The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Historic Cooking: To make a brown Fricasey from 1777.

Hannah Glasse's Brown Fricasey.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
The Redone Challenge: If They’d Had It… (November 2 - November 15, 2014)
Have you ever looked through a cookbook from another era and been surprised at the modern dishes you find? Have you ever been surprised at just how much they differ from their modern counterparts? Recreate a dish which is still around today, even if it may look a little - or a lot - different!

The Recipe: Although we don't generally see fricasees on menus today, in reading the recipes for them, I saw that they are essentially the same (at least, as some traditional recipes have it) as a very common menu item today: Chicken a la Marsala!  Having made Chicken Marsala at least once before, I was surprised to find that it is a fairly simple dish to make; when using this recipe, use flour or very fine breadcrumbs instead of the grated bread, substitute Marsala wine for the red wine, and use fresh mushrooms intead of the pickled mushrooms, and you have an almost identical dish!

To make a brown fricasey. You must take your rabbits or chickens and skin then, then cut them into small pieces, and rub them over with yolks of eggs.  Have ready some grated bread, a little beaten mace, and a little grated nutmeg mixt together, and then roll them in it; put a little butter into your stew-pan, and when it is melted put in your meat.  Fry it of a fine brown, and take care they don't stick to the bottom of the pan, then pour the butter from them, and pour in half a pint of gravy, a glass of red wine, a few mushrooms, or two spoonfuls of the pickle, a little salt (if wanted) and a piece of butter rolled in flour.  When it is of a fine thickness dish it up, and send it to table. -- from The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy, Hannah Glasse, 1774.

The Date/Year and Region: Eastern Coast of U.S., 1774. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Historic Cooking: Halloween Fruit Cake from 1920

Halloween Fruit Cakes.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
I realized, as I was going through my past food history posts, that while I have made various recipes from the 1920s (like cheese straws and Club sandwiches), I had never written them up or taken photos.  While I will have to re-create the cheese straws and Club sandwiches at another time, I recently discovered a cookbook on Mrs. Wilson's Cook Book published in 1920.  It has a lot of interesting recipes, but none, as far as I can discover, that contain alcohol any stronger than cider; this is a recipe book for the frugal, teatotal household, not one headed by a "flapper".  It does, however, contain recipes named after various holidays, and since Halloween just happened, I couldn't resist making the recipe called Halloween Fruit Cake.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Historic Cooking: Chicken Saltato con Fungi from 1916

Chicken Saltado con Fungi ingredients.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Since the Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge project officially ended, and no new challenges will be posted, those of us who have completed some of the challenges in the past decided that we would continue the project on an informal basis. We choose a challenge from the whole list of previous themes, and either complete them (if we never got a chance to do so), or re-do them, on our own time, with no requirement (even such an informal one as we had) to complete the recipe and post about it within a certain time period! I've been reading Edwardian Farm by Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn, and Alex Langlands, so I've been thinking about life in California during the Edwardian period, and the similarities and differences between Edwardian California and Edwardian England. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Historic Cooking: Moss Rose Cake, ca. 1948.

Orange flower water.
Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
I recently had a birthday, and as I have been doing for the past several years, I decided to make my own birthday dessert.  My family means well, but for most of my life they always got me those cakes from the grocery store bakery section, which always tasted stale and chemical-y, and I really dislike them; I would always be "forced" to take home the extra cake (usually about 3/4 of the cake, because my family doesn't love grocery store cake, either) because "It's *your* birthday cake", and it would sit in my fridge for over a week as I tried to get my housemates to eat some of it, but it would end up in the trash ... Despite the slight transgression of birthday protocol in making my own birthday cake, I would rather make my own; I like to bake, and when I bake, I get to decide what to make, plus, I know that it's freshly baked, rather than freshly taken from the freezer ...

Anyway, my niece is also a budding foodie and baker, and she bought me a vintage cookbook (ca. 1948) for my birthday a few years ago; the result of her purchase is that I try to have the cookbook with me when I go visit my parents' house, whenever my niece is also there, and we try to choose a recipe and bake it together.  She likes making cake (we made a Devil's Food Cake, before).  This time around, I decided I wanted something lemon for my birthday, and couldn't decide between a lemon pie -- like I made last year for my birthday -- or a sponge cake with lemon curd filling (but I haven't had good luck with sponge cake; last time the cake broke in half when I tried to get it out of the pan).  We thought this recipe sounded interesting, and as a bonus, you don't have to separate the eggs!  Here is the original recipe:

Moss Rose Cake
2 c. sifted cake flour 
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
½ tsp. almond extract 
1 c. hot milk

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together 3 times.  Beat eggs, add sugar gradually and beat until thick enough to hold a soft peak.  Add flavoring.  Fold in flour mixture in small amounts and add hot milk gradually, mixing quickly until batter is smooth.  Turn into lightly greased cake pans.  Bake in moderate (350°F) oven 30 minutes.  Makes 3 (8-inch) layers.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Historic Cooking: Capon with Oranges, 1596.

Capon (Chicken) with Oranges.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
In the History of Royal Food and Feasting course last week, we took a look at the 16th century, and English aristocratic and royal food of Elizabeth I's court.  I was able to complete one of the suggested recipes: Capon with Oranges.  Here is the original recipe:

Take your capon and set him on the fire as before with marrow bones and mutton, and when you have skimmed the pot well, put thereto the value of a farthing loaf, and let it boil till it be half boiled. Then take two or three ladlesful of the same broth and put it into an earthen pot, with a pint of the same wine aforesaid. Peel six or eight oranges and slice them thin, and put them into the same broth with four pennyworth in sugar or more, and a handful of parsley, thyme and rosemary, together tied. Season it with whole mace, clove, and sticks of cinnamon, with two nutmegs beaten small. And so serve it.
-- Thomas Dawson, Good Housewife’s Jewel (1596).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Historic cooking: Fylettys en Galentyne, c. 1430.

Fylettes en Galentyne. Photo:
Elizabeth Urbach.
So, I signed up for the History of Royal Food and Feasting course on FutureLearn, again, in the hopes that I will be able to complete the recipe challenges/assignments this time around!  After all, it is the 3rd time I've taken it, and I get a few more done each time ... 

Week 1 focuses on the Tudors, and the court and kitchen of Henry VIII.  I made the Tarte owt of Lente during one of the previous runs of this course, and although I bought some cheese to try it again this year, it finally cooled off this week (first heat wave of the year! ugh.) that I decided to try another one of the suggested recipes, called Fylettys en Galentyne, from ca. 1430.  It is a kind of braised pork dish, and is really tasty, and something that makes your house smell really good!  My housemates kept coming into the kitchen to see what was cooking.

Here is the original recipe:

Take faire porke of the fore quarter, and take of the skyn, and put the pork on a faire spitte, and roste it half ynogh; and take hit of, and smyte hit in peces, and cast hit in a faire potte; and then take oynons, and shred and pul hem, not to small, and fry hem in a pan with faire grece, And then caste hem to the porke into the potte; And then take good broth of beef or Motton, and cast thereto, and set
hit on the fire, and caste to pouder of Peper, Canel, Cloues and Maces, and lete boile wel togidur; and then take faire brede and vinegre, and stepe the brede with a litull of the same broth, and streyne hit
thorgh a streynour, and blode with all; or elles take Saundres and colour hit therewith, and late hem boile togidur, and cast thereto Saffron and salt, and serue hit forth.
-Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, (Harleian MS. 27, c.1430 – Early English Text Society print, 1888)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 is up and running, and the 2017 Cat Rescue Tea Fundraiser was a success!

Alexander Hamilton vs. Aaron Burr (1804), from a painting
by J. Mund ca. 1904.  Wikimedia Commons.
Hello everyone!  I hope you've found a lot to be thankful for in this new year!

I am one of those people who didn't have high hopes for the outcome of the recent U.S. presidential election (no matter who won), and I am also thoroughly sickened by the way Americans have turned on one another with the arrogance, entitlement (as if one candidate or the other -- and their ardent supporters -- "owned" the votes of all decent people), snobbery, and elitism that has been (to some extent) hiding under the surface of public life for decades. It is not the fault of one candidate or the other that these things have come to the surface -- it is the fault of the American people (in general) who are so wrapped up in our own likes and dislikes, needs and wishes, that we can't see that other human beings feel and think differently, and are no less decent or respectable for having different values.  Over many years, the American people -- of all political parties -- have thrown decency, neighborliness, and good citizenship out the window, and brought the political life of this country to this place.  It reminds me a lot of the state of political life at the founding of the United States, where political enemies ended their disagreements in pistol duels!

Since I believe that individual Americans have influenced each other in putting political ideals and goals above the needs of others (especially those who hold different opinions), I believe that the way out of this mess needs to start with the individual American.  This is not about ignoring reality and going back into our own personal "bubble", but it is about resisting the very real urge to "go with the flow" and bully others, under the name of "political discourse" or whatever the media are calling it.  A lot of good things have been happening, which have successfully brought together people of different political opinions and social values!

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)