Archive for the ‘drink (non-alchoholic)’ Category
Wash and then pare a pine-apple; if a good size, put the rind into about two quarts of water (in the quantity you must be guided by the size of the pine-apple); cover it for twenty-four hours; then sweeten to your taste, bottle, cork, and put it into the sun for five or six hours, cool it and it is then fit for use.
From The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, 1847
Comment: This is a very frugal recipe, making use of a part of a (presumably imported, and therefore expensive) fruit which would otherwise be thrown away.
We are not sure this would be considered a “beer” by the modern definition of the term. It calls for no yeast to be added, only one day of “fermenting” time in the keg and only six hours of sun-warming time in the bottle before use. While it might muster up a bit of fermentation from wild yeast on the outside of the rind, this is probably better described as “pineappleade” or would be if there were such a word.
Rub some of the sugar on the peel of the lemon to extract the oil; roll the lemons under the hand on the table, and press out all the juice; add to every lemon two heaping table-spoons of loaf-sugar; mix it thoroughly with the lemon; fill the pitcher one-quarter full of broken ice, and add water.
From The Housekeeper’s Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861
Comment: Today a direction to “rub sugar on the lemon peel” looks a bit peculiar, and attempting to follow it would undoubtedly produce a dreadful mess of sugar grains scattered about, leading to an infestation of ants in the kitchen.
Sugar in the 19th century was not sold in the already-granulated form we find in bags in supermarkets today. It was sold as “loaf sugar,” produced at the refinery in large cones which were wrapped in paper for shipment to merchants. There it would be sold whole only to very large consumers, perhaps plantations which supported a number of families or else commercial users such as hotels.
For buyers from smaller households the grocer would knock off a chunk with a mallet and chisel and sell it by weight. This still left the end user with the task of further chipping it into bits which would then be ground in a mortar, scraped over a grater, or, in this case, rubbed on the peels of lemons to extract their flavor. Once the lemon juice and water were mixed the remaining sweetener could be tossed in in chunk or chip sizes and allowed to dissolve. Ice, if available, would probably be added last, just before serving.
A Necessary Refreshment at all Parties.
2 qts. milk
1 stick cinnamon
4 oz. almonds
1-2 tbs. rose water
Boil two quarts of milk with a stick of cinnamon and let it stand to be quite cold, first taking out the cinnamon; blanch four ounces of the best sweet almonds, pound them in a marble mortar with a little rose-water; mix them well with the milk, sweeten it to your taste, and let it boil a few minutes only, lest the almonds should be oily; strain it through a very fine sieve till quite smooth, and free from the almonds, serve it up either cold or lukewarm, in glasses with handles.
From The Virginia Housewife Or, Methodical Cook by Mary Randolph, 1860 edition of 1824 original
Comment: Rosewater is easy but time-consuming to make, assuming you have a large supply of food-quality (i.e. organic, non-pesticide or chemical laden) rose petals to work with. It was very popular in fancy dishes of the 19th century but today is found commercially only in gourmet shops and markets catering to Middle Eastern neighborhoods.
“Sweet” almonds are the only kind available in the US any more. The ones known as “bitter” almonds have been taken off the market as they contain unacceptable levels of cyanide, which is what produces the bitter taste. Our ancestors ate them on a regular basis, proving that they were a brave and sturdy people and we are degenerate poison-avoiding sissies.
Juice of apples, preferably fresh from an apple-press
Take the largest cask [barrel] you have on your farm, from a barrel upwards; put a few sticks in the bottom, in the manner that house-wives set a lye case, so as to raise a vacancy of two or three inches from the bottom of the cask; then lay over these sticks either a clean old blanket, or if that not be at hand, a quantity of swindling flax, so as to make a coat of about a quarter of an inch thick, then put in so much cleaned washed sand, from a beach or road, as will cover about six or eight inches in depth of your vessel; pass all your cider from the press through a table cloth, suspended by the corners, which will take out the pummice [residue from the crushed apples] ; pour the liquor gently upon the sand, through which it must be suffered to filter gradually, and as it runs off by a tap inserted in your vessel, in the vacancy made by the sticks at the bottom, it will be found by this easy method, as clear cider can be expected by the most laborious process of refining; and all the mucilaginous matter, which causes the fermentation and souring of cider, will be separated so as to prevent that disagreeable consequence.
From The Dyer’s Companion by Elijah Bemmis, 1815.
Comment: This is not really a recipe as much as a description of a filtration process. However, the fact of the matter is that despite Mr. Bemiss’ promises, the cider made by this process WILL ferment (hopefully in a constructive rather than a “sour” way) since at no point is the fresh juice boiled. Apples naturally collect yeast on their outer peel, which will pass into the juice when they are crushed. The yeast will work on the natural sugars in the juice to form alcohol, just as happens in any other winemaking process. The “hardness” of the resulting product will depend on how long it is left undisturbed in the barrel to work.
Any historical account of a social event–particularly election rallies–which mentions that “apple cider” was served, should be treated on the assumption that the cider was hard. This may help explain both the large turnout at such events (lack of television is probably a factor here too) and the very frequently boisterous behavior of attendees.
Coffee, as used on the Continent [Europe], serves the double purpose of an agreeable tonic, and an exhilarating beverage, without the unpleasant effects of wine. In France and in Italy it is made strong from the best coffee, and is poured out hot and transparent.
Coffee, as drunk in England, debilitates the stomach, and produces a slight nausea. In England it is usually made from bad coffee, served out tepid and muddy, and drowned in a deluge of water, and sometimes deserves the title given to it in “the Petition Against Coffee,” as “a base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking puddle water.”
To make Coffee fit for use, you must employ the German filter and take at least an ounce for two breakfast-cups.
No coffee will bear drinking with what is called milk in London.
N.B.–The above is a contribution from an intelligent traveller, who has passed some years on the Continent.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: The Cook’s Oracle was an English cookbook which “Dr. Kitchiner” was hired to “adapt to the American public” for its US publication. This was an act of rather amazing honesty and transparency given the standards of the time; copyright law was not then what it is today and large numbers of books were simply copied word for word and republished by their American “authors.”
However, despite his assignment Dr. K did not exactly overexert himself to take the British orientation out of “his” product. Oysters are recommended based on species which live in the Thames, not the Rappahannock, for instance. And here we see that comparisons are made between the coffee-serving practices of France and Italy with those of England, not New York, Philadelphia, Boston or Charleston. His warnings against the use of milk in London might have been helpful if one was planning to travel there, but of little value to a resident of, say, Providence or Richmond.
“Kitchiner” was almost certainly a pseudonym, and a rather blatant one at that. It would be as if a book on barrel-making was authored by someone named “Cooper” or one on metalworking by someone called “Smith”, or a pamphlet on the evils of alcohol by “Mr. Tipple.”
Never buy ground coffee if you can get any other. The mere fact that after they have gone to the expense of the machinery and labor requisite for grinding it, the manufacturers can sell it cheaper per pound than grocers can the whole grains, roasted or raw, should convince every sensible person that it is adulterated with other and less expensive substances.
Be that as it may, coffee loses its aroma so rapidly after it is ground that it is worth your while to buy it whole, either in small quantities freshly roasted, or raw, and roast it yourself.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Although not a “recipe” per se, this advice on the buying of coffee is so good, and in fact so entirely unchanged from that day to this, that we could not bear to omit it. We can only add that even whole-bean coffee is best bought from a local dealer who roasts it in-house if the ideal level of freshness is to be obtained.
Green coffee, if properly stored, lasts almost forever, but once roasted the condition begins to go downhill. Once ground, it falls over the cliff completely. Volatile oils, which are what gives coffee its taste and are what is brought out by roasting, are called that for a reason.