Remember the good ol’ days?
When those fifty cents could procure a tall order of consommé, followed by fish, beef, turkey, duck, wild game and shrimp, all with sherbet served between courses, as well as multiple choices of desserts—praline, galette de beurre (crepes), crocque cignol (a kind of donut), omelette soufflé, floating islands (meringue with caramel), lemon meringue, ice cream, gold and silver cake, fruit and French coffee?
When tipping waitresses at high-end restaurants was considered an insult?
When venues like Hotel Cadillac Café, the toast of Detroit in 1892, provided insight into the postwar aspiration to luxury? Dining rooms were unabashedly plated with gold, swathed in purple velvet or bejeweled with crystal. Dreams of social mobility extended to waitresses who yearned to “see new faces and get new ideas for dresses and bonnets from the women patrons.”
Join us in exploring Detroit’s foodways of yesteryear: the appetites, tastes, kitchens, parties, holidays and everyday meals that defined the Motor City, from the earliest days as a French village to the start of the twentieth century. This week’s #freebie (below) features a chapter excerpt from Bill Loomis’s Detroit’s Delectable Past: Two Centuries of Frog Legs, Pigeon Pie and Drugstore Whiskey. Enjoy!
Testimony of waitress in the 1800s.