24 September 2010

24 September - F. Scott Fitzgerald; Lobster Newburg

Born today in 1896, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, aka F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night, and This Side of Paradise, and a host of short stories, which delineated the Jazz Age of the 1920's.

My own visions of the 1920's are flappers (a la Thoroughly Modern Millie) and speakeasies; bootleg rum and bathtub gin; the Charleston and "Rhapsody in Blue".  I suppose there were other things, but they were the icons of the Lost Generation, with their 'bee's knees' and bobbed hair, short skirts and flat chests, all engaged in a frenzied, spirited dance of unrestrained materialism that ended with a crash in 1929.

So just what would Jay Gatsby and his guests eat at one of his fabulous parties? "On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors d'oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold."

To celebrate Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age, have an ostentatiously decadent buffet.  To the above ham, and turkey, add Tournedos Rossini, breast of chicken with truffles, slices of cold duckling and tongue, oyster patties, curried lobster with rice, Lobster Newburgh on toast points, little neck clams and oysters on the half shell, and Mousse de Fois Gras.  Oh, and don't forget the caviar!

Stuffed tomatoes and artichoke bottoms with Hollandaise can join the vegetable and fruit salads, and for those who still have room, eclairs, petit fours, ice cream, and fancy fruit in a basket. 

What to drink?  Well, it was the era of Prohibition in the U.S., so lemonade and soft drinks would be the legal thing to do, but Jay Gatsby would have known how to provide champagne, fine wines, sherry and port, gin and rum for his guests.

Myself, I think I shall have Lobster Newburg, a glass of champagne, and a truly decadent chocolate, and watch the 2000 A&E version of The Great Gatsby.


Beat 3 egg yolks lightly; gently mix in 1 cup of cream (light or heavy) and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan, then add 1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked lobster meat (or canned) and heat.  Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne; add 1/4 cup of Madeira or sherry.  Stir in egg/cream mixture.  Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Do not boil.

Serve on toast points, in patty shells, or over rice.