Ulysses S. Grant's Cantonese state banquet


#1

I can imagine how a Chinaman might well call us barbarians as he passes from our heaped and incongruous tables to his own, where every course seems to have been marked out minutely with a purpose, and the dinner is a work of art as ingenious as the porcelain and bronze ware … The dinner began with sweatmeats [sic] of mountain-cake and fruit rolls. Apricot kernels and melon-seeds were served in small dishes. Then came eight courses, each served separately as follows: Ham with bamboo sprouts, smoked duck with cucumbers, pickled chicken and beans, red shrimps with leeks, spiced sausage with celery, fried fish with flour sauce, chops with vegetables, and fish with fir-tree cones and sweet pickle. This course of meat was followed by one of peaches preserved in honey, after which there were fresh fruits, pears, pomegranates, coolie oranges, and mandarin oranges. Then came fruits dried in honey, chestnuts, oranges and crab-apples, with honey gold-cake. There were side dishes of water chestnuts and thorn-apples, when the dinner took a serious turn, and we had bird’s-nest soup and roast duck. This was followed by mushrooms and pigeons’ eggs, after which we had sharks’ fins and sea-crabs. Then, in order as I write them, the following dishes were served: Steamed cakes, ham pie, vermicelli, stewed sharks’ fins, baked white pigeons, stewed chicken, lotus seeds, pea soup, ham in honey, radish-cakes, date-cakes, a sucking pig served whole, a fat duck, ham, perch, meat pies, confectionery, the bellies of fat fish, roast mutton, pears in honey, soles of pigeons’ feet, wild ducks, thorn-apple jelly, egg-balls, steamed white rolls, lotus seed soup, fruit with vegetables, roast chicken, Mongolian mushrooms, sliced flag bulbs, fried egg-plant, salted shrimps, orange tarts, crystal-cakes, prune juice, biche de mer [sea cucumber], fresh ham with white sauce, ham with squash, and almonds with bean curd. In all there were seventy courses.

—from Around the World with General Grant by John Russell Young (1879)

https://books.google.com/books?id=uBonAAAAMAAJ&q=pomegrante#v=snippet&q=pomegrante&f=false


#2

You can certainly tell they had servants, lots and lots of servants!


#3

… only seventy courses? Sergio must have had the day off.