The silver centerpiece for the handsome buffet setting on the opposite page marks the table of a thorough-going and distinguished sportswoman, Mrs. Jessie Bancroft Cox of Cohasset, Mass. The Devon Victory Challenge Cup, awarded annually to the winner of the most points at the Devon Horse Show, was retired by the Cox stable in 1933. The most coveted trophy of its kind stands here in the smaller of two dining rooms in which Jessie Cox and her husband, William C. Cox, a director of the Wall Street Journal, frequently entertain. I can testify that nothing is more pleasant than to be among the guests in their flower-filled, hospitable Edwardian house, The Oaks, and to partake of a Sunday brunch such as the one shown in the photograph.
Jessie Cox, who won her first blue ribbon driving a Shetland pony at the age of 4, grew up to garner just about every possible horse show award for hackney ponies and harness horses. After retiring from competition, she has become much sought after as a horse show judge in the U.S., Canada and Europe. She was the first American woman ever invited to judge at Olympia in London. Last year she had invitations to judge at 22 shows but was able to accept only a few. This year husband Bill Cox, who has long shared her enthusiasm for harness horses and ponies, will judge the pony divisions at the National.
The enthusiasms of this small, fascinating dynamo of a woman are many and varied. They include sailing (as a girl she won the Women's National Sailing Championship), hospital work in Boston, seven grandchildren and, perhaps first in so far as time and attention are concerned, the family manse at Cohasset. Here she becomes a passionate gardener, famed in horticultural circles for her orchids. And here, in the kitchen, is her huge Duparquet iron range. "It burns a ton of coal a month," she says, "and it's worth it." Here, too, are the wonderful Scandinavian maids "who have been in the family forever; we love each other and our entertainments."
Collaboration between Mrs. Cox and Hilda, her cook, in preparing the brunch shown at left resulted in a principal attraction of chaud-froid of chicken (recipe below), together with hot rolls and three hot dishes: a soufflélike ring of spinach with hollandaise sauce; a plate of puffed, browned mashed potato swirls; and (not in the picture) a platter of New England fish balls, "the good kind that have beards." There are two jellies—one with grated carrot and lime flavoring and a décor of cream cheese balls and radishes, the other a brandied black cherry salad ring filled with shredded greens and surrounded by Boston lettuce with homemade mayonnaise. Petit fours and coffee complete the meal.
CHAUD-FROID OF CHICKEN (serves 12)
2 six-pound roasting chickens
Chicken broth or stock, or a mixture of stock and water, to cover birds
4 small whole carrots
2 medium-sized yellow onions, coarsely chopped
Small bunch of celery tops
The day before the party, bring broth to a boil in two pots. Clean and tie up chickens in usual manner and place in pots with vegetables. Cover pots; simmer about 1½ hours or till chickens are tender. Allow birds to cool in the stock.
Next day, skim fat from the broth. Cut drumsticks and wings off chickens, saving these and broth for future use. Remove the breast meat from each side carefully; skin, then cut each breast in two to make eight pieces from the two chickens. Remove skin, bone and veins from second joints and shape each into two pieces. You now have 12 collops of cold chicken.
(In large cities, where special stores sell chicken in parts, it is often more convenient to buy broiler breasts than it is to cope with whole roasters. Breasts from six broilers serve 12 people, take only about 45 minutes to cook tender. Before cooking, remove two lower sections of wings with poultry shears; after cooking, discard skin and all bones except upper wing bones. Trim to neat shapes.)
‚⅛ pound butter
½ cup flour
1 quart heavy cream
2 egg yolks
Small can of truffles
Melt butter in the top of a double boiler and whisk flour into it. After a few minutes on the fire, whisk in one quart minus one tablespoon of heavy cream, previously heated with a piece of lemon peel. Cook sauce slowly till thickened, stirring often and seasoning to taste. Beat egg yolks with one tablespoon heavy cream; then, off the stove, slowly add the hot sauce to egg mixture, beating vigorously. When cooled slightly, but still warm, pour over individual chicken pieces arranged on a serving platter. Chill in refrigerator. Decorate with pieces of truffle and, if desired, rounds of cooked carrot.
BUFFET SETTING IN COHASSET
Chaud-froid of chicken breasts with truffles
Lime mousse with cream cheese balls and radish rosettes
Spinach ring with hollandaise sauce
Swirls of mashed potatoes
Jellied salad ring of Bing cherries
CLASSIC STYLE, which calls for "quiet hands," is shown by Mrs. Cox as she drives Cassilis Glen Ideal, fine hackney pony stallion owned by Mrs. J. Macy Willets of New Marlboro, Mass.