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 High Sheriff of Lancaster, Mr. James Williamson, of Ryelands, in that county, has marked his assumption of office by a prof use and princely hospitality. On the nth of last month, the date of his state entry into Lancaster, he entertained 10,500 people of the town and neighborhood at a public breakfast in his park at Ryelands. Mr. Williamson - who we may note en fassant is a commercial millionnaire - being a native of Lancaster, determined that his open-house hospitality should be dispensed by a local caterer, and accordingly entrusted the monster job to Mr. S. Ducksbury, of the County and King's Arms Hotel. From all we can hear, that gentleman rose to the occasion, and carried the whole affair through in a most satisfactory manner. As showing the extent and magnitude of the arrangements, we may mention that the crockery alone weighed in the aggregate thirteen and a half tons, and numbered 13,000 plates, with glasses and dishes in proportion, two glasses being placed to each guest. The cutlery, which weighed over two tons, was supplied, we learn, by Messrs. Jennison, of the Belle Vue Gardens, Manchester. To superintend the cooking arrangements, Mr. Ducksbury hired the services of two competent c/iefs, the Brothers Mackenzie, of Liverpool, and three weeks prior to the occasion they were installed in Lancaster, supervising the erection of special culinary plant.
Large vats, heated by steam coils, were provided for boiling, as also a fish-steaming apparatus, capable of holding thirty salmon at a time. There were 200 dishes of salmon, the whole 'masked' with mayonnaise sauce. As the meats were cooked they were stored in a large shed fitted with rack shelving, which, had it been placed end to end, would have reached two miles. The stock from the boiled chickens, tongues and other meats, together with waste, trimmings, etc., was cleared away as fast as produced by the poor of Lancaster. The viands comprised: 2,000 pounds of salmon, 80 rounds of beef, 80 pieces of pressed beef, 80 ribs of beef, 80 galantines of veal, 100 Melton Mowbray pies (8 pounds each), 100 meat pies (various), 100 boiled hams, 250 tongues, 400 roast chickens, 200 boiled chickens, 20 game pies, 20 spring pies, 40 turkeys, 500 ducklings, 300 fruit tarts, and 250 open tarts. Some 5,000 bottles of wine - champagne, port and .sherry - were consumed, part of the former being Pommery. The waiters numbered 140, and with assistants, washers and others, totalled a staff of about 350.
"In order to provide the required accommodation for the guests five marquees were erected in Ryelands Park. These tents were placed in the form of a square, leaving a considerable space in the centre. The tables ran the length of the tents, but had divisions in the centre for the accommodation of the waiters. The space between the tents was barricaded, the public not being admitted to the central enclosure. At the back of each tent, and communicating with it, was a smaller one for service purposes, and which was in immediate communication with the food and wine stores - two tents adjoining each other and occupying the centre of the enclosure. In the latter a telephone communicating with the County and King's Arms Hotels, so that in the event of anything being unex pectedly required, it could be obtained with the least possible delay. The intervening space between the several tents and stores was utilized for the waiters and staff of women who had been engaged for washing up, and for which water from the town had been laid on to the enclosure, and a portable steam engine fixed for heating purposes. The hot water was run into large tubs, so that there was an abundant supply constantly available.
Behind each waiter's tent a knife-cleaning machine was fixed with a man specially appointed to work it Nothing seems to have been omitted which could in any way contribute to the comfort or convenience of the guests and the speedy satisfaction of their wants. "In the High Sheriff's marquee, devoted to the local clergy, gentry and tradesmen, was served a sumptuous repast, the menu being as follows:
Mayonnaise of Salmon.
Rounds of Beef. Ribs of Beef. Roulades of Beef.
Quarters of Lamb. Galantiues of Veal.
Roast Chickens. Boiled Chickens.
Boned Turkeys. Hams. Tongues.
Various Meat Pies. Roast Ducks.
Melton Mowbray Pies.
Froit Tarts. Pastry, various. Jellies. Custard, etc.
" The tents for the general body of visitors were filled by relays, but good order was maintained, and, thanks to the excellent arrangements of Mr. Ducksbury (whose efforts were ably seconded by his three sons), the feasting of the whole 10,500 guests was got through in about 3 1/2 hours.
"In these tents the menu was as follows:
Pressed beef. Rounds of beef.
Ribs of beef.
Various meat pies.
Roast chickens. Boiled chickens.
Quarters of lamb.
Melton Mowbray pies.
Fruit tarts. Tartlets. Stewed fruit, etc.
"On the conclusion of the feast, the broken meat and fragments of all kinds were distributed among the assistant waiters, the washers, and others.
"Needless to say, there was much effusive toasting of the High Sheriff and his family, whose magnificent hospitality may be said to have created a red-letter day in the annals of Lancaster. Regarded as a mere catering achievement this public breakfast was remarkable, and that it should have passed off so smoothly and successfully redounds not a little to the professional credit of Mr. Ducksbury, his chefs, and, in fact, all concerned in the carrying out of a very big job".