Friday, October 12, 2007

Family Fare from Phyllis.

Today, October 12 ...

The daily task of menu planning and implementation that we discussed yesterday was also tackled by Phyllis Brown in 1879 in her book called A Year’s Cookery. Phyllis specially addressed her book to “ … people of moderate income, with moderate domestic help, and ordinary kitchen utensils”, which I am sure includes most of you, my good readers. Unlike our author yesterday, Phyllis neglects to tell us what should appear on the dinner table of our moderate domestic help, but she does at least solve the luncheon issue.

For October 12th, she suggests:

Fried ham, fried eggs
Teacakes, dry toast
Brown and white bread and butter
Rice and barley porridge

Scalloped fish
Wyvern puddings

Lentil soup
Tomato Beef.
Town Pudding

Good solid puddings, twice a day - that seems to have been Phyllis’ motto. On this day the Wyvern puddings are essentially little Yorkshire puddings – what we would now call ‘popovers’, served with jam. Pudding number two for the day, Town pudding, is a steamed suet pudding with apple. Cant go too long between suet puds you know.

Phyllis also gives instructions each day for Marketing “for the day” and “for tomorrow”, as well as a list of “Things that must not be forgotten”. On this day, one of the things you must not forget is to prepare the “plump young fowl” bought today for tomorrow’s dinner. I am quite sure Phyllis means that the domestic help do this, not the Lady of the House. It is done by plucking it, hanging it in a cold larder, and cleaning the giblets – not forgetting to blanch them in boiling water for five minutes as “this will help keep them.” The feathers are of course to be preserved and dried for making pillows (store them in a large bag until there are sufficient for use.)

At least the Tomato Beef is easy.

Tomato Beef.
Cut the tomatoes into slices; butter the inside of a stew-pan, cover the bottom with sliced tomatoes, lay on a portion of the beef*, and put the tomatoes and beef in alternate layers till both are used. Cover the pan closely, place it at the side of the fire, and let its contents simmer gently for an hour and a half. Add pepper and salt, and serve on a hot dish.

*this is the “three pounds of lean Beef cut into steaks” that she instructed you to buy yesterday, along with half a dozen ripe tomatoes.

Monday’s Story …

Advice for the Melancholy.

Quotation for the Day …

The disobedient fowl obeys in a pot of soup. Nigerian Proverb


T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I have enjoyed this look at domestic manuals. It does show that our craving for home advice has a long history.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello t.w. I love these books too - I have quite a collection, so I am going to feature them from time to time. How on earth did they eat that much food?

Jarrard said...

I instantly became a fan of The Old Foodie when I searched for Mangelwurzel, and your blog was the 3rd result. I just wanted to comment on how elated I am that I found this. Thank you.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Jarrard - thankyou for the kind words. I hope you continue to enjoy the stories.