This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
A prime luxury in its raw state when fresh, and good again in the form of preserves or jam, but a very poor fruit for stewing or pie-making. The best combinations with pastry instead of in pies are the Strawberry Meringue - A sheet of cake such as genoise, or butter sponge cake, or regular sponge cake (baked), thickly covered with ripe berries and sugar, upon these a thick coating of soft meringue (see meringue) with sugar sifted on top; baked enough to cook the meringue but not the berries, and the other popular and wellknown American dish of cooked paste with raw strawberries, known as Strawberry Shortcake - The domestic form of this is what the name implies, a flat cake of short-paste about 3/4 inch thick after baking is split open and a thick layer of strawberries, sugared, spread between, and more on top. The paste may be made of 3/4 lb. butter rubbed into 1 lb. of flour and mixed with water. Some, however, use bisquit dough made light with baking powder. The best is puff short-paste, of fully 3/4 lb. of butter to 1 lb. of flour, made by rolling in the butter in flakes instead of rubbing in, and giving the paste 8 rollings in all.
The bakers, of course, make that which sells the best, and strawberry meringue as above described, made either with or without meringue, is the popular " strawberry shortcake " of the shpps and lunch houses, meringue being a foreign word and the cake combination tasting as sweet by the familiar home name.
The large berries served fresh should have the stems left on to hold them by; they are dipped in powdered sugar as eaten.
This usually now means with ice-cream. It should be pure cream and not a custard mixture. Otherwise the berries picked from their stems are served in saucers with powdered sugar and cold cream separately.
Some people tell you that you should not drink claret after strawberries. They are wrong, if the claret be good. The milky taste of good claret coalesces admirably with the strawberries, somewhat like cream. If the claret be bad, it is quite a different affair; and suspect it if you find the master of the house anxious not to make the test." " Well, and did you not think him quite right about claret coalescing with strawberries? The French do, at any rate. Your dish of ' straw-, berries and cream' is unknown here; you probably remember the story about the horrified ' Whatever is this for?' that came from a French gentleman to whom a plate of mashed strawberries was presented at a garden party during a recent season. Here claret is added to the strawberries instead of cream or milk, and an admirable improvement it is on the latter. Only, as Maginn says, the claret must be good".