Sunday, July 24, 2011

Boy's Coffee

Mrs. Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book [1850]

I am sure that, like me, you are fascinated by temperance beverages and children's drinks, as you do not drink alcohol, tea, or coffee. No? Well tough cookies to you! It is time for some Boy's Coffee.

Green tea and coffee, as ordinarily used, are very injurious to very many constitutions. They contain but very little nourishment, except what is added by the milk and sugar, and training a family of children to love them (for no child loves them till trained to do it) is making it probable that all of them will be less healthful and comfortable, and certain that some will be great sufferers. Training children to drink tea and coffee is as unreasonable and unchristian, as training them to drink foxglove and opium would be--the only difference is, that in one case it is customary, and the other it is not; and custom makes a practice appear less foolish and sinful.

There is no need, at this period of the world, to point out the wickedness and folly of training children to love alcoholic drinks.

Boy's Coffee.

Crumb bread, or dry toast, into a bowl. Put on a plenty of sugar, or molasses. Put in one half milk and one half boiling water. To be eaten with a spoon, or drank if preferred. Molasses for sweetening is preferred by most children.

Verdict: Meh. It's basically cambric tea, but with molasses (sorghum, of course) and bits of bread. Not bad, really, but not very good, either. Much like a bland breakfast cereal. It reminds me of that (very) old breakfast classic, warm milk poured over bread. I'm fairly certain that most modern children would just look at you incredulously if you served this to them, but that theory remains to be tested.*

*on unsuspecting nieces and nephews. Ah ha ha ha ha ha.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Effervescing Jelly Drink

Mrs. Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book [1850]

I am on a roll! Let us try again at effervescing beverages.

Effervescing Jelly Drinks.
When jams or jellies are too old to be good for table use, mix them with good vinegar, and then use them with soda, or saleratus*, as directed above.

Verdict: While better than the Effervescing Fruit Drink, still not great. The sugar in the strawberry jam helped somewhat, as did my adding of much, much less vinegar. It does fizz entertainingly, though. I shall experiment sometime with some sort of fruity syrup in a last attempt to make this tasty.

*The naturally occurring form of baking soda.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Effervescing Fruit Drinks

Mrs. Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book [1850]

Another temperance beverage!

Effervescing Fruit Drinks.
Very fine drinks for summer are prepared by putting strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries into good vinegar and then straining it off, and adding a new supply of fruit till enough flavor is secured, as directed in Strawberry Vinegar. Keep the vinegar bottled, and in hot weather use it thus. Dissolve half a teaspoonful or less of saleratus*, or soda in a tumbler, very little water till the lumps are all out. Then fill the tumbler two-thirds full of water, and then add the fruit vinegar. If several are to drink, put the soda, or saleratus into the pitcher, and then put the fruit vinegar into each tumbler, and pour the alkali water from the pitcher into each tumbler, as each person is all ready to drink, as delay spoils it.


Brrrrrrrrr. All right, have rinsed my mouth out now. But it lingers. Oh, how it lingers. Did you notice the lack of sugar? Because I didn't, until I actually started making the recipe. I was concerned, but thought the strawberry might somehow take the edge off, or that the alkalinity of the baking soda would nullify the acid. Not so. Not so. Also, that's a full 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water. I was also silly and added the vinegar to the glass while at my kitchen table. A quick sprint to the sink while yelling, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" was necessary when strawberry vinegar-y foam started pouring over my hand in a seemingly never-ending cascade.

So, the taste. It is like chugging a mouthful of burning, fiery vinegar that is also alive, like some sort of shrieking monster clawing its way down your throat. Have a lemon shrub instead.

*Salaratus is the naturally occurring form of baking soda.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cambric Tea/White Tea

Being a Temperance supporter as I am, I am pleased to recommend Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book [1850]. Miss Beecher has devoted a whole section of her book to temperance drinks that all may avail themselves of without being subject to the Demon Liquor.

Children's Drinks.
There are drinks easily prepared for children, which they love much better than tea and coffee, for no child at first loves these drinks till trained to it. As their older friends are served with green and black tea, there is a white tea to offer them, which they will always prefer, if properly trained, and it is always healthful.

White Tea.

Put two teaspoonfuls of sugar into half a cup of good milk, and fill it with boiling water.

Verdict: Really nice! It sounds bland and watery, I know, and two teaspoons does not sound like very much. But, surprisingly it is... nice. Just sweet enough, and incredibly soothing, much like feeling a warm tabby cat curl up on your stomach. The first time I used skim milk, and that was lovely. The second time I added a shot of half-and-half, and that was even lovelier. The third time I used honey instead of milk, but it just wasn't the same. Perfect for a soothing warm drink, a means to decrease your tea consumption, or a tea party with children.

Cambric tea and white tea are the same thing. A splash of actual tea is optional, as in the following:

The cold crept in from the corners of the shanty, closer and closer to the stove. Icy-cold breezes sucked and fluttered the curtains around the beds. The little shanty quivered in the storm. But the steamy smell of boiling beans was good and seemed to make the air warmer.

At noon Ma sliced bread and filled bowls with the hot bean broth and they all ate where they were, close to the stove. They all drank cups of strong, hot tea. Ma even gave Grace a cup of cambric tea. Cambric tea was hot water and milk, with only a taste of tea in it, but little girls felt grown-up when their mothers let them drink cambric tea. ~The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Friday, July 8, 2011

WWII Rationing: Bacon Turnovers and Mock Apricot Flan

We'll Eat Again: A collection of recipes from the war years", selected by Marguerite Patten

Rationing time once more! This time, hopefully with better results.

Bacon Turnovers
Cooking time: 30 minutes Quantity: 4 helpings

12 oz self-rising flour or plain flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
3 oz cooking fat or bacon fat, see method

4 oz fat bacon rashers
2 cooked leeks, finely chopped
8 oz cooked potatoes, diced
1-2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method: Sift the flour and salt, rub in the cooking fat. You could use the fat that runs from the bacon if it is allowed to become cold instead of the cooking fat. Bind with water. Grill and chop the bacon rashers, cool then mix with the leeks, potatoes, and parsley. Roll out the pastry and cut into 4 large rounds. Put the bacon mixture in the centre of each round; moisten the edges of the pastry with water. Fold over to make a turnover shape and seal firmly. Bake in the middle of a hot oven for 25 minutes until crisp and brown. Serve hot or cold.

Mock Apricot Flan
Method: Line a large 9 inch pie plate or flan dish with shortcrust pastry or oatmeal pastry or potato pastry, see recipes left and right. Bake without a filling in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes until firm and golden.

Meanwhile grate 1 lb young carrots. Put into a saucepan with a few drops of almond essence, 4 tablespoons of plum jam and only about 4 tablespoons of water. Cook gently until a thick pulp. Spoon into the cooked pastry. Spread with a little more plum jam if this can be spared.

Note: The carrots really do taste a little like apricots.

Oatmeal Pastry
Sift 6 oz self-raising flour with a pinch of salt. Rub in 2-3 oz cooking fat, then add 2 oz rolled oats. Mix with water and use as ordinary shortcrust pastry.


Bacon Turnovers: Reasonably tasty! And yes, I used the bacon fat in the pastry. Mmmm. These serving sizes are massive! One of these would have made a good dinner for DH and I with a couple side dishes. It did not taste very much of bacon though. It's mainly potato and leek. That's all right though. It was much like really nice hash browns inside pastry, and as such, was vastly improved with a little bit of ketchup.

Mmmmm... hash browns in pastry.

Mock Apricot Flan: This tastes... kind of like apricots. Yes, really. Not spot-on, obviously, but a reasonable facsimile. Surprising! Husband and I agree; the first bite is kind of all right, but then as you're eating it, it grows on you. As a bonus, you feel really virtuous while eating it because you are eating a massive amount of carrots. The oatmeal pastry is also reeeeeaaaaaally good. It makes it taste a little bit nutty. I would happily use the pastry recipe again!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Automobile Picnic

Mrs. Allen on Cooking, Menus, Service [1924]

picture from Good Housekeeping, September 1929

Automobile Luncheons

These may be easily packed in ready-made kits obtained at almost any price, or in a suitcase partitioned off at home for the purpose. All dishes should be of paper, folding knives, spoons, and forks may be carried. The points to be considered in planning the menu are to select foods that may be easily transported and to balance the meal.

A course meal may be provided if desired, soup carried in a hot-cold bottle. Meat loaf, fried chicken, broiled chicken, sliced roast beef or ham may act as the main course, or a meat or egg salad may take its place, lettuce being carried separately.

If desired, a substantial course may be made of sandwiches. (For suggestions see chapter on Sandwiches.) The dessert may consider of fruit and any cake or pie that is not sticky. Or use cookies, gingerbread, plain or jelly doughnuts.

Menus for Informal Outdoor Meals
Park, Roof or Piazza

Cold Broiled Chicken
Potato Salad
Bread-and-Butter Sandwiches
Apple Pie and Cheese

Sliced Meat Loaf
Potato Chips
Sliced Tomatoes
Nut Bread Sandwiches
Jelly Doughnuts

Boston Baked Beans
Buttered Brown-Bread Sandwiches
Tomato-and-Lettuce Salad
Peach Ice Cream