Edwardian Shoot Lunch

“It’s grand to be an Englishman in 1910, 
King Edward’s on the throne, it’s the age of men!
I’m the lord of my castle,
The sovereign, the liege!
I treat my subjects, servants, children, wife
With a firm but gentle hand- 
Noblesse oblige.”
Mister Banks, The Life I Lead, Disney’s Mary Poppins, 1964

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There seems to be a great diversity of opinion as to how the inner man should be catered for in the way of lunch whilst out shooting. One very seldom meets with the happy medium, it is generally either over or under done. Talking of the latter, the most curious experience I have had of it happened when shooting one day with an old Scotch laird.

We had a very hard walk all the morning, and about half past one I began to feel somewhat hungry, especially as I had made an early breakfast and an early start, having had to drive eight miles to the shoot.

“I wonder when we are going to lunch?” queried my brother, who formed one of the party.

“I suppose about two, I can’t hold out much longer though,” I answered.

Two o’clock came, yet no signs of lunch. I had noticed the beaters and keepers chewing some dry bread and cheese while they were at work, and thought it rather strange.

At half past two my brother remarked that he supposed we were working up to a farm house we saw in the distance, where we should be rewarded with a sumptuous repast; but no ! on we trudged, feeling fainter and fainter, when I looked at my watch and found it was three o’clock. I could stand it no longer, so went up to the laird and said,—”I say, Mr. M I’m so hungry, I can hardly get my gun up to my shoulder, what time are we going to lunch?”

“Lunch!” he squeaked, with a high falsetto voice. “Lunch!! what do young fellows like you want lunch for? I never take it myself, and I’m three score and ten!”

He certainly looked as if he had been manufactured out of leather with a blunt knife.

“Well I’m hanged if I move another step till I get something to eat,” said my brother, boiling over with rage.

“I couldn’t if I wanted to,” I replied.

We both sat down under a tree, and simply struck work!

At last one of the keepers was sent off to a farmhouse, and brought back a jug of milk, some “baps” and home made cheese, with which we had to be satisfied for want of something better.

Neither my brother nor I shot with that Scotch Laird again!

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Within a week, and within six miles I met with the opposite experience.

I went to shoot with a noble lord who was extremely fond of showing off.

He did not shoot, but came out to slang the keepers; he knew nothing about sport, but liked to show his authority.

“Time for lunch,” he called out in the middle of a drive. We were covert shooting and out we had to pull, nobody daring to suggest that we should finish the beat!

We were marched off to one of his lodges that faced the high road, and just inside the lodge gates a large table was laid out so that all the passers by should see it, garnished as if for a dinner party, with a butler and four powdered flunkeys in attendance, and a chef Very much en evidence.

We had soup, fish, entrees, roasts, &c., &», in fact it was nothing less than an alderman’s feast, champagne, chablis, port, sherry, liqueurs, &c., followed by superb cigars and coffee. We of course wasted much time over this repast, much to the disgust of the head keeper and the real sportsmen.

However, the little lord had to be humoured with his hobby.

The shooting was not so deadly after lunch as it was before!

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This is an example of how it can be overdone; but anyhow it was preferable to shooting all day on an empty stomach, though scarcely sportsmanlike. There is no doubt that if one is taking hard exercise, it is absolutely necessary to feed well in the middle of the day. A plain good lunch, however, is all that is wanted, and there is no reason why it should not be done comfortably.

A relation of mine with whom I shoot a great deal, does what I consider the proper thing. At lunch time, if the weather is fine, one of Edgington’s paragon tables, which rolls up into a very small compass, with seats to match, is laid out in a sheltered spot, when we regale ourselves with good cold joints, baked potatoes, cake, biscuits and cheese, accompanied by either beer, or whisky and soda, with a ‘tot up’ of good old brown sherry. The beaters are supplied with plenty of cold meat, bread, and slices of cold plum pudding, washed down with a copious supply of beer, and then an ounce of baccy to each man. Needless to say, they all start again thoroughly refreshed and happy with themselves and their master.

It is a shame to see the way the beaters, who have all the hard work to do, are treated in some places—very often they have nothing more satisfying to work on than a piece of stale bread and a junk of rank cheese.

In cold weather I have seen at some shootings a lunch cart come out with a huge cauldron of excellent Irish stew, steaming hot, and after the ‘guns’ have eaten to their heart’s content, the remainder is served out to the keepers and beaters. This is an excellent plan where it is practicable.

In Yorkshire, when driving grouse late in the season on a well-known moor, we had for lunch most delicious pies made with grouse, rabbits, and potatoes, and although they had to be brought some six or seven miles from the lodge, they were as hot as if they had just come out of the oven, having been carried in a clothes basket wrapped up in blankets. The blankets must be new one. The Yorkshire folk take a lot of beating in the way of pie making.

Fores’s Sporting Notes and Sketches (1895)

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June 11, 1PM
Location TBD, outdoors
Menu TBD, five courses, dessert, includes wines
Tickets capped at 20, 8 already spoken for
Special allergens catered to upon request
Tickets $50
Once again, bring your moms! Good dogs allowed.
Text me with queries.

Tickets available here

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Announcing: Dinners from History

 

 
What?: an open-ended bi-monthly (every other month) series of rustic “deep scratch” five-course farmhouse dinners featuring home-grown produce and meat, largely cooked using pre-industrial methods, as well as local alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Each dinner focuses on a different time period.

Our first dinner will be Tudor England, on October 17, and it is sold out. The second is Victorian Christmas on December 18 and the third is ancient Roman on April 1. Each of those two are about half sold out.  We intend to host a Colonial American dinner as well but the date has not been set. Think amateur experimental foodways historian meets anarchist Kinfolk magazine, hosted by a professional chef and a spice trader.

You will get to eat the food of the time period, and listen to the music, and we’ll also have an informal dinnertime talk about why these particular dishes are of historical import, and why the people from that time period ate the way they did, as well as a few other aspects of their lives. We’d like to get a feel for what it would be like to live a day in the life of an average, middle-class household and we’ll do our best to replicate it, and hopefully you’ll all go home with a richer understanding of how their lives were different or similar to ours.

 
Where?: Our House in outer SE Portland (address will be provided)

 

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Why?:
1) for fun!
2) for history!
3) for a fundraiser! at least this initial one is. We’re going to New England for two weeks and while we have the essentials covered, buying our house has eaten up all of our fun money we had saved for this trip. I’d really like to have a little extra money so that I can afford to go to a bunch of museums. Many of the ones I’m excited about are living history museums that feature the history of food and agriculture in America, so what more fitting way to raise the funds than to host an education food evening?

How much: $50/person
Whaaaaaaat?: Yeah, $50 a person. It’s a really, REALLY fancy dinner, and drinks are included, so it’s actually substantially less than a meal out at a nice restaurant. If you feel that this is absurdly outside your price range just shoot me a message about it and if we haven’t sold out a few days before the event, we can talk about a sliding-scale ticket.

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Who: Up to 20 people. You, and also, where applicable, your parents. I want you to straight-up bring your parents. I like parents, and they like me, and a lot of parents of people I know have expressed interest in our house and animals and the food we make. Here’s their chance to come and check it out, and eat some extremely interesting, really honestly just world class food at the same time.

Tell Me More About the Food You Mentioned: I haven’t set up the menu yet, so you’re going to have to just base your judgement off of what I served last time, which was this:
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First Course:
Rosemary Bread        Fresh Butter
Nettle Pesto from the Banks of the Brandywine      Old Gaffer Gamgee Roasted Garlic
Second Course:
Pickled Spring Shoots        Scotch Quail Eggs with Mrs Proudfoot’s Mustard
Third Course:
Farmer Maggot’s Roasted Mushrooms        Rabbit Pie
Fourth Course:
Farmer Cotton’s Carrots       Spit-Roast Leg of Lamb
Fifth Course:
Rhubarb and Orange Syllabub       the Thain’s Favorite Orange Candied Walnuts
Elderflower Hugos       Hard Cherry Cider       Campari


What About Special Diets?:  
If you let me know BEFOREHAND, I will make an effort to make sure there’s something you can eat. Life-threatening allergic reactions requiring an epi-pen etc will not be catered to as this is not a professional kitchen and we cannot prevent cross-contamination. I have many years of experience catering to vegans, vegetarians, people who don’t eat gluten, etc. I reserve the right to tell you that your allergy is fictional.

Will The Food Be Weird?: I understand that it can be nerve-wracking if maybe you’re a little bit of a picky eater, like I am, to try a whole bunch of new and totally alien foods, particularly in a group setting. Rest assured that while I do intend to make some really off-the-wall stuff, throughout most of history, humanity’s diet has always had some very similar elements to what we eat today. There will always be bread and butter, there will always be some pretty simple vegetable side dishes, some roast non-organ meats, and some dessert. Nobody is going to force you to eat braised calf tongue with prunes if you don’t want to. Eyes on your own plate.

Can I Bring Kids?: Sure. I like kids. I even have some kids books and coloring supplies and stuff for if they get bored, or they can pass out upstairs.

Can I Bring a Dog?: Hell, no. Absolutely not. Why would you bring a dog?!

Can I Bring Food?: Please don’t bring food. If you’d like to contribute above and beyond the cost of the ticket, you can bring some nice wine, or you can bring us cash, which we will gleefully ferret away in our bosoms like barwenches Of Olde.

How Do I Buy Tickets?: You go to this link here, and you buy the tickets. If only one person is coming, buy one ticket. If two people are coming, buy two tickets. Etc.

https://shitshowkitchen.ecwid.com/

What Should I Wear?: If you have a time period appropriate outfit, please feel free to wear it! Otherwise, just wear whatever you would normally wear to eat out. Your hosts will not be wearing historic garb, if that’s your question.

How Can I Remain Abreast of Future Historic Dinners?: 

 

https://www.facebook.com/historicdinners/

 

Should I Go?: Absolutely.

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