Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guest Post - Holiday Fare from the Silver Rush, 1880

Hi All - I'm off cooking a holiday turkey for baby Laurie - if you want to catch up with me you can follow me at - in the meantime I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy this guest post by my friend Inez!

Inez Stannert, owner of the Silver Queen Saloon, Leadville, Colorado, and protagonist of the Silver Rush historical mystery series by Ann Parker

Hello, Stranger, and happy Thanksgiving to you from Cloud City… that is, Leadville, Colorado.

Pardon me? You haven’t heard of Leadville?

Well, that means you must not have been reading the newspapers for the past several years, at least. Why, Leadville and her silver-fortified fortunes have been lauded, scrutinized, and exclaimed over by the fourth estate from coast to coast, throughout the British islesand in the Continent and beyond. Yet, it is sad to say, many still think that since Leadville’s riches lie underground in its mines, and that it perches up at the ten thousand foot elevation in the Rocky Mountains, those of us who live here have no refinement and must, perforce, dine on hardtack, beans, bad coffee, and rotgut when we commence our holiday feasting.

It is not so. Not at all. Allow me to present evidence to the contrary.

For instance, for last Thanksgiving, Mount Massive Hotel served turkey, goose, and duck, while the Grand, the Clarendon and the Windsor hotels all served turkey, as is the custom. All variety of foodstuffs are easily come by—imported and local. Don’t believe me? I suggest you visit Dickey Brothers, one of our local food purveyors, just down the street at 118 Harrison Avenue, in our business district. When you go, look around and you will see there is nothing in meats that does not come in for a share of attention, and you will also find their stock of game and fish very complete and attractive. Nothing looks more impressive than to see twenty or thirty blacktail deer arranged in dignified order at the entrance, with occasionally an antelope, a huge elk or mountain sheep sandwiched in to give it variety. You always find an abundance of feathered game at Dickeys, such as mountain grouse, mallard and teal duck, wild turkey, wild goose, quail, pinnated grouse, etc. They also have a large quantity of poultry of all kinds, and have a large trade in oysters, which they receive from Baltimore and Chicago.

Still not convinced?

Allow me to show you this Christmas bill of fare, as offered by the local Tappan House:


Fresh Oysters Chicken broth


Cutlets of Salmon Trout, crumbled and fried in oil

Thin slices of fresh Mackerel, a la Maitre d’Hotel


In small Patties Raw Crumbled and Fried

Fancy Roast Scalloped


Turkey, with Cranberry Sauce

Chicken with Oyster dressing

Premium Loin of Beef

Saddle of Pig Pork, Apple Sauce

Leg of South-Down Mutton

Loin of Veal, with dressing


Chicken, Sauce a la Bechamel

Dupee Sugar-Cured Ham, Champagne Sauce

Leg of Mutton, Caper Sauce

Buffalo Tongue, Sauce Perigord


Roast Blue-winged Teal Duck, Dish Gravy

Saddle of Venison, with Red Currant Jelly

Roast Rocky Mountain Elk, Apple Sauce

Breast of Prairie Hen, Smothered in Oysters

Haunch of Black-faced Antelope

Quail on Toast


Breast of Spring Chicken, boiled l’Anglaise

Tenderloin of Veal, braised, aux Champignons

Coteletts Les Mutton, Petit Pois

Air Puffs, Lemon Cream Sauce

Poached Eggs, on Anchovy Toast

Loin of Venison, braised, a la Richelieu

Solmis of Giblets, a la Aberdeen

Round shoulders of Mutton, a la Financiere

Pineapple Fritters

Port Wine Sauce


Chicken Salad Pate de Fois Gras

Boned Turkey Ames’Sugar-Cured Ham


Mashed Potatoes Hashed Brown Potatoes

Asparagus Mushrooms with Cream

French Peas Sweet Corn

Lima Beans Tomatoes


Celery Cucumber Pickles Pickled Beets

Cold Slaw Horseradish Tomato Catsup

Worcestershire Sauce


Green Apple Pie Mince Lemon Meringue Pie

English Plum Pudding, Brandy Sauce

Spanish Cream Chocolate Macaroons

Lemon Jelly Port Wine Jelly


Pound Cake Jelly Cream Kisses

Coconut Macaroons Chocolate Macaroons

Lady Fingers Transparent Crescents

Marble Cake Fruit Cake

Candies, Tappan House Production

Maple Cream Slices Cream Fruit Slices

Chocolate Cream Slices Chocolate Bon Bons

Cream Slices

Nuts Fruits Raisins Tea and Coffee

Blancmange Assorted Almonds





Krug & Co., quarts L. Roderer, Carte Blanche, pints

Krug & Co., pints Ike Cook’s Imperial, q’ts,

Ay Mousseul D’Hautville, quarts

Ike Cook’s Imperial, pints

Heidsick & Co., quarts, Red Seal, quarts

Heidsick & Co., pints, Red Seal, pints.


Carte Blanche Pleasant Valley Wine Company, pints,

California Port, pints, St. Louis Imperial

American Wine Co., quarts,

Urbana Wine Co’s Imperial, pints,

California Angelica, sweet, pints.

So, you see, we Leadvillites do not hunch over our campfires, shivering in the winter’s piercing cold, reduced to devouring jerky, tinned sardines, and little else. Even as Leadville’s mines yield up their tons of silver and other precious metals, so its residents dine in as fine a manner on the holidays as any soul in San Francisco, New York, or Boston.

And, dear stranger, should you find you are in need of a nightcap or of a glass to raise in thanks to the bounty of the season, may I suggest you visit the Silver Queen Saloon, on the corner of Harrison Avenue and Second Street in our fair city. Ask for me, Mrs. Stannert. I am the proprietress of the Silver Queen, and I shall make certain that you feel at home, whether your preference is bourbon, port, champagne, whiskey or “Old Towse.”

I wish you a holiday season that brings you all you may desire, in health, wealth, and happiness. May you find them all during your visit here to Cloud City: Leadville, Colorado.


Ann Parker is a California-based science/corporate writer by day and an historical mystery writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush series, featuring saloon-owner Inez Stannert, is set in 1880s Colorado, primarily in the silver-mining boomtown of Leadville. The latest in her series, MERCURY’S RISE, was released November 1. Publishers Weekly says, “Parker smoothly mixes the personal dramas and the detection in an installment that’s an easy jumping-on point for newcomers.” Library Journal adds, “Parker’s depth of knowledge coupled with an all-too-human cast leaves us eager to see what Inez will do next. Encore!” Learn more about Ann and her books at

MERCURY’S RISE and the other Silver Rush mysteries are available from independent booksellers,, and Barnes and Noble.


  1. Fascinating! Thank you, Inez. I think I'd like some round shoulders of mutton, please.

  2. Inez, so nice to see you here. Enjoy your scrumptious food.

  3. Salutations Mrs. Bolin and Liz,
    You cannot go wrong at the Tappan House, which is managed by Mrs. Tappan. Indeed, the handful of businesses run by women in this town are all, shall we say, "good bets." Mrs. Susan Cummings runs a restaurant, Mrs. Eliza Furguson, a bakery, and Mrs. A. H. Gleason, a hay and grain store, together with the (aforementioned) Mrs. Tappan, Mrs. Kate Gray, Mrs. Johanna Hoppe and Mrs. E. A. Meader, who are the proprietresses of the Tappan House, the Belvidere, the Denver and Leadville Cottage hotels, respectively. There is also my dear friend, Miss Susan Carothers who has her own photographic studio on Chestnut, and, of course, the Silver Queen Saloon, where you shall find me presiding. I should hasten to inform you, however, that the only women who set foot into my establishment are myself and our cook Bridgette.
    Wishing you both a most enjoyable Thanksgiving. -- Mrs. Stannert