Posts Tagged ‘egg’
2 oz. butter
1 tsp. cream or milk
Very convenient for invalids, or when required, a light dish for supper. Beat up three eggs with two ounces of fresh butter, or well-washed salt butter; add a teaspoonful of cream or new milk. Put all in a saucepan and keep stirring it over the fire for nearly five minutes, until it rises up like a soufflé, when it should be immediately dished on buttered toast.
From Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, reader-submitted recipe from 1866.
Comment: While the author prefers to compare this to a soufflé, we must confess to suspecting a bit of “it sounds so much tastier in French!” classism at work here. This is not a durn thing but scrambled eggs after all, and the bit of butter and cream should make it tasty indeed.
Most cookbooks of the period had entire sections devoted to “cooking for the sick” and “invalid” was an all too common status in the years of the war, and long afterwards. Also included in the category would be those who, while otherwise healthy, had lost or damaged teeth and consequent difficulty chewing hard foods.
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.
1 rabbit, boiled
yolks of six eggs, hard boiled
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. prepared mustard
4 tbs. oil, olive or vegetable
Bread and butter, crackers, grated cheese
Having a fine young rabbit boiled very tender, mince it fine from the bones. Mince an equal portion of lettuce, which should be of the loaf lettuce, that heads up, and is quite white and frangible [breakable]; mix them together, and set them by till the dressing is prepared. Mash very fine the yolks of six boiled eggs, add to it a tea-spoonful of salt, a tea-spoonful of pepper, half a gill of vinegar, half a gill of made mustard, and four table-spoonfuls of sweet oil. Mash and stir it together till it becomes very smooth; then put it over the rabbit and lettuce, stir it up lightly together with a fork, put it in a dish of suitable size, and send with it to table plates of bread and butter, crackers, grated cheese, &c. It is a supper dish, and seldom eaten at any other meal. Do not prepare it till just before you sit down to table, that it may be as fresh as possible. Rabbits make a very good pie, prepared like a chicken pie.
The Kentucky Housewife by Mrs. Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: A 17th century cookbook was recently reprinted under the modern-day title “First Catch Your Rabbit.” While Mrs. Bryan’s book was intended for a market-shopping urban audience rather than live-off-the-land backwoodsmen, rabbits were a common nuisance and a threat to gardens everywhere. This is a very elegant dish and could certainly be made with chicken or veal as an alternative if rabbits are uncommon in your apartment building, or the neighbors frown on backyard game hunting.
1/4 lb. butter
1/2 pint milk
1/2 c. brandy
1 bottom pie crust
Additional pie dough, cut in strips and twisted (optional)
Stew a fine sweet pumpkin till soft and dry; rub it through a sieve, mix with the pulp six eggs [beaten] quite light, a quarter of a pound of butter, half a pint of new milk, some pounded ginger and nutmeg, a wine glass of brandy, and sugar to your taste. Should it be too liquid, stew it a little drier, put a paste [strip of pie dough] round the edge, and in the bottom of a shallow dish or plate–pour in the mixture, cut some thin bits of paste, twist them, and lay them across the top, and bake it nicely.
From The Virginia Housewife or, Methodical Cook, by Mary Randolph, 1841
Comment: Canned pumpkin is so universally available, and so cheap, that few indeed are the people who make a pie by starting with a raw fruit of the vine. Since the situation was quite reversed in Mrs. Randolph’s day, she omits a few processing details. These include the detachment of the rind (the hard, thin outside shell) from the edible part of the pumpkin (the soft yellow-orange flesh) and of course the removal of seeds and strings from the very center as you do when making the jack-o-lantern at Halloween.
The stewing process is probably best accomplished in a double boiler to avoid scorching, since the intent is to use just barely enough water to cook all the chunks through and then evaporate.
The rest of the recipe is quite straightforward, until of course we get to those elaborate cooking instructions: “bake nicely.” The usual directions for pumpkin pie baking say to start at 450 degrees for the first 15 minutes and then reduce to 350 for the remaining 45 or so. The use of any sort of top crust is unusual today but might be considered if this is to be made for an educational or other public setting such as a living history exhibit or fundraising project.
We note that this pie is called a pudding but is basically a custard. Thus does nomenclature change over time.
1 tbs. vinegar
1/2 c. cream or milk
Nearly fill a clean frying-pan with strained water boiling hot; strain a tablespoonful of vinegar through double muslin, and add to the water with a little salt. [Break eggs one at a time into a saucer to detect any one which has spoiled.] Slip your eggs from the saucer upon the top of the water (first taking the pan from the fire). Boil three minutes and a half, drain, and lay on buttered toast in a hot dish. Turn [pour out] the water from the pan and pour in half a cupful of cream or milk. If you use the latter, thicken with a very little corn-starch. Let it heat to a boil, stirring to prevent burning, and add a great spoonful of butter, some pepper and salt. Boil up once, and pour over the eggs. A better way still is to heat the milk in a separate saucepan, that the eggs may not have to stand. A little broth improves the sauce.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: What, you thought giving a recipe a semi-French name to class up an otherwise pedestrian item was something new? Mais non, ma petite chou! This is oeuf poché with an uninspired white sauce, feh. Although we suppose if the optional “broth” was of a particularly fine or spicy quality the result could be enjoyable enough.
Oh, and you can skip the step of straining your vinegar if you are using standard commercially bottled stuff. Homemade vinegar was still common in the 19th century and would sometimes get bits of the “mother” or plain mold in it, making straining a prudent if not mandatory action.
Place a broad stew-pan of clean water over the fire till it boils, and set it level before the fire. Break the eggs separately into a plate or saucer, to ascertain if they are good, dropping them as you examine them into the boiling water. They must not be too much crowded, and there must be plenty of water to cover them well. Having put them all into the pan in this manner, let them remain till the whites become set; then place the pan again on the fire, and cook them as hard as you desire; they probably will be sufficiently hard by the time the water begins to boil. Raise them carefully from the water with an egg-slice, trimming the edges smoothly, and lay them separately upon small buttered toasts or broiled ham, arranging them neatly in the dish; sprinkle on a very little salt and black pepper; put on each a spoonful of melted butter, and send them up warm. They are eaten at breakfast. When prepared for the dinner table, omit the toasts or ham; serve them in a small deep dish, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and pour over the same melted butter. They are sent as a side dish to accompany poultry and game.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, Cincinnati, 1839
Comment: Most people today find poached eggs entirely difficult enough to make in a nonstick pan on top of a range with carefully calibrated temperature controls. Picture Mrs. Bryan and other women of her era accomplishing the same task over an open fire with cast-iron cookware–while at the same time getting the bread toasted, butter melted, ham broiled and sliced, and other dishes prepared– and you will begin to appreciate the back-breaking nature of the work required of a “housewife” in this time.
Between cooking, laundry, chopping wood for the fire, hauling water from the well, and nearly continual pregnancy, it is not to be wondered at that so many simply wore out and died in what would today be considered barely middle age.