Food! 1864 Etiquette & Victorian Food Euphemisms + Gail’s 9 Favorite Dishes

Something a little different today, Gentle Reader. As many of you know I am a bit of a glutton, I love me my food. Hence the reason food always gets into my books. One of my favorite compliments is when someone tells me that reading my book made them hungry.

So I’m a Bay Area girl, born and raised (then escaped and returned multiple times). Here are my 9 favorite things to eat in this area, if you are ever in town.

My Top 9 List As Of 2015

  1. Fish tacos from El Caballo Wraps, Alameda
  2. Tea leaf salad, spicy okra and tofu, lamb kabat followed by coconut fritters from Burma Superstar, San Francisco
  3. Roasted pork loin with fontana cheese sandwich with hot chai (no milk) followed by lemon curd potted cake from The Tea Room Cafe, Petaluma
  4. Cod salad with fennel, romaine, and a lemon dressing followed by a flat white with pear polenta upside down cake from Little House, Alameda (sadly no longer on the menu)
  5. Thom yum soup followed by dancing prawns and banana leaf wrapped salmon from Royal Thai, San Rafael
  6. Pulled confit pork with orange, jalapeno, and avocado sandwich and a side salad followed by a latte from Cafe Q, Alameda
  7. Fig champagne cocktail with the full cheese sampler followed by confit duck with new potatoes and arugula salad from Girl & Fig, Sonoma (they no longer do this version of the duck, sadly)
  8. The Bento Box meal with salmon sushi dominating from Balboa Sushi, San Francisco
  9. Fresh OJ with Eggs Alexandra and a massive cinnamon bun (to share) at Los Gatos Cafe, Los Gatos

To “cut the eggs,” instead of to beat them. The motion of beating eggs does not cut them. “Braiding eggs,” is still worse.

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

1811 Fun Euphemisms Around Food

  • Bow-wow mutton ~ Dog’s flesh.
  • Devil’s dung ~ Assafoetida.
  • Field lane duck ~ A baked sheep’s head.
  • Hasty pudding ~ Oatmeal and milk boiled to a moderate thickness, and eaten with sugar and butter.
  • Rum ruff peck ~ Westphalia ham. http://www.schallerweber.com/product/westphalian-ham/
  • Salmon-gundy ~ Apples, onions, veal or chicken, and pickled herring, minced fine, and eaten with oil and vinegar.
  • Sandwich ~ Ham, died tongue, or some other salted meat, cut thin and put between two slices of bread and butter: said to be a favorite morsel with the Earl of Sandwich.
  • Sweetheart ~ A term applicable to either the masculine of feminine gender, signifying a girl’s lover, or a man’s mistress: derived from a sweet cake in the shape of a heart.
  • Yarmouth pye ~ A pye made of herrings highly spiced, which the city of Norwich is by charter bound to present annually to the king.

~ 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue 

We advise our New-England friends to eschew, both in speaking and writing, all Yankee phrases that do not convey the exact meaning of the words. For instance, to “turn out the tea,” instead of to “pour it out.”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

  • When eating fish, first remove the bones carefully, and lay them on the edge of your plate. Then with your fork in your right hand, (the concave or hollow side held uppermost,) and a small piece of bread in your left, take up the flakes of fish.
  • Pouring butter-sauce over any thing is now ungenteel.
  • It is an insult to the company, and a disgrace to yourself, to dip into a dish any thing that has been even for a moment in your mouth. To take butter or salt with your own knife is an abomination. There is always a butter-knife and a salt-spoon. It is nearly as bad to take a lump of sugar with your fingers.
  • In fact, nothing should be sucked or gnawed in public; neither corn bitten off from the cob, nor melon nibbled from the rind.
  • Ladies no longer eat salt-fish at a public-table. The odour of it is now considered extremely ungenteel, and it is always very disagreeable to those who do not eat it.
  • Champagne is very insidious; and two glasses may throw her into this pitiable condition.
  • Having unfolded your napkin, secure it to your belt with a pin, to prevent its slipping down from your lap, and falling under the table.

~ Further etiquette advice around food from the The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864. I bet there are some things following that you didn’t know about how to eat like a lady. I was certainly surprised!

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for January? Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis}


Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The mechanical leech, the anti-crime bowtie, and seven other preposterous Victorian inventions

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Convention Tips, Tricks and Guides

Book News:
Reads 4 Tweens says of Waistcoats & Weaponry,

“This is a swashbuckling installment in the always amusing series. Some readers may miss the school and wish for less romantic angst, but overall it’s light and amusing even as the world as they know it is threatened.”

Quote of the Day:

“No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.”

~ Christopher Morley

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