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who prefer cold to hot dishes. Moselle and claretcup, pale sherry, old Indian Madeira, that has been sent so often to the East, that it has almost become tired of the voyage, and champagne for those who prefer a more exhilarating beverage, with magnums of Crockford's, or Charles Cunningham's Chateau Lafitte, furnish “ the flow of bowl.”
There is another style of dinner, as agreeable as the one we have just referred to, though not quite upon so expensive a plan ; we allude to what may be termed “chamber practice " in the Albany, or courts of law, and for winter entertainments especially they are perfection. The Reverend Richard Barham, son of the great “Ingoldsby,” in his life of Theodore Hook, gives a graphic description of the feasts of a gallant general, now enjoying a distinguished post in that splendid building devoted to broken down warriors. The feasts alluded to were attended by the witty author of “Sayings and Doings,” the late Edward Cannon, “Ingoldsby” himself, and others. At these dinners too much ought not to be attempted, as the offices are of necessity rather inconvenient for winter fare ; we would suggest the following :-cod-fish and oyster sauce, preceded by half a dozen “natives " placed before each guest, with white and brown bread and butter, cut lemon, and cayenne to every plate, a glass of Chablis between the shell and finny inhabitants of the deep, followed by an aitch bone of beef, jobbed for the occasion, from one of the leading ham and beef shops in London. Reader, do not start ! give the order a day or two before, and you will have a wellsteeped, admirably cooked joint ; it is weighed on its arrival and departure. At the bottom of the table, startling as it may sound, let there be a hotpot; and as we are in a generous frame of mind, we will give to the public at large a receipt for one of the very best, most economical, and easily dressed dishes in the world, as Apollo sings, “Ply me, try me, prove, ere you deny me."
The lean part of a loin of mutton, cut into small cutlets.
Four mutton kidneys cut into slices, a quarter of a hundred oysters boiled and bearded, four or five potatoes peeled and cut into small slices ; mix the latter together, and put a handful into the bottom of a white earthen pot, or turtle mug, large enough to hold the whole of the above ; then a layer of mutton, oysters, and kidneys, after that a layer of potatoes and onions, then mutton, &c., as before, until the pot is full ; continually sprinkling pepper and salt betwixt each layer. When the pot is full, pile on the top a good lot of mashed potatoes, and bake in a moderate oven three hours ; before sending to table fill up with good gravy. To the above add a jobbed ham on sideboard. If, like Lubin Log, “ you loves to be liberal,” and “stands extras,” then either woodcocks, snipes, pheasants, partridges, black game, or grouse, may form a good second course ; but depend upon it the majority of the guests will have satisfied their appetites with the fish and first course ; a paté de foie gras is a good substitute for game.
Good wine and whisky toddy, with a well-assorted party, such as a learned Serjeant, well known on the northern circuit, brings together, is the most delightful of all dinner entertainments. Upon one occasion, Cannon gave a dinner to some friends, the time passed away without any note of it being taken, and the hour had arrived when the host wished to change the atmosphere of the dining-room for the more congenial one of an oyster-room, a few “bearded natives ” and a glass of “Ginnums” being the delight of the Dean of Patcham, as Hook named him. Cannon had given a few hints to his guests, who had unfortunately got upon some dry argument of the land-owners, which required considerable irrigation ; the host left the chair for a few moments in the hope that his guests would follow ; on his return he was greeted with a short and appropriate speech, telling him his friends had drank his health in his absence. “ Most kind,” pithily replied the subject of the toast, “perhaps you will allow me to return the compliment and drink yours in your absence.” As the Dean had shown his hospitality in a most distinguished manner, the hint, uncourteous as it otherwise might have appeared, was immediately taken in the best humour.
Having now given the style of houses and dinners
which the diner-out ought to appreciate, it is necessary to proceed to warn him of those he ought to avoid. Beware of a party of eighteen or twenty in a room that would scarcely hold half the number conveniently; where an Influenza trap is laid for you, by the room being at Calcutta heat; the windows and doors open, forming a thorough draught. Where the cold clammy entrées arrive in a cart, or a cab, from a second-rate pastry-cook, where everything is sure to be cold, except the wine; where the coachman, lately employed in the stable, places each guest on the rack by the awkward way in which he “handles, not the ribands,” but the plates. Where a page, with three tiers of buttons, his paws encased in white cotton gloves, inserts his thumb into the fish sauces, brings you potatoes with your paté, if you are bold enough to attempt a thick wall of doughy pastry, with a homeopathic supply of oysters unbearded within, and who invariably deposits the contents of some greasy dish upon your coat, or your neighbour's dress. Where the butler, (having been in a fume all day at his additional work, drilling broken down gouty waiters, hiring extra plate, ordering Wenham Lake ice, which melts under the influence of the heat, and giving directions to what the four-in-hand club used to call “a scratch team ” of servants,) is literally in a state of damp heat. Where the footman, who has been on the tramp all day with notes and messages, gives warning just before the hour of dinner, having had a
quarrel with the housekeeper about some domestic affair. Where the professed woman cook has had no end to “disagreeables," as she terms them, from the kitchen-fire smoking, the boiler nearly bursting, the fishmonger being late, the butcher lad failing in his promise, and the “ himperence” (we again quote her words) of the pastrycook’s boy, who wants to occupy the whole of the dresser with his goods. Nor is the usual placidity of her temper at all improved, at the unceasing ringing of the drawing-room bell, and the constant enquiry as to when dinner will be served. To masters and mistresses who get impatient, we would tender this piece of advice ; never disturb your culinary artist during the process of serving or preparing dinner, as it will invariably tend to delay, if not to spoil it. Avoid a house where ostentation is the ruling passion, where handsome plate prevails ; where the host, as the old story goes, boasts of his fine gildings, until some waggish guest exclaims “Never mind your gilding, give us a taste of your carving.” Where your Amphytrion tells you long stories of his wonderful wines, and does not give you iced-water in July ; where the epergne is costly, and the table-cloth of a pale straw-coloured hue, strongly marked with black borders where the dishes have been placed. Where the giver of the feast prides himself upon things out of season, (such luxuries just being half enough to satisfy a tenth part of his guests,) and where nothing in season is worth touch