A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/19)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/19)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/19)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/19)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/19)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from December 20, 2004
Eggs Benedict
Was "Eggs Benedict" invented at Delmonico's or the Waldorf Hotel or the Hoffman House or somewhere else?

The standard stories and citations are presented on the first two web sites below. The disagreement had been on which "Benedict" it was named after.

The 1912 New York Sun citation below, mentioning the Hoffman House, is a new find. The recipe doesn't sound like "Eggs Benedict," however.

The classic "Eggs Benedict" recipe includes eggs, ham, hollandaise sauce, and English muffins or toast.


(Oxford English Dictionary)
eggs Benedict Cookery (orig. U.S.), a dish consisting of poached eggs placed on a slice of ham on toast, with a covering of hollandaise sauce
1898 A. MEYER Eggs, & how to use Them 43 Poached *eggs..Benedict, 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.

Eggs Benedict page
Who was Benedict?

Eggs Benedict are not:
The culinary indulgence of Benedictine monks.
Named after the Revolutionary War traitor for the dish's use of Canadian bacon and English muffins.
The name of a South African Web design firm. (Well, it is, but who cares?)

The classic history. According to A Cozy Book of Breakfasts and Brunches (Prima Publishing, 1996), "many years ago" a Wall Street financier named LeGrand Benedict, a regular patron of Manhattan's ritzy Delmonico's restaurant, complained that there was nothing new on the menu. The chef's response was this dish. A variant myth credits, instead of the chef, the Delmonico maitre d' and Mrs. Benedict. The name of the chef, and indeed any real facts about the genesis of eggs Benedict, are lost to history. The new Joy of Cooking (Scribner, 1997) dates the dish in the 1920s, and says the original base may have been toast.

The revisionist history. According to e-mail to this site from Cutts Benedict, eggs Benedict was born when his father's cousin, Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker, invented and ordered the dish in 1894 at the Waldorf Hotel, where chef Oscar Tschirky added it to the menu. You can read Cutts Benedict's word on eggs Benedict in this site's feedback.

What's Cooking America
1860s -Credit is given to Delmonico's Restaurant, the very first restaurant or public dining room ever opened in the United States. In the 1860's, a regular patron of the restaurant, Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, finding nothing to her liking and wanting something new to eat for lunch, discussed this with Delmonico's Chef Charles Ranhofer (1936-1899), Ranhofer came up with Eggs Benedict. He has a recipe called Eggs a' la Benedick (Eufa a' la Benedick) in his cookbook called The Epicurean published in 1894.:

Eggs a  la Benedick - Cut some muffins in halves crosswise, toast them without allowing to brown, thn place a round of cooked ham an eighth of an inch thick and of the same diameter as the muffins one each half. Heat in a moderate oven and put a poached eg on each toast. Cover the whole with Hollandaise sauce.

1894 - The following story appeared in the December 19,1942 issue of theweekly New Yorker Magazine "Talk of the Town" column and is based on an interview with Lemuel Benedict the year before he died: In 1894, Lemuel Benedict, a Wall Street broker, who was suffering from a hangover, ordered "some buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce" at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. The Waldorf's legendary chef, Oscar Tschirky, was so impressed that he put the dish on his breakfast and luncheon menus after substituting Canadian bacon for crisp bacon and a toasted English muffin for toasted bread.

1896 - Fannie Merritt Farmer's (1857-1915) revised, edited, and reissued Mary J. Lincoln's cookbook called The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. In it is a recipe for Eggs a  la Benedict. The recipe is as follows:
Eggs a  la Benedict - Split and toast English muffins. Saute 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.

7 January 1894, New-York (NY) Daily Tribune, "The Rich Fool and the Clever Pauper," pg. 18, col. 4:
After luncheon, which consisted of blue points, potted char, eggs a la Benedict, and a remarkable Maraschino jelly, Jimmy announced his attention of taking a walk by himself.

Chronicling America
14 May 1904, Washington (DC) Times, pg. 7:
A delicious egg course or luncheon is served at the leading hotels of New York and Boston. It is made by toasting one-half of an English muffin, placing on top of it a very thin slice of broiled ham, and on that a poached egg, perfectly round in shape. Serve with a Hollandaise sauce poured over. This is called eggs benedict.

23 July 1911, Lima (Ohio) Daily News, pg. 5:
Sauce Hollandaise.
(...)
Eggs a la Benedictine.
Cut very delicate slices of cooked ham to a size to fit a toaster muffin. Lay a piece on each half muffin; keep hot in a moderate oven while the eggs are poached. Put a poached egg on each piece of muffin and ham and serve hot.

Chronicling America
23 June 1912, The Sun (New York, NY), "The no meat dinner urged for summer," third sec., pg. 4, col. 7:
At the old Hoffman House they made a combination of a tomato, peeled and scooped out and filled with a bearnaise baked and served with a bearnaise sauce. This was called eggs Benedict, and was famous with epicures.

Google Books
Peggy-in-the-Rain
by Ralph Henry Barbour
New York: D. Appleton and Company
1913
Pg. 171:
Peter ate his egg Benedict in silence for a few moments.

Feeding America
The Neighborhood Cook Book
by The Council of Jewish Women
Portland, Oregon: Press of Bushong & Co.
1914
Pg. 62:
Eggs Benedict
Place a slightly fried piece of ham on a piece of toast, place poached egg on ham, and pour over all a Hollandaise sauce.

Google Books
The "Goldfish": Being the Confessions of a Successful Man
by Arthur Cheney Train
New York: The Century Co.
1915
Pg. 57:
A cocktail starts my appetite, for I have no desire for food; and for the sake of appearances I manage to consume an egg Benedictine and a ragout of lamb, with a dessert.

21 February 1923, Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, pg. 5:
EGGS
(Benedictine)
By Bertha Shapleigh
Of Columbia University
On the toasted half of an English muffin place a piece of boiled ham, on top of this a poached egg and over all two tablespoons of Hollandaise sauce.

6 May 1926, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. 8:
A RESTAURANT TIP.
If you serve poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce, on squares of bread or muffin with a piece of ham sandwiched between the egg and the bread, you will have eggs Benedictine, one of the most popular egg dishes of any hotel bill of fare.

17 June 1957, Dallas (TX) Morning News, "Eggs Benedict," part 2, pg. 8:
The original recipe for Eggs Benedict was brought over to New Orleans by the French. Its popularity has come down through the years. Today it is a special luncheon favorite.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, December 20, 2004 • Permalink