Friday, January 23, 2009

The Other Uses of Coffee.

Sometime ago, I wrote a short article called ‘The Other Uses of Coffee’ for my regular gig with a bakery trade magazine. The curse and blessing of a limited word allowance meant that some of the weirder uses of coffee had to be left out, but I have no intention of wasting the delightful information I gleaned in my research. Today I give you an interesting idea from the nineteenth century Australian cookbook guru, ‘Mrs. Rawson’ (Wilhemina Frances, or ‘Mina’ to her friends.)

Mrs. Rawson’s Dry Coffee Preservative.
(To Preserve Game When Carried Any Distance, Or Kept Some Time.)
When the ducks, water hens, turkeys etc are shot, let them be cleaned as soon as possible. The task need not be an unpleasant one at all, if each gentleman is provided with a piece of stout wire, and each does all that falls to his own gun. Cut the opening at one side, the left is the most handy, first picking away just a few feathers. That done, introduce the wire which should be bent like a wide hook at the top, and draw out all the loose contents of the body. All that should come without trouble, and in one pull, the wire being held firmly. Now sprinkle a liberal quantity of dry coffee into the inside, pick a handful of grass, roll it up, and push it in as stuffing. I cannot tell you what qualities the coffee possesses, but that it is far before pepper, used in this way. I have also used it successfully on butcher’s meat.

I am not too convinced that pulling out the innards of a duck with a loop of wire can be done ‘without trouble’ – and a lot of splattery mess, but then I have never tried the manoeuvre. I wonder if the coffee does have some preservative ability – or just disguises the smell of putrefaction. Anyone know of any other examples of its use in this way?

Mrs Rawson was big on baking too, but I am going to take a leap into the mid-twentieth century for the recipe for the day – to my favourite source of the wartime Ministry of Food leaflets. From issue number 29, a recipe that fits nicely into the Coffee Recipe Archive.

Coffee Potato Scones.
Sift 6 oz plain flour, 2 level teaspoonfuls baking powder, and ½ teaspoonful salt into a basin. Mix thoroughly with 4 oz mashed potato. Rub in 2 oz fat with the tips of the fingers. Blend to a soft dough with ½ teacupful strong, milky, sweetened coffee. Roll out to ½ inch thickness on a floured board and cut into little rounds. Glaze the tops with a little milk. Bake on greased baking sheets in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

Quotation for the Day …

Coffee: we can get it anywhere, and get as loaded as we like on it, until such teeth-chattering, eye-bulging, nonsense-gibbering time as we may be classified unable to operate heavy machinery.
Joan Frank

1 comment:

srhcb said...

I use coffee quite often in baked goods, especially cake and quickbreads. I just replace the water in the recipe.

I also use coffee as a braising liquid. It works well with ham or beef.