Friday, June 17, 2011

"Found in Collection"

As you can imagine, we here at the Culinary Arts Museum uncover all sorts of treasures, eccentricities and/or things that provoke the question "what is that?" on a daily basis. The latest is a Cunard Line menu from a Feb 7, 1967 cruise to the West Indies. On the right side of the menu is a category labeled "Farinaceous" (otherwise known as starches) - not something you see everyday. There is one menu item listed in this category: Delmonico Rarebits. For those of you who have not heard of the delicious, savory treat that is Welsh Rarebits, it is essentially toast topped with a cheese sauce made with ale (similar to fondue). Often times it is put under a broiler to create a fantastic cheesy crust over the top. There seems to be no recipe for "Delmonico Rarebits," so it is possible that the rarebits listed on this menu were made in the style of those at Delmonico's Restaurant. It is also possible that the chef used the term Delmonico to add credibility to the dish, because Delmonico's Restaurant - the country's first restaurant, which opened its doors in Manhattan in 1837 - was synonymous with fine dining.

Here is the Delmonico's restaurant recipe for Welsh Rarebits. Try it at home and see what you think!

Welsh Rarebit - Take one pound of American cheese; cut up in small pieces. Place them in a sautoire, adding half a glassful of good ale. Season with half a teaspoonful of red pepper. Stir it continually with a wooden spoon until the mass is well melted, which will take about ten minutes. Have six nice, fresh, large pieces of toast; arrange them on a very hot dish, and distribute the preparation equally over, serving the rarebit very hot.

-from The Delmonico Cook Book, by Alessandro Filippini

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