It was a model of an Iguanodon, whose bowels were large enough to hold 22 English dignitaries. The menu from that dinner has been preserved, and reflects the eating habits of the Victorian era.
One of the most unusual New Year’s Eve dinners in history was served in London on this day in 1853. Namely, a group of 22 guests was seated around a table placed in the bowels of a huge 1:1 scale model dinosaur. It was the Victorian era in England, and the research of dinosaurs was still in its infancy. The point of the dinner was precisely to popularize the dinosaurs, which were at that time still unknown among the general public.
The famous Richard Owen – the man who invented the term “dinosaur” – was among the organizers. His role in dinosaur research and its popularization was huge. The other organizer of the dinner was Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins – a sculptor by trade – particularly important because he was the first man in the world to make life-size dinosaur models. Namely, for the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, he made as many as 33 huge concrete dinosaur sculptures. We can only imagine the impression those sculptures would have made on the visitors in that age, since it was the first time in history human beings could see life-size replicas of the dinosaurs. To remind, this was the time before the American Civil War broke out.
The 1854 New Year’s Eve dinner was held precisely in one of Hawkins’s dinosaur models. It was a model of an Iguanodon, whose bowels were large enough to hold 22 English dignitaries. The menu from that dinner has been preserved, and reflects the eating habits of the Victorian era. The menu, written it the original English of that time is presented below:
Mock Turtle. Julien. Hare.
Cod and Oyster Sauce. Fillets of Whiting. Turbot à l’Hollandaise.
Roast Turkey. Ham. Raised Pigeon Pie.
Boiled Chicken and Celery Sauce.
Cotolettes de Moutonaux Tomates. Currie de Lapereaux au riz.
Salmi de Perdrix. Mayonnaise de filets de Sole.
Pheasants. Woodcocks. Snipes.
Macedoine Jelly. Orange Jelly. Bavaroise.
Charlotte Russe. French Pastry. Nougat à la Chantilly.
Buisson de Meringue aux Confiture
Grapes. Apples. Pears. Almonds and Raisins. French Plums.
Pines. Filberts. Walnuts &c, &c.
Sherry. Madeira. Port. Moselle. Claret.