Monday, February 9, 2015

A Chinese New Year Dinner – 1896 style

Dr. Huie Pock
By Richard I. Gibson

On February 12, 1896, Dr. Huie Pock and another prominent Chinaman, Tom Lee, gave a dinner in honor of the Chinese Year of the Monkey. The guest list reflected Huie Pock’s station in Butte, even though he had only been here for four or five years.

The guests included Judge R.F. Turner, Justice of the Peace, whose office was at 24 N. Main and residence at 117 West Woolman. James Dingevon, a real estate developer, roomed at the Stephens Hotel, 144 West Park. Burr C.W. Evans was a stock broker specializing in mining stocks whose office and residence were at 16 N. Main Street, within the Owsley Block that had been completed about 4 years earlier. The Owsley Block also held the offices and lodgings of John Grice and John McClernan, law partners. John G. Vigeant, a bookkeeper who attended the party, lived at 544 South Wyoming.

Dr. Pock’s second wife, “recently arrived from China,” was present along with Miss Huie Loy (Huie Toy) and Master Luie Pock (Huie Shaw) – the doctor’s children by his first marriage – as well as Camp Sing, another Chinese-American.

The 13-course meal included different imported Chinese wines and liqueurs with each course. Here is the menu – and remember, this was Butte in February 1896.

Bird’s Nest Soup
Bird’s Nest and Chicken Fricasee
Fish Fins with Minced Ham and Chicken
En Ka Va and Liquorine
Rice a la Chinese
Imported Chinese Pork
Cooked a la Pekin, with Coffee Sauce
Maccaroni and Chinese Dried Oysters
Chicken, seasoned with Dates and Chestnuts a la Hong Kong
Dried Abalone, seasoned with Corean Dates
Jelly Fish seasoned with Lily Root
And Mushrooms a la Wah Hai Wai
Stewed Octopus and Dried Star Fish
With Haw Rinds a la Kong Suie
Imported Chinese Oranges and Liquor Extract of Lily Root

The meal was served on Chinaware of “the best imported hand painted kind and the cutlery was coin silver.” Following the meal the guests smoked imported Siamese cigars.

Dr. Pock in 1896 lived at 119 South Main, the site where later (1909) the building housing today's Pekin Noodle Parlor was constructed. It’s likely that his home was the site of the gathering.

Source: Butte Miner, Feb. 14, 1896; city directories; Sanborn maps.

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