Several bloggers including Cachagua Store, Lost City, Off The Presses, and Restaurant-ing through history
have mentioned The Colony by Iles Brody in the past year, so I dragged out my copy to give it look. The book is part history, part cookbook of the kind that gives you recipes in a simple paragraph.
In 1920 The Colony was a bit on the disreputable side. 667 Madison Avenue led to the bistro, a gambling hall and a somewhat secret maternity home. If you ventured through the door, it was assumed that “dinning” was the last thing on your mind. But many of the gamblers and their shady ladies were the cream of the society crop. They often told wives and associated about the food at The Colony and before long, people ventured to 667 Madison expressly for the food. One of those people was Reginald Vanderbilt who recommended it to his relatives and friends and soon The Colony was" The" place to dine.
The colony was filled with Kings and Dukes, actresses and bankers, and favorites of ours like Elsa Maxwell and Elsie de Wolfe. Each table had four waiters to do the customers bidding and one patron was notorious for tipping each waiter $100 (which is about $1000 in today’s economy).
Recently we have been offering up recipes for unusual vegetables and The Colony featured a recipe for chicory that we have never seen. Generally chicory is thought of as a cheap coffee alternative or in New Orleans a necessary coffee additive. At The Colony, it shined on its own.
Cream of Chicory Colony
Parboil a pound of chicory, drain and stew it for a half-hour in a lump of butter and juice of one lemon. Now mix one and one-quarter pints of Béchamel with it, and finish the cooking very slowly. Rub through a sieve, add some consommé, heat, and add some cream before serving. Garnish with chicory cut in fine strips, stewed and well drained.
I don’t know about you, but I am headed to the Farmer’s Market to find some chicory.