Jan 27 Tuesday. Mrs S Ames & Frederick were to dinner had a roast
goose. This afternoon Mr & Mrs Whitwell, Mr & Mrs
John Howard & Miss Jarvis Mrs Witherell Augustus
& Hannah came this evening Frederick went after the
ladies. Oliver & George carried them all home this
evening. Baked some tarts in the other house stove
Have sewed but very little Mr Wm Brown was also here.
Quite a sociable day for the Ameses, full of company. Midday dinner was attended by Sarah Lothrop Ames and her son Frederick. (The absence of Oliver Jr. and Helen Angier Ames suggests that the former might have been away on business while the latter had returned to school.) Fred, like Oliver (3), was home from the Ivy League; their conversation at the dinner table probably provided some fresh subject matter. Perhaps they entertained family members with a modified description of life on campus.
Evelina served a roast goose (that Jane McHanna had cooked), a dish that normally denoted a special occasion such as Christmas or New Year’s. Were they serving it in anticipation of Oliver (3)’s 21st birthday, or was it just a whim? Either way, serving roast goose on an odd weekday signified wealth behind the larder.
Sarah Josepha Hale offered a recipe for roast goose in her popular household guide, The Good Housekeeper, suggesting that it be stuffed and roasted on a spit over a “brisk” fire for at least two hours. Otherwise, she had a qualified opinion of the dish:
“Geese seem to bear the same relationship to poultry that pork does to the flesh of other domestic quadrupeds; that is, the flesh of goose is not suitable for, or agreeable to, the very delicate in constitution. One reason doubtless is, that it is the fashion to bring it to table very rare done; a detestable mode!”*
Mrs. Hale would likely have approved of the baked tarts, however, that Evelina served for tea later in the day to the Whitwells and others. It’s a happy note that Sarah Witherell ventured over at the very end of the day; she must have been feeling better after the extraction of her teeth some days back. She was comfortable enough to let Evelina’s nephew Augustus and his wife Hannah see her face, which had been swollen for days.