Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

I have a new challenge (game) for all of you intrepid and adventurous e-Gulleters. It was stimulated by an article I came across in the New York Times of Dec 25, 1888 (reprinted from the Buffalo Express of Dec 23)

First, here is the article in its entirety:

EATING BY THE ALPHABET.

“Have you got anything here beginning with ‘k’ that’s good to eat” inquired a new customer at a well-known local delicacy market last Tuesday. “How will pickled kidneys answer?” replied the clerk after a moment’s thought. “First rate. Give me a dozen cans. The kitten’s life is saved,” exclaimed the strange patron with enthusiasm. “I told my wife,” he continued, “that if I failed to send home a kangaroo, dead or alive, before 2 o’clock I should expect to find the kitten served up for supper in the latest Chinese style. But your happy thought saves her. You see we all got tired of eating the same things day after day, and so last month we agreed that during December we would eat up (or rather down,) the alphabet, taking one letter a day, with bread, potatoes, tea and coffee thrown in as staples. So Dec. 1 we inaugurated the dietary system with a bill of fare consisting of apples in many forms, apricots pickled, asparagus, almonds, and the staples. The next day’s menu was beef, beets, beans, biscuits, buttermilk, bacon, and bon-bons. The following day we feasted on chicken, codfish balls, clams, celery, cucumbers (50 cents each,) crabs, cheese, cake, crackers, crullers, carrots, canned currants, canned cherries, citrons, cider, catsup, and candy. And so it has gone on. The fifth day would have been a fast day had it not been for eggs, but we made an Easter of it. Yesterday we dined, breakfasted, and supped chiefly on jellies. Today your kidney suggestion saves us from starvation, while tomorrow we will grow fat on liver, lamb, lobster, lettuce, &c. A queer thing about our new food departure is the number of things it has led us to put in our mouths which we never thought of before.”

My thought is that this man and his family should be given honorary, retrospective and posthumous membership of e-Gullet. Who said they were unadventurous with food in the late nineteenth century?

I propose that we take a letter a week, starting with “A” right now, and see what we come up with. Aim for a balanced range of foods. First, chose your three staples for the whole week.

My own thoughts:

My staples: bread, tea, and champagne.

Apricots are in season here at the moment, so that is my fruit of choice.

Avocados are not in season, so the ones in the shops are not fabulous, but this is a game after all, so they go on toast or in sandwiches (with aioli and alfalfa perhaps).

Almonds and Anchovies for fat and protein.

Should we allow things like Angel-food cake? Or stick to basics?

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

Link to post
Share on other sites
If you'd like some angelfood cake for dessert, then I'd like some ambrosia!

In that case, I'd like your recipe for ambrosia, because I had a pretty awful version once (really, really awful) and have never tackled it since!

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this with a passion -- thanks for posting the story. It appeals to whichever side of my brain that counts steps, searches for rhyming words, and adores typefaces.

So, assessing my last trip to the grocery store, and my food fantasy life: artichokes, apples and Arctic char.

Edited to add: I loathe angel food cake, but I think it should pass for those who like it.

Edited by maggiethecat (log)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the original piece! Thank goodness the kitten was saved :laugh:

I agree that angelfood cake ought to be OK, along with the standard names of other dishes like Saltimboca, but I would probably reject possesive names like "mom's potroast" or "Bob''s angelfood cake". I'm not sure where dishes like Joe's Special fall in there...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like fun. 26 consecutive days is a challenge -- I'll just start at A, and the next time I feel uninspired I'll but a B on the calendar.

Without shopping I can come up with amaranth and frozen abalone. Now what?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to post
Share on other sites

Long time lurker here finally coming out to post. Eeek!

First of all Janet, I love your blog, it's lovely to read and you have clued me in to so many resources, thanks!

I'm just beginning to try my hand at food writing and just the other day I was thinking up practice topics and came up with the idea of an alphabet of ingredients; I might write a short piece on each one. It's embarrassing, but I didn't know about MFK Fisher's "An Alphabet for Gourmets" which is now on my list of things to read.

In any case, I had A is for Anchovy in my list just like you. Another offering is Asian Pears (so crisp!)

Heaven help us when we get to "X!"

purplechick

"No verse can give pleasure for long, nor last, that is written by

water drinkers." --Cratinus, 5th Century BCE, Athens

Link to post
Share on other sites
Heaven help us when we get to "X!"

Xanthan gum!

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think we should allow a week per letter, to allow time for lots of input (not everyone eGullets every day. Including me for the last six months. Dont Ask)

Saturday to Saturday. OK?

I hate Angel food cake too.

I am happy about the kitten in the story too. Kangaroo will be easy for me when we get to "K" - I can get it in the supermarket. Most of you might have to stick with kidney or kitten :biggrin:

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh what fun!!! I am game!! I don't know if I can get my DH to go along with all "A" foods for a whole week. (I think I am understanding the game right??? Please correct me if I am not)

Or does each meal have to have an ingredient with the letter of the week?

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh what fun!!! I am game!! I don't know if I can get my DH to go along with all "A" foods for a whole week. (I think I am understanding the game right??? Please correct me if I am not)

Or does each meal have to have an ingredient with the letter of the week?

I dont think it matters as long as we have fun and it makes us think about foods we wouldnt normally eat - like the man in the original story.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

FoodNetwork's Robert Irvine, Dinner Impossible guy, had to cater a meal for the National Spelling Bee Championship people. I think 5 courses.

And he had to work by the alphabet. Use an ingredient beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Haven't seen it yet, it's on tape. But I saw the beginning, looked interesting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What fun....to back to the ABC's of food....literally !

I love your blog and love the way you write...very passionate.

If we are still on A - I enjoy a well made "Akoori"

It is spiced scrambled egg..made with sauteed onions, tomatoes, of course garlic and ginger and a few aromatic indian spices. One of our very dear friends is very passionate about this dish. Its an art form in his house and a ritual when we go visit. Sipping chai we usually wait with graceful restraint watching him cook this simple yet in his mind exotic dish.

On a side note would love to come visit AU...I hear it is gorgeous out there...

Edited by Medini Pradhan (log)

www.CuisineCuisine.com

Food is Culture...Culture is Food

Link to post
Share on other sites
What fun....to back to the ABC's of food....literally !

I love your blog and love the way you write...very passionate.

If we are still on A - I enjoy a well made "Akoori"

It is spiced scrambled egg..made with sauteed onions, tomatoes, of course garlic and ginger and a few aromatic indian spices. One of our very dear friends is very passionate about this dish. Its an art form in his house and a ritual when we go visit. Sipping chai we usually wait with graceful restraint watching him cook this simple yet in his mind exotic dish.

On a side note would love to come visit AU...I hear it is gorgeous out there...

Hello Medini - your post has jolted me into action; I have shamefully neglected this game (screaming deadline approaching)

Naturally I think Aus is beautiful (although it is far too hot here right now)

I now declare The Letter B!

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

Link to post
Share on other sites
I now declare The Letter B!

Tonight the Eaters will have burgers (on broiled buns) with broccoli and beet chips.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the warm welcome Janet.

Sorry for the sudden jolt ! :)

I have to think about "B" too many to choose from....will think about it..

My brother lives in Sydney...has been in AU for 15 yrs...we have not been...he is more than mad ! One day, I say one day !

www.CuisineCuisine.com

Food is Culture...Culture is Food

Link to post
Share on other sites

B for BHEL

Hi Janet, have you ever tried Bhel?

I am sure someone has said something about it on eGullet, but It is an Indian street snack and one of my favorites.

Bhel : Kurmura -puffed rice, Sev- chickpea-flour noodles, onion, tomatoes, coriander lvs, chutney -both green and tamarind and in India they add fresh green raw mango and is served with a puri to eat with.

Enjoying this on the streets of Mumbai will awaken your senses and tantalize your tongue. Besides Bhel I could indulge on Pani Puri.....like a fine wine...sorry wine connoisseurs !

www.CuisineCuisine.com

Food is Culture...Culture is Food

Link to post
Share on other sites
B for BHEL

Hi Janet, have you ever tried Bhel?

HI Medini - I havent tried it, but from your description I know I'd like it.

My favourite "B" food is bread - but that probably doesnt count as in the original story that prompted this thread, bread was a staple.

Bananas are hard to do without, especially at breakfast.

Baked Beans for lunch?

Blue-Eye Cod for dinner - with black beans as per the fantastic quick recipe from Neil Perrys new ccokbook. We love this dish. Takes 8 minutes to cook.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

Link to post
Share on other sites

Last night was Beef roast and Broiled (green) Beans, Baked polenta gnocchi and Beverages from Bottles :laugh:

Beef roast is actually an anomaly around here for some reason, so it really was breaking out of the mold for us. The Polenta & the greenbeans are in regular rotation...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...