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Friday Food: Eliza Leslie’s Recipe for Green Corn Pudding, 1837

Don’t miss the Food Sense symposium this weekend! This is our last Friday Food post.  Eliza Leslie (1787–1858) aspired to be a poet or novelist, but she is best remembered today for her cookbooks.  In 1828, Leslie published her first book, Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, a collection of recipes she had developed as a cooking school student. Encouraged by its popularity, she went on to publish at least six more titles and established a reputation as the most popular and influential food writer in America.  Directions for Cookery (1837) is considered her most important work.

Leslie was famous for popularizing distinctly American foods, as the following recipe from Directions for Cookery shows.  Her Indian Meal Book (1846) was the first cookbook devoted entirely to corn.

Green Corn Pudding

From Directions for Cookery

Take twelve ears of green corn, as it is called, (that is, Indian corn when full grown, but before it begins to harden and turn yellow,) and grate it. Have ready a quart of rich milk, and stir into it by degrees a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, and a quarter of a pound of sugar. Beat four eggs till quite light; and then stir them into the milk, &c. alternately with the grated corn, a little of each at a time. Put the mixture into a large buttered dish, and bake it four hours. It may be eaten either warm or cold, for sauce, beat together butter and white sugar in equal proportions, mixed with grated nutmeg.

To make this pudding,—you may, if more convenient, boil the corn and cut it from the cob; but let it get quite cold before you stir it into the milk. If the corn has been previously boiled, the pudding will require but two hours to bake.

See the full text at the Hathi Trust

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Friday Food: Maria Eliza Rundell’s Recipe for Chicken Curry, 1806

Maria Eliza Rundell (1745–1828) didn’t set out to be a domestic goddess. The widow of a surgeon, she collected recipes and household hints for her three married daughters.  John Murray, a prominent publisher, happened to be a family friend, and Rundell gave him her recipe collection as a favor, expecting no financial reimbursement.

Murray published Rundell’s work in 1806 as A New System of Domestic Cookery, and Rundell became a housekeeping superstar, supplanted only by Mrs. Beeton in the 1860s.  The book was an immediate success, especially in the United States, and went through over 65 editions in the next thirty years.  Rundell focused on budget cooking and household management.  Her recipes included dishes such as eel pie and calves’ foot broth, as well as more standard fare.  This week’s recipe is an early example of Anglo-Indian cuisine, fostered by British contact with India through colonization and trade.

Chicken Curry

From A New System of Domestic Cookery

Cut up the chickens before they are dressed, and fry them in butter, with sliced onions, till of a fine colour : or if you use those that have been dressed, do not fry them : lay the joints, cut in two or three pieces each into a stewpan, with veal or mutton gravy, a clove or two of garlick, four large spoonfuls of cream, and some Cayenne : rub smooth one or two spoonfuls of curry powder, with a little flour, and a bit of butter, and add twenty minutes before you serve ; stewing it on till ready. A little juice of lemon should be squeezed in when serving.

Slices of rare done veal, rabbit or turkey, make a good curry.

A dish of rice boiled plain, as hereafter directed, must be always served to eat with curry.

See the full text at the Hathi Trust

Don’t miss Food Sense, the 2012 Life Sciences and Society Symposium, March 16-18.  SCARaB is participating with an exhibition of books on science and nutrition, now open in the Ellis Library Colonnade.

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Friday Food: William Kitchiner’s Recipe for Wow Wow Sauce, 1817

William Kitchiner claimed to have a medical degree, but there is no evidence of his ever actually attending university.  His eccentric, epicurean dinner parties are his primary claim to fame.  He also invented a condiment he called Wow Wow Sauce, which became popular in the nineteenth century.

Kitchiner takes scientist’s approach to cooking in The Cook’s Oracle.  He published specific instructions for cooking techniques, an explanation of the chemical processes of cooking, and a table of weights and measures.

Wow Wow Sauce for Stewed or Bouilli Beef

From The Cook’s Oracle

Chop some Parsley leaves very finely, quarter two or three pickled Cucumbers, or Walnuts, and divide them into small squares, and set them by ready; — put into a saucepan a bit of Butter as big as an egg; when it is melted, stir to it a tablespoonful of fine Flour, and about half a pint of the Broth in which the Beef was boiled ; add a tablespoonful of Vinegar, the like quantity of Mushroom Catsup, or Port Wine, or both, and a teaspoonful of made Mustard; let it simmer together till it is as thick as you wish it, put in the Parsley and Pickles to get warm, and pour it over the Beef, — or rather send it up in a Sauce-tureen.

Obs.—If you think the above not sufficiently piquante, add to it some Capers, or a minced Shallot, or one or two teaspoonsful of Shallot Wine (No. 402), — or Essence of Anchovy, — or Basil (No 397), — Elder, or Tarragon (No. 396), or Horseradish (No. 399), or Burnet Vinegar ; or strew over the meat, Carrots and Turnips cut into dice, — minced Capers, — Walnuts, — Red Cabbage, — pickled Cucumbers, — or French Beans, &c.

See the full text at the Hathi Trust

Don’t miss Food Sense, the 2012 Life Sciences and Society Symposium, March 16-18.  SCARaB will be participating with an exhibition of books on science and nutrition.

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Friday Food: Catharine Beecher’s Recipe for Rhubarb Tart, 1846

Catharine Beecher (1800-1878), the sister of the abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, was an early feminist and advocate of women’s education.  Beecher was at the forefront of the home economics movement in the nineteenth century.  She sought to increase the status of traditional women’s work such as cooking and childcare, arguing for its value to society and the need for female education to inform this work.

Beecher published her Treatise on Domestic Economy in 1841.  The book combined useful household hints with Beecher’s radical views on women’s rights and education.  Surprisingly, the book was a great success; fifteen editions were published in the next fifteen years.  As supplements to the Treatise, Beecher published several other cooking and household management books, including Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book.

Ellen’s Pudding, or Rhubarb Tart

From Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book

One pint of stewed pie plant.
Four ounces of sugar.
One half pint of cream.
Two ounces of pounded cracker.
Three eggs

Stew the pie plant, and rub it through a sieve. Beat the eggs well, and mix with the sugar and cream. Stir the cracker crumbs into the fruit, and add the other ingredients. Line your plate with a moderately rich paste, and bake half an hour.

See the full text at the Hathi Trust

Don’t miss Food Sense, the 2012 Life Sciences and Society Symposium, March 16-18.  SCARaB will be participating with an exhibition of books on science and nutrition.

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Friday Food: Isabella Beeton’s Recipe for Baked Beef, 1861

As the oldest girl in a family of twenty-one children, Isabella Mayson (1836–1865) had ample practice in the domestic arts by the time she married Samuel Beeton at the age of 20.  Samuel was an innovative editor and publisher, and Isabella participated fully in his publishing business, putting her domestic skills to work as editor of the English Woman’s Domestic Magazine. The year after her marriage, Isabella also began work on the monumental compendium of domestic science that is The Book of Household Management.  The book was first published it in 1861, when Isabella was only 25, and it was an immediate success due to her attention to accuracy, economy, and taste.

Isabella died of childbed fever only a few years later, at the age of 28.  After her death, Samuel sold the rights to her book to the publisher Ward, Lock, and Tyler, whose intense marketing created the Victorian domestic icon that Mrs. Beeton later became.

Baked Beef (Cold Meat Cookery)

Color plate with beef dishesIngredients.—About 2 lbs. of cold roast beef, 2 small onions, 1 large carrot or two small ones, 1 turnip, a small bunch of savoury herbs, salt and pepper to taste, 4 tablespoonfuls of gravy, 3 tablespoonfuls of ale, crust or mashed potatoes.
Mode.— Cut the beef in slices, allowing a small amount of fat to each slice; place a layer of this in the bottom of a pie-dish, with a portion of the onions, carrots, and turnips, which must be sliced; mince the herbs, strew them over the meat, and season with pepper and salt. Then put another layer of meat, vegetables, and seasoning; and proceed in this manner until all the ingredients are used. Pour in the gravy and ale (water may be substituted for the former, but it is not so nice), cover with a crust or mashed potatoes, and bake for ½ hour, or rather longer.
Time.—Rather more than ½ hour.
Average cost, exclusive of the meat, 6d.
Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.
Seasonable at any time.
Note.—It is as well to parboil the carrots and turnips before adding them to the meat, and to use some of the liquor in which they were boiled as a substitute for gravy ; that is to say, when there is no gravy at hand. Be particular to cut the onions in very thin slices.

See the full text at the Hathi Trust or Find the 1899 edition in Special Collections

Don’t miss Food Sense, the 2012 Life Sciences and Society Symposium, March 16-18.  SCARaB will be participating with an exhibition of books on science and nutrition.

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Posted in Exhibits, Rare Book Collection
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