This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
There is no little stir among the prohibitionists who attended the great banquet at Martinelli's the other night, for it has been discovered that brandy, wine, white and red, and other liquors were served to them in disguise. The banquet was served in honor of Brother Demarest, their great leader.
While no liquor was served as a beverage, and not even Roman punch appeared in that part of the feast known as the life saving station, yet the discreet cooks had in other respects not been sparing of various forms of alcohol. For instance, in the mushroom sauce there was some fine old brandy, whose function in the sauce was to prevent it from fermenting. In the bisque of lobsters was some royal old sherry, placed there to prevent the lobster from settling to the bottom of the soup plates.
One of the firm who run the establishment under Martinelli's name said:
"There is nothing so discouraging to a caterer as serving a series of prohibition spreads, and we would not have taken that night's order were it not for the fact that some of the gentlemen dine here occasionally and drink claret with 1 heir meals. A caterer who serves many so-called prohibition dinners somehow gets the reputation of not caring to serve fine dinners. Yet we are obliged to use liquors secretly, or our reputation is ruined. Every cook knows that a bisque of lobster must have wine in it to tone it up, and no cook ever lived who made a mushroom sauce to serve with meats without brandy or a heavy wine to keep it of the proper consistency.
" Now, had they paid $4 per plate for their dinner, we would have given them a temperance banquet that would have made their hair curl. First, we would give them mock turtle soup, which for a party of sixty would take four bottles of sherry to tone it up. Then we would give a baked striped bass, with sauce Bordelaise, which everybody knows contains a large amount of claret Chicken Bearnaise would follow, and by this time the guests would begin to be communicative and begin to enjoy their dinner. We always serve Roman punch at these first-class prohibition feasts, but disguise it under another name and conceal the flavor of the rum or kirsch by strong vanilla and other flavors, but orange is the best flavor to use for this purpose. The name under which this punch is generally served is punch cardinal.
"Tipsy parson pudding is, strange as it may seem to you, the favorite dessert at these dinners. We soak the cake in sherry, then cover it with a rich custard sauce, and it takes like hot cakes on a frosty morning. The most acceptable cream is St. Honore. This contains a fine cordial-flavored cream surrounded with macaroons, and these are surrounded with brandy cherries. As for cheese they prefer it mixed to a paste and moistened with brandy. This, when spread upon toasted crackers, is delightful. No one, prohibitionist or gourmet, can have a dinner which is worth eating in which liquor does not perform its function, open or concealed, and we never gave a temperance dinner in which brandy and wine were not used in cooking".