This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
In Rome there are frying shops as close together as public houses in London.and there persons who may not have the necessaries to cook at home - as those who live in a poor lodging-house, for instance - can have a good plateful of fritto for a few pence. There is a clean batter before you, and the vegetables and meat prepared for the pan, and the snowy white cloth on which to eat. You choose the pieces you like best, and these are fried before your eyes with a cleanliness equal to the silver gridiron of London restaurants. These fry-shops are celebrated institutions in Rome, and in some high born ladies and gentlemen go to supper on certain days of the year. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of Roman frying men and women. On that day the fry-shops are things to see. They are decorated both within and without with white and colored draperies, and flowers, and foliage, and flags, and banners, and pictures, and ornaments of every kind. Clerical Josephs decorate their houses with images of St. Joseph himself.
Liberal Josephs decorate their shops with pictures of Garibaldi, whose name was Joseph. It will be seen, therefore, in what repute the frying-pan is held in Italy. Nearly one hundred different fried dishes enter into the Italian cuisine, one-half being of meat, and the other half of vegetables and cereals for fasting days. The way the Italians fry liver, is exquisite. You require for this calf's liver, butter, capers, pine seeds, allspices, sugar, lemon-juice, vinegar, flour, salt, and pepper. Cut, say, 10 oz. of calf's liver into slices, and fry half these in butter. When fried, pound it in a mortar, with a few capers, a few pine seeds, allspice, and sugar; then strain, and add the juice of a lemon, and a little pepper, salt, and vinegar. Put the whole in a hot-water bath, or near the fire, but not on it. Flour the rest of the sliced liver, and fry in fresh butter. When fried, place the slices on a plate, and pour over them the first part reduced to a thick sauce. This will be found to be delicious. To make it more palatable still, roll each slice of liver round a piece of bacon and a slice of truffle, and tie or skewer the roll together. This is easy to do in Italy, where truffles are almost as common as mushrooms.
In England only the wealthy few can indulge in truffles - and those may not care to eat fried liver, even for breakfast. Stuffed with truffles, how -ever, it is not unfit for Royal stomachs.
(2) "This fry is an odd medley, and is composed of the following ingredients, which must all be dipped into batter, fried in lard, and served in the same dish: Ram's kidneys, which have been soaked in salt water, pieces of bread, tendons of veal, calf's brains, sweatbreads, rice croquettes, pieces of cauliflower, egg-plant, anchovies, and artichokes".
(3) The ingredients of the mixed fry are varied with the seasons or according to taste. This one has for its components: lamb fries, sweetbreads and egg-plant, bread-crumbed and fried; calf's brains, calf's liver and caulflower dipped in batter and fried; all dished together with fried parsley and lemons.