Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Broiled salmon, potatoes, breakfast johnny cake, stewed cherries

This breakfast bill of fare is from Jennie June's American Cookery Book, Containing Upwards of Twelve Hundred Choice and Carefully Tested Receipts; Embracing All the Popular Dishes, and the Best Results of Modern Science, Reduced to a Simple and Practical Form. Also, a Chapter for Invalids, for Infants, One on Jewish Cookery; and a Variety of Miscellaneous Receipts of Special Value to Housekeepers Generally [1870].

Phew.

Jennie June, no less generous with her quotes than with her titles, chooses this to begin with:

"What does cookery mean?"


"It means the knowledge of Medea, and of Circe, and of Calypso, and of Helen, and of Rebekah, and of the Queen of Sheba. It means the knowledge of all fruits, and herbs, and balms, and spices--and of all that is healing, and sweet in fields, and groves, and savory in meats--it means carefulness, and inventiveness, and watchfulness, and willingness, and readiness of appliance. It means the economy of your great-grandmothers, and the science of modern chemists--it means much tasting, and no wasting--it means English thoroughness, and French art, and Arabian hospitality, and it means in fine, that you are to be perfectly, and always 'ladies,'--'loaf givers,' and as you are to see imperatively that everybody has something pretty to put on,--so you are to see, even yet more imperatively, that everybody has something nice to eat."--RUSKIN.

I think that is rather nice.

IMG_2750.jpg picture by seshet27


Broiled Salmon
About an inch, is the proper thickness to cut the slices; dry them with a cloth, put salt on them, and lay them skin side down, on a gridiron over hot coals. Before laying on the fish, rub the bars with lard, to prevent them sticking. When broiled sufficiently on one side, turn the fish, by laying a plate upon it and turning the gridiron over; then slip the salmon from the plate on to the gridiron. This prevents its breaking.

I just pan-fried these, seeing as I am short on gridirons over hot coals.


Fried Potatoes
Peel half a dozen medium potatoes, cut them up small, and put them into cold water for about half an hour; take them out, dry with a towel, and put them in a frying-pan, with two ounces of butter and a little salt; cover down, and every little while, shake and turn them; when they are tender, and of a clear, light, rich brown, they are done; the grease should be drained off from them, and they are ready to send to table.

IMG_2748.jpg picture by seshet27


Breakfast Johnny Cake
Mix over night six or eight table-spoonsful of fine yellow Indian meal, with two of wheat flour, one of corn starch, a tea-spoonful of salt, and water enough to wet thoroughly--milk is better, but is not essential.
IMG_2741.jpg picture by seshet27
In the morning add one egg, a tea-spoonful of soda, a table-spoonful of brown sugar, and another of melted butter; beat up well, and bake immediately. This is good enough for "company."

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The original menu, instead of johnny cake, had "baker's twists". Unfortunately, I have no idea what those are, and Jennie June did not provide a recipe. This right here is as close as Google took me, and I just don't think that's what Jennie June was thinking of. I hope. What Jennie June does say is this:

"In some families, warm soda biscuit for breakfast, is the regular thing; this is very hurtful. Good home-made bread, not quite fresh, is best. French bread, baked the day before, next best; good baker's twist, third best. For a change, warm corn bread, or johnny cake may be made for breakfast, rice cakes, or waffles, and if biscuits, make them from the light dough mixed over night, shortened with a little butter.
"

So there.

Stewed Cherries
No recipe given. I used canned, you could simmer fresh sweet cherries in sugar water. But don't.

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There is a very important point however, to which little attention is paid, and that is fruit. "Fruit," saith the old proverb, "is golden in the morning, silver at noon, and lead at night," yet it is only at night, that in this country, we eat it at all, as part of a meal. This is wrong, fruit is a most valuable part of food, it cannot be too highly estimated; more fruit, with less saleratus, and rich greasy compounds, such as butter with meats, gravies, and the like, would take away the occupation of half the doctors, and reduce wonderfully the sum total of dyspepsia and liver complaints.

Verdict:

Salmon: Mmmmmm. Salmon. Salmon is delicious, and how can you go wrong with a simple pan-fry and salt?

Potatoes: Also pretty simple. I prefer Jennie June's simplistic attitude towards fish and vegetables to Fannie Farmer's love of egg sauced fish or Aunt Babette's horrible library paste peas.

Breakfast Johnny Cake: Okay, so this was not good. The invalid muffins and Graham gems, they didn't taste like anything. But this tasted like baking soda, acrid and chemically salty. We got together with friends this evening to play games, and brought the leftover johnny cake along, since Jennie June swears it is good enough for company. Or we wanted to get rid of it. You can decide that about us. One of our friends said it tasted just like licking a dryer sheet. Friend, why were you licking dryer sheets?

Stewed Cherries: Canned cherries are not my favorite canned fruit. And if you have lovely fresh cherries, why would you cook them up? That would be a travesty. However, all credit to Jennie June, I am dyspepsia and liver-complaint free!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For the woman who lives alone

Every Tuesday I'll be featuring a graphic from one of these very fine cookbooks. This is part one in a four-part series from "Quick Dinners for the Woman in a Hurry Cookbook" (1942).

Our sad heroine makes do with only her dachshund, while craving a more masculine brand of company. Even prune whip does not make her feel better. Will her dreams ever come true? Tune in next week.


Bonus recipe:

Prune Whip
5 cooked prunes, drained
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped

Pit and cut prunes, mix with next 2 ingredients and chill. Whip cream, add chilled mixture and top with maraschino cherry if desired.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rosewater Custard Pudding

Many kinds of puddings are excellent and nutritious food; rice, sago and arrow-root, in particular; and if needed as food, nothing would be more healthy. The mischief is that these delicious compounds often tempt to repletion, which plain bread, cheese and fruit would not be so likely to do.


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CUSTARD PUDDING.
Mix with one table-spoonful of flour, a pint of cream or new milk, a spoonful [abt. 1/2 t.] of rose water, one ounce of fresh butter broken in small bits; sweeten with pounded loaf sugar [abt. 6 T.], and add a little grated nutmeg. Bake it in a buttered dish for half an hour. Before serving, you can strew over it pounded loaf sugar, and stick over it thin cut bits of citron, if you wish it to look very rich.
-The Good Housekeeper, or The Way to Live Well and to Be Well While We Live, Containing Directions for Choosing and Preparing Food, in Regard to Health, Economy, and Taste, by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1839)

IMG_2727.jpg picture by seshet27

Let's talk about rose water! Rose water is distilled rose petal extract. I've been looking for some for a while, and finally found it today at Kitchen Kneads. Before the importation of vanilla, rose and orange blossom water were used where we'd use vanilla today, such as in pudding, cake, custard, frosting, cookies, etc.

Readers. You must try it.

This particular recipe I tried it in, you should give a miss. It is not thick in any way, but rather like sweetened warm milk. If you cooked it over the stove and increased the flour, it'd be a really really lovely sauce for cake, I think.

Other than the thickness problem, it was amazing. Like you always imagined eating roses should be like, before you actually tried putting a petal in your mouth that one time. The disappointment. Devastating.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spicy frankfurters, browned potato loaf, succotash, banana-bran bread, baked fudge dessert

Today's menu comes from a booklet I got from my grandma, entitled "Carefree Cooking...ELECTRICALLY."


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Your New Range: of course... it's ELECTRIC.
It's a shining jewel in your kitchen, and just as priceless. With it you'll get a new kind of satisfaction in preparing meals for your family--new zest and fascination in cooking the easy modern electric way. There's no learning to cook over again--use your own favorite recipes or any standard ones--and depend on the accurately measured heat of your "up to the minute" electric range to do the rest.

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This lot is all supposed to be put in the oven at the same time at 350 F. for 50 minutes. Unfortunately, my oven is a tiny apartment model. Boo.

Spicy Frankfurters
1 pound frankfurters, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons water
2/3 cup catsup
4 tablespoons vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1. Cut frankfurters and place in baking dish.
2. Combine flour with water and mix until smooth. Add other ingredients and pour over frankfurters.
3. Cover and place in oven.


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Please observe how I used bakeware from the same vintage as the recipe.

Browned Potato Loaf
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt--dash pepper
1 cup milk
4 to 5 cups cooked potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon minced parsley

1. Make a thick white sauce of butter, flour, salt, and milk.
2. Add potatoes seasoned. Cook 5 minutes.
3. Press into waxed paper lined loaf pan
4. Place in electric refrigerator overnight.
5. Unmold. Turn onto oven-proof platter. Place in oven.


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It must be an ELECTRIC refrigerator. Do not worry, electric refrigerators are no harder to use than iceboxes, so do not fear them. I only did a half-recipe, so I molded it in an oval tupperware container. If I were smart, I would have baked this in the other half of the vintage bakeware. That is probably why it was designed with the little wall down the middle that is so usually annoying.

Succotash
1 or 2 packages frozen Succotash
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Salt
Pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons water

1. Place frozen Succotash in a pan with a close fitting cover.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. If 1 package is used, use 2 tablespoons butter and water. 4 tablespoons of each if two packages are used.
4. Bake covered.


Yeah... so I didn't know what succotash is. I later found out, a mixture of corn and beans, possibly with peppers and onions. I didn't find any in the frozen foods, so I came home empty-handed only to discover that they now market succotash as "Southwestern Vegetable Blend." What was wrong with "succotash"? It's a lovely word! Also, why does "heat up ready-made food you found at the store" count as a recipe?? Anyway, we had corn instead.

Banana-Bran Bread
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup all-bran
1/4 cup melted shortening
1 1/2 cups sifted enriched all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Mash bananas, stir in egg, bran, and melted shortening.
2. Sift dry ingredients together, add to banana mixture; stir until well blended.
3. Pour into greased loaf pan 9x5x3.


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Baked Fudge Dessert
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons cocoa
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup boiling water

1. Mix and sift flour, salt, sugar baking powder, and 3 tablespoons cocoa.
2. Cut in shortening. Add milk, vanilla, and nuts. Mix well.
3. Spread in 8-inch square pan.
4. Mix brown sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa, and corn syrup. Add boiling water and mix well.
5. Pour this sauce over mixture in pan.
6. Place in oven.

IMG_2721.jpg picture by seshet27

We also ate this watermelon that Ron cut in the fancy way they showed him in Afghanistan. Neat! You can fork pieces out and eat them out of the rind. We've never figured out exactly the kind of melon they kept giving him. We think it could be a christmas melon.

IMG_2715.jpg picture by seshet27

Verdict:

Spicy frankfurters: These were really, really good. Not spicy in any way whatsoever, but good. As hot dogs go, you know. I was skeptical, what with the saucy sauce, but this is why I like trying out these weird recipes. One step below grilled, but how is a hot dog more delicious than grilled? Especially the ones that got a little burned to the bottom. The sauce caramelized those bits into deliciousness. I'm making these again. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

Browned potato loaf: Ron liked it. I thought it was fine. Nothing special. Kind of, you know, potatoey. What is with the 50's and loafed things, though? Does everything have to be made into a loaf?

Banana-bran bread: Oh look, a loaf. Amazing. As banana bread goes, not great. As a breakfasty bread, fine. Still, it's no invalid muffin.

Baked fudge dessert: It made fudge sauce on the bottom. Oh man, it made fudge sauce on the bottom. Fudge sauce.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fruit, fried fish, frizzled beef, milk toast, Graham gems, boiled egg

Bad dinners go hand in hand with total depravity, while a properly fed man is already half saved.

This breakfast (yes, breakfast!) menu comes from Tried and Approved. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping. Compiled from Original Recipes., which is dedicated to:

THE PLUCKY HOUSEWIVES OF 1876,

WHO MASTER THEIR WORK
INSTEAD OF ALLOWING IT TO
 MASTER THEM.

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Fruit
I used pears that I canned last fall.

Fried Fish
Clean thoroughly, cut off the head, and, if large, cut out the backbone, and slice the body crosswise into five or six pieces; dip in Indian meal or wheat flour, or in a beaten egg, and then in bread crumbs (trout and perch should never be dipped in meal), put into a thick-bottomed skillet, skin side uppermost, with hot lard or drippings (never in butter, as it takes out the sweetness and gives a bad color), fry slowly, and turn when a light brown. The roe and the backbone, if previously removed, may be cut up and fried with the other pieces.
A better way is to dredge the pieces in the flour, brush with beaten egg, roll in bread-crumbs, and fry in hot lard or drippings enough to completely cover them. If the fat is very hot, the fish will not absorb it, and will be delicately cooked. When brown on one side, turn over in the fat and brown the other, and when done let them drain. Slices of large fish may be cooked in the same way. Serve with tomato sauce or slices of lemon.

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Yeahhhh. I used the last of the tilapia, which I bought sans head and backbone. I say I, but actually Ron made this. He used Italian breadcrumbs.

Frizzled Beef
Use a quarter of a pound of dried beef, tender, crimson and shaved very fine. Into the pan put one tablespoon of butter, let it melt, then add one and one-half tablespoons of flour. Rub to a smooth paste, pour in one cup of thin cream, add a dash of paprika, then the beef. Allow it to boil up, then serve on rounds of toast.

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IMG_2694.jpg picture by seshet27

This recipe actually comes from another cookbook, Good Housekeeping (1909), because it had much clearer directions. I also used milk rather than cream. Cream would be... wow. Probably really delicious. I also just used 1 jar of dried beef, and it was just about right for this amount of sauce.

Milk Toast
Make toast. Heat up milk. Pour milk over toast. Eat. I didn't make this, because it seemed ridiculous to have toast with gravy, toast with milk, and Graham gems.

Mrs. Buxton's Graham Gems
Take one egg and beat well; add pinch of salt, one quart of buttermilk or sour milk, and Graham flour enough to make a stiff batter; add one heaping tea-spoon of soda and stir thoroughly with a spoon; heat and grease gem-irons [pour in muffin tins], and after dipping the spoon in cold water, drop a spoonful of batter in each pan, repeating until all are filled; bake in a quick oven [about 375-400 F.] half an hour. This measure will make a dozen [abt. 2 dozen].

Boiled Eggs
Put them on in cold water, and when it has boiled the eggs will be done, the whites being soft and digestible, as they are not when put on in boiling water.

I may have simmered these a solid 10 minutes past the point when the water started to boil. I WILL NOT EAT RAW WHITES.

Verdict:

Fruit: Well, it's fruit, isn't it? Home canned pears are delicious. Especially when they are from my grandma's tree.

Fried Fish: This was SO much better than that egg sauce business. If I make tilapia again, this is how I'm doing it.

Frizzled Beef: This is also known as chipped beef. First of all, the dried beef was kind of hard to find. Until I looked at Wal-Mart. It was by the spam, sardines, vienna sausages, etc. I really thought this would be terrible. But it isn't! It grows on you. One thing I did that other recipes for frizzled beef (and the lid) called for was pouring on warm water, swishing it around, then pouring it off to get off some of the salt. This isn't something I'll be putting on regular menu rotation, but it actually is pretty good. I had seconds for the first time since starting this blog. I'm going to get a couple jars for food storage.

Graham gems: They were, you know, fine. Much like the invalid muffins, but wheat. I used whole wheat flour instead of Graham flour, because it is easier to find and the differences are negligible. The crust was nice, but these should really be more of a vehicle for jam. Lots and lots of jam. Ron said they would be better with sausage gravy. Again.

Boiled egg: Geez! What is with these people and mass amounts of protein and bread product?!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Invalid muffins, baked fillets of halibut, cheese salad, peach tapioca

Invalid Cookery should form the basis of every trained nurse's education. A good sick cook will save the digestion half its work. ~Florence Nightingale

Today's
food comes from Fannie Farmer's lesser known book, Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent. This is apparently the cookbook that she was most proud of, and wanted to be known for this one more than, say, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Oh, Fannie. What did the sick and convalescent ever do to you, that you should make it your life's work to treat them like this?


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Fannie Farmer reminds us of these important things to consider in feeding the sick:
1. Appeal to the sense of sight.
2. Appeal to the sense of taste.
3. Consider temperature.
4. Digestibility.
5. Nutritive value.
6. Economy.



Invalid Muffins.

1 cup bread flour.
1 teaspoon baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/2 cup milk.
Whites 2 eggs.
2 tablespoons melted butter.
Mix and sift dry ingredients, add milk gradually, eggs well beaten, and melted butter. Bake in moderate oven in buttered gem pans. Let stand in oven, after baking, with door ajar, that crust may be dry and crisp. To be eaten hot or cold.

IMG_2632.jpg picture by seshet27

Invalid Muffins (modernized)
Makes 6 muffins. Bake at 350 F. for 15 minutes.

Baked Fillets of Halibut.
Remove skin and bones from one-half slice of halibut, leaving two fillets. Fasten in shape with small wooden skewers, sprinkle with salt, brush over with lemon juice, cover, and let stand twenty minutes. Put in pan, brush over with melted butter, cover with buttered paper, and bake twelve minutes in a hot oven. Remove to hot serving-dish, garnish with yolk of "hard boiled" egg, forced through a strainer, and white of egg cut in rings, strips, or fancy shapes. Serve with Egg Sauce, to which is added a few drops lemon juice.

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Egg Sauce I. To White Sauce I. add one-half "hard boiled" egg thinly sliced or chopped.

White Sauce I. (For Vegetables).
1/2 tablespoon butter.
2/3 tablespoon flour.
1/3 cup milk.
Few grains salt.
Melt butter, add flour, and when well mixed pour on gradually, while stirring constantly, milk. Bring to boiling-point, then season.

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Cheese Salad.
Mash Neufch√Ętel cheese and shape in form of robin's eggs. Roll in parsley that has been dried in cheese cloth, then very finely chopped.

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Arrange three eggs on lettuce leaves and serve with French Dressing.
If the cheese crumbles and cannot be readily shaped, moisten with cream.

This was pretty hard. I got some fat-free cream cheese for free, so I used that, and kind of smooshed it with two spoons, kind of like cookie dough. Neufchatel is sold right by the cream cheese, sometimes marketed as "1/3 less fat cream cheese."

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French Dressing.
1/2 tablespoon vinegar.
1 tablespoon olive oil.
1/8 teaspoon salt.
Few grains pepper.

Mix ingredients and stir, using a silver fork, until well blended. French dressing should always be added to salad greens just before serving. If allowed to stand in dressing they will quickly wilt.

IMG_2626.jpg picture by seshet27

I used strawberry infused apple cider vinegar.

Apple Tapioca.
2 tablespoons Minute Tapioca.
1/8 teaspoon salt.
2/3 cup boiling water.
1 apple, pared, cored, and cut in eighths.
1 tablespoon sugar.

Mix tapioca and salt and add to boiling water placed on front of range. Boil two minutes, then steam in double boiler fifteen minutes. Butter an individual baking-dish, cover bottom of dish with tapioca, spread over one-half the apples and sprinkle with one-half the sugar; repeat. Cover with remaining tapioca, and bake in a moderate oven until apples are soft. Serve with sugar and cream.

IMG_2636.jpg picture by seshet27
Peach Tapioca.
Make same as Apple Tapioca, substituting sliced peaches, either canned or fresh, in place of apples.

Verdict:

Invalid muffins: Bland. Blandy bland bland. Not too bad when you drench them with honey. Ron suggests they would be really good covered in sausage gravy. He is not wrong. We had a debate over whether they were invalid/(sickie) muffins or invalid/(based on a logical fallacy) muffins. We have not as yet reached a conclusion.

Baked fillets of halibut: I actually used tilapia, because halibut is expensive. It tasted of nothing. The fish tasted of fish, and the egg sauce tasted of eggs, but together, they tasted neither of fish nor eggs. This may be a miracle. Putting the egg yolk through the sieve was oddly satisfying though, and made entertaining little floofs of egg yolk bits. Ron said he had had worse.

Cheese salad: I can only say this, that Neufchatel does not taste the same as fat-free cream cheese. I erred. Fat-free cream cheese rolled in parsley is horrid. Horrid, horrid, horrid. Neufchatel may well be better. The dressing was fine though. I mean, it's pretty basic, isn't it? However, Fannie Farmer says that vegetables, especially greens, have no nutritive value and thus should only be given to sickies if they are actually well, and then only if they specifically request them. Apparently, sickies occasionally need a change from gruel and Things With White Sauces or they can go bonkers. She is not wrong. About that last bit, anyway.

Peach tapioca: I refer you to the above picture.

1. Appeal to the sense of sight: The floofy bits of egg yolk are nice, aren't they? But the tapioca... it... no. I... I... can't... ladies who are into NFP may know my thoughts here. I cannot voice them though. I just... I can't.

2. Appeal to the sense of taste.: This food, it tasted of nothing.

3. Consider temperature: Warm, pretty much.

4. Digestibility: I'll let you know in a couple days.

5. Nutritive value: Unfortunately this meal included leafy greens, which as we know contain no nutritive value.

6. Economy: Pretty cheap. I actually only had to buy parsley and tilapia, so that was nice.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Veal Cutlets, Green Peas, Mashed Potatoes, Floating Island, Cup Cake

This bill of fare comes from Aunt Babette's Cook Book. Foreign and Domestic Receipts for the Household. A valuable collection of receipts and hints for the housewife, many of which are not to be found elsewhere. (1897), which can be read for free here at Feeding America.

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Aunt Babette entreats us to remember:
WE may live without poetry, music and art:

We may live without conscience, without heart:

We may live without friends, we may live without books,

But civilized man can not live without cooks.

He may live without books--what is knowledge but grieving?

He may live without hope--what is hope but deceiving?

He may live without love--what is passion but pining?

But where is the man that can live without dining?
-Lord Lytton.

Indeed, Aunt Babette. Indeed. In the end, Ben and Jerry are always there, when others have failed us.

VEAL CUTLETS.
Roll out some crackers until they are like flour. Season the cutlets with salt and ground ginger, sprinkle them well on both sides and dip each cutlet first in beaten egg and then in the rolled crackers. Have some nice goose oil or poultry drippings hot in a spider before you lay in the cutlets (if you put the cutlets in before the fat is hot they will stick to the spider) and fry a nice brown. Lay on a hot platter and garnish with parsley and slices of lemon.

I used beef instead of veal, because veal is hard to find and expensive. Veal is meat from calves. I was also out of goose oil.

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MASHED POTATOES.
Old potatoes may be used (in fact it is the only way that old potatoes should be sent to the table). Pare and let them lie in cold water until time to cook.

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Boil in salt water, drain thoroughly when done and mash them in the pot with a potato masher, working in a large tablespoonful of nice butter and enough milk to make them resemble dough, and be sure not to allow any lumps to form in your dish. Garnish with parsley.

CANNED GREEN PEAS.
Use the imported canned peas for "extra occasions." Heat, add a tablespoonful of sugar, some minced parsley and a teaspoonful of flour wet with cold water to thicken. A piece of fresh butter improves them. You may prepare them in sweet cream, which is also very nice. Use about half a cupful with a teaspoonful of flour.

I used frozen peas.

FLOATING ISLAND.
Beat light the yelks of six eggs with half a cup of sugar. Boil a quart of milk, beat up the whites of six eggs very stiff, and put them into the boiling milk, a spoonful at a time. Take out the boiled whites and lay them on a platter, now pour the hot milk gradually on the beaten yelks, when thoroughly mixed return to the fire to boil. When it begins to thicken, remove. When cool flavor with vanilla or bitter almond. Pour into a deep glass dish; put the whites on top, and garnish with jelly or candied fruit. Eat cold.

FLOATING ISLAND (modernized and cut to 1/3)
Beat the yolks of 2 eggs with 1/6 C. of sugar. Wash the beaters really, really well and beat the whites in a separate bowl until they have stiff peaks.

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Heat 1 1/3 C. milk and drop a few spoonfuls of whites in at a time, about a tablespoon. Flip them over after a few seconds, and fish them out with a slotted spoon when they feel sort of bouncy when you poke them against the side of the pan with your spoon.

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Repeat with the rest of the whites. Pour the milk that accumulated under the whites back into the rest of the milk. Temper the yolk mixture by whisking in a little of the hot milk into the yolks to heat them up gradually, then whisking the yolk into the milk. Cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat, and stir in 1 t. vanilla. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate. When it is nice and cool, float the whites on top and decorate with jelly.

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CUP CAKE.
Cream one cup of butter with two cups of sugar and add gradually the yelks of four eggs, one at a time. Sift three cups of flour, measure again after sifting, and add a teaspoonful of baking powder in last sifting. Add alternately the sifted flour and a cup of sweet milk. Add last the stiff-beaten whites of the eggs. Flavor to taste. Bake in a loaf or in jelly-tins.

I didn't make these. Just couldn't handle two desserts today.

Verdict:

Cutlets: Really good. The ginger was nice, and I may use some in the future when I'm making chicken fried steak.

Green Peas: The sauce was really, really thick. And a lot like glue. I struggled to finish mine. The recipe suggests using cream instead of water, which I think sounds fantastic.

Mashed Potatoes: I missed gravy. Without gravy, mashed potatoes are just bland. I rationed out bites of the cutlets to eat with the mashed potatoes. On my last bite of mashed potatoes and cutlet, Ron tried to steal my very last bite of meat. I fended him off with my fork.

Floating Island: Well. The bottom is kind of like runny custard. I like custard. The "islands" were... interesting. They weren't bad, they just had a really weird texture, like bouncy foamy foof. Ron says they were like styrofoam, like the popcorn packing kind. He was also in charge of "garnishing with jelly" while I made peas. I bravely gave up some of my store of precious homemade plum cardamon syrup. He poured some on top. It sank into the custard. He poured it on a second time. It also sank into the custard. He poured it on a third time. It burned down, fell over, and then sank into the custard. But the fourth time... the fourth time it stayed! Possibly because of the solid 3 inches of syrup on the bottom holding it up. In the end it was mainly syrup with some custard dribbled on top. The custard I skimmed off the top was good though, with a bit of island. Ron is fired from decorating floating islands with syrup in the future though.