Posts Tagged ‘onion’
4 whole cloves
15 whole allspice 15 whole pepper
Per pint of sauce:
1 glass wine
1/2 glass mushroom catchup
1 tsp. essence of anchovy
few grains Cayenne pepper
Bread toasted or fried
Put the fish into a stew-pan, with a large onion, four cloves, fifteen berries of allspice, and the same of black pepper; just cover them with boiling water, set it where they will simmer gently for ten or twenty minutes, according to the size of the fish; strain off the liquor in another stew-pan, leaving the fish to keep warm till the sauce is ready.
Rub together on a plate as much flour and butter as will make the sauce as thick as a double cream. Each pint of sauce season with a glass of wine, half as much mushroom catchup, a tea-spoonful of essence of anchovy, and a few grains of Cayenne; let it boil a few minutes, put the fish on a deep dish, strain the gravy over it; garnish it with sippets of bread toasted or fried.
N.B.-The Editor has paid particular attention to the above receipt which Catholics, and those whose religious tenets do not allow them to eat meat on maigre days, will find a very satisfactory substitute for the meat gravy soup. Mushroom catchup and onions supply the place of meat better than any thing.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: One of the most fascinating aspects of Dr. Kitchiner’s book, especially considering its date of publication, is that it contains recipes specifically designed for Catholics who were obliged to abstain from meat not merely on Fridays but on a great number of other days of religious significance throughout the year. Even the book’s subtitle–as interminably longwinded as such things usually were in the period–includes the line “with A Complete System of Cookery for Catholic Families.” Alas, this in fact consists of just a few recipes like the one above rather than the “complete system” advertised.
It should however be noted that America in this period was still (outside of Maryland and a few other enclaves) overwhelmingly Protestant in religion, with Catholicism regarded as near-heresy, and its adherents looked at with considerable suspicion. The “American Party” (better remembered today as the “Know-Nothing” Party) was growing rapidly at this time. Its platform was based on little more than animosity to immigrants who had the bad taste to be from southern Europe and therefore more likely to be Catholic. Publishing even something as politically neutral as a cookbook therefore required a certain amount of courage when it spoke admiringly of such a group.
Several cucumbers, sliced thick
chopped onion (optional)
1/2 c. vinegar
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. flour
Cut your cucumbers into thick slices, add some chopped onions, if liked, and some salt; let them simmer over a slow fire, till done enough; then pour off a large portion of the liquor [water in which vegetables cooked], and add a little vinegar, pepper, butter and flour; let them stew a few minutes longer, and serve them up with the sauce.
From The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, 1847
Comment: Rare indeed today is the notion of cooking a cucumber. The vast majority, of course, are made into pickles, and the remainder doomed to decorate restaurant salads from which they are quietly picked off and ignored or pushed down to drown under the dressing.
Boiled or stewed cucumbers were recommended to those who suffered digestive upset upon eating the vegetable in its raw state. Considering what else people ate in those days we doubt that cucumbers were the main culprit in the epidemic of “dyspepsia” which ravaged the populace, but it couldn’t have helped either.
Cucumbers, raw, sliced
The ordinary method of cutting cucumbers into slices with raw onions, served up in vinegar, and seasoned with salt and pepper, is most vulgar and most unwholesome. In their season they are cheap and plenty; and as they are crude and unripe they require the stomach of an ostrich to digest them. They cause much sickness in their season, creating choleras, cramps, and dysenteries. If stewed or boiled as directed [in "Cucumbers Stewed"] they would be more nutritious and wholesome.
Cucumbers may also be cut into quarters and boiled like asparagus, and served up with toasted bread and melted butter. This is a most delicate way or preparing cucumbers for the dinner table, and they are a most luscious article, and so rich and savory that a small quantity will suffice.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: Do you get the feeling that Dr. Kitchiner does not much care for uncooked cucumbers? That is certainly our impression, although we think he goes rather overboard, particularly given his stature as a physician, in blaming them for “choleras, cramps and dysenteries,” or at least the first and the last of that list. (In his defense, on the other hand, it should be noted that nobody had any idea what caused cholera or dysenteries in 1829, the notion of “germ theory” lying somewhat in his future.)
In any case we have added the “Vulgar” to the title of this receipt to differentiate it from the “Stewed Cucumbers” since the two methods of dealing with the object are listed in his book together as a single receipt.
6 onions, large
Drippings from salt pork
5 lb. bass or cod
Whole cloves (1 or 2)
1 tbs. mushroom or tomato catsup
Oyster or other crackers
Sliced lemons (optional)
1 c. oyster liquor (juice contained in shells of fresh oysters) (optional)
Slice six large onions, and fry them in the gravy of fried salt pork. Cut five pounds of bass or cod into strips three inches long and one thick, and line the bottom of a pot with them. Scatter a few slices of onion upon them, a little salt, half a dozen black peppers, a clove or two, a pinch of thyme and one of parsley, a tablespoonful tomato or mushroom catsup, and six oysters; then comes a layer of oyster crackers, well-soaked in milk and buttered thickly. Another layer of fish, onions, seasoning, and crackers, and so on until all are used up. Cover with water, boil slowly for an hour and pour out. Serve with capers and sliced lemon. A cup of oyster liquor added to the chowder while boiling improves it.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: The word “chowder” is seldom found without “clam” attached these days, but in fact it is a generic term for any sort of seafood soup. This one would seem to be so thick as to nearly qualify as a stew. This will require very careful cooking at very low heat to avoid burning the fish strips lining the bottom of the cooking vessel.
The “tomato or mushroom catsup” called for here is a more concentrated and highly spiced sauce than the versions usually found in stores today, as might be suggested by the use of only a tablespoonful to flavor this quantity of food. We have numerous recipes for both products but either one takes about six times longer to make than this chowder does, so the strongest commercial substitute sauce that can be found seems like a reasonable modification of strict historical accuracy.