Victorian or Steampunk Christmas Dinner Menu

Some Steampunk Christmas Recipes

While the Steampunk Adventures staff and crew are off on some adventures I am considering Christmas Day dinner menus and what we might be eating that would be appropriate to the Victorian/Steampunk Age.  I gathered some of my favorite cookbooks written in that era such as Grand Union Cookbook, compiled by Margaret Compton and written in 1908 and the Whitehouse Cookbook, 1926 edition.

From the Whitehouse Cook Book I found the following Christmas Menu:

Oysters on a half shell
Boilded White fish with sauce
Roast Goose
Mashed Potatoes
Scalloped Onions
Grapefruit Salad
Christmas Plum Pudding
Vanilla Ice cream
Delicate cake
Salted Almonds

I read through the cookbook and decided that instead of the Oysters on a half shell I would make Steamed Oysters the recipe is as follows:

Wash and drain a quart of counts or select oysters
Put them in a shallow pan and place in a steamer of boiling water
Cover and steam until they are plump and the edges are ruffled..but no longer.  Serve on a heated plate.

From the Grand Union Cookbook I found the following Plum Pudding recipe or Mammoth Pudding Recipe:

“A plum pudding three feet long, two feet wide and a foot deep, and embracing fifty pounds of raisins and ten cans of milk in its composition, was a feature at a Thanksgiving dinner, at Rogers Williams Hall, in Providence for the newsboys and bootblacks.

Actually Plum Pudding is made as follows:

One cupful of finely-chopped beef suet, two cupfuls of fine bread crumbs, one heaping cupful of sugar, one cupful of seeded raisins, one cupful of well-washed currants, one cupful of chopped blanched almonds, half a cupful of citron sliced thin, a teaspoonful of salt, one of cloves, two of cinnamon, half a grated nutmeg and flour well-beaten eggs.

Dissolve a level teaspoonful of soda in a tablespoonful of warm water.

Flour the fruit thoroughly in a pint of flour; them in the remainder as follows:

In a large bowl put the well-beaten eggs, sugar,spices and salt in one cupful of milk.  Stir in the fruit, chopped nuts, bread crumbs and suet, one after the other, until all are used, putting in the dissolved soda last and adding enough flour to make the fruit stick together, which will take all the pint.

Boil or steam four hours.

Serve with any well favored sauce.

My menu calls for roasted goose..why is that .. I read somewhere that in the Victorian era goose was much cheaper than Turkey or chicken.  Here is a recipe for goose from the Victorian era:

The goose should not be more than than eight months old, and the fatter the more tender and juicy the meat.  A “green” goose (four months old) is the choicest.  Kill at least 24 hours before cooking; cut the neck close to the back, beat the breastbone flat with a rolling pin, tie the wings and legs securely, and stuff with the following mixture:  Three pints bread crumbs, six ounces butter, or part butter and part salt pork, two chopped onions, on teaspoonful leach of sage, black pepper and salt.  Do not stuff very full, and stitch openings firmly together, to keep flavor in and fat out.  If the goose is not fat, lard it with salt pork, or tie a slice on the breast.   Place in a baking pan with a little water, and baste frequently with salt and water (some add onion and some vinegar), turning often so that the sides and back may all be nicely browned.  When nearly done baste with butter and a little flour.   Bake two hours, or more if old.  done take from the pan, and pour off the fat and to the brown gravy add the giblets, which have previously been stewed tender, together with the water they were boiled in; thicken with a little flour and butter rubbed together; bring to a boil and serve with currant jelly.  Apple sauce and onion sauce are proper accompaniments to roast goose.

Another dressing for goose is made of six potatoes boiled and mashed fine, one tablespoonful of salt, one teaspoonful of pepper; two tablespoonful of orange juice, two tablespoonfuls of butter.

Ludefisk and lefse .. two Norwegian dishes that are popular in some regions ..

Do you like cod?  Do you like lye? Well like chocolate and peanut butter this dish from Norway really gets some taste-bud’s purring .. and sometimes not in a good way!   In some regions Christmas is the time to bring on the Lutefisk.

Lutefisk is made as follows according to the article in Wikipedia:

The first treatment is to soak the stockfish (cod) in cold water for five to six days (with the water changed daily). The saturated stockfish is then soaked in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye for an additional two days. The fish swells during this soaking, and its protein content decreases by more than 50 percent, producing its famous jelly-like consistency. When this treatment is finished, the fish (saturated with lye) has a pH value of 11–12 and is therefore caustic. To make the fish edible, a final treatment of yet another four to six days of soaking in cold water (also changed daily) is needed. Eventually, the lutefisk is ready to be cooked.

After the preparation, the lutefisk is saturated with water and must therefore be cooked carefully so that it does not fall into pieces.
Lutefisk does not need any additional water for the cooking; it is sufficient to place it in a pan, salt it, seal the lid tightly, and let it steam cook under a very low heat for 20–25 minutes. It is also possible to do this in an oven. There, the fish is put in an ovenproof dish, covered with aluminum foil, and baked at 225 °C (435 °F) for 40–50 minutes.

And what is lefse and how is it cooked?  (also from Wikipedia)

Lefse is a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread. Tjukklefse or tykklefse (thick lefse) is thicker and often served with coffee as a cake. Lefse is made out of potato, milk or cream (or sometimes lard) and flour, and cooked on a griddle. Special tools are available for lefse baking, including long wooden turning sticks and special rolling pins with deep grooves.

There are some different ways to cook with steam but one of my favorite ways is to use a pressure cooker, especially with potatoes.

Let me introduce you to the pressure cooker:

From Wikipedia:

Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure. Because the boiling point of water increases as the pressure increases, the pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid in the pot to rise to a higher temperature before boiling.
Pressure cookers may be referred to by several other names. An early pressure cooker, called a steam digester, was invented by Denis Papin, a French physicist, in 1679. Large pressure cookers are often called pressure canners in the United States, due to their capacity to hold jars used in canning.

All I do is cut up the raw potatoes, throw them in the cooker with a little water, slap the lid on and turn up the heat…pressure builds quickly as the water heats up.. and 15 – 20 minutes later, cooked taters ready to mash!!!

Watch out though sometimes they blow!

Wishing you a Merry Steampunk Christmas…/me wanders off looking for pizza.


About steampunkadventurers

Group for the Steampunk Adventure Emporium in Second Life
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