|Eighteenth Century table setting at Rienzi, MFAH, Houston Texas|
The layout shows the second course of a typical high status English meal of the second half of the eighteenth century. It is based on a table diagram published by the Manchester confectioner Mrs Elizabeth Raffald in The Experienced English Housekeeper (Manchester: 1769). Although savoury foods dominate the setting, including a larded hare complete with head and ears, there are also a number of Raffald's novelty flummeries and jellies, such as her fishpond and Solomon's Temple.
Credit must go to my dear friend Tony Barton of Bendipeeze Ltd and his Bendy assistants for making much of the remarkable artificial food, including that crazy larded hare, the original of which was roasted on a spit in front of my kitchen fire. A rare image of the closely guarded secret method of making fake peas used on the Bendipeeze production line can be seen at the end of this posting.
It is a great pity that an exhibition of this kind has never been set up in Manchester, England, where Raffald worked. So hip-hurrah to Christine Gervais at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston for having the vision to invite me to do this.
More can be found out about the exhibition at the MFAH website.
|Mrs Raffald's Cribbage Cards in Flummery - rather impractical blancmange playing cards|
|Mrs Raffald's fishpond - gilded blancmange fish swimming in Lisbon wine|
|Frantic preparations at the Bendipeeze depot. The Bendies have |
heard a rumour that Mrs Rafffald herself is about to visit the factory.
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