Friday, June 13, 2008

Century-old Recipes

I have an membership, which is absolutely the greatest things since sliced bread, and here's why. Not only do they have census records, they have scanned-in images of old newspapers! That is so exciting because I love reading old newspapers. There is so many neat things in there like poems, comics, recipes, fashion tips, household hints, obituaries, little tidbits about what the townsfolk were up to that week, etc. I found once that my great-great-great grandmother, Almira had a chicken bone stuck in her throat for a few days back in the 1800s. Ouch. On a side note, who likes the name Almira? I have actually two ancestors named Almira with various spellings. I'm not sure which spellings they actually used, but I've seen their names spelled like Almira, Elmira, and Almyra. I like the latter the best. It's old and different. If Jason and I have two girls, Almyra might be the second girls name. But alas, I am getting off topic. I'll save the whole baby-names issue for another blog...

Back to old newspapers. Did you happen to notice the totally-healthy recipe located above? Mmmm, asbestos! Anyway, here are a few items of interest that I have compiled over the years:

Fried Calf’s Brains, 1883: "First wash them in three or four waters, remove the skin, and boil for ten or fifteen minutes in salt and water, to which a little vinegar has been added; after taking them out, let them lie in cold water until ready to use them. Make a batter of the yolks of eggs and cracker crumbs, cut the brains in slices and dip them in batter, and fry in hot lard or butter. Serve garnished with parsley or beets." [Yum, my personal fav]

Fried Bread Cakes, 1879: "Take bits of bread you may have left after meals, soak them in milk, or milk and water, until perfectly soft; mash fine; add two eggs, pinch of soda, salt to taste, and enough flour to make them fry nicely; drop the spoonfuls into hot butter or lard. These are inexpensive and good, and a better way to use dry bread than in puddings." [sounds like French toast if you ask me!]

Spanish Fritter, for using Stale Bread, 1877: "Cut the slices as thick as your finger, divide, and cut off the crust. Prepare the following mixture: Beat well three eggs, and add one pint of milk, a little salt and nutmeg or cinnamon. Dip the bread in this, take out the slices, when a little soft, and fry on a buttered griddle. When nicely browned, lay as fast as they are done in a covered dish. Pour over a rich pudding sauce and serve as a dessert for tea." [Hmmm, more French toast anyone?]

Cherry Charlotte, 1902: "This may be made with either bread, dry sponge, or any other stale cake. Stew a pound of cherries till tender with half a pound of sugar. Melt four ounces of butter, and in this dip a sufficient number of slices of the bread or cake to line a charlotte mould. Fill the inside with alternate layers of stewed cherries and bread or cake. Pour any remaining juice and butter over the whole, and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour. Turn out and serve with cherry sauce flavored with Kirsch liqueur" [This one is freaking good]

Turkey Timbales, 1902: Cook together in a double boiler for fifteen minutes one cupful of breadcrumbs, one cupful of cooked chopped turkey, one teaspoonful of finely cut onion, the same of finely chopped celery leaves, one and a half cupfuls of milk. Add the mixture to the beaten white of an egg to which has been added half a teaspoonful of salt, a quarter of a teaspoonful of celery salt, an eighth of a teaspoonful of pepper. Cool. Grease molds or cups, line with dried sifted breadcrumbs, then with the mixture and fill with the following; Heat one cupful of milk melt a tablespoonful of butter, add two tablespoonfuls of flour, then the hot milk, a little at a time, stirring until smooth, add to the sauce three-quarters of a cupful of chopped turkey, one hard boiled egg, six mushrooms; season with salt, pepper and celery salt. Place the cups in a panful of hot water and bake 20 minutes. Turn on a hot platter and serve with cream sauce." [Good post-Thanksgiving use of leftovers, wouldn't you say?]

Potato Paste for Dumplings, 1876: "Boil five large potatoes until soft; peel and mash them. When quite smooth, mix with one quart of sifted flour and a scant pint of lard; salt to taste. Roll out and use for dumplings; or it makes a good paste for meat pies."

Apple Slump, 1876: "Despite its uninviting title, this is a good recipe. One quart of sifted flour, two teaspoonfuls of cream of tartar, one teaspoonful of soda. Then sift again all three together. Do not fail to sift as directed above; it is important, and should be done twice. Mix into a dough with milk or water; milk is preferred. If water is used, add one teaspoonful of lard. Make into a quite soft dough, with a spoon instead of the hands. Take two quarts of apples cut into quarters (apples to measure two quarts after being cut). Now prepare one cupful of sugar and a half a cupful of molasses with two cupfuls of water, and a seasoning of nutmeg or cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Place the apples and the ingredients in an iron kettle, and as soon as the mixture boils put the dumplings on top and boil briskly twenty minutes. At the end of fifteen minutes put in more water, if necessary, to prevent burning. When sent to table, a little cream should be poured into each plate, or milk be served in small glasses."

Poor-Man’s Pudding, 1876: "Take a coffeecupful of rice already boiled, stir into it a piece of butter the size of a walnut, a teaspoonful extract lemon, one-third teaspoonful ground cinnamon, salt to taste; three or four tablespoonfuls sugar, and last of all one quart of milk; bake in a moderate oven, when well stirred, till it is like a rich cream. This does not require sauce." [Don't you just love how they took measurements way back when?]

An Economic Breakfast Dish, 1877: "Small pieces of meat, one teacupful milk put in the frying pan with a little salt and pepper, small tablespoonful butter, six eggs beaten up and stewed in the meat." [Yum, sounds good to me!]

Cabbage Pudding, 1883: "One-fourth of a head of cabbage, one-half loaf of bread, one quart of milk, four eggs, butter, salt and pepper; boil the cabbage until thoroughly done, then chop it very fine; break the bread into fine crumbs; place alternate layers of the cabbage and bread crumbs in a dish, seasoning every other layer generously with butter, salt, and pepper; finish off with a layer of bread crumbs; scald the milk; beat the eggs well, add them to the milk, then pour it carefully over the pudding. Bake until a light brown; half an hour should suffice. This method of preparing cabbage renders it as delicate as cauliflower." [Now why make butterscotch pudding when you can have cabbage pudding?!]

Squash Pie, 1883: "Take three-fourths cupful of squash after it is boiled and sifted, one egg, a good tablespoonful of sweet cream, and four tablespoonfuls of sugar, beat well together, pour in a cupful and a half of rich milk, add a little cinnamon and a few drops of extract of lemon with a half teaspoonful of salt, stir together and set over a kettle of boiling water in a tin pan to heat near scalding hot; pour into a deep plate lined with paste and bake till it rises up in the middle and seems cooked. Some may prefer it less sweet, and three tablespoonfuls of sugar will answer." [Less sweet? Are you kidding me?! It's squash for pete's sake, and it only calls for four tablespoons of sugar. If I were to make this recipe, I'd put in a cup of sugar]

Peach Leather, 1908: "Stew as many peaches as desired, allowing a quarter of a pound of sugar to one of fruit; mash it up smooth as it cooks, and when it dry enough to spread in a thin sheet on a board greased with butter, set it in the sun to dry. When dry, it can be rolled up like leather, wrapped in a cloth, and will keep perfectly from season to season. School children regard it as a delightful addition to their lunch of biscuit or cold bread." [Neat-o. I've been meaning to try this one]

Egg Plant Boats, 1908: "Cut an egg plant in half, scoop out all of the inside until within an inch of the skin. Put this in a vegetable grinder, granding fine. [sic] Then add two eggs, seasoning to taste, one cupful of any cold meat. If no cold meat is handy get a little veal. Add a half cupful of melted butter, work it all smooth. Place this in the shells, smoothing it nicely. Sprinkle buttered bread crumbs on tp, then bake in oven for one hour."

There are more where these came from! Stay tuned!

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