James "Diamond Jim" Brady [gourmandizer home]
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Honored Gourmandizer

James B. Brady was a Millionaire railroad tycoon during the Gilded Age. He started his day off right with a breakfast of eggs, pancakes, pork chops, cornbread, fried potatoes, hominy, muffins, and a beefsteak. He washed it all down with a gallon of orange juice or golden nectar,as he called his favorite drink. Occasionally he would entertain himself with a mid-morning snack of a few dozen clams or oysters.

A typical lunch consisted of two lobsters, deviled crabs, clams, oysters and beef. He finished up with an array of pies. Not like slices of different pies, but several pies. This would hold him over till about 4:30, at which time he gobbled up a heaping platter of seafood. He usually took the snack with a few carafes of lemon soda, another cherished beverage.

Brady lived in New York City. His favorite restaurant in the city was Charles Rector's, an exclusive establishment on Broadway. The owner described Diamond Jim as his "best 25 customers." "The usual" evening meal began with an appetizer of two or three dozen oysters, six crabs, and a few servings of green turtle soup. The main course was two whole ducks, six or seven lobsters, a sirloin steak, two servings of terrapin and a variety of vegetables. He topped it off with a platter of pastries and often a two pound box of candy. He was particularly fond of confectionery delights.

While in Boston, Brady visited a small manufacturer of chocolates and was delighted with the candies. He requested several hundred boxes to send as gifts to friends and business relations, but was told supplies weren't great enough to have that much without all but depleting their stock. He pulled out a checkbook and gave them$150,000 as an advance to go toward the construction of a larger chocolate foundry. "Best God dammed candy I ever had."

Diamond Jim spared no expense when it game to getting cool stuff even if he couldn't eat it. He had a dozen gold plated bicycles manufactured for his girlfriend and himself. His honey was actress and singer Lillian Russet - her favorite bike had handlebars covered with mother of pearl and spokes garnished with rubies and sapphires. His own collection of jewelry was conservatively estimated to be worth two million dollars back then. No, nothing was too good for Jim and his gal.

An occasional Rector's companion once boasted to Jim of a dish served at Cafe Marguery in Paris: "Filet de Sole de Marguery", which was strewn with a sauce prepared according to a recipe only known to that restaurant's inner circle of chefs. Jim threatened the owner of Rector's to completely halt his patronage unless he could dine on Sole de Marguery right there. The following day Mr. Rector pulled his son out of classes at Cornell University and sent him to France on a mission of culinary espionage. The young man landed a dishwashing job at Cafe Marguery (under an assumed name). Over the next two years, he worked his way up until he was able to learn the closely guarded recipe for the sauce. Once he mastered the preparation of Diamond Jim's coveted entree, he set sail back to New York. Brady was waiting on the pier when the vessel arrived, and called out to the ship, "Did you bring the sauce?" The byoung maan was rushed to the restaurant where he prepared serving after serving for Brady, who promptly consumed a total of nine portions. Did he like it? "If you poured some of the sauce over a Turkish towel, I believe I could eat all of it."


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