So next weekend here in Canada we celebrate Victoria Day, after Queen Victoria of England who ruled from 1837 to 1901. It also kicks off the official beginning of the summer season in Canada, much like Memorial Day does in the States. Originally, (as in back in 1845), we observed the holiday on the actual Queen’s birthday, which was May 24th, however, over time it has become tradition to celebrate it on the last Monday before May 25th. What does this mean for me? No work on Monday! What does this mean for you? A week of Victorian Era recipes!
I actually came across a copy of a menu that was served to the Queen on May 15th, 1879. I am going to try a give a modern day version of some of the dishes served that night. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as she did!
For those of you not up on your French, the menu reads as follows:
A la Tortue (Turtle Soup)
A la Julienne (Julienne Soup)
Whitebait (Fried Baby Herring or Sardines)
Le Saumon bouilli (Boiled Salmon)
Les Filets de Merlans frits (Fried Whiting Fillets)
Les Petite Pâtés à la Bechamelle (Small pies with Bechamel Sauce)
Les Ris de Veau, en escalopes sautées. (Sautéed Sweetbreads)
Les Filets de Canetons, aux pois. (Ducklings with Peas)
Relevés (**See note below)
Les Poulardes à la Milanaise. (Chicken Milanese)
Les Cailles Bardées (Quail in Bacon)
Les Poulets (Roast Chicken)
Les Asperges à la Sauce (Asparagus in Sauce)
Les petits Gàteaux de Compiegne (Little Compiègne Cakes)
Les Tartelettes merniguées à l’Italienne (Meringue Tarts – Italian Style)
Les Gelées d’Oranges oubannées (Jellied Oranges)
** My mom, who is awesome, y’all should meet her, helped me with the menu section of “Relevés” – First, I thought it was a b not a v in the word (that menu has tiny font) and two, I still didn’t know what Relevés meant – enter Google! Apparently, it means to relieve, or to remove, and was used in the following sense (according to Larousse Gastronomique, which is pretty much a food bible, so I believe it).
“Remove: Dish which in French service relieves (in the sense that one sentry relieves another) the soup or the fish. This course precedes those called entrees.”
Maybe because they were English they did it after the entrees? What can I say, when you’re Queen, you can have your meals served any way you want!