Mark Twain was a man of simple, American pleasures. In “A Tramp Abroad,” his disgust for the food he encounters on his trip to Europe is, shall we say, not politically correct.
“There is here and there an American who will say he can remember rising from a European table d’hote perfectly satisfied; but we must not overlook the fact that there is also here and there an American who will lie.”
Preparing for his return to America, Twain lists a “little bill of fare” of the “modest, private” meal he looks forward to after traveling in Europe…a meal that includes over 80 courses. Twain lists five kinds of potatoes, three pies, wild turkey, baked apples, oysters in every manner, succotash, porterhouse steak and hoe-cakes, Southern style…just to name a few.
Sound like your kind of meal? Bubby’s in DUMBO is teaming up with Andrew Beahrs, author of ‘Twain’s Feast: In Search of America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens’ to serve a dinner based on Twain’s meal, within, as the invitation says, “the bounds of sanity and reality.” Some items can’t be recreated: terrapin, the invitation notes, is no longer available. Regardless, Twain’s list, in addition to being humorous, offers an enjoyable cruise through American food traditions. Beahrs will add historical context to Twain’s cravings with commentary throughout the meal.
For more information and tickets, click here. In the meantime, use Twain’s recipe to make yourself a cup of ‘German Coffee’ -
“Take a barrel of water and bring it to a boil; rub a chicory berry against a coffee berry, then convey the former into the water. Continue the boiling and evaporation until the intensity of the flavor and aroma of the coffee and chicory has been diminished to a proper degree; then set aside to cool. Now unharness the remains of a once cow from the plow, insert them in a hydraulic press, and when you shall have acquired a teaspoonful of that pale-blue juice which a German superstition regards as milk, modify the malignity of its strength in a bucket of tepid water and ring up the breakfast. Mix the beverage in a cold cup, partake with moderation, and keep a wet rag around your head to guard against overexcitement.”