This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
For menus: " Fish is no less important to a good dinner than soup. There is an Oriental proverb, to the effect that 'your Arab despises fish,' which as the Arabs dwell where fish are not, is equivalent to saying, 'the grapes are sour.'" "St. Kevin, a religious gentleman who lived by the fish he caught in one of the Irish lakes, was subjected to a severe temptation on one of his piscatorial excursions, but whether he fell into the snare laid for him or not, I do not now remember. It seems that a belle of that ilk, named Kate, put the following leading question to him:
'You're a rare hand at fishing,' says Kate.
' It's yourself dear, that knows how to hook 'em:
But when you have caught 'm, agrah!
Don't you want a young woman to cook 'em?'
If St. Kevin said 'No,'he was not the Irishman I take him to have been." "Fishes are welcome at every meal, but they are peculiarly adapted for breakfast. Not one would we banish; neither regal salmon, nor lordly turbot; voracious cod, nor delicate whiting; giant perch, nor accommodating sole; bladderless mackerel, nor musical skate; savage pike, nor lowly herring; pretentious mullet, nor common haddock - no, not even the vulgar plaice. They are delicate, they are easy of digestion, and they take kindly to any flavoring the most erratic palate may desire. Hence it is that they are so valuable at the first meal." "In order to know what cod really is, you musl eat it at Newfoundland Herring is not worthy of the name except on the banks of Lochfyne, in Argyleshire; and the best salmon in the whole world is that of the Boyne." " A good sea fish, is spoiled with too great refinement in this matter; all it needs is a clean gridiron, or a boiling kettle, a hot plate, sweet bread and butter. If a sauce is desired, do not take anchovy because it is 'the thing,' but try the more homely recipe of the great Edingburgh epicures: 'Ketchup (mushroom), mustard, cayenne, butter, amalgamated on your own plate by your own hand, each man according to his proportion." This is for witty paragraphers, to say something about hotel salt mackerel; the Nevada salt fish mines are still doing business: "During the sinking of large pits and wells in Nevada stratas of rock salt were cut through, in which were found imbedded perfectly preserved fish, which are doubtless thousands of years old, as the salt field occupies what was once the bottom of a large lake, and no such fish are now to be found in any of the modern Nevada lakes.
The specimens are not petrified, but flesh, and all are preserved in perfect form, and after being soaked in water for two or three days can be cooked and eaten; but arc not very palatable. After being exposed to the air and sun for a day or two they become as hard as wood." A traveler, Wayett Gill, says: " I am interested in the discussion going on at home about fish as food for the brain. For years past there has been annually resident in the training institution at Raratonga from fifty to seventy natives of the various islands of the South Pacific. The most quick-witted students come from the low coral islands and have grown to manhood on a diet of fish and cocoanuts. In muscular strength, however, and in the power of endurance they are decidedly inferior to the inhabitants of volcanic islands who used a mixed diet".