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The Peary Dinner

The following article is from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader.

On November 11, 1909, a banquet was held in New York City honoring Admiral Robert E. Peary, recent “discoverer” of the North Pole. Here’s the actual (and bizarre) Arctic Circle– inspired menu.

• BLUE POINT OYSTERS. An oyster once harvested in Long Island, New York. (Not anymore— they’ve been near-extinct since the 1910s.)

• PETITE BOUCHEE WALRUS. Thin slices of fermented walrus meat.

• VELOUTE PTARMIGAN AUX CROUTINS. A soup made by mixing cream with stock made from the ptarmigan— a game bird with red, gristly meat— served like French onion soup, with a big slice of toast on top.)

• SUPREME DE NARWHAL, VERONIQUE. A boneless slice of narwhal meat, served with its layer of blubber intact. The large fillets of the dark gray “unicorn of the sea” were served in cream sauce and garnished with raisins.

• MIGNON DE MUSK OX, VICTORIA POMMES PARISIENNES. Musk ox looks like beef, but reportedly tastes like horse. “Victoria,” a style popular in the early 20th century, meant that the fillet was served with a black truffle sauce and lobster chunks (and potatoes in clarified butter).

• MOUSSE DE PEMMICAN, KOSSUTH EPINARDS AUX FLEURONS. Pemmican is a jerkylike preparation of dried and spiced meat. This one was reindeer meat, ground and whipped into a mousse and served in the Hungarian “Kossuth style”— with sour cream, paprika, and spinach.

• SORBET “NORTH POLE.” In fine dining, sorbets are fruit-flavored ices, eaten as a palate cleanser between courses. At this dinner, the ices were flavored with mint and sea salt.

• PERDEUX ROTI, BARDE AUX FEUILLES DE VIGNE COEUR DE ROMAINE EN SALADE. Each diner was served a roasted, whole partridge, wrapped in grape leaves and stuffed with juniper berries, and served with a romaine salad.

• BISCUIT GLACÉ KNICKERBOCKER CORBEILLE DE MIGNARDISES. Glacé is a French frozen dessert, similar to ice cream, but much, much richer, made with cream and meringue instead of cream or milk. That gives the dish a nougatlike taste and consistency. Here, it was served like the now-forgotten Knickerbocker cocktail— with rum, raspberries, oranges, lemons, and lime. (And a biscuit— a cookie— on the side.)

_______________________________

The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader. The 28th volume of the series is chock-full of fascinating stories and facts, and comes in both the Kindle version and paper with a classy cloth cover.

Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!


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