First, let me recommend to you the show that sparked this feast: The Supersizers Go… It’s two Brits who spend a week eating (and to the best of their ability living) as though they are in various bygone eras. This includes wearing costumes, not bathing, drinking nothing but beer etc as the period requires. And it ends with a doctor visit to see how the diet has affected their health. It’s really hilarious, and a must see for anyone who likes history, food, costumes, and British accents. My favorite episodes are World War II, Victorian, and Restoration. You can see it on hulu here in the U.S, but I’m not sure about elsewhere.
On to the feast!
After I introduced the series to Shaeon, she she decided she wanted to do a full on Regency Feast. Our cabin trip was in the planning stages around this same time, so it was a quick jump to combine the two. And the cabin had a table all of us and the food could easilly fit on, which is more than any of our tables at home can boast.
The menu was complicated by the fact that two of us are vegetarian, but Shaenon did a lot of research and recipe-bending and came up with a satisfactory list of mostly historically accurate foods.
with English Cheeses and Whiskey Marmalade
with Wow-wow Sauce
Macaroni a Gratin
Cassandra Austen’s Bread Pudding
with Rum Sauce
The seed cake was my favorite dish of the night. It’s basically a sweetish bread (not quite as sweet as modern cake) with caraway seeds on top. I used to think I didn’t like caraway seeds, but it turns out I’d only ever had them in conjunction with rye bread it is the the rye that I don’t like. Shaenon made the marmalade herself from a historical recipe. It was sweet as expected, but the whiskey and larger than usual bits of peel gave it some sharpness too. I thought the Swiss-type cheese was the best accompaniment, but the Cheddar wasn’t bad either. I had left over seed cake for breakfast the next day, and it was quite lovely even without the jam and cheese.
The cucumber salad was dressed with vinegar and dill, and while nice, it wasn’t anything new. The leftovers made a good addition to the salad the next night.
The White Soup was a little weird. Historically, it was made with pork broth, but Shaenon substituted mushroom broth in deference to the veggies. It also contained bread, almonds, and cream. All pureed together in the blender since attention to detail didn’t go so far as to lug a mortar and pestle to the cabin. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, and was in fact quite okay. It tasted mostly of mushroom stock with a little back kick from the cayenne, but it was also weirdly mild.
Round two brought the roast beef and wow-wow sauce, which I did not partake of. Shaenon made the wow-wow sauce well in advance so that all the flavors had time to properly mingle. It’s a mix of ketchup, mustard, gherkins, vinegar and some other stuff, and it looked pretty vile while it was being reheated.
But the wow-wow was the big surprise of the night. Apparently it made the roast beef taste like a really good McDonalds hamburger. It was a historically accurate secret sauce!
I didn’t try any of the German wine (very pointedly not French because of the war, you know), but the barley water was really refreshing. It’s basically a not-very sweetened lemonade where the water has been boiled with barely beforehand. It was served with fresh mint on the side, and you could add as much as you liked to your glass. For those who enjoy cocktails, I think it would pair well with vodka, rum, or lemoncello.
I didn’t get any good photos of dessert/banquet because I was really exhausted by then, but the bread pudding was pretty good. A little sweet for my tastes. The smell of the rum sauce reminded me of the Dicken’s Faire.
Almost done with the Guernville posts! Next I’ll show you where we stopped on the way home.