The plover to which Edith Wharton refers in her satire on the New York wealthy is not a little cake with a hole in the middle. Rather, a jellied plover is wild game cooked and prepared to set up in a gel. The Gus of Edith's novel is chowing down on a gelatin-based bird in the following passage:
She looked down the long table, studying its occupants one by one, from Gus Trenor, with his heavy carnivorous head sunk between his shoulders, as he preyed on a jellied plover . . .
Plovers make appearances in other literary works, too, such as James Joyce's Ulysses:
I met him the day before yesterday and he coming out of that Irish farm dairy John Wyse Nolan's wife has in Henry street with a jar of cream in his hand taking it home to his better half. She's well nourished, I tell you. Plovers on toast.
And occasionally, the long-legged wading birds manage to stay alive as they're served up in prose, as with Charlotte Brontës Jane Eyre:
If a gust of wind swept the waste, I looked up, fearing it was the rush of a bull; if a plover whistled, I imagined it a man.