Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Nutty Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner.

Last weekend I put up an extra post – a list of links to previous Thanksgiving stories, recipes, and menus which have appeared here over the years (if you missed it, it is here.) But there is more! There is always more to be added to the Thanksgiving Food story. Today, to add to the store, I give you a vegetarian menu from Guide for Nut Cookery: together with a brief history of nuts and their food values, by Mrs. Almeida Lambert (Battle Creek, Michigan; 1899)

THANKSGIVING DINNER.
The Thanksgiving dinner has been a great puzzler to the vegetarian housewife. "How can we ever celebrate Thanksgiving without a turkey?" has been a question which it has been hard to solve. I propose that we do have a turkey for Thanksgiving, - not the corpse of a bird whose life was sacrificed to satisfy our perverted appetites, but something which, although it looks like a real turkey, with neck, wings, legs, and even the drum-stick bones protruding, is only one made of nuts and grains. Then let us have the pumpkin pie, chicken croquettes, and fish all stuffed and baked, the salads, and lettuce, - in fact, all that Thanksgiving calls for; but we will use only wholesome material. We will substitute nut foods for the different meats, lemon-juice will take the place of vinegar, and nuts the place of animal fats. With painstaking, we shall have a better dinner than our sisters who have their platters ladened with the remains of a barn-yard fowl, and with cakes and pies filled with animal fats and spices. Besides this, we shall have a clearer mind, as well as a clear conscience; while those who eat meat are taking poisons into the system which benumb the brain, cloud the conscience, and render man unfit to meet the vesper hour and hold communion with his God.

THANKSGIVING DINNER MENU.

SOUP.
Canned-corn soup, canned-pea soup, or vegetable oyster soup, seasoned with raw peanut cream.

FISH.
A stuffed baked trout.

ENTREE.
Mock chicken croquettes. Serve with it mock salmon salad.
Stewed salsify (vegetable oyster) with cream.

THANKSGIVING TURKEY.
With the turkey send a sauce-boat of gravy, sweet potatoes, curled celery or lettuce, and cranberry sauce.

BREADS.
Nut crisps, nice buns, and cream rolls.

PIE.
Pumpkin pie with cocoanut cream crust.

FRUITS.
Fresh fruit, red-cheeked apples, oranges, and any other fruits desired.

NUTS.
Salted almonds, salted pine-nuts, and roasted chestnuts.

BEVERAGE.
Butternut coffee with peanut cream.

The recipe for the day comes of course from the same book – a finely sculpted Mock Turkey.

ROAST TURKEY.
To make a good-sized turkey, take 20 heaping tablespoonfuls of zwieola, 20 tablespoonfuls of No. 3 gluten, 8 tablespoonfuls of pecan meal, 8 tablespoonfuls of roasted almond meal, 8 tablespoonfuls of black walnut meal, 2 tablespoonfuls of peanut butter, 3 heaping teaspoonfuls of ground sage, 2 tablespoonfuls of grated onion, 2 teaspoonfuls of salt, 6 hard-boiled eggs, and 3 raw eggs. Put the zwieola in a large pan and pour over it 5 cups of hot water, and let it soak for fifteen minutes; then put the hard-boiled eggs through a sieve and add them to the zwieola; add also the nut butter dissolved in water, beat the eggs and add them to the mixture with the other ingredients. Mix all very thoroughly; if it is so dry that it is crumbly, add more water, being careful not to get it too soft or it will not hold in shape well. A piece of sheet iron is nice to bake it on, as it can be more easily slipped off. Oil it with nut oil, and place on top of it a thick piece of muslin saturated with oil; upon this cloth form a turkey, making the breast full and high, and leaving a little piece for the neck. Press it together with the hands, oiling them with nut oil to keep them from sticking. Then take a large tablespoonful of the mixture into one hand, and press into the center of it a large-sized stick of macaroni, which is long enough to protrude about two inches, after running the length of the leg ; with the hands oiled, shape it into the form of a turkey leg, using the white of an egg to make it stick to the body, and secure it by sticking pieces of macaroni through the leg, just below the bone, into the body, carefully covering the end of the macaroni with a little of the mixture. Form the wings and attach them to the body in the same way in which the legs were secured. When the fowl is all formed and smooth, brush it over with a cloth dipped in nut oil, then bring up the cloth around the turkey and pin it together tight enough to hold the wings and legs in position. Then place in the oven and bake for an hour

and a half. Remove from the oven, unpin the cloth, and with the shears cut off as much of it as possible without moving the turkey; spread the turkey with a mixture of beaten egg and roasted almond butter with a little salt added. Return to the oven and bake to a nice brown. Again remove from the oven and slide it into the platter on which it is to be served. The garnishing, in the cut, is cubes of cranberry jelly and parsley. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An Ancestral Thanksgiving Breakfast?

A few weeks ago I gave you some excerpts from in What to Get for Breakfast: with more than one hundred different breakfasts, and full directions for each, (1882) by M. Tarbox Colbrath (here, and here).  Several of you were intrigued by the author’s concept of Ancestral Breakfasts, so I followed up with another extract from the book, on that very topic.

As far as food writing goes, usage of words like naturalorganic, authentic, traditional, and ancestral (and I am sure you can think of more) is not constrained by truth or consensus.  It is infinitely better – less confusing, less irritating – to think of these words as being useful for product marketing purposes or propaganda. That said, here are Mr. Colbrath’s ideas for Ancestral Thanksgiving breakfasts.


BREAKFAST No. 116.
An Ancestral Thanksgiving Breakfast.

Chicken Pie.
Baked Potatoes.          Coffee.
Baked Sweet Apples.

This popular and dainty ancestral thanksgiving breakfast still holds its place in many families. Its accompaniments are few, as it is a breakfast itself.

CHICKEN PIE.
For a pie boil the chickens in water enough to barely cover them. Skim them. When tender or done take them out into a platter and carve them the same as if to be served on the table. Remove the skin if very thick. Have ready a deep baking dish, lined with a thick paste. Have the dish proportioned to the quantity of chicken you wish to use. Arrange the chicken so that the same kind of pieces may not come out together, when sliced. Sprinkle each layer with a little flour and salt. Fill the dish nearly full with the liquor in which the chickens were boiled, but not so full as to be in danger of boiling over. Cover with an upper paste and close the edges very carefully. Bake nearly an hour, or till the crust is handsomely done. The crust for chicken pie should be twice as thick as for fruit pies. Use butter in the liquor if you prefer it.

PASTE FOR CHICKEN PIE.
One quart of flour.
One teaspoonful of salt.
Two teaspoonfuls of cream-tartar.
One teaspoonful of soda.
One pint of sweet milk.  
One cupful of butter.
Mix these ingredients the same as for short cake, avoiding too much flour. This makes a nice and tender paste.


BREAKFAST No. 117.
Another traditional Thanksgiving Breakfast.

Fricassee Chicken.
A Short Cake.             Baked Potatoes.
Cranberry Sauce.         Coffee.
Ripe Fruit.

FRICASSEE CHICKEN.
This was a favorite breakfast of my mother’s, and I well know its merits. For breakfast, the chicken should be boiled the day previous, unless you are a very early riser. The chicken need not be as tender as for broiling. When washed and dissected, put into a stew-pan and barely cover with warm water. Very cold water draws the juice out. Cover and stew slowly till tender, but not so much as to drop in pieces.
If boiled the day previous, heat the liquor with the chicken in the morning. When hot, add butter and a very little smooth thickening. If the chickens are very fat, they will not need the addition of butter. After adding the thickening, stew gently seven or eight minutes. The addition of parsley, cut fine, is considered an improvement by some. Serve with the gravy poured over it.

SHORT CAKE.
One quart of sifted flour.
Two teaspoonfuls of cream-tartar.
One teaspoonful of soda.
One teaspoonful of salt.
Three-quarters of a cupful of solid butter.
One pint of sweet milk.

Mix cream-tartar, soda and salt with the flour. Rub the butter into this mixture till the whole is like meal. When well mixed, add the milk. Stir till light and even. The quicker you work now the better. Have your board well sprinkled with flour and instantly bring the dough together. Divide this into so many parts as will be needed to fit your sheet pans when rolled half an inch thick. When evenly fitted to the pans, incise each cake with squares. Bake a nice brown. Break the cake in the incisions and serve hot. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Old English vs Old American Pumpkin Pie.

Pumpkins are a New World food, but they were quickly adopted in the Old World whose citizens were familiar with other members of the Curcurbitaceae family such as melons and cucumbers. In anticipation of an increase in the flood of recipes for pumpkin pie appearing in the media in this week of Thanksgiving, I thought a glance at the English cousins of this traditional American dish might provide a nice counterpoint.

Firstly, from the marvellous Hertfordshire agriculturalist and writer William Ellis, from his Country Housewife’s Family Companion, (1750):-

Pumkin Pye.
We pare and cut the Pumkins in Slices, then lay the Slices in a glazed ea[r]then Pot with Salt between each Layer of them, all Night, for extracting out their watry Juice: Then chop them with the like Quantity or less of Apples, and with Sugar put them into a Crust and bake. The Pumkins save Apples, and by some are liked better than Apples alone.

And an interesting American insight into old-style English pumpkin/apple pie from Reports on the Herbaceous Plants and on the Quadrupeds of Massachusetts (1840):-

In England the pumpkin is cultivated to a considerable extent. “When the fruit is ripe, they cut a hole on one side, and having taken out the seeds, fill the void space with sliced apples, adding a little sugar and spice, and then, having baked the whole, eat it with butter, under the name of pumpkin pie.” Loudon. This English pie is very different from the pumpkin pie of New England, so necessary to Thanksgiving, that a Yankee, it is said, cannot be without it, and that in one town, the good people actually postponed the day of Thanksgiving until the needed molasses should arrive for its composition.

And a compare-and contrast from The Ladies' New Book of Cookery (Philadelphia, 1852), by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale:-

Pumpkin Pie (American).—Take out the seeds, and pare the pumpkin or squash ; but in taking out the seeds do not scrape the inside of the pumpkin ; the part nearest the seed is the sweetest; then stew the pumpkin, and strain it through a sieve or cullender. To a quart of milk, for a family pie, 3 eggs are sufficient. Stir in the stewed pumpkin with your milk and beaten-up eggs, till it is as thick as you can stir round rapidly and easily. If the pie is wanted richer make it thinner, and add sweet cream or another egg or two; but even 1 egg co a quart of milk makes " very decent pies." Sweeten with molasses or sugar; add 2 tea-spoonsful of salt, 2 tnble-spoonsful of sifted cinnamon, and 1 of powdered ginger; but allspice may be used, or any other spiec that may be preferred. The peel of a lemon grated in gives it a pleasant flavor. The more eggs, says an American authority, the better the pie. Some put 1 egg to a gill of milk. Bake about an hour in deep plates, or shallow dishes, without an upper crust, in a hot oven.

Pumpkin Pie (English).—Take out the seeds, and grate the pumpkin till you come to the outside skin. Sweeten the pulp; add a little ground allspice, lemon peel and lemon juice; in short, flavor it to the taste. Bake without an upper crust.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Queen Victoria and Her Grandson dine in 1899.

Queen Victoria was born and raised in Britain, but her ancestry was more German than British. Her mother was Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, her paternal grandmother  Queen Charlotte was German, and her paternal grandfather, George III had significant German heritage. The royal family’s German connection was cemented further in 1858 when the Queen’s eldest daughter (Victoria, Princess Royal) was married to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in London. The first child of this marriage became Wilhelm II, the last Emperor (Kaiser) of Germany.

In 1899, Kaiser Wilhelm visited Britain, and took time out from his official duties to spend time with his grandmother, who was then 80 years old. On November 24, the Emperor and Empress dined at Windsor Palace along with the usual cohort of aristocrats and diplomats. It is not actually certain whether or not Queen Victoria attended the meal herself, as she was in mourning for her niece, Princess Marie of Leiningen. It is known however, that the Queen did not attend the musical concert given after dinner by the Carnarvon Male Voice Choir, who had travelled all the way from Wales to entertain the guests.

The meal on this date was not an official state dinner – that particular formality had taken place on November 21 at St George’s Hall. The style of the menu document and the meal itself were essentially the same as the everyday “family” dinner at Windsor, with the only variation being a couple of dishes which, from their names, appear to be concessions to the German members of the family. I have tried to give translations and interpretations of the items on the menu – which was written in French, as was the convention of the time – but it is not possible to be absolutely certain of the style of the actual dishes.

Her Majesty’s Dinner.
Friday, 24th November, 1899.

Potages.
Consommé à la Portugaise.                 Purée Madeleine.
(Cold, jellied tomato soup)                  (Puree of artichokes, white beans, & sago.)

Poissons.
Cabillaud, sauce aux huîtres.
(Cod with oyster sauce)
Filets de Merlans frits, sauce Anchois.
(Whiting fillets, fried, with anchovy sauce)

Entrées.
Quenelles à la Régente.
(A sort of soft meatball, probably of chicken, poached, and served with a
‘Regence’sauce of thin but rich gravy with white wine, truffles and finely minced onions. )
Ballotines de Canard, à la Cumberland.
(A type of terrine of duck with Cumberland Sauce, - port wine, currant jelly,
mustard, orange and lemon juice).

Relevés.
Bœuf braise à la Hussarde.
(Hussarde sauce: browned onions, ham, herbs: see below)
Gigot d’Agneau roti
(Roast leg of lamb)

Rôt.
Faisans.           Pommes de terre en rubans.
(Roast pheasant)          (Potato ribbons)

Entremêts.
Pain d’Epinards à la Maître d’hôtel.
(Spinach bread with herb butter)
Mehlspeise[n] mit früchten.    Profiteroles au chocolat.
(Fruit puddings)          (Chocolate profiteroles)
Tartelettes à la Suisse.
(Swiss tartelets, perhaps of berries?)

Buffet.
Hot and Cold Roast Fowls.    Tongue.
Cold Roast Beef.

As the recipe for the day, I give you a version of the beef with Hussard sauce:

Boiled Beef à la Hussarde.
Mince one onion, parboil it with butter, a little garlic, a bay-leaf, and an ounce and a half of sliced ham. Moisten with bouillon and white wine. Add a small teaspoonful of beef extract, a bunch of parsley and tarragon, two or three shallots, a piece of celery root, and a few peppercorns. Boil, withdraw from the fire and let it stand for a quarter of an hour; then put in the beef cut in slices, and cook for five minutes. Thicken with a piece of butter rubbed up with flour, and serve.
99 practical methods of utilizing boiled beef and the original recipe for stewed chicken ... by Babet; Preface by Mme. M. de Fontclose;
translated from the French by A. R. (New York, 1893)


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving recipes, menus, and stories from history.

Thankyou, my dear blog readers, for enjoying and commenting on my posts since The Old Foodie began over nine years ago . Please enjoy again the Thanksgiving posts which have appeared here over this time:

Thanksgiving Menus (over a dozen historic menus over four posts)


More Menus:
Americans in England, Thanksgiving Dinner 1863.
Thanksgiving breakfast

Thanksgiving pies:
Pumpkin
Pecan
Cranberry
Apple
Mincemeat
Succotash
Sweet Potato
Vegetarian ‘Mock Turkey’
Turkey
Cranberry Sauce
Turkey Dressing

Other Thanksgiving Posts:
Thanksgiving Ideas for the Bride Housewife

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Egg Yolk Diet; 1918.


Yesterday I gave you the Diet for Professional Singers and Lecturers recommended in Dietotherapy, which was published in New York in 1918. Before I put it aside for another day, I want to give you one more extract from this book – some advice and menu suggestions for those who are underweight.

The Egg Yolk Diet.
Egg yolks as an addition to the diet of the underfed and badly nourished are often of the greatest service in a variety of forms of faulty nutrition. In certain instances in which there is inability to assimilate the entire egg, the yolks are of great value. A daily portion of from ten to forty yolks may be added to the customary diet. The white of the egg consists of a solution of protein shut up in the interior of many millions of cells. The protein of the white of egg is called "egg-albumin."

The yolk is a storehouse of nutriment for the young chick, and consequently has a very different composition from the white. It contains much less water and more solids, among the latter being a large proportion of fat. The general composition of the white and yolk is contrasted in the table on page 351, to which the reader is referred. The palmitin, stearin and olein are simply fats such as we have already encountered in butter and have the same nutritive value as these. Their presence in the form of an emulsion in the yolk makes them more easily digested, which renders the yolk particularly suited to individuals whose nutrition is below par and who do not do well on ordinary diets.

Stern (88) gives the following simple dietary for a patient whose normal weight should be 140 pounds, but who, owing to debilitation, weighs only 110 pounds:

Breakfast:
250 c.c skim milk with 4 yoks;
30 grams wheat toast

Forenoon Lunch:
Cup of coffee, 2 yolks.

Dinner:
One plate of soup, 4 yollks;
Beef (very lean), 150 grams;
30 grams wheat toast

Afternoon Lunch:
25 c.c. skim milk, 30 c.c. whiskey; 3 yolks.

Supper:
Porridge of farina or rice, 100 grams; 1 yolk; skim milk;
Apple sauce, 75 grams.

At Bedtime:
Night cap (90 c.c. hot water, 10 c.c. whiskey, 1 yolk, teaspoonful granulated sugar.

If it should be deemed expedient to continue this dietary over any great period of time, the dishes in which the yolks of eggs are incorporated should be varied as much as possible. The great richness of yolk of egg in fat and lime salts and in organic compounds of phosphorus and iron make it peculiarly valuable as an adjunct to the dietary of infants and young children, especially those which are suffering from rickets, malnutrition, athrepsia, etc., for it is these very compounds which the child needs, especially the rickety child.

My own humble opinion is that the above diet is not sufficiently rich or delicious to cause weight gain. Tasteless and boring are the words that spring to mind. And, for a diet proposing to aid weight gain, it contains no dessert!

Here is a nice egg-yolky suggestion to help you gain weight:

Chocolate Custard
Scrape fine half a pound of the best chocolate, and pour on it a pint of boiling water. Cover it, and let it stand by the fire till it has dissolved, stirring it twice. Beat eight eggs very light, omitting the whites of two. Stir them by degrees into a quart of cream or rich milk, alternately with the melted chocolate, and three tablespoonfuls of powdered white sugar. Put the mixture into cups, and bake it about ten minutes. Send them to table cold, with sweetened cream, or white of egg beaten to a stiff froth, and heaped on the top of each custard.

Directions for Cookery, in Its Various Branches (1844) Eliza Leslie.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Diet for Professional Singers and Lecturers; 1918.


Dietary advice may vary from expert to expert, but whatever the era, there is one constant to be found in books of dietary advice – the authoritative tone of the authors. It is always interesting to look at old books on nutrition. One is reminded by these books that whatever is old today will be new again soon, and whatever nutrition idea seems novel today is surely to be found in some form or another in the past.

I came across an interesting book on diet and nutrition the other day – or rather, I found online versions of two of the three volumes of Dietotherapy, (New York, 1918) by William Edward Fitch (and forty other contributors.)  The dietary advice in this book does get very specific at times, as you will see from the following extract:

Diet for Professional Singers and Lecturers; 1918.
Beyond question diet exerts more or less influence on the fullness and richness of the voice. A hearty meal interferes with full, free respiration to the extent that singing is practically or even entirely impossible. The vocal cords may become congested following the ingestion of food or drink, and smoking often exerts an injurious effect upon the voice. Alcoholic drinks imbibed to excess, as well as irritating articles of food, may, and often do, impair the tone of the voice and should be omitted.

Opera singers possess peculiar and curious idiosyncrasies. Certain articles of alimentation exert a deleterious effect upon the voice of some, while the same food will have just the opposite effect on others. Ruhräh, quoting Russell in "Representative Actors," delineates an interesting list of foods and beverages partaken of by prominent stage folk prior to appearing before the footlights. He states that "Edmund Kean, Emery and Reeve drank cold water and brandy; John Kemble took opium ; Lewis, mulled wine and oysters; Maeready was at one time accustomed to eat the lean of a mutton chop previous to going on the stage, but subsequently lived almost exclusively on a vegetarian diet; Oxbury drank tea; Henry Russell ate a boiled egg; W. Smith drank coffee; Braham drank bottled porter; Miss Catley took linseed tea and Madeira; G. F. Cook would drink anything; Henderson used gum arable and sherry; Incledon drank Madeira; Mrs. Jordan ate calves'-foot jelly and sherry; C. Kean took beef tea: Mrs. Wood sang on draught porter; Harley took nothing during a performance. Malibran, it is said, ate a lunch in his dressing-room half an hour before singing. This consisted of a cutlet and half a bottle of white wine, after which he smoked a cigarette until it was time to appear."

While discussing food and drink for actors and their peculiar idiosyncrasies, we will relate the dietary habit of Mr. Edmund Kean, who, according to Smith "was in the habit of adapting the kind of meat he ate to the part he had to play, choosing pork for tyrants, beef for murderers, and lamb for lovers." This may seem a stretch of the imagination, "but it may indicate that there are subtle differences in the different kinds of meat which chemistry has not enabled us to detect, but which are yet not without influence upon the body."

Ordinarily, no food should be partaken of immediately before singing or speaking, but a good meal should be ingested some three hours before, which should be somewhat lighter than usual. It is the habit of many singers and speakers to refrain from food prior to their performance or lecture, and to partake of a good full meal soon after. According to Ruhräh, the food much used by singers is the so-called "Jenny Lind soup," which is a very bland potion, and does not impair the voice. "It is made of bouillon and sage, to which are added the yolks of two eggs and half a pint of cream before serving; sugar and spices are added according to taste. Many prominent singers suck an orange, while others chew dried plums immediately preceding their performance." During the interval between performances, a singer, like any other professional person, should subsist on a well-balanced general diet, of course avoiding irritating foods.

Singers who have a tendency to obesity should follow the dieting and exercise laid down in Volume III, Chapter XII, for the treatment of this condition. Alcoholic liquors and strong beverages do not in any way improve the voice, but on the other hand may exert a deleterious effect, and should therefore be avoided. Light wines and beer in moderation may usually be taken with impunity. They are best avoided, however, as their continual use may possibly lead to the formation of a drinking habit. Many of the best singers are of the opinion that smoking is injurious to the voice; on the other hand, many famous male singers are habitual users of tobacco and are rarely seen without a cigar in their mouth.

I have touched on food with a musical theme or connection in several previous posts over the years (here, and here, for example) and have also given recipes for Jenny Lind Soup and Jenny Lind Cake (here.) Today I give you a soup inspired by Puccini’s opera Tosca:

Consommé Tosca.
Peel and cut a cucumber in small squares, boil in salt water until soft, and then allow to become cool. Cut ½ stalk of celery julienne style, and cook in salt water until soft. Cook ¼ pound of large barley in salt water till soft, and cool. Boil 3 pints of consommé, add 2 peeled tomatoes cut in very small squares, and boil for 2 minutes. Add the cucumber, celery and barley, and serve. (Yield: 8 portions)
The Master Books of Soups (1900) by Henry Smith