Archive for April 1st, 2011
1 qt. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbs. homemade yeast [1 cake or envelope dry yeast]
1 additional tbs. flour
3 tbs. melted butter
Additional butter or lard to grease waffle iron
Make a thick batter of three eggs, a quart of milk, and flour, adding a little salt, and two large spoonfuls of good yeast. Set it in a warm place till it gets very light [risen], then stir in a spoonful of flour, and three of melted butter. Heat your waffle irons of a brisk heat, butter them well to prevent the waffles sticking to them, put in batter according to the size of your irons, not filling them quite full, as the waffle will expand a little while baking; close the irons, and bake them till a light brown on both sides; then take them from the irons, sprinkle them with powdered sugar and cinnamon, and send them to table warm.
From The Kentucky Housewife, by Mrs. Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: We are never quite sure what an author means when they use the term “light” for a recipe. Given the number of eggs and quantity of butter called for here, it is certainly not to be confused with the modern meaning of “low calorie” or “intended to produce weight loss.” Waffle irons have been in existence since the 15th century, it seems, and in America at least since Thomas Jefferson brought one back from one of his trips to France. Today of course the electric version is nearly universal, and one wishing to cook this recipe as its author intended must scour the junk shops of the land, or resort to eBay. Another alternative is to find a device known as a pizelle maker, although these normally produce a much thinner product than one expects of a typical waffle.
Lima beans, removed from shells
These beans are very fine, and should be full grown, but quite tender. Having shelled them, rinse them in cold water and boil them till soft, throwing in a small handful of salt; drain and serve them, and put over them pepper and melted butter.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: We note that these legumes, detested by at least four generations that we know personally, were evidently not in fact engineered in a secret laboratory by enemies attempting to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids, but were indeed known and loved, or at least endured, by our long ago ancestors. If one is confronted with a lima bean and can neither flank nor flee from its presence, this is probably about the best thing you can do with it short of slipping it under the table to the dog.
3 young hen lobsters, boiled
Mace or nutmeg
Lemon peel, grated
1 egg yolk
3 quarts veal broth
Butter and flour for thickening
Essence of anchovy
You must have three fine lively young hen lobsters, and boil them; when cold, split the tails; take out the fish, crack the claws, and cut the meat into mouthfuls: take out the coral, and soft part of the body; bruise part of the coral in a mortar; pick out the fish from the chines; beat part of it with the coral, and with this make forcemeat balls, finely-flavored with mace or nutmeg, a little grated lemon-peel, and Cayenne; pound these with the yelk of an egg.
Have three quarts of veal broth; bruise the small legs and the chine, and put them into it, to boil for twenty minutes, then strain it; and then to thicken it, take the live spawn and bruise it in a mortar with a little butter and flour; rub it through a sieve, and add it to the soup with the meat of the lobsters, and the remaining coral; let it simmer very gently for ten minutes; do not let it boil, or its fine red color will immediately fade; turn it into a tureen; add the juice of a good lemon, and a little essence of anchovy.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Lobsters, they say, were once so common in Atlantic waters that they were considered junk food and fed to prisoners in jail. It is unlikely that those unfortunates were given access to mace, nutmeg, lemon peel or Cayenne, so there are at least some advantages to the present day. “Chines” is a rather unusual term for the exoskeleton of a crustacean, as it usually refers to the neck bones of something like a sheep rather than the shell of a lobster. We must allow Dr. Kitchiner his little quirks. If you search your lobster innards for “coral” and don’t find a little red object, you have been given male lobsters rather than the female (hen) ones called for here.
1 qt. sugar water
Whiskey or brandy
Juice of sour oranges
To one quart of boiling syrup taken from the kettles, add whiskey or brandy to suit the patient. Flavor with the juice of sour oranges.
From The Bon-Vivant’s Companion by Jerry Thomas, 1862
Comment: Jerry Thomas notes this is “From a recipe in the possession of Col. T. B. Thorpe”, author and illustrator for New York magazines in the 1860s. The note about “boiling syrup taken from the kettles,” combined with the fact that the name of the recipe includes “Louisiana,” suggests that this was first made by people in the sugar-cane processing business. The “syrup” was presumably the earliest stage of processing of the juice squeezed from the cane, but just how sweet that would be is unclear.
The one use for which alcohol was accepted by even the most hectoring moralists was as medicine, explaining the phrasing advising adding booze “to suit the patient.”
Dry mustard powder
Vinegar, white wine, or water
Mix (by degrees, by rubbing together in a mortar) the best Durham flour of mustard, with vinegar, white wine, or cold water, in which scraped horseradish has been boiled; rub it well together for at least ten minutes, till it is perfectly smooth; it will keep in a stone jar closely stopped, for a fortnight [two weeks]; only put as much into the mustard-pot as will be used in a day or two.
The ready-made mustard prepared at the oil shops is mixed with about one-fourth part salt: this is done to preserve it, if it is to be kept long; otherwise, by all means, omit it. The best way of eating salt is in substance.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: “Flour of mustard” is simply the result of grinding mustard seeds and sifting out any ungrindable bits until a fine powder is left. The resulting powder, if kept dry, will keep good indefinitely. “Made mustard” was normally made at home, although as Dr. Kitchiner notes it was beginning to be commercially available in larger cities.
As one can get a vast variety of mustards beyond the “standard” yellow goop suitable for anointing hot dogs at ball parks today, one could alter the homemade varieties to suit one’s taste or available ingredients. The prescription above is in fact four recipes, depending on whether one uses the vinegar, wine or water as a liquifying agent, and on whether the horseradish is used or omitted.
1/2 c. drawn (clarified) butter
1/2 c. minced parsley
Draw the butter; boil the parsley three minutes; take it out and lay in cold water five minutes, to cool; chop and stir into the butter; squeeze in the lemon-juice, the pepper and salt; beat hard with an egg-whip, return to the fire, and boil up once. This is a “stock” sauce, being suitable for so many dishes, roast or boiled.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Few of the sauces we commonly take for granted today– tartar, barbeque, even ketchup and mustard–were available prepackaged and bottled in stores. (The notable exception being Worcestershire, which the Lea & Perrins company has had in commercial production since 1837!) and so had to be produced at home if one aspired to a fancy or impress-the-boss sort of meal. “Maitre d’Hotel Sauce” is probably the simplest of the lot.