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Convitto in casa Nani alla Giudecca

The meals of eighteenth century aristocrats could be astoundingly extravagant. Eating was not just about satisfying hunger, but an opportunity to display one’s wealth and privilege. A formal “Dinner” was served in three or four “Stages” or courses. At each Stage up to 30 different dishes would be laid on the table at once. Wines, punches, and other beverages would be on a sideboard, and diners would usually be waited upon by their own servants. One way to conceptualize the scene is like a buffet where the guests actually sit at the buffet table. The “Supper” served later in the day was simpler, but still lavish by modern standards.

When describing a dinner or supper, the Presenter or Game Master can create a mood of decadent excess by emphasizing the sensory overload, overindulgence, and hedonistic mania. The dining room will be a riot of smells – food, sweat, burning candles, and expensive perfume. Elaborate decorations (called pièces montées) and candelabra will stand atop the white tablecloth, surrounded by the dishes. The cutlery and service pieces will gleam silver and gold. The ladies will be carefully dressed, coiffured, and glittering with jewels. The room itself will be ornate and hung with paintings. Musicians may be playing, either in the dining hall of an adjacent room. Guests at the table will be expected to maintain their wit and composure, even as they consume ever increasing amounts of wine and liquor. There will certainly be events to gossip about afterwards.

The types of meals created using the tables below might be eaten by aristocrats anywhere in Europe during the Ghastly Age. Remember that well into the 19th century, much of what is now thought of as national cuisine was eaten primary by the middle and lower classes. That was true even in places renowned for their native food, such as Italy. The cosmopolitan aristocracy, who might barely speak the vernacular language of the peasants they ruled over, often ate a similar French-influenced diet no matter where they resided. On the other hand, some products now closely associated with national cuisines, such as Parmesan cheese, were widely popular among the aristocracy. While the diets of the middle and lower classes were strictly seasonal, the wealthy upper classes could have out-of-season fruits and vegetables grown in hothouses, conservatories, and cold-frames.

Before the French Revolution, a “dinner” was usually eaten in the middle of the afternoon, when servants had more light to work by. The less elaborate “supper”, on the other hand, would be eaten in the evening, and sometimes as late as 1 AM. It was very common for visitors to stop by unannounced for supper, and a dance or ball always concluded with one. After the Revolution, the time of dinner in France crept forward to around 6 PM, but supper remained as the final meal of the day in High Society until the 19th century. In her memoirs, the Marquise Henriette-Lucy de la Tour du Pin explains that eighteenth century women were so fond of dinner parties because the high heels and extravagant outfits of the time could make it uncomfortable to dance. At the dinner table, however, one could simply look beautiful and engage in witty conversation.

Speakers of American English should note the terms “Entrée” and “Entremet” mean something different here than then they might expect. In the eighteenth century, an “Entrée” was one of the dishes served at the beginning stage of a meal, and was secondary to the more impressive roasts and main dishes. An “Entremet” was a dish served between two other courses, generally after the roasts and before the actual desserts. The term encompassed egg and cheese dishes, as well as many sweet cakes and tarts.

A Grand Dinner:

First Stage: Roll (or select) 1d8 Soups, 1d8 Fish Entrées, 1d4 Poultry Entrées, and 1d10 Meat Entrées. The number of dishes on the table should be at least equal to the number of diners (up to 30).
Second Stage: Roll (or select) Roasts and Main Dishes, and 1d8 Sauces served on the side. The remaining dishes will be Vegetables and Salads, for a total amount of dishes equal to the First Stage.
Third Stage (Entremets): Roll (or select) Entremets equal to the total amount of dishes in the previous Stage. This stage is sometimes omitted.
Dessert Stage: Roll (or select) Desserts equal to amount of dishes in previous Stages.

An Evening Supper:

First Stage: Roll (or select) 1d4 Soups, 1d4 Fish Entrées, 1d4 Poultry Entrées, and 1d4 Meat Entrées.
Second Stage: Roll (or select) 1d8 Vegetables and Salads, plus as many Entremets as needed to equal the total amount of dishes in the First Stage.
Dessert Stage: Roll (or select) 1d6 Desserts

Soups (d100)

1 – 3 | Almond Soup with Cream
4 – 7 | Calf’s Head Soup
8 – 10 | Capon Soup with Lettuce and Asparagus
11 – 13 | Cock-a-leekie Soup – Scottish style soup of chicken and leeks.
14 – 22 | Consommé of Beef
23 – 30 | Consommé of Chicken
31 – 35 | Crawfish Soup
36 – 37 | Eel Soup
38 – 44 | Mock Turtle Soup (veal)
45 – 46 | Mulligatawny Soup (after 1780) – curried chicken soup
47 – 52 | Onion Soup
53 – 57 | Pea Soup
58 – 62 | Pepper Pot – spicy meat stew from the Americas
63 – 67 | Pigeon Bisque – with cream
68 – 72 | Pureed Asparagus Soup
73 – 77 | Pureed Carrot soup
78 – 79 | Scotch Broth – lamb and barley
80 – 85 | Soupe à la Reine (Queen’s Soup) – creamed chicken and meat broth with rich or barley
86 – 87 | Squab Soup
88 – 93 | Turtle Soup
94 – 98 | Vegetable Soup
99 – 100 | White Soup – made with veal and almonds

Meat Entrées (d100)

1 – 3 | Beef Hachis – chopped beef with pickled cucumbers and onions
4 – 7 | Beef Olives – thin steaks rolled around forcemeat, fried and served with mushroom suace
8 – 10 | Beef Steaks with Oyster Sauce
11 – 14 | Blanquette de Veau – white stew of veal with mushrooms
15 – 17 | Boiled Sausages
18 – 21 | Cabbages Stuffed with Forcemeat
22 – 24 | Calf’s Brains Milanese – coated in breadcrumbs and fried
25 – 28 | Calf’s Foot Fricasee – in white sauce, garnished with lemons and parsley
29 – 31 | Calf’s Heart – stuffed with forcemeat
32 – 35 | Calf’s Sweetbreads
36 – 38 | Chicken Terrine – loaf of pressed, molded meat served cold
39 – 42| Civet de Lièvre (Jugged Hare) – hare cooked in a sealed earthenware dish, served with a sauce of its own blood and wine.
43 – 45 | Fried Chicken Sausages
46 – 49 | Fried Pork Sausages
50 – 52 | Ham Pieces with Spinach
53 – 56| Lamb Chops with Brown Sauce
57 – 59 | Lamb Hachis – chopped lamb served in a brown sauce
60 – 62 | Minced Veal – with lemon pickles and cream
63 – 66| Pâté de Foie Gras – molded paste of goose liver and truffles
67 – 69 | Pork Terrine – loaf of pressed, molded meat served cold
70 – 73 | Rabbit Pâté – rabbit meat reduced to a paste
74 – 76 | Ragoût of Beef – stewed beef with carrots
77 – 80 | Ragoût of Pig’s Ears and Feet – garnished with parsley
81 – 83 | Roasted Hare with Bread Sauce
84 – 87 | Salmagundi – English, composed salad of chicken, eggs, ham, and herring, garnished with capers and oysters
88 – 91 | Veal Callops – thin slices served in white sauce
92 – 95 | Veal Terrine – loaf of pressed, molded meat served cold
96 – 100 | Venison Terrine – loaf of pressed, molded meat served cold

Fish Entrées (d100)

1 – 2 | Baked Haddock with Butter and Bread Crumbs
3 – 4 | Baked Salmon Stuffed With Oysters
5 – 6 | Boiled Skate Served with Horseradish
7 – 8 | Boiled Sole with Eggs
9 – 10 | Broiled Mullet with Lemon
11 – 12 | Cod Ragout, with Oyster Sauce
13 – 15 | Crabs – dressed in butter and served on their shells
16 – 17 | Crawfish in Aspic
18 – 19 | Curried Lobster *
20 – 21 | Eels Stewed in Wine
22 – 25 | Escargot with Garlic Butter
26 – 27 | Filet of Sole with Mushrooms and Truffles
28 – 29 | Fish in Aspic
30 – 30 | Fried Eels
31 – 32 | Fried Frog’s Legs
33 – 34 | Fried Mackerel with Anchovy Sauce
35 – 36 | Fried Scallops in Veal Sauce
37– 38| Fried Smelts
39 – 40| Grenouilles à la Lyonnaise – frog’s legs with onions and parsely
41 – 42 | Lobster Fricassee *
43 – 44 | Lobster meat with butter *
45 – 46 | Lobster Paté *
47 – 48 | Mackarel à la Maitre d’Hotel – with herbed butter
49 – 50 | Oyster Paté
51 – 52 | Oyster Pie
53 – 54 | Oysters on the Half Shell (roll again if meal occurs in the summer)
55 – 56 | Pickled Mackerel
57 – 58 | Pickled Oysters
59 – 60 | Pickled Smelts
61 – 62 | Poached Cod’s Head
63 – 64 | Pot Shrimp – pounded to a paste and formed into a loaf
65 – 66 | Potted Salmon – pounded to a paste and pressed into a loaf
67 – 68 | Salmon – cooked in paper with mushrooms
69 – 70 | Salmon Steaks with Butter
71 – 72 | Salt Cod with Egg Sauce
73 – 74 | Smelts in Aspic
75 – 76 | Stewed Cockles
77 – 78 | Stewed Lampreys
79 – 80 | Stewed Mussels
81 – 82 | Stewed Oysters
83 – 85 | Stewed Oysters in Cream
86 – 90 | Turbot with Herb Sauce
91 – 96 | Turtle Meat – shredded and served on its shell
97 – 100 | Whole Poached Carp – with cucumbers arranged as scales
* When a scene is set in the American colonies (and the later United States), roll again if lobster is indicated. Lobster is so plentiful and cheap there that it will not be served at a formal dinner.

Poultry Entrées (d100)

1 – 5 | Boiled Duck with Onion Sauce
6 – 5 | Braised Ducklings
11 – 5 | Chicken à l’Italienne – fried, with mushrooms, onions, ham & herbs
16 – 5 | Chicken in Aspic
21 – 5 | Chicken Pâté
26 – 5 | Chickens Roasted on a Spit
31 – 5 | Duck Galantine – boneless, stuffed with forcemeat, and coated in aspic.
36 – 5 | Filet of Chicken with Cucumbers
41 – 5 | Jellied Partridge
46 – 50 | Ortolans – songbirds fattened on grain, drowned in Armagnac, and roasted whole
51 – 53 | Poularde Demi-Deuil – Chicken in white sauce with truffle
54 – 55 | Pureed Pheasant
56 – 60 | Quail with Mirepoix – onions, carrots and celery
61 – 65 | Quenelles – chicken dumplings in cream sauce
66 – 70 | Rabbit Cutlets
71 – 76 | Sautéed Breast of Partridge
77 – 82 | Sautéed Pheasant
83 – 87 | Sliced Breast of Duck with Sour Orange Sauce
88 – 89 | Sliced Grouse
90 – 95 | Small Birds in Aspic – heads and feet left on
96 – 98 | Thrushes on Bread with Cheese
99 – 100 | Turkey Hachis – chopped turkey, with lemon and parsley

Roasts and Main Dishes (d100)

1 – 3 | Beef Ribs
4 – 3 | Boeuf à la Mode – larded beef braised and served in a sauce made form the braising liquid.
7 – 3 | Boiled Boar’s Head
10 – 12 | Boiled Calf’s Head
13 – 15 | Boiled Ham
16 – 18 | Broiled Beef Steaks
19 – 21 | Broiled Lamb Steaks
22 – 24 | Calf’s Head à la Suprise – boned and stuffed with forcemeat and eggs.
25 – 27 | Fricandeau of Veal – veal larded and braised, glazed with a rich sauce
28 – 30 | Glazed Breast of Veal on a Bed of Peas
31 – 33 | Pike au Souvenir – stuffed with a forcemeat of various fishes and herbs.
34 – 36 | Pike Fricandeau – larded with bacon and served with a brown sauce
37 – 39 | Pike in Court Bouilloin – served in a spiced wine and butter sauce
40 – 42 | Pike with Lemon and Egg Sauce
43 – 45 | Pike with Wine Sauce
46 – 48 | Roasted Beef with Sweetbreads
49 – 51 | Roasted Chicken with Truffles
52 – 54 | Roasted Duck
55 – 57 | Roasted Goose with Orange Sauce
58 – 60 | Roasted Ham
61 – 63 | Roasted Joint of Beef
64 – 66| Roast Joint of Venison
67 – 69 | Roasted Leg of Lamb
70 – 72 | Roasted Partridges with Bread Sauce
73 – 75 | Roasted Pheasant with Bread Sauce
76 – 78 | Roasted Squabs
79 – 81 | Roasted Turkey with Oyster Sauce
82 – 84 | Roasted Woodcock
85 – 87 | Whole Roast Suckling Pig
88 – 90 | Whole Roast Lamb
91 – 93 | Whole Roasted Sturgeon
94 – 100 | Whole Salmon – poached in wine

Sauces (d20)

1 | Allemande – chicken stock thickened with a roux, with egg yolks and cream.
2 | Anglaise – thickened stock with egg yolks and anchovy butter
3 | Béchamel – thickened cream sauce
4 | Chasseur – brown sauce with mushrooms, shallots, and herbs
5 | Devil – mustard sauce with stock, shallots and wine
6 | English Bread Sauce – made with bread soaked in milk and melted butter, flavored with onion, pepper, and sweet spices
7 | Espagnole – thickened brown sauce of beef and veal stock
8 | Godard – demi-glace flavored with ham, champagne and mushrooms
9 | Hollandaise – butter sauce thickened with egg yolks and flavored with lemon
10 | Madeira Sauce
11 | Mayonnaise
12 | Meat Gravy
13 | Poivrade Sauce – thickened stock highly seasoned with pepper
14 | Régence – thickened stock flavored with ham, onion, and wine.
15 | Rémoulade – mayonnaise with herbs and gherkins
16 | Russian Sauce – thickened stock flavored with herbs, mustard, and lemon juice
17 | Sarladaise Sauce – an emulsion of cream and egg yolks with chopped truffles
18 | Sauce Robert – sauce of onions, demi-glace and mustard
19 | Velouté – sauce of thickened veal or chicken stock
20 | Verjuice – cream and egg-enriched chicken stock, thickened and made tart with grape juice

Vegetables and Salads (d100)

1 – 4 | Asparagus – served on toast
5 – 8 | Asparagus à la Polonaise – with parsley, chopped egg, and breadcrumbs
10 – 11 | Boiled Artichoke – served with pots of melted butter
12 – 13 | Braised Cabbage
14 – 15 | Braised Endive
16 – 17 | Braised Leeks
18 – 19 | Broccoli in Butter
20 – 21 | Buttered Cauliflower – on a bed of greens
22 – 23 | Cabbage in Butter
24 – 25 | Cauliflower in Cheese Sauce
26 – 27 | Cauliflower in Cream Sauce
28 – 29 | Cauliflower with Mayonnaise
30 – 31 | Celery à la Crême – celery served in a cream sauce
32 – 33 | Cos Lettuce Leaves
34 – 35 | Cucumber Salad
36 – 37 | Curly Chicory Salad
38 – 45 | French Beans with Butter
46 – 47 | Fried Battered Cardoons
48 – 49| Fried Celery
50 – 51 | Jerusalem Artichokes in Cream Sauce
52 – 53 | Mixed Field Greens
54 – 60 | Peas in Butter
62 – 63 | Peas with Butter and Mint
64 – 65 | Pickled Cucumbers
66 – 67 | Pickled French Beans
68 – 69 | Pickled Green Almonds
70 – 71 | Pickled Lemons
72 – 73 | Pickled Mushrooms
74 – 75 | Pickled Red Cabbage
76 – 77 | Puree of Cauliflower
78 – 79 | Puree of Parsnips
80 – 81 | Puree of Potato
82 – 83| Puree of Turnips
84 – 85 | Radish Salad
86 – 87 | Red Cabbage with Chestnuts
88– 89 | Scalloped Potatoes
90 – 91 | Steamed Purple Cauliflower
92 – 93 | Stewed Cardoons
94 – 95 | Stewed Mushrooms
96 – 97| Stewed Mixed Root Vegetables
98 – 100 | Stewed Spinach

Entremets (d100)

1 – 2 | Almond Cake
3 – 4 | Apple Tart
5 – 6 | Artichoke Bottoms with Whole Egg Yolks and Butter
7 – 8 | Beef Roulade or Cold Beef Pie (Great Britain)
9 – 10 | Blancmange
11 – 12 | Butter Cake
13 – 14 | Cheese Tarts
15 – 16 | Cherry Tart
17 – 18 | Cheshire Cheese
19 – 20 | Chicken Chaud-Froid – Chicken breasts covered with a jellied cream sauce, served cold
21 – 22 | Cold Sliced Tongue
23 – 24 | Edam Cheese
25 – 26 | Eggs and Vegetables in Aspic
27 – 28 | English Cheddar
29 – 30| English Flummery – thickened, sweetened starch set in a mold
31 – 32| Fondue
33 – 34 | Fried Calf’s Liver
35 – 36 | Fruit Cake
37 – 38 | Gorgonzola Cheese
39 – 40 | Gouda Cheese
41 – 42 | Gruyere Cheese
43 – 44 | Lemon Cakes
45 – 46 | Macaroni Pie
47 – 48 | Macaroni with Butter and Cheese
49 – 50 | Mimolette Cheese
51 – 52 | Mushrooms in Pastry
53 – 54 | Neufchâtel Cheese
55 | Omelette du Curé – with tuna, and carp roe
56 – 57 | Omelette with Asparagus
58 | Omelette with Cheese
59 | Omelette with Chicken Liver
60 | Omelette with Herbs
61 – 62 | Omelette with Mushrooms
63 – 64 | Omelette with Truffles
65 – 66 | Orange Cakes
67 – 68 | Parmesan Cheese
68 – 70 | Poached Eggs on a Bed of Spinach
71 – 72 | Poached Eggs on Toast
73 – 74 | Pound Cake
75 – 76 | Roquefort Cheese
77 – 78| Scrambled Eggs with Truffles
79 – 80| Stilton Cheese
81 – 82| Soufflé
83 – 84 | Sponge Cake
85 – 86 | Sweet Omelette (with fruit)
87 – 88 | Toasted Bread with Slices of Ham
89 – 90 | Veal and Ham Rissoles – fried croquettes served with white sauce
91 – 92 | Venison Pie
93 – 94 | Vol-au-Vents – puff pastries filled with chicken and mushrooms
95– 96 | Warm Brie
97 – 98 | Welsh Rarebit
99 – 100 | White Cake with Sugar Icing

Desserts (d100)

1 – 2 | Apples
3 – 4 | Apples in Pastry
5 – 6 | Apricot Ice Cream
7 – 8 | Apricots in Brandy
9 – 10 | Butter Biscuits
11 – 12 | Candied Almonds
13 – 14 | Candied Cherries
15 – 16 | Candied Chestnuts
17 – 18 | Candied Violets
19 – 20 | Cheesecake
21 – 22 | Chocolate Creams – in individual glasses
23 – 24 | Crème Anglaise (custard) – served in individual glasses
25 – 26 | Crème Brûlée
27 – 28 | Dried Figs
29 – 30 | English Syllabubs – wine and sweetened cream mixed and left to separate, served in individual glasses that display the layers.
31 – 32 | Fairy Butter – egg yolks, butter and sugar flavored with orange flower water and put through a sieve
33 – 34 | Fruit Ices in Various Flavors
35 – 36 | Gooseberries
37 – 38 | Île Flottante (Floating Island)– Mounds of flavored meringue in custard
39 – 40 | Lemon Creams – in individual glasses
41 – 42 | Macarons – biscuits of meringue and ground almonds.
43 – 44 | Madeleines – small sponge cakes baked in shell-shaped molds
45 – 46 | Marzipan Fruits in Assorted Shapes
47 – 48 | Mille-feuille – layers of crisp flat pastry alternating with layers of fruit jam, topped with white sugar icing
49 – 50 | Nectarines
51 – 52 | Orange Creams – in individual glasses
53 – 54 | Oranges
55 – 56 | Pears in wine
57 – 58 | Pistachio Creams – in individual glasses
59 – 60 | Pistachio Nuts
61 – 62 | Plums
63 – 64 | Pots de Crème – individual baked custards
65 – 66 | Pralines – almonds covered in in hard caramelized sugar
67 – 68 | Profiteroles – cream puffs
69 – 76 | Puits d’Amour (Wells of Love) – cylindrical puff-pastry cases filled with redcurrent or raspberry jelly, and glazed with caramel. These have very naughty connotations.
77 – 78 | Raspberry Creams – in individual glasses
79 – 80 | Ribbon Creams – different flavors of cream, layered in individual glasses, with colored sweetmeats separating the layers.
81 – 82 | Small Glazed Cakes in Assorted Colors
83 – 84 | Snow Balls – baked cored apples filled with marmalade, inside a pastry shell, and covered with white sugar icing.
85 – 86 | Spanish Cream – flavored with rosewater, in individual glasses
87 – 88 | Strawberries and Cream
89 – 90 | Strawberry Ice Cream
91 – 92 | Tarte Conversation – puff pasty shells filled with almond cream, covered with hard sugar icing.
93 – 94 | Trifle – liquor-soaked macaroons topped with flavored cream.
95 – 96 | Vanilla Ice Cream with Honey
97 – 98 | Walnuts
99 – 100 | White Nougat

The lists can also be used to represent the menus at the restaurants of post-revolutionary France. A more extensive treatment of aristocratic dining in the Ghastly Age will appear in the upcoming “Ghastly Companion to High Society”.

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