Beef, chicken or vegetable broth
Minced meat or vegetables as desired
This dish is particularly suitable to invalids and little children who are not of an age to masticate [chew] their food. All the nutritive qualities of the eggs are preserved, together with the lightness of the omelette.
The requisite number of eggs is beaten, seasoned, and passed through a sieve, to which a small quantity of good gravy [broth or stock] is added. The mixture must be placed in an enameled stewpan, and set over a slow fire till the eggs thicken. The stewing pan is then removed and a small piece of fresh butter is added to the mixture, which, when melted, is ready to receive the addition of any finely minced fowl, meat, fish, asparagus, pease or cauliflower that may be desired. The latter ingredients must be stirred in until warm through, but not suffered to boil.
From Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, reader submitted recipe, 1864.
Comment: This is clearly the dish which, with the substitution of “Chinese” vegetables such as bean sprouts, evolved into what we now know as “egg foo yung.” The technique of cooking–perhaps better described as scrambling–the eggs first and then adding the meat and vegetable ingredients is puzzling, but we prints ‘em as we gets ‘em. The added ingredients should be leftovers or previously cooked items needing only to be reheated, since the eggs would be hideously overcooked otherwise.
“Pease” is simply the plural of “pea” as spelled in earlier times. The pudding known as “pease porridge,” perhaps better known as the subject of a nursery rhyme than as a dinner dish today, is the main surviving use of the term.