Wednesday, October 17, 2007

jars of truffled turkeys

"The landlord of the Bell - whose magnificent porcelain jars of truffled turkeys are exported to the uttermost ends of the earth -..."

Lost Illusions, p. 623 (Modern Library)

The novel is set in 1822. What might sealed, shipped meat have been like at that time?

The internet leads me to this supposed Rossini quote:

"I have wept three times in my life. Once when my first opera failed. Once again, the first time I heard Paganini play the violin. And once when a truffled turkey fell overboard at a boating picnic."

Would it kill someone to put a citation on this? Anyway, I would not mind a porcelain jar of truffled turkey for Christmas.


  1. the prairie quilterOctober 17, 2007 at 1:23 PM

    Where can I buy a porcelin jar of truffled turkey?

  2. Well, if Rossini was eating it, it was probably really good. He was a noted gourmand. He's the man who either invented, or inspired the invention, of Tournedos Rossini. I have never had this, not being a fan of foie gras, but I hear it's pretty much sublime. There's a whole story about the dish in the Larousse Gastronomique. Here's a recipe, if you have 4 or 500 bucks and 3 hours that you have no better use for.
    Tournedos Rossini
    ingredient list: 4 tournedos (basically, filets mignon, but with no bacon wrapping). Butter (duh). 4 croûtons, fried in butter. Meat jelly. 4 slices foie gras. Madeira. 12 slices truffle (white or black, but I would assume black is the way to go here). Demi-glace sauce.

    Season and sauté the tournedos in butter. Cover each crouton with a little meat jelly and place the tournedos on top. Arrange on a serving dish. Sauté foie gras in butter and place a slice on each tournedos. Add a little Madeira to the pan in which the tournedos were cooked, boil, add the slice of truffle and the very well reduced demi-glace sauce. Pour over the tournedos.
    Serve with a dish of noodles, mixed with butter and Parmesan cheese.

    Honestly, I cannot imagine how people ate stuff like this on a regular basis. Why they weren't all dying of gout is beyond me.