October 8, 2010

A Dressed Up Oldie!

In medieval Germany, there are references to nuncheontach, a non lunchentach according to OED, a noon draught— of ale, with bread— an extra meal between mid-day dinner and supper, especially during the long hours of hard labor during haying or early harvesting. In Munich, by the 1730s and 40s, the upper class were rising later, and dining at three or four in the afternoon, and by 1770, their dinner hour in Pomberano was four or five. A formal evening meal, artificially lit by candles, sometimes with entertainment, was a "supper party" as late as Regency times.

In the 19th century, male artisans went home for a brief dinner, where their wives fed them, but as the workplace was removed farther from the home, working men took to providing themselves with something portable to eat at a break in the schedule during the middle of the day. In parts of India a light, portable lunch is known as tiffin.

Ladies whose husbands would eat at the club would be free to leave the house and have lunch with one another, though not in restaurants until the twentieth century. In the 1945 edition of Etiquette, Emily Post still referred to luncheon as "generally given by and for women, but it is not unusual, especially in summer places or in town on Saturday or Sunday, to include an equal number of men"— hence the mildly disparaging phrase, "the ladies who lunch." Lunch was a ladies' light meal; when the Prince of Wales stopped to eat a dainty luncheon with lady friends, he was laughed at for this effeminacy. Afternoon tea supplemented this luncheon at four o'clock, from the 1840s. Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management had much less to explain about luncheon than about dinners or ball suppers!

Lunch can be with your best friend you don't see so much anymore, but still treat each other on your birthdays,  or lunch is the quick bite to eat with your co-worker that runs into a second (ahem...) glass of wine. Lunch is three women who are having a "meeting" about the school fundraiser, but talk about everything but! Lunch is MMSM having lunch with me, with her happiest two-year-old sitting between his two favorite women. Lunch is your husband stealing home with a hamburger and fries in a white bag (ugh)!

Lunches are also the gesture you make to take good care of your family. They know "Mom...the heart of the home", thought about them and tucked in an extra cookie!....... Bought that special type of bread they like, remembered that they like tomatoes, but not lettuce.
Took the time to write a little note, or draw a little picture. It's the only way we can send a bit of our "tender loving care" with them for their eight or so hours away from the nest. Send them off feeling like they are most loved!

So.......  The Maine House make lunches!

Estelle's Five Cheese Grilled Sandwich
½ cup of butter salted, softened
1 t. finely minced garlic
¼ t. minced parsley
8 slices sourdough bread
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices Monterrey jack cheese
4 slices mozzarella cheese

 Combine butter, garlic and parsley in a small bowl. Preheat a large sauté pan or griddle pan to medium heat. the pan should be big enough to fit 2 slices of sourdough bread. To make each sandwich, spread garlic butter on one side of each slice of sourdough bread. Cut the crust off the left and right sides of each slice of bread-leave the crust on top and bottom. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on to a plate, and then turn each slice of bread over on to the cheese so it sticks to the garlic butter. Allow the excess cheese to fall of the bread, and then gently place each slice of bread, cheese side down on to the hot pan. Immediately place a slice of Swiss and a slice of cheddar on one slice of bread, and then place a slice of jack and a slice mozzarella on the other slice of bread. In 2½ to 3½ minutes, when the Parmesan cheese has browned, use a spatula to flip one slice of the bread over on the other, and then remove the sandwich from the pan. Let the sandwich sit for 1 minute then slice it diagonally through the middle and serve hot.

Estelle's Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 carrots, peeled and chopped finely 
1 tablespoon minced garlic 
5 large vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
Croutons, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven, over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender. Add the cream to the soup and process this mixture with an immersion blender or hand mixer (I use my smoothie maker). You can discard any of the dry pulp that's left. Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and croutons.

"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." ~Lewis Grizzard

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