do you want beaver with your nuncheons?

What did you have for breakfast today? If you lived in 19th century England you may have eaten this Sunday menu from Breakfast, Luncheons and Ball Suppers

Fried skate and shrimp sauce

Curried pig’s feet

Breakfast cakes

Potted anchovy

Devilled hot meat

Hot buttered toast


The author, Major L, also tells you how to boil an egg

“A new laid egg takes longer to boil than one which has been laid some days, and if you wish the white set it should be put in boiling water four minutes and a half. If you prefer the white running all over your plate, and dropping all over your dress on the way to your mouth, let it boil three minutes and a half.”

“Nuncheons” was the name given to a meal break for manual workers. “Bever” (pronounced as beaver NOT as bever-age) meant much the same thing –  a light meal, possibly a lump of bread, a gobbet of cheese or some seed cake, always served with something liquid, usually beer or ale.

Raincoaster’s beaver recipe

Gabriel Tschumi was Master Chef to three monarchs – Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V.

In his autobiography, Tschumi recalled that for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee banquet 24 chefs were brought over from Paris to help with the cooking and that the younger apprentices in the royal kitchens attempted to grow their moustaches to resemble those of their French superiors. The book reproduces the recipe for Côtelettes de bécassines à la Souvaroff, served by Tschumi at King Edward VII’s coronation banquet in 1902. This consisted of snipe cutlets covered in brandy, pâté and breadcrumbs, placed in a pig’s caul, and served with beans, truffles, mushrooms, and a Madeira and truffle sauce.

Pig’s caul (and duodenum, uterus etc.) found here

Tschumi doesn’t dish the dirt on any of the royals but he does reveal a snippet about Queen Victoria’s eating habits.

“Towards the end of her life she was not a large eater. Rumour had it that her breakfast was usually a boiled egg, served in magnificent style. According to the upper servants, she used a gold egg cup and a gold spoon, and two of her Indian servants, in their showy scarlet and gold uniforms, stood behind her chair in case she wanted anything.”

image by Banksy found here

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 7:01 am  Comments (42)  
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42 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. 55 ways to save eggs?
    couch them in feathers…
    i love you too, nurse myra.

  2. I’d love to eat that entire Sunday breakfast, but I was wondering if I could substitute curried sausage for the curried pig’s feet?

    I eat two hard boiled eggs for breakfast everyday. Very hard boiled….like 15 minutes hard. It thought you weren’t supposed to eat really soft yokes anymore?

    • Two eggs every day? Have you got your own chooks?

      • No but so many people do around here that they are always fresh and dirt cheap. One benifit of non-city life I guess…

  3. Those were the days!
    Today just toast and marmalade but at least it came from Fortnum and Masons in a Christmas Hamper.
    Tea, cranberry juice and eleven vitamin pills:)

    • Eleven vitamin pills? Have you got your own laboratory?

  4. I lurve Banksy!!!! although I now fear that he will never get a knighthood …… he could lose his head at the Tower though ……

  5. I love a good beaver in the morning.

  6. i’ll have a double order of that deviled hot meat, please…

  7. Unrelated to the post: Do you like Banksy? I do. He’s fun. A lot of people think he’s a jerk-off. I’m no fan of Jeff Koons and they’re in the same boat. Koons just blows up common objects. Claes Oldenburd did it with more style.

    • I don’t like everything Banksy does but sometimes he makes me laugh out loud. That’s a good thing!

  8. That Queen Victoria breakfast is not to be sniffed at, but tucked into with great gusto, methinks (although I could pass on the boiled egg). What was that old saying about ‘breakfast like an Emperor, lunch like a King and dine like a pauper’? Makes sense really – it’s better not to go to sleep on a full stomach (unless it belongs to someone else!).

  9. I haven’t had breakfast yet and can’t even imagine it now that I’ve seen this post. Though toast and jam sounds about right.

    Love the Queen picture!

  10. Thanks for the link, NM!

    It’s just so hard to find a good Pig’s duodenum nowadays…

    • Just for you bschooled, just for you

  11. I had a Red Bull and some pills. Now I’m having an ice tea, and in a few minutes I’m going to enjoy some workout supplement powder mixed with water and a side of naNO Vapor (which is similar to Red Line). After that, I’m going to explode.

    You know, I bet if you cover almost anything with beans, truffles, mushrooms, and a Madeira and truffle sauce, it will probably taste at least decent.

    • mmmm….truffles….. I hope to be eating truffles in France in about 5 months….

  12. I’ve skinned many a beaver in my day and I have to say I’d have to be pretty damned hungry to eat one. (We *are* talking about the large rodent that lives in a pond behind a dam, right?)

    Did you know that castor oil comes from beaver castors? Did you know that castors was another term for testicles?

    • Castor oil comes from castor beans.


      • Awwwww. That sounds much less interesting than my (dis)information…

        You’re ruining my fun, healingmagichands! *pouts*

      • Okay, now I remember what beaver castors are used for! Perfume! Oh, and they are not testicles, they just look like testicles. Apparently, both male and female beavers have them. Plus, the castoreum is also used as an aphrodisiac! (Finally, a gimcrack tie-in.)

        Fascinating, eh?

      • Thanks Rob!

  13. I put my eggs into boiling water for 4 minutes and 15 seconds for a perfect soft boiled egg.

    As far as eating the yolks go, eggs got an undeserved bad rap a few years ago, and unfortunately people still remember that rather than their redemption. It is pretty clear that your cholesterol levels are hereditary, sort of pre-wired into your metabolism and what you eat doesn’t really have much effect. It is also pretty clear, although not if you listen to the drug companies who stand to make huge money convincing people to take their products, that your cholesterol level is not really the issue in your cardiac health. Rather more important is your STRESS level, how much you weigh, what sorts of chemicals you are ingesting with your food, and your activity level. You shouldn’t even know your cholesterol level, since everyone is so convinced (by drug company propaganda) that it needs to be low, if you know it and it is “too high” then you will stress about it.

    • Yeah, I really don’t want to know what mine is. But I don’t think I’m in a high risk group either

  14. The caul’s OK as it does the job of holding everything together (like a sausage skin does) but then melts away to nothingness near the end of the cooking.

  15. No wonder I don’t eat breakfast.

  16. I’ll have a lettuce leaf, thanks.

    • Not if you’re staying over at my place. It’ll be a big bowl of fresh fruit salad for you Miss Synchy!

      • That sounds great! But more like lunch! 😀

      • No, lunch is going to be spinach tortellini. I’m planning on putting more meat on your bones

      • Mmmm, yummy! Hang on, you’re not hiding a ginger-bread house anywhere, are you?

  17. Beaver is good all day long, not just for breakfast.

  18. I had a Thomas’s English Muffin… which is odd considering Thomas’s English Muffins weren’t made in England, they’re American. Much would have preferred a spot of beaver in the morning, but wouldn’t we all?

  19. Nuncheon. I quite like that!

  20. My sausage is best served with Australian Beaver. Especially if there is munchin’ at nuncheon.

  21. Why is it, that whenever I visit your site I get a hard-on? Jus askin’

  22. It’s a good thing I don’t usually eat breakfast. And apparently, the most important meal of the day might have included a pig uterus. Aghhhh!!

  23. I would love to see Camilla eat Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee banquet 🙂

  24. I prefer the other beaver for my meal 🙂

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