Eggs Benedict

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Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is a dish usually served at breakfast. It starts with a lightly toasted English muffin. The muffin is topped with cooked bacon or Canadian bacon, and poached eggs. The dish is completed with a small amount of hollandaise sauce. Many variations on the dish exist. There are several stories about the origin of Eggs Benedict.

Origin[change | change source]

There are several stories about how Eggs Benedict started.

There have been many “Benedicts” who have tried to claim credit for the invention of the dish, but they are all frauds. A “benedict” was slang for a newly married gent who had been single for a very long time. Many of these"benedict" did not take well to married life and often sought refuge of strange beds and bedfellows. It is for them that the dish was named.

In an interview in The New Yorker magazine in 1942,[1] Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stock broker, said that he had wandered into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and, hoping to find a cure for his morning hangover, ordered "buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon and a hooker of hollandaise." Oscar Tschirky, the maître d'hôtel, was so impressed with the dish that he put it on the breakfast and luncheon menus but substituted ham and a toasted English muffin for the bacon and toast.[2]

Craig Claiborne, in September 1967, wrote a column in The New York Times Magazine about a letter he had received from Edward P. Montgomery, an American living in France. In it, Montgomery related that the dish was created by Commodore E.C. Benedict, a banker and yachtsman, who died in 1920 at the age of 86. Montgomery also included a recipe for eggs Benedict, stating that the recipe had been given to him by his mother, who had received it from her brother, who was a friend of the Commodore.[3]

Mabel C. Butler of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts in a November 1967 letter printed in The New York Times Magazine responded to Montgomery's claim by correcting that the "true story, well known to the relations of Mrs. Le Grand Benedict", of whom she was one, was:

Mr. and Mrs. Benedict, when they lived in New York around the turn of the century, dined every Saturday at Delmonico's. One day Mrs. Benedict said to the maitre d'hotel, "Haven't you anything new or different to suggest?" On his reply that he would like to hear something from her, she suggested poached eggs on toasted English muffins with a thin slice of ham, hollandaise sauce and a truffle on top.[4]

Variations[change | change source]

Published references[change | change source]

Dates given refer to date of publication.

1898—In Eggs, and how to use them, a recipe for eggs Benedict is given as "split and toast some small muffins; put on each a nice round slice of broiled ham, and on the ham the poached egg; pour over some Hollandaise sauce"[32]

1900—In The Connecticut Magazine: an Illustrated Monthly, Volume VI, a recipe for eggs Benedict is given as "A third variety is called Eggs Benedict. Broil a thin slice of cold-boiled ham cut the size of a small baker's loaf; toast a slice of bread, butter it and moisten with a little water; lay the ham on it and on that a poached egg. Serve individually."[33]

1907—In Many Ways for Cooking Eggs, a recipe for eggs Benedict is given that starts with the muffins. Unlike yeast leavened English muffins, the recipe muffins use baking powder and beaten egg whites for leavening; however, they are still baked on a griddle in muffin rings. The remainder of the recipe reads "Broil thin slices of ham. Make a sauce Hollandaise. Chop a truffle. Poach the required number of eggs. Dish the muffins, put a square of ham on each, then a poached egg and cover each egg nicely with sauce Hollandaise. Dust with truffle and serve at once."[34]

1914—In the 1914 printing of The Neighborhood Cook Book, a recipe for eggs Benedict is given as "Place a slightly fried piece of ham on a piece of toast, place poached egg on ham, and pour over all a Hollandaise sauce."[35]

1918—In the 1918 printing of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, a recipe for Eggs à la Benedict is given as "Split and toast English muffins. Sauté circular pieces of cold boiled ham, place these over the halves of muffins, arrange on each a dropped egg, and pour around Hollandaise Sauce II, diluted with cream to make of such consistency to pour easily."[36]

1919—In The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book, a recipe for eggs Benedict is given as "Cut an English muffin in two, toast, and put on platter. Put a slice of broiled ham on top of each half, a poached egg on top of the ham, cover all with Hollandaise, and lay a slice of truffle on top of the sauce."[37]

1938—An advertisement for Haill Hayden's Hollandaise—a bottled hollandaise sold in a 6-ounce jar for 50¢—runs in The New York Times. "Here is a sauce such as no man has had before. On tasting it, great chefs have broken their egg-beaters over their knees and wept in jealousy! It is made of butter fragrant from timothy and alfalfa, eggs to which their mothers are still clucking at this hour, lemon and pungent spices! It is not profaned with a drop of oil or any substitutes. Serve it over cauliflower, artichokes, lettuce, eggs Benedict, fish, singing 'Broccoli, Broccoli,' as you eat".[38]

1942—In an interview in The New Yorker, Lemuel Benedict claims to have originated the dish with an order at the Waldorf Hotel, hoping for a hangover cure.[2]

1967—Craig Claiborne writes in The New York Times Magazine that Edward P. Montgomery wrote him a letter to say that eggs Benedict originated with Commodore E.C. Benedict.[3]

1967—In a letter printed in The New York Times Magazine, Mabel C. Butler responds to Montgomery's claim by stating that Mrs. Le Grand Benedict originated the dish with an order at Delmonico's.[4]

1978—In the Neil Simon comedy film California Suite, Maggie Smith, who won best supporting actress award, laments that she cannot get Eggs Benedict late at night, staying in the exclusive 5 star hotel she is in, playing in fact, an academy award losing actress as a part.

Later editions of Charles Ranhofer’s cookbook The Epicurean contain a recipe for “Eggs à la Benedick”;[39] however, the recipe is not present in the original 1894 edition.[40] Save for a hiatus from 1876 to 1879, Charles Ranhofer was the chef at Delmonico's from 1862 till his retirement in 1896.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Benedict, Cutts. "Eggs Benedict New York: Feedback". Archived from the original on 1998-12-01. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Talk of the Town". The New Yorker. December 19, 1942. Notes: This hasn't been verified at the source, but is instead taken from the letter to Karpf by Cutts Benedict and the page of J.J. Schnebel.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Claiborne, Craig (September 24, 1967). "American Classic: Eggs Benedict". The New York Times Magazine. p. 290. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Butler, Mabel C. (November 26, 1967). "Letters: Benedicts' Eggs". The New York Times Magazine. pp. SM40. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
  5. "Food Historian Honors New Pope With 'Eggs Benedict XVI'". April 21, 2005. Archived from the original on February 14, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2011.
  6. Rombauer, Irma S.; Marion Rombauer Becker (1995) [1975]. "Egg Dishes". The Joy of Cooking. Illustrated by Ginnie Hofmann and Ikki Matsumoto (1st Scribner Edition 1995 ed.). New York, NY: Scribner. pp. 222. ISBN 0-02-604570-2. Notes: Title of recipe is poached eggs Blackstone. Uses fried slice of flour dipped tomato, minced bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise. No bread for base.
  7. "The Heritage House - Menu". Archived from the original on 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2007-02-26. Eggs Blackstone,basted eggs served with house made English muffin, apple smoked bacon, tomatoes and hollandaise. Notes: Located in Mendocino, California.
  8. "Rulloff's - Sunday Brunch Menu". Archived from the original on 2005-11-09. Retrieved 2007-02-26. Eggs Blackstone poached eggs over crispy bacon and thin sliced tomatoes on a toasted English muffin, with hollandaise sauce Notes: Located in Ithaca, New York.
  9. "Rich mix of patrons makes Moto's special". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. December 18, 1986. pp. A/6. “Eggs Florentine ($3.95), eggs poached and topped with Hollandaise sauce, served on spinach and English muffin” Notes: Not directly verified. Viewed through Google News Archive snippet view.
  10. "Good Stuff Hermosa Beach - Menu". Good Stuff Restaurants. Archived from the original on 2006-04-18. Retrieved 2007-03-08. Eggs Florentine The same good stuff as the benedict, only with fresh spinach instead of ham Notes: Located in Hermosa Beach, California.
  11. "The Buff Restaurant - Menu". The Buff Restaurant. Archived from the original on 2006-04-20. Retrieved 2007-03-08. EGGS FLORENTINE - SPINACH, CREAM CHEESE, TOMATO, AND MUSHROOMS TOPPED WITH HOLLANDAISE ON A MUFFIN Notes: Located in Boulder, Colorado.
  12. Claiborne, Craig (May 26, 1960). "Maligned Vegetable Has Loyal Fans". The New York Times. p. 28.
  13. 13.0 13.1 DeMers, John (1998). Food of New Orleans: Authentic Recipes from the Big Easy. Food photography by John Hay (1st ed.). Boston: Periplus Editions. pp. 44. ISBN 9625932275.
  14. "Recipes - Eggs Hussarde". Brennan's Restaurant. Archived from the original on 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-26. Notes: Located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  15. "Brunch & Lunch Menu". Mara's Homemade Restaurant. Archived from the original on 2006-01-07. Retrieved 2007-02-26. Eggs Hussarde Toasted English muffin, Canadian bacon, Marchand de Vin sauce, poached eggs and Mara's Homemade hollandaise sauce Notes: Located in New York, New York.
  16. "Eggs Montreal, MenuMania". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-02-12. Notes: Located in Auckland, New Zealand.
  17. Guste, Roy (2005). "Eggs and Omelettes". Antoine's Restaurant Cookbook. New Orleans, Louisiana: Guste Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 978-0976592402. This dish was created by Antoine on the occasion of a dinner he hosted for the French playwright Victorien Sardou. Notes: Antoine Alciatore left the U.S. in 1874 so that he could die and be buried in France. If the quote be true and the recipe unchanged since inception, eggs Sardou predates eggs Benedict by a good twenty years. First reference returned by a search of the NYT archive for eggs-Sardou/oeufs-Sardou occurs in 1960. First reference returned by a search of Google Books occurs in 1927. First reference returned by a search of the Google News Archive occurs in 1958.
  18. "Sunday "Jazz" Brunch Menu". Antoine's Restaurant. Archived from the original on 2006-04-22. Retrieved 2007-03-09. Oeufs Sardou $17.25 Poached eggs over steamed artichoke bottoms with Hollandaise Sauce Notes: Located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Page viewed differs from archived page in URL and price, but the description was unchanged.
  19. Claiborne, Craig; Franey, Pierre (November 3, 1985). "EGGS SARDOU". The New York Times. Section 6, p. 87. “It consists of poached eggs served in artichoke bottoms crossed with anchovy fillets. The eggs are then served with a bit of hollandaise sauce spooned on top, along with a garnish of truffles and/or finely chopped ham. Some recipes call for creamed spinach as a base on which to place the artichokes; a nice idea, but not, I believe, a part of the original.”
  20. Claiborne, Craig (October 9, 1960). "The Art Of Serving Artichokes". The New York Times Magazine. pp. SM96. “BRENNAN'S EGGS SARDOU”
  21. "Brunch Menu". Louisiana Express Company. Archived from the original on 2006-05-04. Retrieved 2007-03-09. Poached Eggs 'Sardou' Two poached eggs on artichoke bottoms, creamed spinach, sauce hollandaise Notes: Located in Bethesda, Maryland.
  22. "Artichoke Recipes". California Artichoke Advisory Board. Archived from the original on 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
  23. California Artichoke Advisory Board (1998). "Brunch, Lunch and Dinner, Too". The California Artichoke Cookbook. edited and compiled by Mary Comfort, Noreen Griffee, Charlene Walker. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. p. 70. ISBN 0890878552.
  24. "Recipes". Custom Culinary. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-02-28. Notes: doesn't have a copy of the page. The recipe is a near copy of the one provided by the California Artichoke Advisory Board, but scaled up by a factor of twelve and substitutes the company's hollandaise sauce base.
  25. "All-Star Southern Breakfasts". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. February 16, 1986. pp. M/10. "There is Country Benedict, which is two fried eggs with country sausage on biscuits topped with hollandaise sauce." Notes: This was viewed through a Google News Archive keyhole, rather than directly verified with its source.
  26. "Courtyard Cafe Menu". The Orleans Hotel and Casino. Archived from the original on 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2007-02-27. Country Benedict Buttermilk biscuit and sausage patty, topped with poached eggs and country gravy Notes: Located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Archived page doesn't match current one. The archived menu item is "Country Biscuit Benedict" and the description is slightly different.
  27. "Breakfast Menu". The Big Biscuit Restaurant. Archived from the original on 2006-04-30. Retrieved 2007-02-27. Country Benedict scrambled eggs on a biscuit and sausage patty covered with sausage gravy, served with potatoes Notes: Both Big Biscuit restaurants are located in Missouri.
  28. Although rare in Ireland itself, corned beef and cabbage is a common Irish-American dish,Jenkins, Nancy Harmon (March 14, 1990). "The Troubles That Irish Food Has Seen". The New York Times. pp. C8. Retrieved 2007-03-31. “James O'Shea … this amazing American idea of Irish food: that it's corned beef and cabbage and that's it.” “You'd never see corned beef on an Irish menu” with over half of the 47 million pounds of corned beef sold annually in the United States sold in the two weeks prior to Saint Patrick's Day.Smith, Kathie (March 13, 2007). "REUBEN SANDWICHES : Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with your favorite version". The Blade. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-03-31. “More than 47 million pounds of corned beef are sold annually in the United States, according to FreshLook Marketing, with more than half of the corned beef in the United Sates each year sold in the two weeks prior to St. Patrick’s Day.”
  29. Townsend, Elisabeth (July 24, 2005). "Dining Out". The Boston Globe. “Irish Benedict ($7.50): two poached Eggs and corned beef hash on an English muffin covered with hollandaise sauce” Notes: Not directly verified. Viewed through Google News Archive snippet view.
  30. "Breakfast Menu". The Field Irish Pub. Archived from the original on 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2007-03-30. Toasted muffin topped with Irish bacon & poached eggs finished with Hollandaise sauce. Notes: Located in San Diego, California.
  31. "Breakfast Menu". Strafford Farms Restaurant. Archived from the original on 2006-05-12. Retrieved 2007-03-30. IRISH BENEDICT 3.95 two poached eggs on an English muffin with corn beef hash topped with a hollandaise sauce Notes: Located in Dover, New Hampshire.
  32. Meyer, Adolphe (1898). Eggs, and how to use them. New York: Published by Author. p. 43. Notes: This reference hasn't been directly verified, but instead comes by way of the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, accessed February 19, 2007. There were multiple printings of Meyer's book; the Cornell University library catalog lists one copy they have as published by Caterer Publishing, 3rd edition. Many cookbooks are modified when reprinted, some adding recipes. It is possible that the OED references a reprint and that the recipe isn't in the original.
  33. Felch, William Farrand; Atwell, George C.; Arms, H. Phelps; Miller, Francis Trevelyan, eds. (1900). "Unknown article title". The Connecticut Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly. The Connecticut Magazine Co. VI: 204. Notes: This reference hasn't been directly verified, but was accessed through the snippet view of Google Books' digitized copy.
  34. Rorer, Sarah Tyson (c. 1907). Many Ways for Cooking Eggs. Philadelphia: Arnold & Company. p. 46. Retrieved 2007-02-19. Notes: This is no longer a troublesome reference in that the date and page reference comes from a verified reference with photos available from saltydawg001atyahoodotcom. The copy of the book is the 1907 copy and does contain a recipe for eggs Benedict on p 46.
  35. The Council for Jewish Women (1914). "Entrees". The Neighborhood Cook Book (2nd ed.). Portland, Oregon: Bushong & Co. p. 62. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  36. Farmer, Fannie Merritt (1918). "Eggs". The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. Retrieved 2007-02-19. Notes: There were many printings of this cookbook. The original 1896 printing did not contain a recipe for eggs Benedict.
  37. Hirtzler, Vincent (c. 1919). "Menu for February 3". The Hotel St. Francis Cook Book. Chicago: The Hotel Monthly Press. p. 34. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  38. "Advertisement for Haill Hayden's Hollandaise". The New York Times. October 26, 1938. p. 24.
  39. Ranhofer, Charles (2004). The Epicurean Part Two. Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing. p. 858. ISBN 1432625497. Eggs à la Benedick — Cut some muffins in halves crosswise, … Cover the whole with Hollandaise sauce (No. 591).
  40. Ranhofer, Charles (1894). "Page 858". The Epicurean. New York: Published by Author. p. 858. Retrieved 2007-04-11.