Friday, December 18, 2009

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Senator Tydings and the Kentucky Breakfast

As a meal familiar to bartenders around the world, Maryland Senator Millard Tydings (1890-1961, pictured left) offered his recipe for a Kentucky breakfast in Frederick Philip Stieff 1932 recipe collection Eat, Drink and Be Merry in Maryland.

Under the heading “The Reminiscent Toddy,” Stieff relates the Senator’s instructions precisely calibrated to each individual diner’s tastes, a recipe within a recipe:

This potation, to be thoroughly enjoyed, should be prepared in the following manner:

Supply each guest with a glass containing about one-half inch of water and one-quarter teaspoonful of sugar, and a spoon.

All should sit comfortably and stir the sugar until it is thoroughly dissolved. The host should tell the following story in a low voice while the sugar is being stirred:

"Have you gentlemen ever participated at a Kentucky breakfast?"

The answer is likely to be in the negative.

Then some guest will probably ask:

"What is a Kentucky breakfast?"

At this point the sugar is completely dissolved. The host passes around a bottle of Bourbon and each person pours into his glass, containing the dissolved sugar, such amount as suits his inclination. This is stirred for a while, during which time the most replies:

"A Kentucky breakfast is a big beefsteak, a quart of Bourbon, and a houn' dawg."

One of the guests will then ask:
"What is the dog for?"

The host then replies:
"He eats the beefsteak."

Ice water is then passed around in a silver pitcher to dilute drink to meet the requirements of the discriminating taste of each. A part of the Kentucky breakfast is then consumed.

(In order to extract the nth power of enjoyment from this receipt, when stirring the sugar and water, each should sit on the very edge of his chair or sofa, rest his arms on his knees with a slightly forward posture. Unless this is done the train will taste just a little less good.)
It takes no great imagination to adjust the recipe to one's circumstances, leading, perhaps to a Kentucky brunch, teatime, coffee break, or luncheon.

Order up!


1 comment:

Lucindaville said...


Thought you might like this. We linked to your post:

Best, Lucinda