Prominent among the chronicles are reports of the holiday season game dinners at Quincy, Illinois. As this place had a vibrant game market, wild birds and other sorts of game were featured at many meals through the years. In the 1880s, details for game suppers were conveyed by newspaper reports.
Early in December of 1882, a "Royal Supper" occurred, according to a report in the Quincy Daily Herald, issued on December 7, 1882.
"Mr. John Seaman, as every one in Quincy knows, enjoys a hunt about as well as such a thing can be enjoyed by any man; and the men who are more successful than he, when he starts out with his gun, are few and scattering.
"The last hunt that Mr. Seaman took was last Monday, and the game he brought in was quails and rabbits.
"Next to killing game Mr. Seaman enjoys having his friends gather about him to help him eat it; so Wednesday evening he invited a few of his friends to his house to help him dispose of a portion of the game that he had bagged Monday.
"No game supper was ever better served or more thoroughly enjoyed. Those who have ever enjoyed a supper of this kind with Mr. Seaman know what this one was; and for those who have never had this pleasure, it is useless to attempt a description. We can sum the matter up in one short sentence: It was perfect, and the enjoyment was as perfect as the supper.
"It is the sincere wish of Mr. Seaman's numerous friend in Quincy that he may live many years to enjoy his gun and the suppers that he gives as a supplement to his sports in the field. Life is made dearer and richer by just such little episodes as this that took place at Mr. Seaman's last night. The storm without was fierce and bitter; but within this comfortable home was summer warmth and geniality and joy." Quincy Daily Herald, December 7, 1882
In the spring of 1883, the European Hotel was a new establishment in town. Its address was 27 and 29 North Sixth, amidst the business district. E.B. Morehouse was the "popular proprietor," according to paper details.
There were other prominent reports given on the newspaper pages for the annual events when people gathered and enjoyed a variety of edibles featured at the game supper.
Though details could not be readily found on the first suppers, the details for 1885 are indicative. The fourth annual supper, sponsored by Mr. E.B. Morehouse, occurred at the European Hotel on December 22nd. The "Bill of Fare" was:
- Oyster. Chicken.
- Stuffed Lake Trout, Claret Sauce.
- Boned Wild Turkey.
- Stuffed Saddle of Venison, Currant Jelly.
- Wild Goose, French Jelly.
- Smothered Partridge.
- Boiled Pheasant on Toast.
- Teal Duck with Jelly.
- Quail on Toast.
- Rocky Mountain Black Bear.
- Fox Squirrels.
- Saddle of Mountain Sheep.
- Escalloped Oysters.
- Cold Dishes.
- Boned Turkey. Roast Beef.
- Chicken Salad. Lobster Salad.
- Stewed Corn. Radishes.
- Mashed Potatoes.
- Mushrooms. Stewed Tomatoes.
- French Peas.
- Piccalilli. Cucumber Pickles.
- Cold Slaw.
- Coffee. Tea. Chocolate.
- Fruit, Ice Cream, etc.
- White. Graham.
- Crackers, all styles.
The supper was served from 9 to 1 o'clock, and was a resounding success, as reported.
"The fourth annual game supper served by E.B. Morehouse, at the European hotel, last night, was a remarkable success. Nearly two hundred citizens enjoyed the spread prepared by Mr. Morehouse. The supper commenced at 9 o'clock and was not concluded until after 1 this morning. An orchestra furnished music during the four hours of the supper. Many prominent people, including city and county officials, merchants and their ladies, enjoyed the supper and pronounced it the best that had ever been served in Quincy." Quincy Daily Herald
"Taken altogether the supper was a grand success, the greatest by far of the four served by Mr. Morehouse. It is known to many that Mr. Morehouse is the only man who had the nerve to serve a game supper in Quincy. For this he deserves credit."
The next annual game supper was prominently mentioned in the local newspaper, well before it occurred. Mr. Morehouse was described as the "prince of caterers when it comes to game dinners." The menu was explained as one that "will equal the famous game supper recently given at the Grand Pacific, Chicago." There was a large demand for tickets, according to the news report.
"The fifth annual game supper at the European hotel, given by Ed. B. Morehouse, occurred last evening, and was attended by many of the prominent citizens of Quincy. Over 150 tickets were sold, which shows that the game suppers have become a popular feature."
The following was the bill of fare:
|Baked Black Bass.|
|Stuffed Lake Trout, Claret Sauce.|
|Saddle of Venison.|
|Broiled Clams.||Oysters all Styles.|
|Boned Turkey.||Mountain Sheep.|
|Chicken Salad.||Lobster Salad.|
|Queen Spanish Olives.|
|Fruit and Ice Cream.|
This eventful meal was another of the many which were certainly an epicurean's delight. Each gathering was undoubtedly an opportunity for people of the community to get together in camaraderie. They were certainly a celebration of the season, and a time of enjoyment.
Subtely, they convey a sense of the types of wild birds served at the fine eatery establishments of Quincy, located on the bank of the Mississippi River.