A plate of mixed bite-sized 'gobbet' pieces of, for instance, cooked meat, fish, poultry, with vegetables such as potato, beetroot, onions etc. 'The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy' by Hannah Glasse (Glasse 1747) says; "you may always make salmagundi of such things as you have, according to your fancy"
This cheery word is known at least since Blount's 'Glossographia, or a dictionary interpreting such hard words' of 1656, which describes it as "a dish of meat made of cold Turky and other ingredients." and ascribes it an Italian origin. It might indeed derive from the Italian phrase 'salame conditi', (pickled meat), the OED suggests it is from the obscure 16th Century French 'salmigondis', or it may be connected with 'Solomon Gundy', but has come to mean any miscellaneous mixture or assortment.
Assorted Salmagundo from: Top Left cookingwithsj.com, (clockwise) taste.com.au, kfoods.com, foodover50.com
Original Receipt from England's newest way in all sorts of cookery, 1708
Take Chicken or Veal minced very fine then lay a Layer of it, and a Layer of the Yolks of hard Eggs, and a Layer of the Whites a Layer of Anchovies, a Layer of Limon; then a Layer of all ſorts of Pickles, or as many as you have and between every one of these, lay a Layer of Sorrel, Spinage and Chives Hired very fine, as the others and when you have laid your Diſh all round, that itís full, only leave a place a top to ſet an Orange or Limon: Garniſh with Horſeradilh, Limon and Barberries. This is proper for a ſecond Courſe Side-diſh, or a Middle-diſh, for Supper: You muſt take two Diſhes and lay the uppermoſt Diſh to build the Salamongundy on, it being out of faſhion to mix it all together, but every one mixes it on their Plates, ſome like it with the Juice of Limon, and ſome with Oil and Vinegar beat up thick together.
Washington Irving's 'Salmagundi'
Throughout the 19th Century the term was applied not only to food but to all sorts of collections of mixed-up oddments, including literary miscellanies. Washington Irving's first published work was a humorous collection called 'Salmagundi, or the Whim-Whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff', which less than helpfully begins with the words: "As every body knows, or ought to know, what a Salmagundi is, we shall spare ourselves the trouble of an explanation."
Original Receipt from 'The lady's assistant for regulating and supplying her table' by Charlotte Mason (Mason 1777);
CHOP separately the white part of a roasted chicken or some roasted veal, the yolks of four of five eggs boiled hard, the whites whites of the same, a large handful of parsley, a herring, anchovies, some beet-root, some red cabbage: put a saucer or a china bason into a round dish, or a smaller dish into a long one, bottom upwards; lay all these ingredients in rows, according to the taste, making them broad at bottom, and in a point at the top; or they may be laid round in rows; put butter at the top; or butter worked into what form is liked: pickles round, with a little chopped onion or eschalot.
Original Receipt in 'The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined' By John Mollard (Mollard 1802)
Chop small and separately lean of boiled ham, breast of dressed fowl; picked anchovie, parsley, omlets of .eggs white and yellow (the same kind as for garnishing), eschalots, a small quantity of pickled cucumbers, capers, and beet root. Then rub a saucer over with fresh butter, put it in the center of a dish, and make it secure from moving. Place round it in partitions the different articles separately till the saucer is covered, and put on the rim of the dish some slices of lemon.
Original Receipt from 'A New System Of Domestic Cookery' by 'A Lady' (Mrs. Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell) (Rundell 1807)
Small side-dishes for supper etc,
Boil eggs hard, cut them in half, take out the yolks, set the whites. on a dish, and fill with the following several ingredients ; or put a saucer up-side down on a plate, and place them in quarters round : in either case as a salmagundi. Chopped veal, yolk of egg, beetroot, anchovy, apple, onion, ham, and parsley. A very small bit of the white of the egg must be cut off, to make it stand on the dish as a cup.
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