“If you have lips, prepare
to smack them now.”
—Shakspeare, slightly altered.
Take one and a half pounds of the best butter, and the same weight of pulverized sugar; beat them together to a cream; stir into this two dozen eggs, beaten to a froth; add one gill of old Jamaica rum; then add one and a half pounds of sifted flour. Stir and beat all well together, and add two pounds of finest bloom raisins, stoned; two pounds of Zante currants, washed, cleaned, and dried; one pound of preserved citron, sliced thinly and cut into small pieces; one pound of preserved French cherries, in halves; one pound of green gages, and one pound of preserved apricots, stoned and cut into small pieces; half a pound of preserved orange and lemon peel, mixed, and cut into small pieces; three grated nutmegs, half an ounce of ground mace, half an ounce of powdered cinnamon, and a quarter ounce of ground cloves. Mix all the ingredients well together, and bake in a well-buttered mould or pan, in a slow oven, for five and a half hours.
This cake is vastly improved by age. Those intended for the Christmas festivities should be made at or about the first of October; then put the cake into a round tin box, half an inch larger in diameter than the cake; then pour over it a bottle of the best brandy mixed with half a pint of pure lemon, raspberry, strawberry, or simple sirup, and one or more bottles of champagne. Now put on the lid of the box, and have it carefully soldered on, so as to make all perfectly air-tight. Put it away in your store-room, and let stand till Christmas, only reversing the box occasionally, in order that the liquors may permeate the cake thoroughly.
This heroic treatment causes the ingredients to amalgamate, and the flavors to harmonize and blend more freely; and when, on Christmas day, you bring out this hermit, after doing a three months’ penance in a dark cell, it will come out rich, succulent, and unctuous; you will not only have a luxury, “fit to set before a king,” or before the Empress of India, but fit to crown a feast of the very gods themselves, on high Olympus’ top.
Take two or three fine white potatoes, raw; peel and chop them up very, very fine. Then chop up just as fine the breast of a good-sized boiled fowl; they should be chopped as fine as unboiled rice; mix the meat and the potatoes together, and dust a very little flour over them and a pinch or two of salt. Now put an ounce or so of the best butter into a frying pan, and when it is hot, put in the mixture, and stir constantly with a wooden spatula until they are fried to a nice golden color, then immediately serve on a hot plate.
Cold boiled ham grated fine, or boiled beef tongue chopped very fine, may be used instead of chicken, omitting the salt. A dozen or two of prime oysters, parboiled, drained, and chopped fine, mixed with the potatoes prepared as above, and fried, makes a most delicious lunch or supper dish. Try any of the above styles, and say no, if you can.