Friday, September 04, 2015

Extreme Kitchen DIY: Edible Paper.


I want to talk today about wafer paper. Wafer paper is ‘a preparation of paste in thin sheets, used in cookery and pharmacy’ (OED.) To get the pharmaceutical use out of the way first, so we can focus on cooking wafer paper was apparently used to wrap nausea-inducing medicines in order to assist their ingestion.

The usual use of wafer paper today is in the form of thin translucent sheets of rice starch which dissolve almost instantly on the tongue. It has been used since at least the early eighteenth century to line the tins on which macarons are baked, thus sticking to their sugary little bottoms and adding an interesting texture to the eating experience. Another form – slightly thicker and more like very thin noodles in texture - is used to make the well-known and delicious rice paper rolls of Vietnam.

I have written about wafer paper in two previous posts. The first was about a ‘new’ fad in London in 1906 of providing dinner guests with an edible bill of fare. The second showed that the concept was in fact not new at all and had been used to great effect over half a century before, by the famous Victorian chef Alexis Soyer. In 1846 Soyer greatly impressed the visiting Pasha of Egypt with an elegant Pineapple Cream decorated with his (the Pasha’s) ‘edible portrait’ painted on wafer paper. The dish was a sensation at an already magnificent over-the-top catering event.

There is always something new to discover about even the most unpromising topics. I was reminded of my previous posts when I happened across the instructions for making wafer paper (from fine wheat flour) in a domestic encyclopaedia, and thought I would share it with you.                                               

Wafers. (In cookery.)
Prep. Make fine flour, dried and sifted, into a smooth thin batter with good milk, or a little cream and water; add about as much white wine as will make it thick enough for pancakes, sweeten it with a little loaf sugar, and flavour it with powdered cinnamon. When thus prepared, have the wafer-irons made ready, by being heated over a charcoal fire; rub them with a piece of linen cloth dipped in butter; then pour a spoonful of the batter upon them, and close them almost immediately; turn them upon the fire, and pare the edges with a knife, if any of the batter oozes out. A short time will bake them, when the irons are perfectly heated. The wafers must be curled round whilst warm when they are for ornaments. ‘Wafer paper’ is prepared in a similar way to the above; but when intended to be kept for some time, the milk must be omitted. Used by cooks, &c.; and, recently, as an envelope for nauseous medicines.
Cyclopaedia of Practical Receipts and Collateral Information (1872) by J. & A. Churchill.

Whether you choose to make your own edible paper, or would rather visit your nearest Asian grocery (the best source for rice paper), the following recipe sounds delicious.

Almond Faggots.
Whisk up the whites of four eggs, and put in the yolks of three, with a quarter of a pound of powder sugar, whisk this together well, then put in as many almonds, cut very fine into strips, as will make it quite stiff, but let the almonds be very dry, then cover the plate, or wire, with wafer paper, and dress them in small heaps, as pointed as you can; take them in a slack oven; when coloured, they are done; take them out, and let them stand till cold, then trim the wafer paper round them, but let it remain at the bottom.
The Italian Confectioner: Or, Complete Economy of Desserts, ... (London, 1820)

by William Alexis Jarrin.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Cornflakes without Milk?


What would your breakfast cornflakes be without milk? Would it surprise you to know that Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the man who developed and patented the quintessential breakfast cereal, thought that milk was a filthy food not fit for human consumption?

Here is part of a talk he gave on March 2, 1899 to the International Health Association.

GOOD AND BAD FOODS
by: Dr. J. H. Kellogg

Milk as Food - Three Kinds of Cooking - Experiments Showing Starch Digestion - Peanut Butter - International Health Association.

I have been asked several questions, and I will try to answer some of them.  The other day a good brother asked me if I could recommend the use of milk; and I remarked that milk is good for calves.  The fact is, so far as my observation is concerned, that milk is not good for any class of beings but calves, - that babies or adults who are compelled to live on milk will suffer in consequence. The large share of stomach troubles and bowel difficulties of many babes is due to cow's milk.  Sometimes this food is the best the child can get; and of course if that is so, the little one has to make the best of it.  But it is an unfortunate thing for any person to be obliged to live on cow's milk.  The reason for this is that mother's milk, the natural food of the child, forms in the stomach of the child small, soft, flaky curds, which are quickly digested. Cow's milk, on the contrary, forms large, tough curds.  I once saw a man who nearly lost his life from taking milk. He came home one evening, tired, hungry, and thirsty; and being in a hurry to go to bed, he swallowed three pints of milk. He went to sleep feeling quite comfortable; but about two o'clock he awoke with a strangling sensation. He felt something in his throat, and placing his finger in his throat, he pulled out three yards of milk, - a rope of milk three yards long. It was fortunate that he was strong enough to expel the mass, else it would have remained in his stomach and rotted, inflammation would have set in, and he would have had gastric catarrh, and probably would have died. 
Cow's milk is the filthiest thing that comes to our tables.  Suppose water had so much filth in it, so much barnyard manure that you had to strain it through a cloth before you would dare drink it.  You would have the water condemned.  No one would drink it.  But you know what is in the bottom of the milk-pail is simply barnyard filth, a mass of germs. Yet people will strain out a large quantity of manure out of their pail, and then drink the extract from it.  We have no use for milk at our house. Our babies do not want it, and we have not used it for a year or two.
When I was down to Staten Island last summer, I met a gentleman who was in terrible bondage. He said: "Doctor, I came to see you about a very peculiar thing. My stomach is out of order, and I can not take anything but milk, and I have to have the milk from a single cow, and I have to give that cow distilled water; and if the cow has anything but distilled water, I can not use her milk; and if I use the milk of any other cow, I have a fearful time; and as I can not carry that cow around with me everywhere I go, I am in bondage. I am simply tied up to that cow, and I want to be delivered from her." 
There is nothing that goes on our tables which is more filthy than cows' milk and its products; and the sooner we are delivered from this bondage, the better.

So, what did Dr. Kellogg suggest to lubricate the ingestion of his breakfast flakes? His wife, Ella Ervilla Kellogg, certainly had some suggestions in her book Healthful Cookery: A Collection of Choice Recipes for Preparing Foods (1904) –including cream, which was surely just as filthy as milk?

Toasted Corn Flakes as a Warm Breakfast Dish.

Place in a colander, strainer, or sieve the necessary quantity of the Flakes. Pour over it as quickly as possible a dipperful of hot water, taking care to wet the whole mass. Do not soak in water. Shake the water out quickly, cover, and set aside for a moment. It will then be ready to serve with cream, stewed fruit, grape juice, or other dressing.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Rules for the Naming of Dishes.


Yesterday my starting point was The Art of Naming Dishes on Bills of Fare (New York, 1920) by L. Schumacher. I want to give you a little more from this book today, and tomorrow will move on to another topic.

As we found yesterday, Mr. Schumacher found much fault with menu descriptions of the time, which he felt were often unintelligible to the restaurant customer. He offered some suggestions towards the solution of the problem in the chapter entitled Rules for the Naming of Dishes.

In naming dishes two main factors are recommended: to mention their main ingredients and the way they are prepared. Secondary designations, such as geographical or personal names can then follow. Let us consider the soups. Before giving them a second designation, the main elements, snch as meats, vegetables, etc., should be taken into consideration, as there are meat soup, vegetable soup, fruit soup, etc.
When soups are prepared mainly or entirely out of a certain kind of meat, vegetable, etc., they have to be named as chicken soup, pea soup, tomato soup, cherry soup, etc. When soups are prepared in a particular way they must be called pea puree soup (strained pea soup), chicken cream soup, thick tomato soup, beef consomme, clear turtle soup, etc. All ingredients with few exceptions are considered as substitute designations and are seldom mentioned, but expressed by style names as Choiseul style, Royal style, Manhattan style, etc. Simple soups which contain mainly one ingredient like dumplings, semola, etc., can be named with their contents as cherry soup w. dumplings, wine soup w. semola, etc. That it is absolutely necessary to name soups, as other dishes with their main ingredients and their manner of preparation is shown by different soups which have the same style of designation as for instance: — Clear chicken soup, Choiseul; Chicken cream soup, Choiseul; Chicken consomme, Choiseul. If they were all called simply Soup, Choiseul, one could not tell which kind was meant, and there is certainly a big difference between each one.
It is the same with all other dishes. First mention the main ingredients (elements) and then the manner of preparation as boiled, baked, roasted, braised, stewed, rolled, mixed, filled, stuffed, larded, etc., before any minor title is given. An exception to this are dishes which have names that already include a certain style of preparation such as fricassee, stew, ragout, etc., but the principal element (ingredient) should be given as chicken fricassee, veal fricassee, veal ragout, beef ragout, etc. Also other dishes such as peas, carrots, spinach, etc., when prepared plain, do not need any special designation as everybody knows they are prepared in the plain customary way. If they are prepared in a special way, then it is to the advantage of every restaurateur to mention it, as for instance: Creamed carrots, Spinach with egg, Puree of peas, etc. If the preparation is a complicated one so that a short name cannot be given besides that of the main contents of a dish, then the proper names should be quoted as: Carrots, English: Spinach, Monroe; etc.

These recommendations of course only apply when the goal is absolute consistency of interpretation of classical dishes, and the corollary of complete absence of innovation. Sadly, this does not help with my issue of the style of many modern restaurant bills of fare with their extremely lengthy, tedious, and – let’s face it – pretentious style. Or am I the only person feeling this way?

As the recipe for the day, I give you Potage Choiseul, from Auguste Escoffier’s A Guide to Modern Cookery (1907.)

Potage Choiseul.
Prepare a “purée Conti” (No. 640) with an excellent fumet of game.
Garnish with two tablespoonfuls of sorrel, ciseled, and cooked in butter, and two tablespoonfuls of poached rice.

Puree de Lentilles, otherwise Conti
Soak three-quarters of a pint of lentils in lukewarm water for two hours. Put them in a stewpan with two oz. of very lean breast of bacon, blanched, cooled, and cut into dice, and one quart of white consommé. Set to boil, skim, add three oz. of carrots, one onion, and one faggot, and cook very gently.
Drain the lentils, pound them together with the bacon, moisten the purée with a few tablespoonfuls of cooking-liquor, and rub through tammy. Rectify the consistence with some reserved cooking-liquor, then treat the purée in the usual way and add butter when about to serve.
Garnish with two tablespoonfuls of bread dice fried in butter and a pinch of chervil pluches.

N.B. — It should be borne in mind that the aromatic garnish used in cooking dry vegetables of what kind soever should be withdrawn before pounding the latter, that they may be rubbed through tammy.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Art of Naming Dishes on Bills of Fare.


Are you a little tired and frustrated by restaurant menus which require too much reading at the end of a long, too-much reading sort of day? I think of them as ‘three aperitif menus’ because of the time it takes to process the information in them sufficiently well to ensure that you end up with a dish that fits your mood. These are not menus which simply list the dishes available for the day. These are menus made up of exhaustive and exhausting descriptions of multiple procedures perpetrated on uber-fresh, reassuringly locally sourced (or alternatively, impressively difficult to find) ingredients which have been ethically, organically, and lovingly reared or grown, and then mindfully prepared, intricately but accurately seasoned, and meticulously plated by a dedicated band of kitchen hands, cooks and chefs whose sole purpose in life is to provide you with the single most unforgettable dining experience of your life. And did I forget the nutritional information? And that may only be the breakfast menu.

Nineteenth century diners had a related problem, according to the author of a book named The Art of Naming Dishes on Bills of Fare (New York, 1920.) Mr. L. Schumacher writes in his Preface:

This little work is written for the progressive element in the hotel and restaurant profession because of the fact that the menus and bills of fare are, to a great extent, neither intelligible to the server nor the served. Therefore, a method of naming dishes will be offered in the following pages, which I hope will be satisfactory to all concerned — proprietors, employees and guests. There is no doubt that this way of naming dishes is the only effective method of reforming and doing away with the medly that now generally exists. It must be understood that a plain and intelligible menu and bill of fare is exactly the same as an attractive advertisement and has the same value of silent salesmanship. The author is sure that the system, if carried out, will also avoid most of the food waste which now occurs, because it eliminates the sending back of dishes by guests and the spoiling of goods in stock. This, on account of the many patrons who order without knowledge of what the names of dishes represent and inversely there are many dishes which have names unintelligible to guests and therefore are not ordered. In particular table d'hote dinners would not have the immense waste, and many millions which are now lost could be saved.
Next to these advantages, there are others which should not be underestimated. Waiters, waitresses, etc., will be relieved of the study regarding names of dishes which, as at present, can never be studied to perfection because the medly is too great. The attendants will have to deal with only such names as are plain and intelligible to everybody. This will make them better waiters, and in a shorter time.

Most of the nineteenth century confusion, embarrassment, and misunderstanding was due to the universal practice of using the French language to name dishes on menus. But the principle of avoiding frustration by increasing simplicity is surely just as applicable to today’s problem, is it not? The author of the above book notes a number of advantages of having Intelligible Names on Bills of Fare. The following point should be of equal interest to the restaurateur:

Easily understood bills of fare have this advantage: that a guest can give an immediate order, and the waiter can forward dishes more quickly and thereby be at liberty to attend to other guests that are waiting. This will make it possible for the employees to take care of more customers at the same time, the guests will be better pleased, and the place will be recommended more because good and quick service are to a large extent the basis of a good reputation — a feature always sought by the progressive hotel and restaurant manager

I want to explore this book a little more this week, but for today will finish with a few of his words from the same chapter, which relate to the hazards of using names from the classical French repertoire:

Veal, Marengo is another one of the thousands of difficult names which appear on bills of fare. Some guests who have eaten the dish and who know what this name means will be satisfied with it, but others will undoubtedly ask what kind of a dish it is and what it is like. They want to have an explanation as to how the veal is prepared. The veal may be fried, boiled, or stewed, etc., but to the guest it is a riddle. Veal, Marengo is made of cubed veal, chopped onions, charlottes, herbs, etc., and the whole is stewed over a fire. This means that it is a kind of a stew, or better perhaps, a ragout. Therefore, Veal, Marengo is the proper name. The simple word ragout clears up the whole mystery surrounding the name Veal, Marengo, and every guest would be satisfied when reading it, as everybody understands the word ragout. 

Today, these words throw up a whole lot more mystery to us. I, for one, have no idea what ‘charlottes’ means in this context. A ‘charlotte’ according to the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘a dish made of apple marmalade covered with crumbs of toasted bread; also, a similar dish made with fruit other than apple’ and a Charlotte Russe is ‘a dish composed of custard enclosed in a sort of sponge-cake.’ I also sincerely doubt that most folk today would know what a ragout is, so in re-writing his paragraph for a modern audience, we would use his alternative word of stew.
We have We have previously discussed the much misunderstood history of the famous, supposedly Napoleonic dish, Chicken Marengo, but a for the author’s comments on Veal Marengo, I have no idea what constitutes the authentic dish - but then I have no idea what authentic ever means in relation to any dish!

As the dish of the day, I give you the version of Veal Marengo included by Alessandro Filipini, in his book The Table: how to buy food, how to cook it, and how to serve it, published in 1895. Filipini was for a short time chef at the famous nineteenth century New York restaurant, Delmonico’s, so could be presumed to know the authentic recipe. It does not contain ‘charlottes.’

Veal Stew, Marengo.

Cut three pounds of lean veal into pieces, and reduce them in a stewpan with one gill of oil, a cut-up onion or two shallots, and two ounces of salt pork, also cut up. Toss them occasionally, and when well browned after ten minutes, strew in two tablespoonfuls of flour, stirring well again. Moisten with one quart of white broth (No. 99), and one gill of tomato sauce (No. 205); season with a good tablespoonful of salt and a teaspoonful of pepper, adding a crushed clove of garlic, and a bouquet (No. 254). Cook for forty minutes, and serve with six croutons (No. 133) around the dish, and a little chopped parsley sprinkled over it.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I think I’ll go and eat Worms.


Worms are, apparently, quite nutritious.  They are high in protein and low in fat, are easy to find or rear, need very little preparation for the table, and apparently don’t taste too bad either. I feel sure they could become the next superfood. All they need is a celebrity chef in search of something to endorse. I can see them now, in all their wriggly worminess, neatly plated on a bed of shredded kale (or would amaranth be better?) with a garnish of açai berries (or maybe chia seeds?), and a quinoa (or would freekeh work better?) salad on the side. All washed down with coconut-water, perhaps.

Any wanna-be celebrity chef in search of a new concept to own and promote should look to the past for an old idea ripe for rediscovery, for there is no 100% new food idea in the world. Here are a few words from some late nineteenth century ‘French gourmets’ on lobworms (common garden worms) which I found in The Chicago Herald Cooking School: A Professional Cook's Book for Household Use (1883), by Jessup Whitehead:-


An Incredible Story.
Pall Mall Gazette.
Not only has the intellect of the worm been sadly unappreciated for centuries till Mr. Darwin rehabilitated that sagacious reptile, but it appears now that his value as a viand has also been grossly misunderstood and underrated. A group of French gourmets, whose object it is to do for the cookery of the future what Wagner is doing for its music, are happily following up the labors of Darwin in this direction, and, having recently tried this tempting morsel, have communicated to a grateful public the result of their researches. Fifty guests were present at the experiment. The worms, apparently lob-worms, were first put into vinegar, by which process they were made to disgorge the famous vegetable mold about which we have heard so much. They were then rolled in batter and put into an oven, where they acquired a delightful golden tint, and, we are assured, a most appetizing smell. After the first plateful the fifty guests rose like one man and asked for more. Could anything be more convincing? Those who love snails, they add, will abandon them forever in favor of worms. And yet M. Monselet, the great authority in Paris, has told us sadly that no advances have been made in the art of cookery since Brillat-Savarin, and that all enthusiasm on the subject died out with Vatel when he committed suicide because the fish had not arrived for the royal dinner.

The U.S. Army Survival Handbook (2008) does not comment on the deliciousness of the worm, presumably because by definition, if you are in a survival situation, you do not have the vinegar in which to marinate them, the ingredients for a nice batter, an oven to bake them in, nor any compatible seasonings or condiments. What it does say is:

Worms: Worms (Annelidea) are an excellent protein source. Dig for them in damp humus soil or watch for them on the ground after a rain. After capturing them, drop them into clean, potable water for a few minutes. The worms will naturally purge or wash themselves out, after which you can eat them raw.

I am sure you could cook and enjoy worms by following the (admittedly minimalist) suggestions above, but if you are still unsure about trying them, perhaps you could start accustoming your eyes and palate to the concept with a nice dish of vermicelli – which means ‘little worms’ after all. From another book by Jessup Whitehead, our author of the day, may I give you a dish impressive enough for your next dinner party?

Thatcher House Game Pie [specialty]
Is made in the following manner: Rub the inside of a deep dish with two ounces of fresh butter and spread over it some vermicelli. Then line the dish with puff paste; have ready some birds seasoned with powdered nutmeg and a little salt and pepper; stuff them with oysters or mushrooms chopped fine; place them in the puff-paste lined dish with their breasts downward. Add some gravy of roast veal or poultry (it may be cold gravy saved over from a recent roast), and cover the pie with a lid of puffy paste. Bake it in a moderate oven; and when done, turn it out carefully upon a dish and send it to the table. The vermicelli, which was originally at the bottom, will then be at the top, covering the paste like thatch upon a roof. Trim off the layers so as to look neat.
The Steward's Handbook and Guide to Party Catering (1889)


Friday, August 28, 2015

School Dinners, 1913.


I don’t believe that I have given much blog space in the past to the phenomenon of meals provided by educational institutions, but I recently found a lovely short piece on English girls’ school dinners - in of all things, an American book on food and health. I feel sure I will find some more snippets to share with you from the temptingly titled Food and flavor, a gastronomic guide to health and good living, (New York, 1913) by Henry T. Finck, but for today, here is the promised extract:

"Of recent years more and more attention has been paid to the dietary in schools, and the general teaching of cookery will help on an improvement in a department of social life in which we are behind our Continental neighbors. Happily, there are a considerable number of schools in which the menus are drawn up on well-ascertained principles, including the element of variety. Here is an example of dinners served at a large school at 8d. each to over 100 children. It is chosen from those used from May 13 to May 17:

Monday.
Boiled Beef and Carrots.          Roast Mutton.
Greens and Potatoes.
Cake Pudding.                              Milk Pudding.

Tuesday.
Veal and Ham.              Beefsteak Pie.
Greens and Potatoes.

Jam Roly-Poly.               Milk Pudding.

Wednesday.

Roast Beef.       Haricot Mutton.           Rissoles.
Greens and Potatoes.
Fruit Salad and Sponge Cake.                             Milk Pudding.

Thursday.

Roast Mutton.               Stewed Steak.                Potato Pie.
Greens and Potatoes.
Ginger Pudding.            Milk Pudding.

Friday.

Fish.     Roast Beef.       Liver and Bacon.
Greens and Potatoes.
Rhubarb Tart.                Cabinet Pudding.

"If these menus reappear in the same order or connection it will be at a very distant date. The aim is to supply all the kinds of food necessary, and in a form the girls like. Pies, stews, and rissoles are great favorites, stews being the chief. This is fortunate, because a dish of stew of any kind is rich in fat and proteid, and if vegetables are added it becomes rich in salts too. The girls state each day at dinner which meat they wish for, and they help themselves to greens and potatoes. If they want a second helping of meat they can have it, but it is an unwritten law that they must finish all they take. It is also understood that if a girl does not eat her dinner she is not fit for afternoon school. This rule prevents elder girls getting the foolish notion that it is not 'nice' to have a good appetite.

"Cookery is part of the curriculum, so that sooner or later every girl learns the importance of food, and that it is useless to try to 'make bricks without straw' — in fact, the dinners are a practical illustration of the teaching in the cookery room."

The notion that it is not "nice" for a girl to have a good appetite is not so common as it used to be. Now that we know the importance of appetite to proper digestion this notion seems criminal as well as silly, and should be denounced as such in all schools where it may seem necessary.

As the recipe for the day, here is a very English steamed ginger pudding:

Ginger Pudding.
Six tablespoonsful flour, two tablespoonsful breadcrumbs, three tablespoonsful treacle, ¼ lb. suet,half cupful warm milk, one teaspoonful ginger, half teaspoonful baking powder. Mix all dry ingredients, then syrup and lastly milk. Steam from two to three hours. Serve with hot custard sauce. – “A Yorkshire Cookery Book.”

London Evening News, September 30, 1916

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Good Old Scottish Bread.


In a recent post I used the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish language (1808) by John Jamieson for inspiration, and the book is a veritable treasure-house of food words. There are many, many references to bread, and I have selected a few of my favourites for you today, starting with:

DEW-PIECE, s. A piece of bread, which in former times used to be given to farm-servants, when they went out to their work early in the morning, S.B.
“The girl was called for, and asked, if she had given him any hard bread; No, says she, but when I was eating my dae piece [apparently meant for dew-piece] this morning, something come and clicked it out of my hand.” Sinclair’s Satan’s Invisible World [1685], p. 48. This is evidently from dew, or perhaps daw, the dawn; corresponding to O.Teur, dagh-mocs [?], jentaculum.

This is also a very interesting use of a familiar word:

FOAL, s. A bannock or cake, any soft and thick bread, Orkn.

I tried to find a little more information on ‘foals’ and came up with the following, from the Dictionary of the Scots Language:

FOLE, n. Also foal, phoal. A small, soft, thick oatcake  … made with the last piece of dough in the dish …  or baked specially for a child. … Hence livery fole, a bannock containing chopped fish liver.

Livery foles ring the same bell as the Norwegian fish-flour bread we talked about the other day, does it not?

But, back to our source for the day. Two entries show the influence on cake and bread types from adjacent Northern Europe:

COOKIE, s. A species of fine bread, used at tea, of a round form, S.
Teut. koeck, libum, Kilian, a cake made of fine flour.

KRINGLE, s. A kind of bread brought from Norway.
Sw. kringla, a kind of bread made in a particular form: Wideg. Kringla signifies a circle.

I thought I had found a new (to me) type of bread when I read the following dictionary entry:

BAKIN-LOTCH, s. Some sort of bread, most probably of an enticing quality.
For there was nowther lad nor loun
Micht eat a bakin-lotch.
Evergreen, ii. 180. St. 11
Tent. lock-en, to entice, lock-aes, a bait.

Unfortunately however, it seems that John Jamieson might have made an error. Almost a century later, there is the following challenge to his definition:

Baikin-loache – baked loche (the loach or beardie, a small river-fish, was esteemed a great delicacy: Vernacular writings of George Buchanan, 1892)

Dictionaries – the best kind anyway - provide more than mere definitions and etymological explanations:

HUNGRY GROUND. A curious superstition prevails in some parts of the West of S[cotland.] Some tracts of country are believed to be so much under the power of enchantment, that he, who passes over any one of them, would infallibly faint, if he did not use something for the support of nature. It is therefore customary to carry a piece of bread in one’s pocket, to be eaten when one comes to what is called the hungry ground.

We must have a recipe for the day: there are many intepretations of the concept of ‘kringles’ – and this one sounds like a grand and practical alternative to a dry crust if you have to risk the hungry ground:

Kringles.
Beat well the yolks of eight and whites of two eggs, and mix with four ounces of butter just warmed, and with this knead a pound of flour and four ounces of sugar to a paste. Roll into thick biscuits; prick them, and bake on thin plates.

A New System of Domestic Cookery (1827) by Maria Rundell.