Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Breakfast: Indian Slapjacks, Pork chops, Eggs and Apples, Graham bread

A great variety of dishes are unnecessary for breakfast, but see that what you do have, is nicely cooked, and properly served. Unless sickness or some other circumstance prevents, the mistress of the house should always add the finishing touches to the breakfast room, and the breakfast table. The most experienced servant will fail in producing just the right degree of light and sunlight, in getting rid of the last speck of dust, or the latest evidence of ashes, and never thinks at all of transferring a branch of rosebuds, and geranium from the garden to the mantel piece; these belong to the gentler thought, and more refined instincts of the cultivated lady, and such duties are not at all beneath the dignity of the highest in the land. -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... Also, a Chapter For Invalids, For Infants, One on Jewish Cookery; and a Variety of Miscellaneous Receipts of Special Value to Housekeepers Generally.[1870]



Bill of Fare:
Indian Slapjacks
Pork Chops cut thin and fried brown
Fried apples
Graham bread


Indian Griddle Cakes --1
Mix together one pint of Indian meal, one cup of flour, a table-spoonful of molasses, a tea-spoonful of saleratus*, a little salt and ginger, and sufficient sour milk to make a stiff batter. Bake on the griddle.



Pork Cutlets
To broil or fry these, cut them half an inch thick, trim them into neat form, take off part of the fat. To broil them, sprinkle a little pepper on them, and broil them over a clear and moderate fire a quarter of an hour, or a few minutes more; and just before taking them off, sprinkle over a little fine salt. For frying, flour them well and season with pepper, and salt, and sage. They may also be dipped into an egg, and then into bread crumbs mixed with minced sage; if for broiling, add a little clarified butter to the egg, or sprinkle it on the cutlets.



Eggs and Apples
Beat up the eggs as for omelet, pare and slice the apples, fry them in a little butter, take them out, and stir them in with the eggs. Melt a little butter in the pan, put in the eggs and apples; fry, turning over once and serve it hot.

***

Verdict:

Indian Griddle Cakes: Kind of dry and gritty, but not bad. They work astonishingly well for soaking up syrup, possibly up to 3x their weight in syrup. I do not know what property of this recipe is the cause of this, but it is awesome.


Pork Cutlets: So very tasty. I bolded the part of the recipe I followed, and they were fab. Nice and crusty outside, tender and juicy inside. Delightful.

Eggs and Apples: Surprisingly delicious! I used a small apple, three eggs, a splash of milk, a sprinkle of salt, and about 2 T. butter. Butter is important. You wouldn't think this would be as pleasant as it is. I can't quite describe how it tastes, so you'll just have to try it out.

Graham bread: I used 9-grain bread, hoping that the Rev. Sylvester Graham would approve.

All together: The best part about this menu is that you only have to use one pan! Fantastic. To keep the food from getting cold while you make everything, throw everything in the warming oven** as you make it. If you do not live in the 1800's and thus do not have a wood stove, turn your oven to its lowest setting, let it come to temperature, turn it off, and then throw in your tin foil covered food.

After eating everything, I was well satisfied. You may notice, however, that everything is brown. This may be why Jennie June suggests putting flowers on the table! As indeed I did (although they are not in the picture), as I have the refined instincts of a cultivated lady.


*Saleratus is the naturally-occuring form of baking soda. It was gathered up off the ground, where it forms a sort of crust. Early settlers to the western United States were often thrilled to find deposits of saleratus. Like pure baking soda, it has to react with an acid in order to leaven stuff. This is why the recipe above calls for sour milk, which I've talked about before. Fresh milk will not work! To substitute for sour milk, add 1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice to every 1 cup of milk.

**The warming oven is the part of a wood-burning stove that is right above the range. It doesn't get hot, it just stays... you know... warm. Because of this, it is marvelous for keeping food warm, raising bread, keeping the bread warm after it is baked so that butter melts into it deliciously hours later, and keeping premature babies and sickly lambs in. It is not, as some might quite wrongly believe, for storing pots and pans in. This is a waste of good cookie-storing space.

4 comments:

Nonna Beach said...

Yummy meal ! I bet it really stuck to your ribs before you got hungry again...my mouth was watering when you mentioned how much syrup was soaked up !

Jana said...

Yes, an excellent meal to start a long day of working in the fields!

Nelda said...

Another thing that a warming oven is NOT good for is saran wrap.

Jana said...

Yes, that is VERY TRUE.