On October 25, not far from Red Bank, N.J., some 700 people will enjoy box lunches served to them from a tent on the lovely Woodland Farm property of Mr. Amory Haskell. This festivity is an annual thank-you to several hundred farmers and their families, over whose lands the members of the Monmouth County Hunt ride to hounds in season. The date is a very special occasion, for the Monmouth County Hunt Race Meet (five races this year) is held in the afternoon, over one of the prettiest jumping courses in the country, laid out on the Woodland Farm acreage.
Lunch for 700 neighbors is only part of the entertainment provided by Haskell to celebrate the annual steeplechase event which he founded. The night before the meet he plays host at a dance for visiting horse owners, trainers and gentlemen jockeys; he entertains for this group at a large buffet lunch on race day and again, after the races, at a very large "tea."
Presiding over the public activities of horsemen and horsewomen is a role long familiar to Amory Haskell, president of the National Horse Show for eight years and chairman of the board since 1946. A breeder and owner of race horses (he served as president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association in 1954-55), he is responsible for the current revival of Monmouth Park race track. And it is greatly due to his efforts to increase purses for owners of jumpers that U.S. steeplechasing and hurdle racing have in recent years made astonishing comebacks. Among a legion of honors bestowed upon the man long identified informally as "Mr. Horse Show" are these present titles: president of the United Hunts Racing Association and steward of the National Steeplechase and Hunts Association.
At home in the New Jersey countryside, Mr. Haskell leads more or less the good life of an English country squire, with horses and hounds, a large rambling house, an excellent cook and a well-ordered household. Twice a week during the hunting season, attired in a green coat, he leads a field of about 50 behind the keen-nosed pack of harriers of the Monmouth County Hunt—hounds which chase foxes here, instead of hare as in England. Two of his married children live in their own houses on the property, and three others come back frequently to visit. He has eight grandchildren and a host of friends. Since his wife's death in 1946 the proprietor of Woodland Farm gives only a few large entertainments, prefers dining with eight or 10 intimates. Like an Englishman, he dons a dinner jacket every night, even when alone.
On the facing page Mr. Haskell is seen being served his favorite dish. This he calls lobster Newburg, though the dish prepared in his kitchen is actually quite unlike that well-known specialty. The directions, as given below, are complicated. But the result proves it to be, in Mr. Haskell's own words, "a recipe out of this world."
LOBSTER A LA HASKELL
Dip approximately 5 pounds of live lobsters in rapidly boiling water for a minute or two only, or until they can be handled easily. Then cut up, removing meat and discarding shells. (This method retains the juices which are lost in the usual boiling process.) Melt ‚⅛ pound of butter in a heavy pan, cook lobster pieces in this slowly for about 10 minutes, then remove them from pan and reserve.
Discard excess butter, pour into pan 4 tablespoons sherry,¼ cup brandy and a scant cup of dry Marsala wine. Let this reduce over the fire for a few minutes. Meanwhile heat one cup of very heavy cream in a double boiler. Whisk hot wine mixture into hot cream slowly. Dissolve 1½ tablespoons flour in a little cold water and stir into sauce mixture, cooking slowly 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Add½ teaspoon salt,½ teaspoon pepper. Slightly beat 5 egg yolks, add some of hot sauce to them, then whisk them into the sauce and cook slowly until further thickened (never let this sauce boil after cream is added or it will surely curdle). Place lobster pieces back in sauce, heat gently and adjust seasoning to individual taste before serving hot on a platter garnished with parsley and tiny pastry puffs. This recipe serves 4.