Superintendents in New York & Good Food.

The Waldorf and The Astoria

The Waldorf Astoria “Home to world leaders, royalty, movie stars and movie leaders”. William Waldorf Astor built his hotel in 1893 on 33rd street and Fifth Avenue. The construction of the hotel was managed by an American architect who focused on German Renaissance when constructing the hotel. The first hotel was 225 feet tall and had about 450 rooms for guests. In 1987 John Jacob Astor IV built a hotel names Astoria right beside the Waldorf. After family rivalry he and his cousin connected both hotels with a 300 feet marble alley know as “Peacock Alley” and named the hotel the Waldorf Astoria. Eventually the Waldorf Astoria was destroyed due to the construction of the Empire State Building. The hotel had a ball room which was considered “pièce de rèsistance” which sat about 700 people to attend dinners. The Waldorf continued being the most famous hotel in New York City and it expanded greatly over the years.

The Waldorf Astoria gained popularity by doing several banquets where many important people. The hotel had many ballrooms and areas in which people could eat dinner. The menu was changed every time but the Waldorf Astoria has its own restaurant at the time.

The design of the both hotels before becoming the famous Waldorf Astoria.

The Superintendants Association of New York

The superIntendents who were Invited to the Banquet worked at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York. The building was located near what we now know as the Flatiron District of Manhattan. It was about 700 feet tall in the corner of Madison Avenue and 24th street. It was built in 1906. The building is now called the MetLife which main focus was the stock life insurance.

The company main focus of the 1800’s was to insure Civil War Sailors and Soldiers which had been wounded or sick. Later their focus changed and now their focus was the life of business. At the moment MetLife is considered the largest life insurer of the United States. They did not only focus on life insurance, they also focus on dental, disability, annuities, auto and home.

Metropolitan Life Insurance company building NYC – 1910.

The Eighteenth Annual Banquet Dec. 1919

The Waldorf Astoria Menu of 1919 is based on the Eighteenth Annual Banquet of the Greater Intendents Association. Most guests attending the banquet were mainly presidents and vice presidents of this association whose main focus was business and economics which included Haley Fiske and the vice president Frederick H. Ecker. Haley Fiske was a lawyer but focused on life insurance.

Haley Fiske who was the president of the company who the banquet was for was a very important figure during this time. Around the time when he started working the United States did not have a public health programs. Fiske established and educated the people who worked for him about the insurances for preventative medicine, good living and personal hygiene. Not only did he educate people but he also created a nursing staff. Right before the Eighteenth Annual Banquet on December 1919 The New York Times came out with an article with the title “LIFE INSURANCE RISING.; Haley Fiske Says Policies Increased $9,000,000,000 Since 1910.” This is one of the few articles that Haley Fiske appeared on. He was considered a leader in public health according to an article in the New York Times and worked for about 50 Years in life insurance.

Frederick H. Ecker at that time was the Vice President of the association. He started working in January 29th 1883 when he was only 15 years old and was looking for employment. After working for 46 years in the company he became president after Haley Fiske. Even though it took him several years to get to where he ended up he was admired by several people. He worked as chairman as well where his main responsibilities was the development of “large-scale housing as a sound investment for a life insurance funds” (nytimes). Due to all his efforts he even received a model and was considered “the pioneer in developing new imaginative housing”.

Frederick H. Ecker.

The menu – Combination of Flavors & places

The Menu for the Eighteenth Annual Banquet at the Waldorf for the Metropolitan Life Insurance seems pretty straight forward with only 20 plates in the menu. The main few dishes include the Oyster Cocktail, Chicken Gumbo, Printanière, Fresh Mushrooms Eugenie under glass, Mignon of Spring Lamp a la Colbert, Breast of Chicken Stuffed Deviled Sauce. The smaller plates of the menu which appear below the main dishes include: Hot cucumber in cream, String Beans Sauté in Butter, Romaine and Grapefruit Salad. In the dessert section they include several interesting plates such Fancy Ice Creams, Cigar and Cigarettes which are something that you won’t find in a menu nowadays. They other desserts include Macaroons, Lady Finger, Coffee, Assorted Cakes and White Rock.

One of the main dishes is the Chicken Gumbo, which is traditional New Orleans dish. The Gumbo now a days is also made with seafood, chicken and also sausage and typically looks like a soup style of dish. The other main ingredient of a traditional Gumbo is well cooked rice. The recipe on The Spruce Eats seems really easy to make and sometime they use “Roux” which is a combination of flour and fat and is to make the Gumbo thicker. According to the recipe you need to add the vegetables and spices into the Roux and the chicken broth. The chicken is added to the mixture and cooked for about 6 to 8 minutes. The cooked rice is later added on top.

A dish that caught my attention was the Fresh Mushrooms Eugenie, under glass. I have never seen a dish like these before. The ingredients of the recipe include something you would not expect which is bread. The recipe from The Epicurean of seems pretty straight forward which is mainly just sautéing the mushrooms and set them in the pieces of bread. The dish is served with a plate which at that time they called “bell” which was usually made of glass or silver.

Macaroons are one of the most popular French desserts. They are made of almond flour and different fillings depending on the flavor. Even though they are two types of macaroons, both being French but are different. The main ingredient of macarons is shredded coconut and macaroons are made of different nut flour, the main being almond flour. The recipe of the macarons consists of mixing the flour and granulated sage. The eggs need to be separated and the whites of the egg should be whipped with a bit of salt and cream of tartar until the mix has spiked. The syrup of the macaron is made by combining water and granulated sugar which is later boiled. When the eggs reach their point and the syrup has reached the right consistency they are combined and mixed until the meringue has a glossy and smooth finish. The mixture later is placed into small pieces with either a spoon or piping bag and should be flat. The should be baked at 250 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes after letting the batter cool down according to King Arthur Baking.

Romaine and Grapefruit Salad

The dish I decided to recreate from the menu was the Romaine and grapefruit salad. I believe that the grapefruit and the romaine combination would be tasteful. After doing some research about the salad I found one recipe that would interesting to recreate. The main ingredients of the salad was obviously the romaine lettuce and the grapefruit, obviously. One interesting thing I found out is that grapefruit was not very popular or easily found in the 1900’s.

I collected all the ingredients after they delivered them to me and place them together to have them near. The ingredients list was: 3 grapefruits, baby romaine lettuce and roasted seeds for the salad. For the dressing the ingredients were sherry vinegar , honey, shallot, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. Since I had to order the ingredients they got confused and brought me sherry cooking wine instead of vinegar.

Cutting the Grapefruit was one of the hardest steps in my opinion. The Grapefruit has a thick membrane and the recipe requires having the grapefruit with no white pith. When I was done peeling the grapefruits I left them in a bowl and squeezed some grapefruit juice and set it aside.

I roasted the Sunflower seeds on low heat which according to the box they were already roasted, another confusion due to ordering online! Even though they were not actually pine nut I decided to give it a shot and experiment.

After the nuts were roasted I started doing the dressing. I got the grapefruit juice I had on the fridge and added the honey. I chopped the shallot into small and finely pieces. The recipe said two tablespoons and with one shallot was enough and I added it in with the other ingredients. I added the sherry wine (since I did not have sherry vinegar), salt, pepper and the thyme leaves. The recipe said to whisk the dressing while slowly adding the oil. Even though I was not really sure about how the dressing was going to come out it was surprisingly good.

After finishing the salad I mixed all the ingredients together including the dressing and mixed them with a spoon. I served the salad in a not so deep round bowl and try to make it look good.

I gave some salad to my roommates for them to try since I am not a huge fan of fruit salads. They said it was an interesting salad and it was not bad at all.

“Frederick Ecker.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Mar. 1964, 

“The Epicurean. A Complete Treatise of Analytical and Practical Studies on the Culinary Art, Including Table and Wine Service, How to Prepare and Cook Dishes, Etc., and a Selection of Interesting Bills of Fare of Delmonico’s from 1862 to 1894 : Ranhofer, Charles : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming.” Internet Archive, Chicago, Hotel Monthly Press, 

“Haley Fiske .” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 Mar. 1929, 

“History Waldorf Astoria.” The Towers – Waldorf Astoria Residences, New York, 

Kitchens, Betty Crocker. “Baby Romaine and Grapefruit Salad.”, 23 Jan. 2012, 

Hamel, PJ. “Macarons.” King Arthur Baking, 

Rattray, Diana. “Classic Chicken Gumbo with Okra and Tomatoes Recipe.” The Spruce Eats, 

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