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Jan 6, 2012 12:39 PM

menu suggestion for British 1930s themed dinner party

I've been invited to a Murder Mystery Dinner that takes place in Yorkshire in the 1930s. Guests are going to be wearing formal wear for cocktails and dinner, so it's an upper crust kind of thing. We're set on cocktails, but not sure what to eat. Not surprisingly, I've been told the game's meal recommendations are boring by modern standards. Plus, there will be at least one vegetarian. Any ideas? It would be great to hear what was in vogue back then, especially stuff that would be amenable to updating.

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  1. Fashionable upper crust 1930s British dinner party is going to be pretty much entirely French. Or French with American influences (although the latter may well be taken care of by the cocktails).

    The vegetarian is going to be pretty miserable, IMO.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Cool, thanks--- I didn't know for sure that upper crust England favored haute French cuisine. Were there any particular popular French dishes at that time, or would anything out of the more historic Escoffier or The Epicurean by Charles Ranhofer do?

      1. re: hyperbowler

        Can't help on the details, I'm afraid.

        At this time of year, your dinner partry would probably have had game as the meal's centrepiece

    2. This link is American-based, but if you go to the site's home page, there is a list from prehistory to the present, that features some additional foods and dishes that were introduced/popular, by the year.

      Also, look at Secret Ingredients, the anthology of food writing from the New Yorker magazine. The dates of the articles appear in the index.

      1 Reply
      1. Gin, regret and a slightly unhealthy interest in far right politics.

        1. Wouldn't this be exactly when Agatha Christie was writing? her Hercule Poirot character was a Belgian, appreciative of good food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: blue room

            exactly. i am picturing david suchet right now. ;-).

          2. I have (and use) a 1930's British cookbook - 'Entertaining with Elizabeth Craig'.
            Two things spring to mind - first, canned food was acceptable for entertaining (sardines seem to be popular). Second, there are recipes that seem relatively modern - 'Californian aubergines' (a gratin of aubergine pulp with almonds); chili vinegar (involving 50 chillies); baked eggs with chicken livers; cheese timbales; geranium jelly. There are lots of veggie recipes.
            If you have a particular ingredient in mind I can look up any suitable recipes for you.

            One important point is that the meal should start with soup and end with a savoury.
            A typical menu has:- soup; fish; meat; salad; sweet; savoury. If caviare is served then it is an extra course before the soup.