Monday, June 24, 2013

History you can taste

not my copy!
I'm just a bit of a history nut if you haven't already guessed. So it only seems right that every now and then I share some of my historical stuff. Speaking of which, I happen to own the April 1883 edition of the Godey's Lady's Book. I use it mostly for research for my manuscripts, but there are plenty of other interesting things in this little magazine.

One of my favorite things to take note of are the recipes. Often, when writing, I haven't the faintest idea of what to feed my characters, but this little book has plenty of decent (historically accurate) ideas.

Anyways... thought I might share some 130 year old recipes

BTW: did you know that in 1883, a Godey's Lady's Book subscription cost $2.00 a year?

Potato Salad

Cold boiled potatoes,
Salad oil,
Slice some cold potatoes, and sprinkle over them a little finely chopped parsley and onion. Mix a dressing with the proportion of two spoonfuls of oil to one of vinegar, add mustard, pepper, and salt to taste, mix well together and beat with a fork until it becomes creamy, then pour over the vegetables. Bottles anchovies may be added to this, when it becomes anchovy salad. 


  Soup Stock

Odds and ends of meat,
Six whole cloves,
Twelve whole peppers.
Save the trimmings and coarse bits of your roasting pieces, also the bones, and to every two pounds put a quart of water; when it comes to a boil set it back from the hot fire, where it will simmer six hours, then add herbs and seasoning; cook two hours longer, strain, and put in a cool place; in the morning skim off the fat. This can be used to make any kind of soup or sauces, and is very convenient to have on hand, as it really costs nothing - the spice is sufficient for a gallon of stick. 


Stewed Beefsteak

A thick steak,
One onion,
three cloves,
Carrot, turnip, and onion. 
Partially fry a thick beefsteak with an onion; then roll it up, put it into a stew pan with a little stock or gravy, add three cloves, some slices of carrot, turnip and onion. Put it in the oven for an hour, then thicken the gravy with flour and butter, season, add a spoonful of mushroom catsup, and serve.


Milk Biscuit

One quart of flour,
Two tablespoonfuls of butter,
two teaspoonfuls of soda,
One pint of milk,
Half a tablespoonful of salt.
Take one quart of flour and mix with it two teaspoonfuls of soda, then add two tablespoonfuls of butter, and half a teaspoonful of salt; moisten the mixture gradually with one pint of sweet milk, roll out, cut in round cakes, and bake in a quick oven.


Pound Seed  Cake

One pound of butter,
One pound of sugar,
One pound of flour,
Eight eggs,
Caraway seeds to taste.
Rub the butter and sugar together until they are beaten to a cream; then add one pound of flour well dried, eight eggs (yolks and whites beaten separately), and caraway seeds to taste. Mix the ingredients, and beat all well together for one hour. Put the batter into a tin cake-mould lined with paper and well buttered. Bake in a moderate oven.


German Cream

One quart of cream,
Yolks of four eggs,
Quarter of a pound of sugar,
Half ounce of isinglass.
Whip one pint of cream stiff, and put it on a sieve; boil the remaining pint with the yolks of the eggs,  well beaten; sweeten, and flavor with vanilla; put into the insinglass dissolved, and set it on the ice. When it begins to thicken, stir in the whipped cream, a spoonful at a time; put into a mould and keep it one the ice.

I suppose I'll be the first to admit I only use about maybe a fourth of these measurements to this day, but its rather interesting to see the way they used to phrase things. Now, I can't promise that you will be able to decipher these recipes and make them yourself, but if you're a writer, some food might spice up your writing.

Whatever you do with it! I wish you luck!


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