Friday, July 04, 2008

"The Fourth"

July 4 ...

Today being ‘The Fourth’, I have a Civil War era menu for you, my American friends. It is from the town of Prescott, Arizona – a town of the very young age of 35 days when it held its Independence Day celebrations at the ‘Juniper House’ in 1864. The restaurant itself being still in a state of construction, the dinner was held in a makeshift tent under a large juniper tree. Presumably many of the 400 party-goers (almost all male, there being a terrible dearth of women in the fledgling mining town) did not manage to fit inside the ten by fifteen foot space but stayed outside – where they could watch the food cooking on campfires.

The Juniper House Bill of Fare' July 4, 1864

Breakfast until 9 o'clock

Beef Steak Fried Liver

Venison Steak Mutton Chop

Tea and Coffee, with Milk

Dinner from 12 to 3

Beans Mutton Broth Bean Soup Beef Stew

Venison Barbecued Beef Barbequed Beef Potpie

Venison Potpie Mutton Barbequed Beef Potpie

Apple Roll, with Sauce.

Tea and Coffee, with Milk

Supper from 4 o’clock.

And here is how to cook any one of those pot pies without an oven.

Pot Pie.
Take raised pie-crust, line a pot, or small Dutch oven, or a very deep stewpan, bottom and sides, with one-half an inch thickness; lay your fowls and pork, or veal, in very small pieces, (the pork is always best boiled first,) in, with salt, and pepper, and small pieces of butter, then potatoes, cut in very delicate slices, then a layer of crust, one, again, of meat, then potatoes, then crust. Then pour in the water in which the pork has been boiled, through a hole in the top crust. The pie must be baked very judiciously, or it will be a failure. It is, therefore, always best to cook the meat and fowl, unless they are very young and tender. Lay a sheet of foolscap over the top, to keep it from baking too rapidly.

This is a most excellent dish for a harvest-party, or log-rolling; it can be made at any season of the year; in winter they are very fine, made of sweet-breads, tender-loins, and spare-ribs, finely sliced, or cut up.

The Great Western Cook Book, or Table Receipts, Adapted to Western Housewifery.New York: A.S. Barnes & Company, 1857. c1851

Monday’s Story …


Quotation for the Day …

“If there hadn't been women we'd still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girl friends. And they tolerated it and let us go ahead and play with our toys.” Orson Welles.


Jayne said...

Love the Orson Welles quote lol.
Hmmm I might give that pot pie a go sometime next week as I've got a camp oven I often cook in.

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

Beef steak fried liver and Venison steak mutton chop! How heavy ... and hot ... for breakfast! I'm serving Patriotic Pancakes for the 4th!

Anonymous said...

This might be a dumb question but what is "raised" pie crust?

Rosemary in Utah said...

My SO is a hunter, so I have experienced fresh deer liver for breakfast--I suppose only we who love it understand.
Thanks for thinking of the USA on the 4th!

The Old Foodie said...

Hello jem - there is no such thing as a dumb question. A raised pie crust is made from 'hot water pastry' - it is almost like clay and can be moulded to form a free-standing crust. It is like a pastry casserole dish! Traditional English pork pies (like the famous Melton Mowbray pies) are still made this way.
Hello rosemary in Utah - I'll do a story on a historic Utah menu soon, just for you.