My niece is vegetarian, and since she was coming for dinner, I started researching vegetarian main dish options that were festive enough for Christmas dinner. I found two, and ran them past her for approval. She ended up with tofu.
It’s not even that she’s that picky, they really do sound…. bland. Mrs. Beeton’s Vegetable Goose sounds bland, but not too bad. If you spiced it up a bit more, you’d really just have a dish similar to stuffing baked in the oven. Her recipe is as follows.
Ingredients.– 1/2 a lb of breadcrumbs soaked in cold water, 1 onion, 1 teaspoonful of chopped parsley and herbs, 1 oz. of butter, pepper and salt.
Method.– Squeeze the bread nearly dry, and mash it, mix in the other ingredients, chopped and small. Butter a Yorkshire pudding-dish, put in the mixture, and make in a good oven for about 3/4 of an hour. Serve hot, and cut in squares.
Time.– About 1 1/2 hours. Average Cost.– 3d. Sufficient for 2 persons.
Mr. E. G. Fulton’s Mock Turkey is a bit more complicated, and a bit more…. well… weird, but at least it contains a decent amount of protein. It seems to be a mixture of lentils and walnuts layered with your choice of bread, nuttolene, or nut loaf. Nuttolene is a canned nutloaf made from peanuts, and according to the internet, still available.
Mock Turkey with Dressing
German lentils, 1 cup.
Walnut meats, chopped, 1/2 cup.
Milk, 1 cup.
Granola or bread crumbs.
Onion, minced, 1/4 cup.
Celery, chopped, 1 cup.
- Thoroughly wash the lentils, boil slowly until tender, and run through a colander. Add the walnut meats, one egg, and the minced onion browned with the chopped celery in a little oil. Add salt and sage to taste. Thicken with granola or bread crumbs.
- Dip thin slices of bread in a mixture of one egg and a cup of milk, or thin slices of nuttolene or nut loaf may be used instead.
Make alternate layers of 1 and 2.
Dressing No. 1
Stale bread, 1/2 loaf.
Cold milk, 2 cups.
Eggs, 1 or 2.
Butter, 1 tablespoon.
Crumb the bread and soak in the milk. If the bread does not take up most of the milk, pour off some of it. Stir in beaten egg, and season with salt, sage, butter, and onions. Serve with cranberry sauce.
Dressing No. 2
Onions, large, 2.
Stale bread, crumbled, 1 cup.
Milk, 3/4 cup.
Sage, 1 tablespoon.
Eggs, beaten, 2.
Parsley, chopped, 2 tablespoons.
Butter, 1/4 cup.
Salt to taste.
Peel and parboil the onions. Drain, and chop fine. Soak the bread crumbs in the milk, then mix all the ingredients together. Bake until set.Serve a slice of roast with a spoonful of dressing on one end and cranberry sauce on the other.
As I mentioned, both these dishes were rejected by my lovely niece, and I don’t blame her. The roasted, seasoned tofu I made for her was quite nice, and we already had several starchy side dishes. I honestly can’t see myself making either of these dishes, but the recipes are interesting to read.
Mrs. Beeton suggests that a vegetarian diet is more suited to people living in warmer climates. Mr. Fulton states that with diseases in animals becoming prevalent, a vegetarian diet is safer and healthier.
My copy of the New Edition of Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management is from 1915. Edwin Giles Fulton’s The Vegetarian Cookbook was first published in 1904. My revised and expanded edition is from 1910 and contains the inscription below, as well as a lot of clippings and handwritten recipes.