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. 
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)