This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The committee wanted it "fine" for $5 per couple including ball. One hundred couples expected. It was a good-sized .town (called a city), with two or three hotels, but without a regular caterer in business. Committee applied to a hotel chef, who undertook the supper for a fixed sum for the labor only, the committee to supply everything according to written requisition. Committee secured the town hall for dancing and a large vacant store underneath for 'he supper room, with large 100m at the back for kitchen, borrowed or hired the various utensils found in a neighboring restaurant, which was then closed awaiting a purchaser, and borrowed 400 pieces of silver from a summer hotel, then closed. Glasses, plates, etc., obtained from local stores. Two long tables were set and nearly everything was set upon them. Chairs were obtained from various places, principally from the hall or "opera house." A bill of fare was printed, not for any use to order from, everything but oysters and ice cream being in sight on the tables, but from motives of display.
This was the supper provided:
Fried Oysters. Stewed Oysters.
Newport Tartlets. Curacoa Bavarian.
L mon Butter Tartlets.
Chocolate Layer Cake.
Candies. Delinonico Ice Cream. Lemonade.
Oysters (bulk) 10 gallons, of which 3 gallons were used raw, 3 gallons stewed, 4 gallons fried.
Turkeys, 80 pounds.
Chickens, 50 pounds. That was the quantity actually used, though the committee became excited as preparations went on and thought there would not be half enough, therefore had more prepared which was left over at last. Had and Used.
3 turkeys boned, stuffed with meat of 6 of the chickens; 4 chickens (fowls) made enough salad. Remainder, 5 turkeys and:
4 chickens were sliced for cold roast, and all eaten.
Ham, one, weighed 11 pounds, but little used.
Smoked tongues, 4. Purported to be buffalo tongues from Montana. Used three sliced and decorated, other one in galantine stuffing.
Shrimps, 12 cans, all used.
Lettuce, 2 dozen heads, all used.
Lobsters, 2 cans. Not much needed. More for display of kinds in menu than for real use.
Po'atoes, for hollandaise salad, used about 8 pounds.
Celery, 6 dozen heads, just right as ordered; used best part in celery glasses on table, remainder in salads.
Cabbage, 2 heads, about 8 pounds, used most for slaw with oysters.
Beets, used about 3 pounds In decorating salads.
Cracker-meal, for breading oysters, used 12 pounds.
Lard, for frying oysters and for shortening in biscuits and pastry, used 20 pounds - oysters frying is most destructive of lard, as it soon becomes too dark and thick with cracker dust for further use.
Butter, used for all cooking purposes (none on table), 10 pounds.
Flour, used 30 pounds.
Baking powder, used 1 pound.
Sugar, for all purposes, including lemonade, used 30 pounds.
Milk, used for oyster stews and other purposes, 12 gallons.
Cream, for coffee and other purposes, used 3 gallons.
Chocolate, for cakes and puffs, 1/2 pound.
Sherry, for jellies, I quart.
Curacoa, for Bavarian cream, very small quantity, used 1 pint.
Extracts, used 4 ounces.
Eggs, 15 dozens actually ordered, needed and used (but, as in case of turkeys, committee anticipating a greater crowd, caused the using of 10 doz. more, product left over and not counted herein).
Of the 14 items above was made and all eaten: Cream Puffs, 150; Biscuits, 200; Puff Paste Tartlets, 100; Ice Cream, 6 gallons; Wine Jelly, 8 quarts; Aspic Jelly, for meat decoration, 2 quarts; cake, about 24 pounds, needed on table for show, but half eaten, as all took puffs and pastries.
Besides these were used:
Bread, 5 loaves - nearly all preferred the beaten biscuits.
White Wax, for ornamental purposes, $1 worth, together with some mutton fat.
Paper, 2 kinds, 2 quires.
Olive Oil, 2 quarts.
Olives, 2 bottles.
Lemons, all purposes, used 6 doz.
Pickles, 2 quarts.
Coal for range, used 500 pounds.
Salt, for freezing, etc., 25 pounds.
Ice, nominal, winter, plenty free.
Coffee, used 8 pounds Java - ought to have had 10 pounds - greit run on coffee and nothing large enough to make it in.
It would not serve any useful purpose to say what the supper above detailed cost. The amounts and quantities will be found trustworthy as a guide for similar occurences; the probable cost in any case can be ascertained by reference to prices in the local markets. The number at the tables, known by the number of chairs, was quite 200 Including the promoters of the affair, committees and comphmentaries, but musicians and others at second table were so many additional for which the same spread was sufficient.
The waiters were paid by the committee; it being in a country town they found waiters enough to volunteer for the occasion for little or nothing; if paid, the 15 or 20 waiters and helpers would have cost $10 to $15. The kitchen work required assistants who were paid altogether $5.50, the skilled labor together with time lost In preliminary arrangements amounted to 5 days and the night of the supper, besides.