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

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?

book56_cover.jpg picture by seshet27

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.

IMG_2627.jpg picture by seshet27

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.

IMG_2631.jpg picture by seshet27

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.

IMG_2625.jpg picture by seshet27

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."

IMG_2630.jpg picture by seshet27

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.


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.


Bethany said...

That tapioca looks...

Melissa said...

Yuck! I hope I never get sick around Fannie ;o)

Jana said...

Fannie is mean!

Kristin said...

I feel very sorry for the sick folk under her care. Nastiness.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem with the tapioca in your recipe was that in the 19th century non-processed *pearl* tapioca was used, not instant. Instant tapioca won't stand up to all the cooking required in this recipe. You can purchase this type of tapioca under the brand Bob's Red Mill(via Amazon). I make real tapioca pudding quite frequently and it bears NO resemblance to what you experienced. It is quite delicious!

Jana said...

That may well work better. I can't imagine it working worse. Regardless, the recipe does call specifically for Minute tapioca, not pearl tapioca. Sigh!