Eggs Benedict - History of Eggs Benedict

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Article by Linda Stradley of What's Cooking America.


A breakfast or brunch specialty consisting of two toasted English muffin halves, each topped with a slice of ham or Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and some Hollandaise sauce.

Eggs Benedict

 Check out Linda's recipe for Eggs Benedict.
 



Historians give credit to two versions of the origin of Eggs Benedict:
      

1860s -Credit is given to Delmonico’s Restaurant, the very first restaurant or public dining room ever opened in the United States. In the 1860’s, a regular patron of the restaurant, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, finding nothing to her liking and wanting something new to eat for lunch, discussed this with Delmonico’s Chef Charles Ranhofer (1936-1899), Ranhofer came up with Eggs Benedict. He has a recipe called Eggs a' la Benedick (Eufa a' la Benedick) in his cookbook called The Epicurean published in 1894:

Eggs ŕ la Benedick - Cut some muffins in halves crosswise, toast them without allowing to brown, thn place a round of cooked ham an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins one each half. Heat in a moderate oven and put a poached egg on each toast. Cover the whole with Hollandaise sauce.             


1894
- The following story appeared in the December 19,1942 issue of the weekly New Yorker Magazine "Talk of the Town" column and is based on an interview with Lemuel Benedict the year before he died.

In 1894, Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker, who was suffering from a hangover, ordered “some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce” at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. The Waldorf’s legendary chef, Oscar Tschirky, was so impressed that he put the dish on his breakfast and luncheon menus after substituting Canadian bacon for crisp bacon and a toasted English muffin for toasted bread.


1896
- Fannie Merritt Farmer's (1857-1915) revised, edited, and reissued Mary J. Lincoln's cookbook called The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. In it is a recipe for Eggs ŕ la Benedict. The recipe is as follows:

Eggs ŕ la Benedict - Split and toast English muffins. Sauté circular pieces of cold boiled ham, place these over the halves of muffins, arrange on each a dropped egg, and pour around Hollandaise Sauce II , diluted with cream to make of such consistency to pour easily.

 


SOURCES:

A Cozy Book of Breakfasts and Brunches, by James L. Brown & Karletta Moniz, Prima Publishing, 1996.

A History of Eggs Benedict, by JHC, BRUNCH.ORG.

Eggs Benedict New York - What is Eggs Benedict?, Josh Karpf.

Eggs Benedict still reigns supreme, by John Edward Young, The Christian Science Monitor, January 02, 2003.

Ranhofer, Charles. The Epicurean. A Complete Treatise of Analytical and Practical Studies on the Culinary Art, Including Table and Wine Service, How to Prepare and Cook Dishes? etc., and a Selection of Interesting Bills of Fare of Delmonico's from 1862 to 1894 (part 1). New York: C. Ranhofer, 1894.

The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1918, by Fannie Farmer, Great Books Online.

 


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