Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scalloped Turkey, Brown Bread Sandwiches, Lettuce Salad, Cheese Straws

Boston Cooking School Cook-Book [1896]

With the progress of knowledge the needs of the human body have not been forgotten. During the last decade much time has been given by scientists to the study of foods and their dietetic value, and it is a subject which rightfully should demand much consideration from all. I certainly feel that the time is not far distant when a knowledge of the principles of diet will be an essential part of one's education. Then mankind will eat to live, will be able to do better mental and physical work, and disease will be less frequent. -Fannie Farmer

From the quote above, you may be thinking, "Ha! We have learned nothing and we eat more terribly now than ever before!" We certainly do eat terribly, which is why there is so much obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, there are now far fewer cases of rickets, scurvy, and general malnutrition because of the year-round availability of vegetables and increased knowledge of nutrition. So that's something. Furthermore, nowadays you can get gout even if you are not filthy rich! Viva la Revolucion!

Discuss: How do you feel about that quote? In what ways have we gotten better, and what ways have we gotten worse? How would Fannie Farmer feel about eating habits and nutritional education today?

Wow, that sounds just like a writing prompt I would have been given in 9th grade English. Maybe it is the inner need for responsibility and organization after having just been through the 60's and 70's. Come to think of it, that explains a lot about my English teacher as well.

Scalloped Turkey.
Make one cup of sauce, using two tablespoons butter, two tablespoons flour, one-fourth teaspoon salt, few grains of pepper, and one cup stock (obtained by cooking in water bones and skin of a roast turkey). Cut remnants of cold roast turkey in small pieces; there should be one and one-half cups. Sprinkle bottom of buttered baking-dish with seasoned cracker crumbs, add turkey meat, pour over sauce, and sprinkle with buttered cracker crumbs. Bake in a hot oven until crumbs are brown. Turkey, chicken, or veal may be used separately or in combination.

Brown Bread Sandwiches.
Brown Bread to be used for sandwiches is best steamed in one-pound baking-powder boxes. Spread and cut bread as for other sandwiches. Put between layers finely chopped peanuts seasoned with salt; or grated cheese mixed with chopped English walnut meat and seasoned with salt.

Cheese Straws.
Roll puff or plain paste one-fourth inch thick, sprinkle one-half with grated cheese to which has been added few grains of salt and cayenne. Fold, press edges firmly together, fold again, pat and roll out one-fourth inch thick. Sprinkle with cheese and proceed as before; repeat twice. Cut in strips five inches long and one-fourth inch wide. Bake eight minutes in hot oven. Parmesan cheese or equal parts of Parmesan and Edam cheese may be used. Cheese straws are piled log cabin fashion and served with cheese or salad course.


Scalloped Turkey: It is turkey bits, in gravy, with cracker crumbs surrounding it. That's... pretty much it. I ate a few bites and really didn't feel like finishing it. Husband ate all of his and the rest of mine, declaring it to be the perfect soup. ("But it isn't soup!" "It is like stew with all meat. And crackers!") He found it even better when saturated with cheese straws. ("What... what..." "It is like stew with all meat, and crackers, and cheese straws!")

Brown Bread Sandwiches: Another example of sandwiches having fillings before a certain point in time rather than ingredients. Tell a person in the 1890's that you want a ham sandwich with cheese, pickles, and lettuce, and they will look at you oddly, chop them all up into a paste and spread it on. It is frustrating. Anyway, the key to getting the filling to stick the sandwich together is to mash down the cheese really well. It tastes of cheese and walnuts. Not altogether displeasing, but not something I shall ever crave. Husband thought it was good, and said he'd prefer it grilled. Grilled cheese sandwiches are fantastically delicious. Try one with walnuts, why not.

Lettuce Salad: I made lettuce into a salad. Hooray!

Cheese Straws: Why has no one told me about these before? First of all, "paste" here means "pastry." Puff paste, in historical cookbooks, can either mean "puff pastry" or "pie crust", but more usually the latter. I made pie crust and used Parmesan cheese. They were delicious. Pie crust + Cheese = Awesome. As it is written, you can use cheese straws to build a little corral for your salad. So festive!

If you make these, grate your own Parmesan cheese, moisten the surface you are going to put cheese on slightly for better sticking, and don't use store bought pie crust. 1.) Store bought pie crust is terrible 2.) Making pie crust is easier than you think and 3.) The more pie crust dough is handled, the more the gluten develops. The more the gluten develops, the stiffer and harder to work with the dough becomes, thus making it really difficult to roll out thinly. This particular recipe, because of all the folding, re-rolling, and laminating with cheese, makes the dough pretty stiff to roll out by the end, and that was using dough I had handled as gently as if it were a basket of kittens. Store-bought dough comes to you already sharing many characteristics with cardboard.


Nonna Beach said...

Glad you stuck with it in spite of all the frustrations...good job !!!

Fanny Farmer...did she have a crystal ball to see the future or what ? The quote "EAT TO LIVE" means in my mind, eating healthy, controlled portions and not focusing on food so much. "Live to eat" is what most of us are doing now ( and somehow thinking we are EATING TO LIVE, thus the high obesity rate ) and it's not healthy foods most of us are consuming.

In 1896, my ancestors were scrapping for every morsel they could produce, buy or barter for to keep their families alive and well.

All I have to do now is go to a drive up window, order what I want and it's instantly there ! How lazy and fat minded is that ??? Then I drive while talking on my cell phone, eating my take out meal and doing bank business in the bank drive up... !

AND I will say it again...your Hubs is a Prince to try everything you cook ( and he's handsome to boot )

Jana said...

That he is. <3

Keri said...

What a great blog and a fabulous post. So happy I came by today.

I'm following.. and I'll be back.


Jana said...

Thank you, and welcome!