Saturday, June 7, 2014

Moorish cubbub, barley water, and carrot pudding

The Cook Not Mad, or Rational Cookery; Being A Collection of Original and Selected Receipts, Embracing Not Only the Art of Curing Various Kinds of Meats and Vegetables for Future Use, but of Cooking in its General Acceptation, to the Taste, Habits, and Degrees of Luxury, Prevalent with the American Publick, in Town and Country. To Which are Added, Directions for Preparing Comforts for the SICKROOM; Together with Sundry Miscellaneous Kinds of Information, of Importance to Housekeepers in General, Nearly All Tested by Experience. 
By Anonymous. 
Watertown, NY: Knowlton & Rice, 1831.

This is apparently one of the very first American cookbooks.  A year after its publication, it became Canada's very first cookbook*, but with "Canadian" instead of "American" in the title.  No other changes.  And a lot of it is plagiarized from other cookbooks.  Anonymous apparently did not meet the industrious American ideal.  

*Edit: this is apparently quite wrong.  The first Canadian cookbook is La Cuisinere Bourgeoisie by Menon.  Thanks to Anje of Kitchen Historic and Early Canadian Cookbooks, who should know.  

A Moorish method of cooking beef, as described by Captain Riley, the ship-wrecked mariner.  
"Mr. Willshire's cook had by this time prepared a repast, which consisted of beef cut into square pieces, just large enough for a mouthful before it was cooked; these were then rolled in onions, cut up fine, and mixed with salt and pepper; they were in the next place put on iron skewers and laid horizontally across a pot of burning charcoal, and turned over occasionally, until perfectly roasted:" [Query: --Does he mean that the skewers be run through the pieces of meat? we think he must, as it would be difficult to make such small pieces lie on the skewers, without falling through into the fire; especially when the meat came to be turned.]  "This dish," continues Captain Riley, "is called cubbub, and in my opinion far surpasses in flavour the so much admired beef steak; as it is eaten hot from the skewers, and is indeed an excellent mode of cooking beef."
Remark.--How would it do to cut up flakes here and there on our common steak pieces, and put under pieces of raw onion, pepper and salt, and fasten the flap down by means of little wooden pins or pegs, to be pulled out after cooking?

Barley Water
Upon one ounce of pearl barley, after it has been well washed in cold water, pour half a pint of boiling water, and then boil it a few minutes; the water must then be strained off and thrown away; afterwards a quart of boiling water must be poured over the barley, and which should then be boiled down to one pint and a quarter, and strained off.  The barley water thus made is clear and mucilaginous; and when mixed with an equal quantity of good milk and a small portion of sugar, is an excellent substitute for a mother's milk, when infants are, unfortunately, to be brought up by hand.  Without milk, it is one of the best beverages for all acute diseases, and may have lemon juice, raspberry vinegar, apple tea, infusion of tamarinds, or any other acidulous substance that is agreeable to the palate of the patient, mixed with it.  

Carrot Pudding
A coffee cup full of boiled and strained carrots, five eggs, sugar and butter of each two ounces, cinnamon and rose water to your taste, bake in a deep dish without paste, one hour.  


Moorish cubbubs: Isn't the recipe wonderful?  I love how the author is utterly baffled by the idea of kebabs (which is, of course, what this is).  I feel a kinship, I think.  An author shamelessly plagiarizing the recipes of others, while at the same time being totally flummoxed at times at what the heck is going on and what the recipe wants you to do because whoever wrote it took for granted you'd know how it should work. If anyone can figure out what they're trying to do with the wooden pins, let me know.  Anyway, it wasn't very flavorful.  Just... beef chunks.  Eh.  But that isn't the point.  

Barley water:  This is of particular interest to me, because I am Mormon.  In 1833, approximately contemporaneous with this cookbook, the Word of Wisdom was introduced.  The Word of Wisdom is a list of health suggestions, later amended to commandments.  Among them, "strong drink" was prohibited.  

That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.

This section, a while later, has been the source of a lot of argument and speculation:

 16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—
 17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
Some people have made the argument that what that last bit means is beer, because that is the only drink they know of that they feel fits the description.  "Mild", because beer is less alcoholic than many other forms of alcohol.  

Because of barley water's great popularity in so many cookbooks before and after this time period, especially listed as a drink for invalids, I'd put my money on that.  If I were allowed to gamble.  

It didn't taste like very much of anything.  Possibly a little dusty.  

Carrot Pudding: This was actually really nice.  It is very much like pumpkin pie filling (as those who have had pumpkin pie made of pureed carrots will be totally unsurprised to hear), but with rosewater.  And it goes really well, too.  I added a capful, which is probably between 1/4-1/2 teaspoon.  I have designs on it for breakfast tomorrow.  I'd think about adding rosewater to a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, if I didn't think total outrage would result.  


Anje said...

Actually, the first Canadian cookbook is La cuisinère bourgeoise by Menon! I think that The Cook Not Mad gets all the press because its in English. In any case, neither of them were actually written or compiled in Canada, so how "Canadian" they are is debatable.

Jana said...

Thanks, Anje! Debatable indeed.

Stephanie said...

"How would it do to cut up flakes here and there on our common steak pieces, and put under pieces of raw onion, pepper and salt, and fasten the flap down by means of little wooden pins or pegs, to be pulled out after cooking?" - I took this part to mean that he thought it would work to cut slits into the steak, stuff in some onion and seasonings, then close the slits with toothpicks. I guess so the cook could get the flavor of the "cubbub" but be able to cook the steak in a way that was more familiar to them. Old cookbooks are so much fun to read and try to interpret! :)

Jana said...

That sounds plausible, if a little fiddly. Not that that has ever stopped anyone.

Sarah Rachelle said...

Interesting! I'm Mormon too, and always thought it meant barley water. Beer is an interesting argument! But my father-in-law likes to drink Postum (a coffee alternative) and uses that verse to argue in defense of it. We've even made "Mormon Frappaccinos" with Postum and it wasn't that bad! If you think burnt-tasting barley tastes good...

Jana said...

Yeah, I'm not a huge fan of Postum. Although, now you mention it, with cream and sugar added and then iced, it might be a lot better!