t often appear; veal was a constant in all forms, but these days despite marketing of pink veal it hasn’t really come back onto many dinner tables. In these recipes there’s still a nod to French cuisine which has rather disappeared now.
sugar-browned potatoes and aubergine and tomato ragoût
More veal in the fricadelles, little Danish meatballs, but then aubergine appears – a vegetable which is even more popular now. Floating islands also appear regularly n cooker y programmes, but I’ve never made or eaten them!
And lastly, typical 70’s but still a pub-grub favourite, scampi…
pigeons with forcemeat balls
creamed potatoes and buttered spinach
Pigeon, though delicious and also a TV food programme favourite, doesn’t often appear on restaurants or in butchers’ shops. Forcemeat is another hang over from the past which appears in food magazines, but I don’t think I’ve ever been given them when out to dinner with friends, nor have i ever made any. Butter features as an accompaniment to vegetables whereas olive oil doesn’t appear at all. … and Charlotte Russe, who hasn’t attempted one and whatever the resulting appearance is always delicious!