Thursday, August 28, 2014

School Lunches 1916.

Do you prepare a packed lunch every day for a schoolchild in your family? If so, this post is especially for you.

The principles of lunch provision for children – and the general nutrition advice of the time – were not so different back in 1916 when School Lunches; USDA Farmers’ Bulletin No. 712 was published. The authors were impressively qualified for the job: Carolina Hunt was ‘Assistant in Home Economics, States Relations Service’, and Mabel Ward had lately held the position of ‘Director of Home Science, Mississippi Industrial Institute and College.’

I give you an extract from the very comprehensive advice provided by this little book.
What should school children be given to eat at noon? What foods are best for the school lunch basket? The frequent asking of these questions shows that mothers and others interested in children’s welfare have unusual difficulty in planning this meal. There are no special scientific principles which apply to it more than to the other meals, for, of courses, choosing healthful foods and preparing them carefully are no more necessary at this than at either of the other meals of the child’s day. Nor is it wise always to study one meal apart from the other two. The three taken together must, if they are to satisfy the needs of the growing body, supply several different kinds of food materials.

… Any discussion of lunches for school children must therefore, take into account (1) the children who go home at midday, (2) those who carry their lunches, (3) those who buy them at shops or at the school, (4) those how are supplied by the school through the cooking classes, and (5) those who carry part of each day’s lunch, and depend on being able to buy something at or near the school to add to what they carry. …..

… The essentials of the diet of all normal children, are, of course, the same – namely, an abundance of simple foods carefully prepared and of sufficient variety to provide for activity, which in healthy children is almost ceaseless during waking hours, and for development into healthy manhood and womanhood. ….

THE BASKET LUNCH.
The basket lunch is harder to plan and also to prepare than the lunch at home. To begin with, there are many foods which cannot be included in it, either because they are not good cold, or because they cannot be conveniently packed or easily carried. This leave fewer foods to chose from, and so extra care is necessary to prevent sameness. Extra care is needed too, in the preparation of foods that must be packed in small compass and kept for several hours before being eaten and that must very often be carried over dusty roads.
On the other hand, the number of foods that can be easily carried has been enlarged of late by the possibility of using paraffin paper and parchment paper, in which moist foods can be wrapped so as to prevent them from sticking to other foods. Paper cups, jelly glasses, and so on, are also a help, for in them sliced raw fruits, stewed fruits, custards, cottage cheee, and other half-solid foods can be carried.
The quality of the bread used in the basket lunch is especially important because it is commonly served in the form of sandwiches and is, therefore, to be considered not only as a food in itself, but also as a means of keeping other much-needed foods in good and appetizing condition, or of serving them in attractive ways.
Variety in breads too, is more important at this than at other meals because of the danger of monotony. Wheat bread, wholewheat bread, corn, rye, or oatmeal breads; nut, raising, and date breads; beaten biscuit, rolls, crisp baking powder biscuit or soda biscuit, and toast, zwieback, and crackers may be used in turn to give variety. Rolls hollowed out can be made to hold a large amount of sandwich filling, which is an advantage at times.

PACKING THE LUNCH.
Many kinds of lunch boxes, pails, and baskets are now on the market. The chief advantage of most boxes and pails is that they can be easily cleaned and scalded to keep them in safe condition. Some baskets are ventilated and for this reason suitable for carrying moist foods which are likely to spoil. There is no reason, however, why small holes cannot be punched in metal boxes or pails to let in the air. ….

…. In packing the lunch basket, put at the bottom the things least likely to crush, and wrap the sandwiches, etc. into neat parcels, not all in one. 

SUGGESTED BILLS OF FARE FOR THE BASKET LUNCH.
1.      Sandwiches with sliced tender meat for filling: baked apple, cookies or a few lumps of sugar.
2.      Slices of meat loaf or bean loaf; bread and butter sandwiches; stewed fruit; small frosted cake.
3.      Crisp rolls, hollowed out and filled with chopped meat or fish, moistened and seasoned, or mixed with salad dressing; orange, apple, a mixture of sliced fruits, or berries; cake.
4.      Lettuce or celery sandwiches; cup custard; jelly sandwiches.
5.      Cottage cheese and chopped green-pepper sandwiches or a pot of cream cheese with bread and butter sandiwiches; peanut sandwiches.
6.      Hard-boiled eggs; crisp baking-powder biscuits; celery or radishes; brown-sugar or maple-sugar sandwiches.
7.      Bottle of milk; thin corn bread and butter; dates; apple.
8.      Raisin or nut bread with butter; cheese; orange; maple sugar.
9.      Baked bean and lettuce sandwiches; apple sauce; sweet chocolate.

The book contains a number of recipes, primarily for the use of schools which provide lunch for students. The following instructions would result in a robust, tasty confection for a little treat.

FRUIT AND NUT CONFECTION.
1 pound figs
1 pound dried prunes or seedless raisins
1 pound nut meats.
Confectioners’ sugar.
Wash, pick over, and stem the fruits and put them with the nut meats through a meat chopper, and mix thoroughly. Roll out to the thickness of about one-half inch on a board dredged with confectioners’ sugar, and cut into small pieces. If this candy is to be kept for some time, the pieces should be separated by means of paraffin paper.
Provides 24 2-ounce portions.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Flavour Milk!?


I thought I had found the ultimate example of the concept of flavoured dairy beverages when I came across Curried Milk, but I have since found some serious competitors for the honour.

Here are a couple of serious contenders from a Prohibition cookbook called On Uncle Sam's Water Wagon: 500 recipes for delicious drinks, which can be made at home, by Helen Watkeys Moore, published in New York in 1919:

Chocolate and Celery.
Mix two tablespoonfuls of chocolate paste with two tablespoonsfuls of cream. Add hot water and season with celery salt. Put a spoonful of whipped cream on top.

Malted Milk and Oyster.
Mix to a smooth paste one teaspoonful of malted milk with a little milk. Then add three tablespoonfuls of oyster milk. Then add three tablespoonfuls of oyster juice and fill up the glass with hot milk. Season with salt and celery salt.

Perhaps these ideas will inspire those of you who make or sell milkshakes for a living. No?

At this point I am in complete agreement with a writer in Puck, in 1884:

“I never have had a Prohibition beverage come into my system that it did not bring with it a large assortment of gloom, headache and late-picked remorse”

The following recipe, from the same source, does, however, sound reasonably drinkable:

Milk Snap.
Add the beaten white of an egg to one glass of cold milk and one fourth glass of ginger syrup. Shake thoroughly and serve with a bit of grated lemon peel.

Milk, of course, can be flavoured at the source, if the cows be fed certain foods. Historically, this was a problem with the very useful fodder crop of turnip. Farming magazines of the nineteenth century often gave advice about the problem, such as the following, from Turnip Husbandry, Papers (London, 1847)

“I am aware that sometimes a slight disagreeable flavour is given to the milk and butter by the turnips, but this can be entirely removed, by putting in each pan, before putting in the milk, a pinch of nitrate of potash, (saltpetre.)”

Is there an idea here? Could oyster-malted milks be produced by feeding cows with oysters?

Books which focus on cookery for invalids could be expected to include plenty of milky beverages, and it turns out they do not disappoint. The following recipe would certainly solve the liquid calorie problem for a frail invalid, but I doubt will start a widespread craze for hot, meaty, milkshakes (but please take up the idea and trial the idea, if you are in the business – I am pretty sure no-one is doing hot milkshakes anywhere these days.)

Suet Milk.
Cut one ounce of mutton or veal suet into shavings, and warm it slowly over the fire in a pint of milk, adding a little grated lemon peel, cinnamon and loafsugar.
Modern Household Cookery (1860) by Sarah Josepha Hale.


From the same source, if you don’t have the real thing, you could help any invalids in your vicinity by making

Imitation of Asses' Milk.
Boil together equal quantities of new milk and water, add one ounce of candied eringo-root: sweeten with white sugar-candy, and strain.


If you have a favourite outrageous-flavour milk, please do let us all know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Selection of Restorative Snacks.

Yesterday I shared with you some of the post-hangover  ‘restorative’ beverages suggested in Cakes and ale: a dissertation of banquets, interspersed with various recipes, more or less original, and anecdotes, mainly veracious (4th ed., 1913) by Edward Spencer. Today I want to give you some of the author’s suggestions for more substantial therapies. Firstly, good old-fashioned Anchovy Toast, served with a heavy dose of social support on the side.

Anchovy Toast.

The concoction of this belongs to bedroom cookery, unless the sitting-room adjoins the sleeping apartment. For the patient will probably be too faint of heart to wish to meet his fellow-men and women downstairs, so early. The mixture must be made over hot water. Nearly fill a slop-basin with the boiling element, and place a soup-plate over it. In the plate melt a pat of butter the size of a walnut. Then having beaten up a raw egg, stir it in. When thoroughly incorporated with the butter add a dessert-spoonful of essence of anchovies. Cayenne ad lib. Then let delicately-browned crisp toast be brought, hot from the fire. Soak this in the mixture, and eat as quickly as you can. The above proportions must be increased if more than one patient clamours for anchovy toast; and this recipe is of no use for a dinner, or luncheon toast; remember that. After the meal is finished turn in between the sheets again for an hour; then order a "Doctor," or a "Surgeon-Major " [see previous post] to be brought to the bedside. In another twenty minutes the patient will be ready for his tub (with the chill off, if he be past thirty, and has any wisdom, or liver, left within him). After dressing, if he live in London and there be any trace of brain-rack remaining, let him take a brisk walk to his hairdresser's, having his boots cleaned en route. This is most important, whether they be clean or dirty; for the action of a pair of briskly-directed brushes over the feet will often remove the most distressing of headaches. Arrived at the perruquier's, let the patient direct him to rub eau de Cologne or some other perfumed spirit, into the o'er-taxed cranium, and to squirt assorted essences over the distorted countenance. A good hard brush, and a dab of bay rum on the temples will complete the cure; the roysterer will then be ready to face 
his employer, or the maiden aunt from whom he may have expectations. 

If the flavour of the anchovy be disagreeable, let the patient try the following toast, which is similar to that used with wildfowl: Melt a pat of butter over hot water, stir in a dessert-spoonful of Worcester sauce, the same quantity of orange juice, a pinch of cayenne, and about half a wine-glassful of old port. Soak the toast in this mixture. The virtues of old port as a restorative cannot be too widely known. For an 

Overtrained

athlete, who may not take kindly to his rations, there is no better cure than the lean of an under-done chop (not blue inside) hot from the fire, on a hot plate, with a glass of port poured over. A 

Hot-pickle Sandwich

should be made of two thin slices of crisp toast (no butter) with chopped West Indian pickles in between. And for a 

Devilled Biscuit

select the plain cheese biscuit, heat in the oven, and then spread over it a paste composed of finely-pounded lobster worked up with butter, made mustard, ground ginger, cayenne, salt, chili vinegar, and (if liked) a little curry powder. Reheat the biscuit for a minute or two, and then deal with it. Both the last-named restoratives will be found valuable ( ? ) liver tonics; and to save future worry the patient had better calculate, at the same time, the amount of Estate Duty which will have to be paid out of his personalty, and secure a nice dry corner, out of the draught, for his place of sepulture. A 

Working-Man's Livener

(and by "working-man" the gentleman whose work consists principally in debating in taverns is intended) is usually a hair of the dog that bit him over-night ; and in some instances where doubt may exist as to the particular "tufter " of the pack which found the working-man out, the livener will be a miscellaneous one. For solid food, this brand of labourer will usually select an uncooked red -herring, which he will divide into swallow-portions with his clasp-knife, after borrowing the pepper-castor from the tavern counter. And as new rum mixed with four-penny ale occasionally enters into the over-night's programme of the horny-handed one, he is frequently very thirsty indeed before the hour of noon. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Need a Nice Restorative Beverage?


I want to give you a little more today from a book which has inspired a couple of previous posts. If I am to judge from the number of comments and emails, the stories (on Cheshire Cheese Pudding and Bosom Caressers) were popular, so it seems like a good idea to go back to it again.

The book is Cakes and ale: a dissertation of banquets, interspersed with various recipes, more or less original, and anecdotes, mainly veracious (4th ed., 1913) by Edward Spencer, and the section of interest today is his chapter on ‘Restoratives.’

"I CARE not," observed William of Normandy to his quartermaster- general, on the morning after the revelry which followed the Battle of Hastings, "who makes these barbarians' wines ; send me the man who can remove the beehive from my overwrought brain."

This remark is not to be found in Macaulay's History of England; but learned authorities who have read the original MS. in Early Norman, make no doubt as to the correct translation.

"It is excellent," as the poet says, "to have a giant's thirst; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." And not only "tyrannous " but short-sighted. For the law of compensation is one of the first edicts of Nature. The same beneficent hand which provides the simple fruits of the earth for the delectation of man, furnishes also the slug and the wasp, to see that he doesn't get too much. Our friend the dog is deprived of the power of articulation, but he has a tail which can be wagged at the speed of 600 revolutions to the minute. And the man who overtaxes the powers of his inner mechanism during the hours of darkness is certain to feel the effects, to be smitten of conscience, and troubled of brain, when he awakes, a few hours later on. As this is not a medical treatise it would be out of place to analyse at length the abominable habit which the human brain and stomach have acquired, of acting and reacting on each other; suffice it to say that there is no surer sign of the weakness and helplessness of poor, frail, sinful, fallen humanity than the obstinacy with which so many of us will, for the sake of an hour or two's revelry, boldly bid for five times the amount of misery and remorse. ….

But how shall we alleviate the pangs? How make that dreadful “day after” endurable enough to cause us to offer up thanks for being still allowed to live? Come, the panacea, good doctor!

First of all, then, to avoid the chemist and his works. I mean no disrespect to my good friend Sainsbury, or his “Number One Pick-me-up,” whose corpse-reviving claims are indisputable; but at the same time the habitual swallower of drugs does not lead the happiest life. …. The next thing to avoid, the first thing in the morning, is soda-water, whether diluted with brandy or whisky. The “peg” may be all very well as an occasional potation, but, believe one who has tried most compounds, ‘tis a pretty poor “livener.” On the contrary, although a beaker of the straw-coloured (or occasionally, mahogany-coloured) fluid may seem to steady the nerves for the time being, the effect is by no means lasting.

But the same panacea will not do in every case. If the patient be sufficiently convalescent to digest a

Doctor
 
(I do not mean a M.R.C.S.) his state must be far from hopeless. A "Doctor" is a mixture of beaten raw egg - not forgetting the white, which is of even more value than the yolk to the invalid - brandy, a little sifted sugar, and new milk. But many devotees of Bacchus could as soon swallow rum-and-oysters, in bed. And do not let us blame Bacchus unduly for the matutinal trouble. The fairy Ala has probably had a lot to do with that trouble. A "Doctor" can be made with sherry or whisky, instead of brandy; and many stockbrokers' clerks, sporting journalists, and other millionaires prefer a 
 
Surgeon-Major
 
who appears in the form of a large tumbler containing a couple of eggs beaten, and filled to the brim with the wine of the champagne district. 
 
A Scorcher
 
is made with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into a large wine-glass ; add a liqueur-glassful of old brandy, or Hollands, and a dust of cayenne. Mix well, and do not allow any lemon-pips to remain in the glass. 

Brazil Relish.
 
This is, I am assured, a much-admired restorative in Brazil, and the regions bordering on the River Plate. It does not sound exactly the sort of stimulant to take after a "bump supper," or a "Kaffir " entertainment, but here it is: Into a wine-glass half full of curaƧoa pop the unbroken yolk of a bantam's egg. Fill the glass up with maraschino. According to my notion, a good cup of hot, strong tea would be equally effectual, as an emetic, and withal cheaper. But they certainly take the mixture as a pick-me-up in Brazil. 

The ‘Restoratives’ chapter continues with a selection of more substantial food snacks which will serve us nicely as another post.



Friday, August 22, 2014

The Sunday Roast all Week.


I know that some of you of a certain age have memories of the remains of the traditional Sunday roast being served in various guises for the next few (too many) consecutive days of the week. The prevailing culture of household frugality and the complete inability to consider waste of any food at all – despite the lack of refrigeration in many if not most households of the time – underpinned the practice of course, and I think we will all agree that a return to some of those values would have a lot of benefits beyond the mere household budget.

The practice of recycling cold meat of is hardly new of course. In the mid-nineteenth century, a woman called Caroline Chisholm migrated from England to Australia, and became a staunch supporter of, and advocate, for new immigrants, particularly of the young female kind.  There was only one possible future for young single immigrant women – marriage. It was not a difficult goal to achieve in the new settlements where women were in short supply. One of Caroline’s projects was to assist the young housewife manage the weekly ration of salt beef, and to that end she produced a pamphlet entitled SevenThings to do with Salt Beef.

Today I want to share with you some comments on the topic from The Belgian Cookbook (1916) – a lovely little post-WWII book which contained “recipes … sent by Belgian refugees from all parts of the United Kingdom.” The author begins the introduction with the following:

Made dishes are a great feature in this little book. I have tried to help those small households who cook, let us say, a leg of mutton on Sunday, and then see it meander through the week in various guises till it ends its days honorable as soup on the following Friday. Endeavor to hide from your husband that you are making that leg of mutton almost achieve eternal life. It is noticeable that men are attracted to a house where there is good cooking, and the most unapproachable beings are rendered accessible by the pleasantness of a souffle, or the aroma of a roast duck. You must have observed that a certain number of single men have their hearts very "wishful" towards their cook. Not infrequently they marry that cook; but it is less that she is a good and charming woman than that she is a good and charming cook. Ponder this, therefore; for I have known men otherwise happy, who long for a good beef-steak pudding as vainly as the Golden Ass longed for a meal of roses. Try these recipes, for really good rissoles and hashes. Twice-cooked meat can always be alleviated by mushrooms or tomatoes. Remember that the discovery of a new dish is of more use than the discovery of a new star, - besides which, you will get much more praise for it. And if on Wednesday you find that you have to eat the same part of the very same animal that you had on Monday, do not, pray, become exasperated; treat it affectionately, as I treat my black hat, which becomes more ravishing every time that I alter it. Only, do not buy extravagant make-weight for a scrap of cold meat that would be best used in a mince patty, or you will be like a man keeping a horse in order to grow mushrooms.

Naturally there are recipes in the book, and I have selected a couple for you. The first is rather ordinary, unless you are passionate about celery, but the second is rather interesting, I think, although it does not specify leftover meat to be minced.

To Use Up Cold Meat
Take a fresh celery, wash it well, and remove the green leaves. Let it boil till half-cooked in
salted water. Drain it on a sieve, and then cut it lengthways, and place minced meat of any kind,
well seasoned, between the two pieces. Tie them together with a thread and let them cook again
for a quarter of an hour, this time either in the same water and gently simmered, or in the oven
in a well-buttered dish. Other people, to avoid the trouble of tying the two halves, spread the
mince on each half and cook it in the oven, laid flat in a fireproof dish. In this case put a good
lump of butter on each portion of mince.

Stuffed Cauliflower.
Pick over a fine cauliflower, and plunge it for a moment in boiling water. Look over it well again
and remove any grit or insects. Put it head downwards in a pan when you have already placed a

good slice of fat bacon at the bottom and sides. In the holes between the pan and the vegetable put a stuffing of minced meat, with breadcrumbs, yolks of eggs, mushrooms, seasoning of the usual kinds, in fact, a good forcemeat. Press this well in, and pour over it a thin gravy. Let it cook gently, and when the gravy on the top has disappeared put a dish on the top of the saucepan, turn it upside down and slip the cauliflower out. Serve very hot.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Things to do with Mint.

I am keeping it simple and mint-flavoured today. The Manchester Guardian of July 4, 1924 contained the following quite marvelous little collection of recipes for mint.

MINT.
OTHER WAYS OF USING IT.
Many housewives use mint solely for sauce, and are unfamiliar with the innumerable other attractive recipes in which mint forms the most important ingredient.

MINT VINEGAR.
Fill a glass jar with bruised mint leaves, and cover it with cold vinegar. After a fortnight, strain, bottle, and securely cork. This vinegar gives a delicious flavour to salad dressings.

MINT SALAD.
Cut into dice two young cucumbers and two oranges.Arrange them on the best leaves of lettuce and sprinkle over them two dessertspoonfuls of finely chopped mint. Serve with mayonnaise sauce.

MINT SANDWICHES.
Mash up a small cream cheese, adding just a little cream, if possilble, to make it a better consistency. Season with salt and cayenne pepper, and add one tablespoonful of minced mint leaves. Spread between slices of brown bread and butter.

MINT PEAS
When one quart of peas are cooked in the ordinary way stir in two tablespoonfuls of butter, one teaspoonful of sugar, a little salt and pepper, and two tablespoonfuls of chopped mint.

MINT SHERBET.
Add the juice of two lemons to the bruised leaves of a bunch of mint. Cover it and leave to stand for ten minutes. Meanwhile make a syrup of half-pound of sugar and one pint of water. Add half a cupful of orange juice and lemon juice and mint. When it is cold, strain. A little should be put into each glass and filled up with water.

MINT CUP.
This is delicious when served hot. Heat over the fire some sweet cider, and for each tumblerful add a slice of lemon, a sprig of mint, and, when very hot, two teaspoonfuls of thick honey.

MINT CHUTNEY
Chop up half a pound of tomatoes, one pound of cooking apples, six small onions, one and a half cupful of seeded raisins., half cupful of mint leaves, and three small sweet peppers Heat two teacupfuls of sugar, two teaspoonfuls of dry mustard, and two teaspoonfuls of salt, and leave to cool. Then add the chopped up ingredients. Place in perfectly clean jars and cork securely. It is ready for use in then days.

If you have still not had enough mint, you will find recipes in previous posts for:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Radio Hints on Daily Bread (1945)

The food specialists of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the first half of the twentieth century provided information and recipes to the public via a radio program called Homemaker’s Chat. In 1945, during the period of post-WWII food restrictions, one of the topics was “Daily Bread.”

We can sympathize with the poor man in the song who gets "no bread "with one meat "ball" because as every smart homemaker knows - "bread is one of the best of the meat extenders.

Nowadays - when bread, like other cereal products - is among the plentiful foods, you depend on it to spread the meat flavor to the last bite, whether it's the bun on the hamburger or the roast stuffing made of bread crumbs.

No question about it, you can use bread to stretch the red points, and if you have time for some home baking, here are suggestions from food specialists of the U. S. Department of Agriculture on bread variations you may not have tried.

For example, you can extend the cheese flavor by adding grated cheese to bread dough. The proportions? Well, you will find the recipe in a bulletin prepared by food specialists of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. In just a minute, I’ll tell you where you can get a copy.

Another variation that adds richness and flavor to homemade bread is peanut butter. Or you may wish to use chopped nuts – pecans, walnuts, peanuts, or hickory nuts make good nut bread.

Since it is "daily bread" - in most households - not once but three times a day, the more ways you can vary the bread, the brighter the meals. No matter how well the members of your family enjoy hot biscuits, chances are they’ll welcome whole wheat muffins, Parker house rolls now and then – popovers, once in awhile.

Making breads at home isn't a hard job - if you have accurate directions - and that brings me back to what I said a while ago - the bulletin. It's called "Home-made Bread, Cake and Pastry, " and you can get a copy free by writing to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington 25, D.C.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a copy of the bulletin mentioned, but I hope the following idea, from the Los Angeles Times of December 18, 1929, will be acceptable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Cheese Bread
One-half a cake of yeast, one and one-half cupfuls of lukewarm milk, one and one-half cupfuls of finely grated stale cheese, one tablespoonful of sugar, four and one-half cupfuls of flour, one teaspoonful of salt; dissolve the yeast in a cupful of warm milk, scald the remaining milk, remove from the fire, add the grated cheese, and stir until the cheese is dissolved; when the milk and cheese are lukewarm, add the yeast, sugar, and one cupful of flour, beat well and set in a warm place to rise until light. Add enough more flour to make of a medium consistency, knead well, oil the bowl, place the dough in it, brush with melted shortening and allow to rise again, when double in bulk, knead again, form into a loaf, place in an oiled baking pan, and let it rise again. Place in a hot oven for the first ten minutes, then reduce to a moderate oven and bake until done.