Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Poison Squad.

It is a double anniversary of foodie significance today. On June 30, 1906, the first Federal Food and Drug Act was signed into law in the United States. In 1930, on the same date, the chief architect of the legislation and the first commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration – Harvey Washington Wiley – died at the age of 85 years.

Wiley was a chemist who became deeply concerned about the amount of chemical preservatives being increasingly added to food, and the potential damage these might cause. In a project that would not even be mooted in a mood of malicious office humour today, he tested a variety of these chemicals on volunteers from within the Bureau of Chemistry. The experiments began in 1902, and the daring employees became known as “The Poison Squad”.

Initially the preservative being tested was added to the food, but the unpleasant taste led the volunteers to avoid that particular dish, so the chemicals were then given in capsule form. The most discussed experiment was with borax. Wiley described the system:

“With the ordinary quantities of butter and meat preserved with borax there would be consumed about 7 ½ grains of borax per day [in two doses] by each individual; and so we fed that for sixty days in succession, beginning with the preliminary period of ten days, then following sixty days in which we gave the borax”

Many of the men became symptomatic and unwell (although apparently not seriously so) and the results were accepted as proving that many preservatives were harmful. No deaths were attributed to the “poisons”, and one of the volunteers lived into his 90’s.

The experiment gave unequivocal support to the rising move against adulteration and contamination and other unsavoury practices in the food industry. Another timely exposé was the publication of The Jungle - the very provocative book about conditions (for workers as well as animals) in the meat industry - by Upton Sinclair in 1906 (and which featured in a previous blog post here.)

The law said, essentially, that food was unfit or unsafe for consumption if:

“ ...it is mixed or packed with another substance so as to reduce or lower or injuriously affect its quality and strength if any substance has been substituted wholly or in part; if any valuable constituent has been wholly or in part abstracted, if it has been colored, powdered, coated, or stained to conceal damage or inferiority; if poisonous or deleterious substances have been added; if it consists wholly or in part of filthy, putrid, or decomposed animal or vegetable substance, or any portion of an animal unfit for food; or if the product is from a diseased animal or one that died otherwise than by slaughter.”

Our recipe for the day is for sausage – sausage meat, not sausage links – because, lets face it, despite the laws, purchased commercial sausages can be a bit dodgy!

Allow three pouns of fresh, lean pork and two of fat; must be free from gristle, sinews, and skin; have them put twice through the sausage-grinder; then add two and one half ounces of salt, half an ounce of pepper, 12 cloves, ground, and a dozen blades of mace, powdered, three grated nutmegs, six tablespoons sage, two teaspoonfuls powdered rosemary; mix all together; pack tightly in a stone jar, and cover with oiled paper; keep in a dry, cool place.
New York Times, April 29, 1877.

Quotation for the Day.

Song of the Pizen [Poison] Squad.
(Respectfully Dedicated to the Department of Agriculture)
By S. W. Gillilan.
O we're the merriest herd of hulks
that ever the world has seen;
We don't shy off from your rough
on rats or even from Paris green:
We're on the hunt for a toxic dope
That's certain to kill, sans fail.
But 'tis a tricky, elusive thing and
knows we are on its trail;
For all the things that could kill
we've downed in many a gruesome wad,
And still we're gaining a pound a day,
for we are the Pizen Squad.
On Prussic acid we break our fast;
we lunch on a morphine stew;
We dine with a matchhead consomme,
drink carbolic acid brew;
Corrosive sublimate tones us up
like laudanum ketchup rare,
While tyro-toxicon condiments
are wholesome as mountain air.
Thus all the "deadlies" we double-dare
to put us beneath the sod;
We're death-immunes and we're proud as proud--
Hooray for the Pizen Squad!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Artichokes in England.

My friend Marisa fed me artichokes while I was in Melbourne recently – a very fitting thing as she is an expert in Sicilian cookery, and the vegetable probably originated in that particular part of Italy. Marisa solved the problem they present for many of us recently when she blogged about ‘Carciofi (Artichokes and how to clean them.)'

Reading the supporting quotations in the OED is a good way to get a sense of the sequence of many events. The first mention of artichokes in England, (where I grew up) is from a manuscript of 1531 – and refers to “Bringing Archecokks to the Kings Grace’. Another notes that ‘The Hartichoch..is a kinde of Thistel, by the diligence of the Gardner, brought to be a good Garden hearbe.’ And then there is a hint of a date of introduction to England in a quotation from 1582 (from Haklyut) – ‘ In time of memory things haue bene brought in that were not here before, as..the Artichowe in time of king Henry the eight.’ Finally, a hint at the origin in a piece written in 1655 (by Thomas Moffett) – ‘Artichokes grew sometimes onely in the Isle of Sicil; and since my remembrance they were so dainty in England, that usually they were sold for crowns a peice.’

A puzzling thing to me is that artichokes feature prominently in English recipes of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries (albeit recipes clearly intended for the well-to-do), then seem to fade away. Why would that happen? Was it the wars? It is particularly strange given that recipe books suggest they were cooked in a huge variety of ways. Here is an interesting sweet dish from amongst the many artichoke recipes offered in The cook's dictionary, and housekeeper's directory, by Richard Dolby, 1833.

Artichokes And Almonds à mélange
Take half a pound of sweet almonds blanched and beat fine, with two tea-spoonsful of orange flower water; then take a quart of cream and boil it with a small quantity of cinnamon and mace; sweeten it with fine sugar and mix it with the almonds; stir them together and train it through a sieve. Let the cream cool and thicken it with the yolks of six eggs, then garnish a deep dish and lay paste at the bottom; then put in shred artichoke bottoms, being first boiled; and upon these a little melted butter shred citron and candied orange; repeating the same until the dish is nearly full, then pour in the cream and bake it without a lid. When it is baked grate sugar over it and serve it hot. Half an hour will serve to bake it.

Quotation for the Day.
There is nothing vsed to be eaten of Artochockes but the hed of them.
Andrew Boorde, in Compendyous Regyment of Helth, 1542.

P.S – the good Dr Boorde was wrong: my friend cooked the artichoke stalks too (as apparently they do, in Sicily), and they were absolutely delicious.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Hunt Breakfast.

Today, with much relief, I leave behind the relentlessly awful, cold, uncooked, unsalted, unspiced, decidely unappealing offerings of the early raw-foodies, and instead give you a glimpse into another sort of lifestyle altogether. From the American Jessup Whitehead’s The steward's handbook and guide to party catering, (1889) I give you this short insight into breakfast with the English aristocracy.
One of the British princes was recently entertained at the country seat of a nobleman at a "hunt breakfast" and dinner, and the decorations and table-ware were changed for each as follows :
Hunt Breakfast Menu.
Broiled Kidneys. Pulled Fowl
Salmon Steaks. Stuffed Tomatoes.
Sheeps Tongues. Potted Pigeons.
Broiled Rump Steaks. Quenelles.
Croquettes of Rice and Ham.
Chickens in Bechamel.
Potted Game. Pate Mêlé.
Cold Sirloin of Beef. Pressed Tongues.
York Hams. Raised Pies (various).
Normandy Pippins. Stewed Prunes.
Clotted Cream.
Roast Snipes. Woodcocks. T[h]rushes.
Apple Marmalade. Apricot Jam. Currant Jelly.
Vanilla Milk. Café au Lait. Tea.
"The tables on this occasion were dressed with white cloths and decorated à la jardinière. The silver antique jardinières were filled with ferns and spring flowers, peeping out of mosses of various kinds. Large silver bowls and epergnes on the side-board and side tables were filled with exquisite arrangements of hyacinths, tulips, wood violets, snowdrops, etc., in mosaic patterns; whilst hanging baskets graced the windows, filled with the spiritulle cyclamen light foliage, interspersed with yellow and red flowers, that gave the grand old oak hall a splendid appearance. The display of antique plate would have delighted the heart of the most enthusiastic antiquary, and the tout ensemble seemed to give the young prince much pleasure.
"The vanilla milk, which, by the way, was half cream, found great favor, and was served steaming hot in silver cups. Some added curaçoa to it, others a petit verre de Cognac, but the majority preferred the sweet beverage simply as prepared in the kitchen by my worthy old friend, the chef, who is too modest to allow me to give his name."

The author then goes on, as promised, to describe the equally sumptuous dinner.

Two particular dishes appeal to me on this menu: the “pulled fowl”, and the featured vanilla milk (I think I would have had mine ‘straight’, to better enjoy the vanilla-ness.)

Pulled Fowl.
This is a side dish for company. Select a fine tender fowl young fat full grown and of a large kind. When quite done take it out of the pot, cover it, and set it away till wanted. Then with a fork pull off in flakes all the flesh (first removing the skin,) and with a chopper break all the bones, and put them into a stew pan adding two calves’ feet split, and the hock of a cold ham, a small bunch of parsley and sweet marjoram, and a quart of water. Let it boil gently till reduced to a pint. Then take it out. Have ready in another stew pan the bits of pulled fowl. Strain the liquor from the bones &c over the fowl, and add a piece of fresh butter (the size of a small egg) rolled in flour, and a tea spoonful of powdered mace and nutmeg mixed. Mix the whole together and let the pulled fowl stew in gravy for ten minutes. Serve it hot. A turkey may be cooked in this manner and will make a fine dish. For a turkey allow four calves feet.
Miss Leslie’s New Cookery Book, 1857.

Vanilla Milk.
To 12 drops essence of vanilla and 1 oz. of lump sugar, add 1 pint of new milk.
Cooling cups and dainty drinks; William Terrington, 1869.

Quotation for the Day.

Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.
Paul Rodriguez

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Extreme Raw Food, Part 2.

Yesterday’s brief insight into the early uncooked food movement of the nineteenth century aroused some interest (or should I say disgust?), so today I give you another glimpse into the mind-workings of the perpetrators. One of those responsible was a man called Eugene Christian, who not only wrote a book on the topic, but promoted the cause by organising New York’s first ‘Uncooked Banquet’, in 1903. It was, apparently, a feast of ‘marvelous dishes’ (vegetarian, no condiments of any sort) prepared without the ‘relic of barbarism’ that was a cooking fire (or heat in any other form), by the only ‘elementary cook’ in the city. It also provided a journalistic feast for the newspapers, who, as you can imagine, reported the event with great amusement. The menu, which is astonishing in its awfulness, is detailed in my forthcoming book Menus from History, which is to be released later in the year.

From the Preface of Eugene Christian’s book, Uncooked Foods & How to Use Them: A Treatise On How To Get The Highest Form Of Animal Energy From Food With Recipes for Preparation, Healthful Combinations and Menus (1924), here is his explication.


SOME years ago we, the authors of this work, both became so impaired in health as to almost totally disqualify us for the performance of our daily work. A very exhaustive study of our condition convinced us that it was caused mainly, if not wholly, by incorrect habits in eating. This brought forth a very careful and studied series of experiments in diet which was confined entirely to cooked foods, because we at that time accepted implicitly the common theory that foods could be predigested and improved by heat.
Failing utterly in this, our attention was turned toward what have been called natural foods, but what in reality mean food in its elementary or unchanged state. Less than a year of study and experimenting with this system of feeding resulted in the total elimination of all stomach disorders and our complete restoration to perfect health. From scientific research, in addition to these failures and successes, we have studied out a system of both eating and drinking, which has been tried by many others under our direction, and in every instance health, strength and vitality have come to those who have obeyed our instructions.
In order to bring this theory more conspicuously before the public we gave a seven course dinner or banquet of uncooked foods, which was attended by many distinguished New York people. It received much attention by the New York press, and was widely commented on all over this and foreign countries through the press exchanges. A flood of inquiries concerning the use of uncooked food, especially referring to their remedial values, followed this publicity. This gave the first hint of the great interest that the public is now taking in this method of living.

The dedication to the book is also worth repeating.

To the Women of America
on whom depend the future greatness
of our glorious country,
we most affectionately dedicate
this work.

Which is followed by this abomination:

We may live without poetry, music and art,
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends, we may live without books,
And civilized man can live without cooks.
(Apologies to Owen Meredith.)

After many pages of explanation and exhortation, there are in the book a selection of recipes – or should that be ‘assembly instructions’, given that there is no application of heat required (apart from a couple of heavily and reluctantly justified exceptions)? The salad and fruit recipes are reasonable enough, for the obvious reason that even non-reformers of health serve them uncooked. A few recipes include ‘warm milk’ – presumably because it is merely warmed, not ‘cooked’?

Here, for your delectation, are a couple of ideas from the book:

Sweet Potato Pudding.
Sweet Potatoes, Eggs,
Cream, Nutmeg,
Sugar, Gelatine,
Grate potatoes on a large grater and then drain on a sieve. To six heaping teaspoonfuls of potato add two of cream, two of sugar, yolk and beaten white of one egg, nutmeg or vanilla extract. Prepare heaping teaspoonful of jelly powder. Add to mixture and set in cold place. Turn out of mold and serve with cream.

Pea Or Bean Soup.
There is a pea and bean flour in the market from which soup is easily made by adding to it warm milk or cream. It should be made and allowed to stand an hour or two before serving.

Quotation for the Day.

It is certain that the custom of flesh eating among the ancients began with the direst necessity, with the choice between that or death by starvation.
Uncooked Foods & How to Use Them

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Extreme Raw Food.

There was something in the air in the nineteenth century – something that suggested the need for change. Not change for change’s sake, but change in a better moral direction. Many reformists belonged to more than one movement, and there were many to chose from: women’s rights, anti-slavery, anti-vivisectionist, temperance and vegetarianism (and no doubt a few others).

There was a particularly demanding form of vegetarianism which advised against the use of all condiments – not even salt, and certainly no vinegar or spices of any sort – it being believed by the adherents to that movement that they were too stimulating to the passions and therefore predisposing to moral degeneracy. For reasons that no doubt were crystal clear to its followers, there was also an uncooked food movement.

From: The new hydropathic cook-book, by Russell Thacher Trall, published in New York in 1854, I give you the following recipes for bread. These recipes require no comment from me - they speak eloquently enough for themselves.

Uncooked Bread Cake.

For this and the two following recipes I am indebted to Miss E.M. French, of New London, who has experimented considerably in preparing food without cooking. The idea is sufficiently radical; but I doubt not the time will come when methods for preparing various articles of food with very little cooking if not without any, will be much more highly appreciated than can be expected at present.

Mix with half a pound of figs sufficient ground wheat - coarse Graham flour - to form a dough like well kneaded bread. The figs should be softened a little with hot water, which will also cleanse them, when they will readily yield to the kneading process. No water is required except what is necessary to soften the figs. The cake or bread may be rolled or cut in the form of biscuit. It should be made fresh whenever wanted for eating.

Unbaked Bread Cake
In this kind of bread or cake the ingredients are cooked before mixing, but not subsequently. To one quart of ground parched corn add a teacupful of boiled rice; mix the ingredients well and form a loaf by placing them in a pan wet with cold water. It may perhaps be improved by adding uncooked rice flour to form the loaf when it need not be placed in the pan but may be rolled or cut in the form of biscuit.

Quotation for the Day.

Prehistoric man may have lived on uncooked foods, but there are no savage races today who do not practice cookery in some way, however crude. Progress in civilization has been accompanied by progress in cookery. Fannie Merritt Farmer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Essence of Ham.

Today, to brighten up these hard economic times, I give you one of my favourite stories of reckless extravagance in the search for food perfection. It concerns the eighteenth century Charles de Rohan, prince de Soubise (the supposed inventor of the sauce that bears his name - “the discovery of which was more glorious than twenty victories”). The Prince “rejoiced in a cook of large views, economy being his least weakness” by the name of Bertrand. One day, wishing to give a magnificent supper to the “beauty and wit of Paris”, the prince ordered Bertrand to draw up a proposed menu and list of provisions. Apparently the chef’s estimate “had no hypocrisy about it; it was sublimely reckless.” The first item on the list was for fifty hams.

‘What Bertrand,’ said the prince, ‘you surely are not in earnest? Fifty hams! Do you wish then to treat my whole regiment ?’ ‘No, my prince only one of those hams will appear on the table; but the other forty nine are not the less necessary for flavouring, whitening, garnishing,’ &c &c. ‘Bertrand, you rob me, and this article shall not pass.’ ‘Ah monseigneur,’ said the artist with difficulty choking his rising choler; ‘you do not know our resources. You have but to order, and these fifty hams which now so much annoy you shall be dissolved into a crystal phial not bigger than my thumb.’ The prince laughed, signified assent by a nod of the head, and the charge for the fifty hams passed muster.’

Every chef should wish for such a master.

I have previously given you a recipe which requires essence of ham – an eighteenth century Rich Caper Sauce. Methinks it is unlikely that any of you would purchase forty nine hams to get some concentrated stock, so here is a different interpretation from one of my favourite sources, Domestic Economy, for rich and poor, by a lady (1827).

Essence of Ham.
Essence of ham is not expensive; so far the reverse, that there is much waste when it is not made: and when it is attended to, hams are always higher-flavoured. If cured at home more attention is paid to the manner of curing them, and also in the manner of cooking, in cleaning, and paring which is of more consequence to the flavour of the ham than is generally imagined. If they are cooked in wine ale or cider these liquors are not lost .When the ham is taken up, the essence is either to be immediately finished or put into a proper pan in a cold cellar till it is convenient; part of it of course will be reduced to glaze the ham. When the essence is to be finished take off the cake of fat, and reduce it to one third; strain it through a close wet linen bag while warm. As ham skin is excellent for covering meats that are braising they may also be put in from time to time in the stock pot, as they will dissolve and add to the flavour and richness of the sauce.

Quotation for the Day.

Where there is no extravagance there is no love, and where there is no love there is no understanding.
Oscar Wilde.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ladies who Lunch.

I havent written nearly enough on this topic, given that I have aspirations to membership of the club. I am in Melbourne this week, so hope to nibble at the lifestyle, to confirm that it suits.

For the rest of you not so lucky this week, I give you a taste of how it was in the days when eating out in public places was only just becoming an option for women – the days also when it was even possible to be one of “the ladies who have passed their girlhood without marrying (none the less cheerful, happy, and contented, for all that.)”

From the chapter “Luncheon and Tea: A Chapter for Ladies” in London Options of Today, published in 1890, I give you these wonderful options.

“There are as most of us know, two kinds of Luncheon: the substantial and the light. The first appeals rather to the robuster appetites of men than the fastidious tastes of women, and belongs more to the London restaurant and club than the modest refreshment place to which the daintier sex ordinarily resort. That we all eat quite too much in the course of every twenty four hours - those of us at least who are not “dockers,” and “that class of person” - doctors never tire of warning us. Fashion, however, has the whip-hand of the doctors, and until their patients contrive to get the whip-hand of Fashion doctors may go on warning us till the crack of doom. Meanwhile the Socialist demonstrator being not as yet forthcoming to lead us in our thousands to the Reformer's Tree, there to try condemn, and hang Fashion in effigy, we must needs proceed in our several ways to make of luncheon substantial dinners, and of dinner substantial suppers, as the tyrant dictates. Though women in the aggregate are in various ways more in bondage to the tyrant than men, women generally contrive to keep free from the rack and the thumbscrew which are the common tortures of the sterner sex, who will persist in harassing, worrying, and destroying their digestions by too much eating and drinking.
The light luncheon is the salvation of the women. The majority - the youthful and beautiful majority - would we doubt not at times rather by far their book of songs and sonnets than partake even of the lightest. Still we must all like Mrs Dombey strive to make an effort, and an effort made upon a well breaded cutlet, chipped potatoes and a single glass of claret is more sustaining and life-preserving than the “squarest meal” (to use a vulgar phrase) of sweet food of sweetly uttered knowledge.”

The author goes on to review a number of London establishments which are suitable for ladies to partake of such light lunches, including the Dorothy Restaurants – which were especially attractive “if you are among the number of those who detest to have men about the place”, as they admitted no men.

Those were indeed the days, when a definition of a light lunch was “a well breaded cutlet, chipped potatoes and a single glass of claret.”

Mutton Cutlets (Broiled), Breaded.

Trim and season your cutlets with pepper and salt, put them in some melted butter, and when they have imbibed a sufficient quantity of it, take them out and cover them completely with bread crumbs; give the cutlets a good shape, and broil them over a clear fire; take care not to do the cutlets too much, to burn the bread; serve with a sauce piquante.
The cook’s dictionary, and housekeeper’s directory, Richard Dolby, 1823.

For more on this topic:

Emily Post Does Lunch

More on Ladies who Dine in Public.

Quotation for the Day.

A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in will's freedom after it.
Aldous Huxley, Do What You Will

Friday, June 19, 2009

From Acorns to Chocolate.

Sometimes a historic trail leads off to somewhere quite different from where you start – which is a large part of the fun of course. I was exploring the use of acorns as food (boiled, in bread, as subsitute coffee), and found myself browsing an interesting bookcalled Waste Products and Undeveloped Substances, or, Hints for Enterprise in Neglected Fields, published by Peter Lund Simmonds in 1862. He describes the historic use of the acorn, and then says:

“ … In Turkey acorns are buried for some time in the earth by which the bitterness is destroyed They are then dried and toasted. Their powder with sugar and aromatics constitutes the palamoud of the Turks and racahout of the Arabs an alimentary substance readily digestible and very much esteemed.”

So, now I had two unfamiliar foods to investigate. Bear in mind, that as I do not speak Turkish or Arabic, what I ended up with was the Eurocentric view of these items. I would love some response from those really in the know! Anyway, I was doubly delighted to find references in, of all things, The Druggist's General Receipt Book , published in London in 1850.

We don’t generally think of pharmacopoeia as sources of recipes. Remedies, maybe, for gruel or beef tea or gruesome laxatives and other foods for invalids, but not delicious-sounding delicacies. Here is the The Druggist's General Receipt Book’s intrepretation of the “Turkish” and “Arabic” dishes of palamoud and racahout as fortifying drinks based on chocolate. Note that “by chocolate is meant the cacao beans roasted and pulverized to powder”, not the “dutched” and often sweetened chocolate powder of today.

Racahout Des Arabes
1 oz chocolate powder
3 oz rice flour
9 oz sugar
3 oz potato arrow-root
1 dr. vanilla (pulverized with part of sugar).
This is professedly a preparation of acorns (perhaps those of the Quercus ballotta, which are naturally sweet, or of other kinds deprived of their bitterness by
being buried in the earth)

1 oz chocolate
4 oz rice flour
4 oz potato arrow-root
1 dr. red sanders in fine powder

So, here we are with another example of the “everthing old is new again” – chocolate (the dark variety, in mini-moderation) now apparently being suspected of having medicinal value.

Quotation for the Day.

Chocolate is not only a pleasant of taste, but it is also a veritable balm of the mouth, for the maintaining of all glands and humours in a good state of health. Thus it is, that all who drink it, possess a sweet breath.
Stephani Blancardi (1650-1702), Italian Physician.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

“Potted Luck”

The whole concept of a “pot luck” acquired new and magnificent meaning to me recently. The realisation dawned as I was browsing the pages of The Epicure’s Year Book and Table Companion of 1869. The author includes a chapter headed Picnic Reform, in which he bemoans the fact that “half the picnics given under the uncertain sky of England are failures”. He gives the main reason as the fact that “The thorough picnic nature is not common amongst us. We cannot unbend easily.” He goes on to “submit a few observations on picnic gastronomy”.

“The art of lying on the grass, of dispensing with knife or fork, of making yourself generally useless, - is not to be mastered in an afternoon. … there is vast room for improvement in the art of dining with nothing between you and the pendent caterpillar – in a gastronomic direction. … The English picnic, as now ordered, may be described as an incongruous company brought together to eat anything, and everything, in the open.”

The author then pleads for us to learn the art of composing a Menu sous les Feuilles (a ‘menu under the leaves’). He describes how he rescued a batchelor friend “besieged” by female relatives demanding to be entertained at lunch in his chambers, by demonstrating how it was possible (even for a batchelor) to “throw together” a bill of fare from the resources offered by the purveyors of London. He came up with a magnificent feast that included three potages, Russian caviare, butter from Milan, chaud-froid of beef, truffled foie-gras, and many other delicacies, in addition to a large selection of wines and cognac. His “Potted Luck” as he calls it inspires “the ladies” so much that “they resolve to imitate it”. In the fullness of summer, on June 13, in 1868, he is invited to a Potted Luck in Belvedere Park. The day is more than a success - “the oldest picknicker present cordially pronounced our day sous les feuilles to be a glorious revolution.

The menu was as follows:

Potage: Crécy. Vermouth de Turin.
Hors d’oeuvres. Salade d’anchois; salade de homarde; caviare; saucisson de Brunswick; saucisson de Strasbourg aux truffes; salame de Milan; salame de Bologna; olives d’Espagne, anchois frais; écrivisse; potted tongue.
Punch à la Romaine.
Entrées: Pâté de gibier de Yorck; pâté de volaille; pâté de veau; potted Strasbourg meat; poulet aux truffes; jambon de Yorck; gigot d’agneau à ‘Anglais; boeuf.
Wines: Xérès; Bordeaux; Champagne; Carlowitz; Rudesheimer.
Dessert: Fraises; patisserie; Gruyère; Roquefort.
Estratto de tamarindo.

See what I mean about a whole new perspective on the idea of “pot lucks”?

Ham or Tongue Potted.
Cut a pound of the lean of cold boiled ham or tongue, and pound it in a mortar with a quarter of a pound of the fat, or with fresh butter (in the proportion of about two ounces to a pound) till it is a fine paste (some season it by degrees with a little pounded mace or allspice) put it close down in pots for that purpose and cover it with clarified butter a quarter of an inch thick; let it stand one night in a cool place. Send it up in the pot or cut out in thin slices.
The Cook’s Own Book; N.K.M. Lee, 1832

Quotation for the Day.

If the rain spoils our picnic, but saves a farmer's crop, who are we to say it shouldn't rain?
Tom Barrett.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Laughing Potatoes.

Several hotels in Brisbane in the 1870’s claimed via the classified advertisement section of the Brisbane Courier that they provided the best “shilling dinners” in the the town (or in the case of the Hotel de Paris – which in spite of its name was indeed in Queen St., Brisbane – “the best in the Colony”). In the edition of September 18, 1875 the claim was made by The School of Arts Hotel, and the advertisement included a specimen bill of fare (to which were made “Daily and Judicious Alterations”.)

Sheep’s Head Broth.
Macaroni Soup.
Fried and Boiled, with Anchovy Sauce.
Sirloin of Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.
Leg of Mutton and Caper Sauce.
Corned Beef.
Kidney Pudding.
Stewed Tripe and Onions.
Sheepshead and Brain Sauce.
Currie and Rice.
Fillet of Beef, Grilled, and Onions, Cutlets
Grilled Chops in perfection, and Laughing Potatoes
Vegetables in Season.
Apple Pudding
Jam Roley Poley
Pine Apple and Rice.

Well, I bet you can guess what I would have chosen on this menu! From the very stodgy solid Victorian English offerings (so suitable for the Brisbane climate – not) – how could I resist a simple grilled chop “in perfection” with Laughing Potatoes?

I had never heard of Laughing Potatoes until I read this menu, and assumed it was some personal joke on the part of the hotelier, but it turns out that there is such a recognised potato dish. How much fun is that?

“Laughing Potatoes” are potatoes steamed or boiled (or sometimes baked) in their skins – the skins splitting their sides in the cooking, as if with laughter (and the cracks looking like smiles). The dish (or the idea) was unequivocally Irish, and the potato being a staple food for that race for a large part of the nineteenth century the name is a clear testament to the ability of some folk to maintain a self-mocking sense of humour no matter what.

It hardly seems necessary nowadays to give instructions for boiling potatoes, but in 1824 it was clearly not a universal skill. A correspondent to the journal Kaleidoscope:or, Literary and Scientific Mirror in that year felt that the correct process needed some clarification.

SIR, It is suprising that in a pan of the kingdom where potatoes are supposed to be the best not one in twenty should know how to cook them. To save the trouble of washing them clean it is the custom to pare or scrape off the skin the consequence of which is that when brought to table the outside is only enough and the inside half raw or if the potatoes are boiled longer than usual then the flowery outside becomes mixed with the water like puddle. There being no stated advantage in the Lancashire method one naturally wonders that the cooks should take so much pains to spoil so valuable an article of food. Count Rumford particularly says that potatoes should be boiled with the skins on and also boiled slowly that the inside may be enough as soon the outside.

Quotation for the Day.

Only two things in this world are too serious to be jested on, potatoes and matrimony.
Irish saying.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twice-Laid Fish

It is a few weeks since I felt the need to revive a forgotten (to me) food phrase. Today’s contribution is from The Slang Dictionary: or, the Vulgar Words, Street Phrases, and “Fast” Expressions of High and Low Society, published in 1865. It is “Twice-Laid” - a seafaring or maritime expression for “a dish made out of cold fish and potatoes.”

Occasionally when I have been in pursuit of a “lost” food phrase I have been unable to find any other reference beyond the one in the source dictionary (usually of slang or regional dialect), but Lo! and Behold! there are indeed other instances of “twice-laid.” In some contexts it indicates any dish twice-prepared (even ship’s bread – already impossibly hard - re-baked and used to provision a second voyage), but in most cases it does specifically refer to fish. I find that in Newfoundland for example, it particularly refers to a “favourite breakfast and supper dish amongst rich and poor” of cod mashed with potatoes.

Here, from a man who (to judge by his name) should know about these things, is the description of twice-laid fish, and one interpretation of the idea.

Twice Laid Dishes Of Fish.
Although any portions of fish that are left un-consumed are usually considered so worthless as to be thrown away and wasted, they may always be turned to some and very often really profitable account .The smallest portions may assist in making fish soups or enriching gravies and the larger may often be submitted to some process of cookery by which they may be rendered quite as agreeable as when first produced in the way they were originally cooked.

Fish Sausages.
Take any previously dressed fish and after carefully extracting all the bones, mince it up fine, season with cayenne, common pepper and salt and mix up with it a sufficient quantity of raw beaten egg to bind the whole together; make the mixture up into the form of sausages or of small balls. Fry them brown and serve them up with plain melted butter; bread crumbs or cold mashed potatoes may be mixed up with the fish and they may also be coated with breadcrumbs by rubbing a little raw egg about the outside of the balls or sausages, and then strewing the bread crumbs over them. Fish that has been previously stewed, particularly skate, the gravy that is left being mixed up with the fish, are really delicious prepared in this manner

From: A Practical Treatise on the Choice and Cookery of Fish, by Piscator (William Hughes), 1854.

Quotation for the Day.

Fly fishing may be a very pleasant amusement: but angling or float fishing I can only compare to a stick and a string, with a worm at one end and a fool at the other.
Samuel Johnson.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Resurrection Pie.

In 1863 the Epidemiological Society of London conducted an inquiry into the state of health of young women employed in the large dressmaking and millinery houses of the West End of that city. Unfortunately the inquiry could not be completed because “the time which could be devoted to it proved to be too short for its successful prosecution.” The contributing reasons for the difficulty in completing the study are in themselves very illuminating. The young women “lived in” at the great houses, and worked punishing hours, especially during “the season”, so could only be examined“after work hours or during a short relaxation from business late in the evening and then for a brief time only.” Another factor was that “the examined were very reticent” – a similar issue to that which had “to a great extent foiled the official investigations of the First Children's Employment Commission and of the Select Committee of the House of Lords in 1853 on this subject.

The reason for the reticence on the part of the employees was obvious. The young women were concerned “lest they should in some way or other compromise themselves with their employers … some declined because they held that it would not be right to give information concerning the state of the employed and internal economy of the houses of business in which they were living … ”. Some employees “freely avowed that the existing state of things in millinery and dressmaking so far as the employed were concerned was as a rule most unsatisfactory, but they maintained that it would not be honourable whilst eating the bread and living under the roof of an employer to make any statement which might be prejudicial to him whatever just source of complaint there might be.”

The working day usually started at 8.30 or 9, and a 12 hour day was usual - but during the peak season, the women often worked until the early hours of the morning. The arrangements for food and meals in four “first-class” houses (of dressmaking an millinery” were included in the report. This is the report from house number IV.

"Breakfast at 7 am summer: 8 am winter: tea bread and butter. Dinner from 1 to 2 pm Chiefly beef and mutton, sometimes roast, sometimes boiled beef, steak pies, cabbage pies, kidney pies. Monday “resurrection pie” and potatoes. Tuesday hot joint, but not regularly. Wednesday, cold joint. Thursday, boiled salt beef. Friday, cold boiled beef Saturday, beef steak pudding, Yorkshire pudding with roast joint. Fruit puddings or pies very rarely. Rarely any vegetable but potatoes.Sameness of meat and vegetables repulsive. Cooking very inferior. Tea - hour very irregular - from 5 to 7 pm: tea, bread and butter. Supper 10 pm at the earliest: bread and cheese sometimes butter.
Occasionally an egg in place of cheese or butter. No occasional refreshment however late work may be protracted. A very limited quantity of beer allowed. The meals are not nicely served The food is placed on the table in a disorderly manner and the table linen and furniture are far from clean. The drinking vessels are pot mugs not glasses. The quantity of food is not stinted and the quality is very fair if it were properly prepared."

All I can say is - Thank goodness for modern labour laws!

It is the “resurrection pie” that captures my imagination today. It refers to a pie made from the previous weeks leftovers and scraps (a concept we came across in a previous post), often served in boarding schools and similar institutions. I have seen one reference to a similar concept being called “Gunpowder Pie”, on account of the large amount of pepper included to disguise the taste of the elderly ingredients. There is no “recipe” of course, by definition – a resurrection pie being a mere assembly of the detritus of the pantry, most usually, it seems, mixed with a lot of potato. Instead then, I give you a pie of potatoes only – with pepper (feel free to make it gunpowder-hot). The recipe is from the inimitable Dr William Kitchener’s Cook’s Oracle (1836).

Potato Pie.
Peel and slice your Potatoes very thin into a pie dish; between each layer of Potatoes put a little chopped onion (three quarters of an ounce of onion is sufficient for a pound of Potatoes); between each layer sprinkle a little pepper and salt; put in a little water and cut about two ounces of fresh butter into little bits and lay them on the top; cover it close with puff paste. It will take about an hour and a half to bake it.
N.B. The Yolks of four Eggs (boiled hard) may be added; and when baked a table spoonful of good Mushroom Catchup poured in through a funnel.
Obs. - Cauliflowers divided into mouthsful and Button Onions seasoned with Curry Powder &c make a favourite Vegetable Pie

Quotation for the Day.

If there were only turnips and potatoes in the world, someone would complain that plants grow the wrong way.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peasecods, How to Use.

We are back for a final visit to Gawthorpe House in the Elizabethan era, and today we are going to sample peasecods.

Peasecods (peas-in-pods, or pea-shucks, or pea-pods) are mentioned several times in the household manual of the Shuttleworth family. The idea of eating pea-pods seems to have been found, lost, and found again over the centuries. Certainly when I was growing up in the North of England in the 1950’s I have no recollection at all of anything resembling “snow peas”, although I do seem to remember hearing references to “pea pod wine”.

There are recipes for “pescoddes” in several medieval cookbookd, but they are actually for small marrow-filled pastries that resemble peas in a pod. The small hard field peas that provide us with the dried peas (or pease) that we use for pea soup would hardly have been appetising to eat whole and fresh. When “garden peas” were developed by clever horticulturalists in the seventeenth century, the well-to-do went wild for them, as we have seen in a previous story. The French seemed to have maintained an early monopoly on the idea of eating them whole, if we are to believe the fine scholar and author Peter Lund Simmonds, who wrote in 1862

“We do not cook our peas in the pod, or eat the pods as they do in France … supplied to milch-cows in the metropolis during the season … the pea-shells have been recommended as a paper material and they have been used for distilling from in France.”

And perhaps the French were even first to use them to make alcohol. The English Farmer’s Magazine of 1858 says:

“The French are even utilizing their pea-shucks: they have discovered, so it is said, that pea-pods yield alcohol as abundantly as the beet-root, or pumpkin.”

Meanwhile, as the wealthy nibbled at peas in the pod, the peasants continued to use the hard dry pease in a number of ways:

Oatmeal and Pease Bread.
To a peck of pease flour, and a like quantity of oatmeal, previously well mixed, by passing the two flours through a sieve, add three or four ounces of salt; knead into a stiff mass with warm water ; roll out into thin cakes ; and bake in an oven. In some parts of Lancashire and Scotland, this kind of bread is made into flattened rolls, and they are usually baked in an iron pot.
The complete confectioner, pastry-cook, and baker, by Eleanor Parkinson, 1844

And Pea soup is still a winner: if you want to value-add to your pea soup, add pea soup flavouring.

Pea Powder
Pound together in a marble mortar half an ounce each of dried mint and sage, a dram of celery seed, and a quarter of a dram of cayenne, and rub them through a fine sieve. This gives a very savoury relish to pea soup and to water gruel. A dram of allspice, or black pepper, may be pounded with the above, as an addition, or instead of the cayenne.
The cook and housekeeper's complete and universal dictionary, by Mary Eaton, 1822

Quotation for the Day.

"To eat, to love, to sing, and to digest; in truth, these are the four acts in this opéra bouffe that we call life, and which vanishes like the bubbles in a bottle of champagne."
Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Poor Author’s Pudding.

I have decided, purely on the basis of blog-writer’s whim (try arguing with that; just you dare try), to temporarily discontinue the Gawthorpe Hall series. Instead, I have decided, purely on the basis of fun, to give you a couple of recipes from the wonderful Eliza Acton (Modern Cookery for Private Families, 1845). They seem particularly apt, given that my book Pie: A Global History was released a few months ago, and the next magnum opus (make that double magnum) – Menus from History, is finally in the hands of the production team (which means that the dreaded indexing is finished. Hallelujah!)

The Poor Author's Pudding.
Flavour a quart of new milk by boiling in it for a few minutes half a stick of well-bruised cinnamon, or the thin rind of a small lemon; add a few grains of salt, and three ounces of sugar, and turn the whole into a deep basin: when it is quite cold, stir to it thrce well-beaten eggs, and strain the mixture into a pie-dish. Cover the top entirely with slices of bread free from crust, and half an inch thick, cut so as to join neatly, and buttered on both sides: bake the pudding in a moderate oven for about half an hour, or in a Dutch oven before the fire.
New milk, 1 quart; cinnamon, or lemon-rind; sugar, 3 oz.; little salt; eggs, 3 ; buttered bread : baked ½ hour.

The Publisher's Pudding.
This pudding can scarcely be made too rich. First blanch, and then beat to the smoothest possible paste, six ounces of fresh Jordan almonds, and a dozen bitter ones; pour very gradually to them, in the mortar, three quarters of a pint of boiling cream; then turn them into a cloth, and wring it from them again with strong expression. Heat a full half pint of it afresh, and pour it, as soon as it boils, upon four ounces of fine bread-crumbs, set a plate over, and leave them to become nearly cold; then mix thoroughly with them four ounces of maccaroons, crushed tolerably small; five of finely minced beef-suet, five of marrow, cleared very carefully from fibre, and from the splinters of bone which are sometimes found in it, and shred not very small, two ounces of flour, six of pounded sugar, four of dried cherries, four of the best Muscatel raisins, weighed after they are stoned, half a pound of candied citron, or of citron and orange rind mixed, a quarter saltspoonful of salt, half a nutmeg, the yolks only of seven full-sized eggs, the grated rind of a large lemon, and last of all, a glass of the best Cognac brandy, which must be stirred briskly in by slow degrees. Pour the mixture into a thickly buttered mould or basin, which contains a full quart, fill it to the brim, lay a sheet of buttered writing-paper over, then a well- floured cloth, tie them securely, and boil the pudding for four hours and a quarter; let it stand for two minutes before it is turned out; dish it carefully, and serve it with the German pudding-sauce of page 403.
Jordan almonds, 6 oz.; bitter almonds, 12 ; cream, ¾ pint; breadcrumbs, 4 oz.; cream wrung from almonds, ½ pint; crushed macaroons, 4 oz.; flour 2 oz.; beef-sue^ 5 oz.; marrow, 5 oz.; dried cherries, 4 oz.; stoned Muscatel raisins, 4 oz.; pounded sugar, 6 oz.; candied citron (or citron and orange-rind mixed), ½ lb.; pinch of salt; ½ nutmeg; grated rind, 1 lemon; yolks of eggs, 7; best cognac, 1 wineglassful; boiled in mould or basin, 4 ¼ hours.
Obs.—This pudding, which, if well made, is very light as well as rich, will be sufficiently good for most tastes without the almonds: when they are omitted, the boiling cream must be poured at once to the bread-crumbs.

Don’t you love the idea of obtaining the almond cream by wringing it “with strong expression” ?

Eliza gives two versions of the suggested German pudding sauce:

A German Custard Pudding Sauce.
Boil very gently together half a pint of new milk or of milk and cream mixed, a very thin strip or two of fresh lemon-rind, a bit of cinnamon, half an inch of a vanilla bean, and an ounce and a half or two ounces of sugar, until the milk is strongly flavoured ; then strain, and pour it, by slow degrees, to the well-beaten yolks of three eggs, smoothly mixed with a knife-end-full (about half a teaspoonful) of flour, a grain or two of salt, and a tablespoonful of cold milk; and stir these very quickly round as the milk is added. Put the sauce again into the stewpan, and whisk or stir it rapidly until it thickens, and looks creamy. It must not be placed upon the fire, but should be held over it, when this is done. The Germans mill their sauces to a froth; but they may be whisked with almost equally good effect, though a small mill for the purpose—formed like a chocolate mill— may be had at a very trifling cost.

A Delicious German Pudding-Sauce.
Dissolve in half a pint of sherry or of Madeira, from three to four ounces of fine sugar, but do not allow the wine to boil; stir it hot to the well-beaten yolks of six fresh eggs, and mill the sauce over a gentle fire until it is well thickened and highly frothed; pour it over a plum, or any other kind of sweet boiled pudding, of which it much improves the appearance. Half the quantity will be sufficient for one of moderate size. We recommend the addition of a dessertspoonful of strained lemon-juice to the wine.
For large pudding, sherry or Madeira, ½ pint; fine sugar, 3 to 4 oz.; yolks of eggs, 6; lemon-juice (if added), 1 dessertspoonful.
Obs.—As we have already said in the previous receipt, it is customary to froth sweet sauces in Germany with a small machine made like a chocolate-mill. Two silver forks fastened together at the handles may be used instead on an emergency, or the sauce may be whisked to the proper state, like the one which precedes it.
Great care must be taken not to allow these sauces to curdle. The safer plan is to put any preparation of the kind into a white jar, and to place it over the fire in a pan of boiling water, and then to stir or mill it until it is sufficiently thickened : the jar should not be half filled, and it should be large enough to allow the sauce to be worked easily. The water should not reach to within two or three inches of the brim. We give these minute details for inexperienced cooks

Quotation for the Day.

I pray that death may strike me in the middle of a large meal.
I wish to be buried under the tablecloth between four large dishes.
Marc Desuagiers

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rosemary Comfits, etc.

We discovered yesterday that the Shuttleworths of Gawthorpe Hall (our source of inspiration for the week) in Lancashire regularly ordered special supplies to be sent all the way from London. In November 1617, they purchased from Mr. Thomas Lever,confectioner, one lb. of rosemary comfits.

I have met comfits made from caraway, aniseed, coriander, cinnamon, and orange (and the infamous ones used by the Maquis de Sade, supposedly containing Spanish Fly) in my reading, but I don’t believe I have come across a reference to rosemary comfits before, and I am most intrigued by them.

Rosemary was used regularly in those times for medicinal purposes, to make pot-pourri, and to flavour beverages such as mead. Comfits were somewhere in the first group – as a sort of after-dinner digestive. Musing on the use of the herb led me to wonder when it became used for more definitive culinary purposes. I don’t pretend to have researched it in any depth, but I give you a few gleanings to get the discussion going.

Firstly, for the comfits themselves, I found a nineteenth century recipe:

Lavender and Rosemary buds may be put into just as much white of egg as will damp them, and then shaken amongst fine-pounded sugar till they are well-covered, and left to dry in it.
Domestic Economy, and Cookery, for Rich and Poor, by a Lady (1833)

I did find one reference from 1867 (from a book supposedly of Welsh cookery ideas) of it being added to the water used to clarify lard when a pig was killed, which sounds a very elegant touch to the inelegant process of rendering. Then there was this idea (from America) at a further point in the pig processing:

Souse for Brawn, and Pig’s Feet and Ears.
Boil a quarter of a peck of wheat-bran, a sprig of bay, and a sprig of rosemary, in two gallons of water, with four ounces of salt in it, for half an hour. Strain it, and let it get cold.
Irving’s 1000 Receipts, by Lucretia Irving (America) 1852

Here is a proper cookery recipe from 1804.

The Head of a Turbot Stewed.
Fill a sauce-pan nearly full with water, and put in a few anchovies, some marjoram and rosemary, two or three cloves, some whole pepper, and scraped ginger. Stew these for the space of an hour ; then strain, and put in the head to be stewed till tender ; when enough, thicken the gravy with flour rolled in butter; add to the butter an anchovy or two, and a little nutmeg. When ready to be served up, put in some spoonfulls of white wine, together with some balls made in the following manner : Bone and skin a piece of turbot; then chop it small, with a little thyme, marjoram, grated bread and nutmeg. Form these into balls with some melted butter and cream, or the yolk of an egg. Put jnto the stew-pan, before the head is taken out, a large piece of the forcemeat, and salt to the taste.
Culina Famulatrix Medicinae, by Alexander Hunter, 1804

And finally, a more familiar application from much more recent times. It is a dish of lamb with rosemary, from Mrs Beeton’s Cookery book and Household Guide, of 1909 – which is to say that it is Isabella’s in name only as she had been dead since 1865. Her original collection was progressively changed and manipulated after her death – exponentially so after the Beeton company was sold in the wake of her husband’s financial failure. It is a nice recipe nonetheless – a sort of herby pickle of lamb that methinks would adapt well to the modern slow cooker.

Baked Saddle of Lamb.
Ingredients: A small saddle of lamb, shalots, marjoram, rosemary, bay-leaves, cloves, juniper berries, lardoons, ½ pint vinegar, ½ pint of claret, pepper and salt.
Mode: Chop the shalots, rosemary, marjoram and bay-leaves; crush the berries, add the cloves and pepper, and having skinned the saddle, rub it thoroughly inside and out with the mixture. Put it in an earthen pan, pour over the claret and vinegar, and let it remain in this liquor for 4 days, frequently turning it. Then lard it, and bake it in an earthenware pan, carefully basting it, and adding a little salt, for 1 to 1 ¼ hour.

Quotation for the Day:

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that's for thoughts.
William Shakespeare.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Spice and other essentials.

A large manorial estate such as Gawthorpe (see yesterday’s story) was largely self-sufficient in the early seventeenth century. There were a few things considered necessary in a wealthy household that could not be produced by even the best run English farms however - such as spices and dried fruit. These expensive imported items were purchased from suppliers in London, and the costs recorded meticulously in the steward’s accounts book.

In June of 1601, the steward of Gawthorpe noted a purchase of:

“spyce, viz. ii pound of prunes, vjd ; j pound of cowraynes [currants] vjd ; halfe a pound of anelseedes [aniseeds] vd ; and saveron [saffron], ii”jd

To those who think that English food is (or was) bland and boring, please look again at this list! There were other spice purchases during the year – more aniseeds and saffron, as well as nutmegs and pepper and several other ingredients for cooking and household medicine.

Saffron is said to have been first brought to England by a pilgrim (probably from Arabia) in about 1339, and to have been first grown in England in 1582. The best home-grown saffron came from Essex, in the area around Cambridge and Saffron Walden. By November 1617, the steward’s book specifies “English saffron”, at a cost of twelve pence for half an ounce.

Saffron was valuable for a number of reasons: for its medicinal value, its brilliant colour, and of course, for its inimitable flavour. The herbalist John Gerard, writing in 1597 says “ … in good years we gather four score of 100lb of wet saffron of an acre, which, being dried, doth yield 20 lb. of dry and more …” and notes that “ besides the manifold use which it hath in kitchen and pastery, also in our cakes, (at bridals and thanksgiving of women) it is very profitably mingled with those medicines we have for the diseases of the breast [chest], of the lungs, of the liver, of the bladder, &c.”

The culinary uses of saffron were well established by the end of the fourteenth century in England, and continued to be expanded over the next few centuries. Here is a recipe idea (with medicinal comments) from Sylva sylvarum: or, a naturall historie: In ten centuries, by Francis Bacon (1635)
Mincing of meat, as in Pies, and buttered Minced Meats, faveth the Grinding of the Teeth; And therefore (no doubt) it is more Nourifhing; Especially in Age, Or to them that have weake Teeth; but the Butter is not so proper for weake Bodies; And therefore it were good to moiften it with a little Claret wine, Pill of Limon, or Orenge, cut small, Sugar, and very little Cinnamon, or Nutmegg. As for Chuetes, which are likewise minced Meat, infead of Butter, and Fat, it were good to moiften them, partly with Creame, or Almonde, or Pistachomilke; or Barley, or Maiz Creame; Adding a little Coriander Seed and Caraway Seed, and a very little Saffron. The more full Handling of Alimentation we reserve to the due place.

And here is a nice Saffron Cake (what we would call saffron bread today) from Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1747.

To make a fine seed or saffron-cake.
YOU muft take a quarter of a peck of fine flour, a pound and a half of butter, three ounces of carraway feeds, fix eggs beat well, a quarter of an ounce of cloves and mace beat together very fine, a pennyworth of cinnamon beat, a pound of sugar, a pennyworth of rofe-water, a pennyworth of faffron, a pint and a half of yeaft, and a quart of milk; mix it all together lightly with your hands thus: firft boil your milk and butter, then fkim off the butter, and mix with your flour, and a little of the milk; ftir the yeaft into the reft and ftrain it, mix it with the flour, put in your feed and fpice, rofe water, tincture of faffron, fugar, and eggs; beat it all up well with your hands lightly, and bake it in a hoop or pan, but be fure to butter the pan well. It will take an hour and a half in a quick oven. You may leave out the feed if you choofe it, and I think it rather better without it; but that you may do as you like.

Quotation for the Day.

A man who is stingy with saffron is capable of seducing his own grandmother.
Norman Douglas (1868-1952)

Monday, June 08, 2009

The very crown in the housewife’s garland.

I thought that, in lieu of a holiday, we might take a trip in the cyber time-travel machine and spend the week with the Shuttleworths of Gawthorpe Hall in Burnley, Lancashire. We can do this trip thanks to the survival of part of the household book (the steward’s accounts book) from the heyday of the estate in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Today’s selection from the carefully edited and annotated version published in 1858 was discovered when I was trying to find out more about clap bread, the subject of a post a week or two ago. The editor has this to say:

“The little charge and great benefit considered, oatmeal is the very crown of the housewife's garland, and doth more grace her table and her knowledge than all grains whatsoever; neither indeed can any family or household be well and thriftily maintained where this is either scant or wanting.”

He then goes on to detail its various uses (the headings below are mine), which surely show us that we underuse it today:

Oatmeal … is that with whick all pottage is made and thickened, whether they be meat-pottage, milk-pottage, or any thick or thin gruel whatsoever.

Six several kinds of good and wholesome bread, every one finer than another, as your anacks, jannocks and such like.

Oat Cakes:  [i.e Clap bread)
Also there is made of it both thick and thin oaten cakes, which are pleasant in taste and much esteemed; but if it be mixed with fine wheat-meal, then it maketh a most delicious and dainty oat-cake, either thick or thin, such as no prince in the world but may have them served at his table.

Also this small oatmeal mixed with blood, and the liver of either sheep, calf, or swine, maketh that pudding which is called the haggas or haggus [haggis]of whose goodness it is in vain to boast, because there is hardly to be found a man that doth not affect them.

Wash Brew and Gird Brew:
Lastly, from this small oatmeal, by oft steeping it in water and cleansing it, and then boiling it to a thick and stiff jelly, is made that excellent dish of meat which is so esteemed in the west parts of this kingdom, which they call wash-brew, and in Cheshire and Lancashire they call it flamery or flummery, the wholesomeness and rare goodness, nay the very physic-helps thereof, be such and so many, that I myself have heard a very reverend and renowned physician speak more in the commendations of that meat, than of any other food whatsoever.

From this wash-brew is derived another coarser meat (as it were the dregs or proper substance of the wash-brew) called gird-brew, which is a well-filling and sufficient meat fit for servants and men of labour — a meat of harder digestion, and fit indeed but for strong, able stomachs, and such whose toil and much sweat both liberally spendeth evil humours, and also preserveth men from the offence of fulness and surfeits.

Puddings or “Pots”:
For of the bigger kind of oatmeal called greets [grits, groats] or corn oatmeal, are made all sorts of puddings or “pots” (as the west country terms them) whether they be black, as those made of the blood of beasts, swine, sheep, geese, red or fallow deer, or the like, mixed with whole greets, sweet and wholesome herbs; or else white, as when the greets are mixed with good cream, eggs, bread-crumbs, suet, currants, and other wholesome spices. Also of these greets is made the Good Friday pudding, which is mixed with eggs, milk, suet, penny-royal, and boiled first in a linen bag, and then stripped and buttered with sweet butter.

With Roast Goose:
Again, if you roast a goose and stop her belly with whole greets, beaten together with eggs, and after mixed with the gravy, there cannot be a better or pleasanter sauce.

Nay, if a man be at sea in any long travel, he cannot eat more wholesome and pleasant meat than these whole greets, boiled in water till they burst, and then mixed with batter, and so eaten with spoons; which, although seamen call it simply by the name of loblolly, yet there is not any meat, how magnificent soever the name may be, that is more toothsome or wholesome. To conclude, there is no way or purpose whatsoever to which a man can use or employ rice, but with the same seasoning and order you may employ the whole greets of oatmeal, and have full as good and wholesome meat, and as well tasted.

The recipe for the day is for Oat Cakes, courtesy of A Modern System of Domestic Cookery, by Mrs. Radcliffe (1823)

Oat Cakes.
Sift a quarter of a peck of fine oatmeal; then take rather more than a pint of milk-warm water, half a gill of mild ale or good small beer yeast, and half an ounce of salt; stir them well together for about ten minutes, strain the whole into the oatmeal, mix the dough high in the same manner as for muffins, and let it remain an hour to rise. Afterward, roll it up with the hand, and pull it into pieces about the size of an egg; roll them out with a rolling-pin on a good deal of flour, cover them with flannel, and they will soon rise to a proper thickness. Should they, however, be found either too big or too little, it will be easy to roll the dough accordingly. They are to be baked on an iron plate, just like muffins. Toast them crisp on both sides, but do not burn them ; then pull them open, and they will appear like a honey-comb; lay in some butter, clap the two pieces again together, and only use a knife for the purpose of afterward cutting them into pieces. This is the best method of preparing muffins, as well as oat cakes.

Quotation for the Day.

One of life's best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you've got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.
Robert Fulghum

Friday, June 05, 2009

Bunya Nuts.

[image courtesy of Wikipedia]

We do nuts pretty well here in Queensland. The macadamia nut is a native of this particular part of the world it (it will happily grow in the backyard) and was once called the Queensland Nut – the Hawaiians did a better job of processing and marketing it than we did, is all! Our state is also irredeemably associated with the peanut because a previous Premier of the state (the one with the Senatorial pumpkin-scone-making wife) was a peanut farmer – the particular style and quality of his regime ensuring that the peanut-farmer concept is a pejorative one. The peanuts are good though.

There is another sort of nut here that is not well known outside of the country. It is the bunya nut, and it is the product of the bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) which grows in that part of the Great Dividing Range known as the Bunya Mountains. The bunya nut was an important food for local aboriginals, and every third year (when it produced a bumper crop) tribes from within a 200 mile radius gathered to make the most of it. Tribal rivalries were suspended for the duration while up to 20,000 folk feasted on it and collected supplies to take home.

The nut is found in the female cones, which weigh up to 10 kg each, so there is an intrinsic danger inherent in being on the ground in a fruitful forest of bunya pines. Our family will be spending several days in the region in early July as my sister is getting married there. The brochure from the accommodation on the mountain lists includes a list of things under the heading “BEWARE” . It does not include snakes, strangely enough, but includes ticks, Gympie stinging trees, stinging nettles, and falling Bunya cones. I am not sure how one avoids falling Bunya cones. If one looks up to see if any look a bit ripe and loose, does that not mean that it splatters your nose, not the top of your head? Anyway, I digress.

The aboriginal people ate the nuts raw (when they were fresh), or roasted. They also pounded them into a sort of flour (the nuts are very starchy), and made ‘bread’. The first white settler to see them and remark on them was Andrew Petrie, a foreman of works in the penal days, in 1843. He wrote:

“The kernel of the bunya nut has a very fine aroma, and is certainly delicious eating . The blacks roast them, and we tried even to boil them, but the fruit lost its flavour in both cases. Besides it did not agree with my stomach. The blacks thrive on them.”

Later in the century, the white man had found another use:

“…. the following information received by the Department of Agriculture from Mr. Harold E. Meyers, of Bollier Plain, Gympie, with reference to the use of bunya nuts
as a substitute for coffee will be of interest. In a letter to the department Mr. Meyers says:-"Did you know that the nuts of the Araucaria Bidwilli produce as good coffee as is obtained from the best coffee beans? The coffee has been tried here in several places, and found equal to the best commercial article."

Recipe for the Day

The Bunya nut is underused, methinks – probably because it is not easy to grow commercially, and it is difficult to get the seeds from the cones – and there is a dearth of recipes for it. I therefore give you a nice recipe using peanuts, from the Courier Mail of October 12, 1933. The recipe contributor won the ten shilling prize of the week for the best “Household Secret”.

Peanut Crispies.
Half a cup of raw peanuts, half cup sugar, two-thirds of a cup of coconut, 4 cups cornflakes, the whites of 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons butter. Beat the whites to a stiff froth, add the sugar slowly, a drop of vanilla and a pinch of salt. Melt the butter, add to the eggs and sugar. Mix the dry ingredients in, and bake in small portions in a moderate oven about 16 minutes. Allow to remain on the tin until cool

Quotation for the Day.

And Mocha's berry, from Arabia pure, In small fine china cups, came in at last
Gold cups of filigree, made to secure the hand from burning, underneath them place. Cloves, cinnamon and saffron, too, were boiled Up with the coffee, which, I think, they spoiled.
Lord Byron.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tiffin in the Bay.

There was great excitement and interest in Brisbane in April 1881 when the Merkara, a British-India Company mail steamer en route from London via Batavia (Indonesia) arrived in Moreton Bay to deposit some of its passengers. A party of “between seventy and eighty ladies and gentlemen” made up of the mayor, aldermen, and “a number of our leading residents” were invited by the Captain to lunch aboard the vessel during her sojourn in the bay.

This was no mere lunch, this was apparently tiffin. Or at least it was one interpretation of the concept of tiffin. Presumably it was so named as a matter of principle - it was an “Indian” ship, it was the lunching hour, and there was ‘curry’ on the menu. It was in fact a huge meal which lasted several hours during which multiple courses of hefty British and Anglo-Indian food were washed down with copious amounts (it seems) of alcohol. Those former colonials must have been made of stern stuff.

The report of the event in the Brisbane Courier the next day is a marvellous example of nineteenth century food journalism – effusive, yes, tinted (by today’s standards) with political incorrectness, certainly, - but charming nonetheless. And as an added bonus, it reminds us of a ‘lost’ (or at least seriously underused) word.

The "luncheon" in the saloon was a banquet of the most récherché kind. On the very elegant bill of fare it was styled " Tiffin," and if any gourmet wants to kuow what tiffin is let him read the following paragraph slowly and on an empty stomach.
We are all seated. The apartment ia a charming one, taking in the whole breadth of thevessel, the sides being of birdseye maple panelling, and light gilt moulding running along the white beams. There are four tables ranged in parallel lines the whole length of the Saloon. These tables are bright with flowers and glass, and the snowy table napkins are arranged in shapes of such marvellous ingenuity that to unroll one critically is to penetrate an Asian mystery A small army of white helmeted, white robed kitmagars await a signal from some unseen chief, and then disperse noiselessly to offer each guest turtle or mulligatawny soup. This is a painful moment. The rich green fat swims alluringly in the pellucid liquid, but with a sigh you motion it away and take the other, having heard that an Indian cook scorns curry powder and makes his mullagatawney from the fresh condiments ground up on a stone. Your acuteness is richly rewarded. Given a turtle any ordinary artist can make good turtle soup, but the mullagatawney made by a Bengalee is hopelessly unatainable to the European chef.
By the time you have disposed of a salmon cutlet, you begin to realise that you are under the spell of a superior race. The kitmagar, who anticipates your every want before even your slow brain has had time to definitely formulate it, belongs to iu ancient civilisation. His ancestors were comporting themselves in the stately manner that distinguishes their descendant 3000 years ago, at which time yours were running about the woods dressed in a suit of blue paint, and had possibly not yet rubbed off their tails by assuming a sitting posture.
But let us get back from history to the entrées. Will you have “lamb chops and French beans”, “chicken cutlets and green peas,” or “fillets of duck and olives,” “stewed pigeons and mushrooms”, or “roast turkey and ham.” It is best not to have all five, because the dish of dishes has yet to come – the curry. Here is its, a plate of snowy rice – each grain of which looks as though it had been boiled in a separate saucepan – and then the choice of curried chicken, vegetables, or prawns. Of course you choose the crustaceans, and become suddenly conscious of how the most prosaic wants of our nature may by cultivation become sublimated into artistic appreciation of a truly noble art.
During the last half column remember you have been plied by assiduous attendants with champagne. In your gallant struggle with the bill of fare you have continually sought fresh vigour from your glass, and after each application a dusky hand has bid it foam again to the brim.
The sweets of many and curious sorts, the iced jellies, the almond pastry, the peach vol-au-vent, the cheese, the salad, the fruit- all these we pass with a mournful non possumus; and whilt you sip the cup of coffee which is the final note of this glorious concert, permit us to explain that this is “tiffin” – on board the Merkara.

What of the kitmagars - those silent, stately, dusky-handed attendants? The OED knows kitmagar as khidmutgar - a male servant who waits at table, the word apparently coming from Urdū.

Recipe for the Day.

I give you an interesting perspective on “curries” from The Englishwoman in India: information for ladies ..., 1864. The slightly confusing instructions as to the mixing and pounding of the ingredients are as they appear in the book.

Every native knows how to make these: chicken and prawn are, perhaps, the favourite ones: up country the dry prawns, which are sold by the seer in the bazaar, can be made into a very good curry, if they are well washed and half boiled in .water till tender.

1 lb. coriander seed (Dummiah).
¼ lb. turmeric (Huldee).
¼ lb. red chillies (Lai mirchee).
¼ lb. black pepper (Kala mirchee).
¼ lb. mustard seed (Rai).
2 ounces dry ginger (Soaut).
2 ounces garlic (Lussun).
2 ounces vendinne.
½ lb. salt (Nimmuck).
½ lb. sugar (Shuprgeo).
2 ounces cummin seed (Zeera).
½ lb. gram (Chenna).

Fry this and take off the husks, then pound it with the other ingredients and mix with

½ pint salad oil
½ pint vinegar.

Quotation for the Day.

Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what's for lunch.
Orson Welles

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Café in the Colonies.

Migrants and colonists are sometimes faced with an uncomfortable move away from the food of their homeland when they arrive in their new land. How - or if - they adapt to this change depends on a multiplicity of factors, not the least of which is the availability of familiar ingredients.

The early settlers in Australia not only brought with them livestock and seedstock from Britain, they also brought an absolutely firm determination to make everything as much like “Home” as possible, and were resolute, on the whole, to avoid the food of the “natives”. Those who settled around the penal colony of Moreton Bay in what is now Brisbane could however hardly eschew the abundant local seafood (which would indeed have been foolish, as it is magnificent) even if they had wanted to, for fish cannot be farmed as easily as land, and cannot be preserved as readily and “sent for” from home.

The following menu for a Brisbane café in 1898 could have been lifted from any English café. Although the snapper and oysters must have been local varieties, they were prepared in a thoroughly English way. Not a sliver of kangaroo or a sprinkle of lemon myrtle or a bit of macadamia crust anywhere to be seen. This was solid, heavy English fare for the mild Queensland winter season.

From the Brisbane Courier, July 22, 1898, this advertisement for the Café Imperial.

Pea Soup. Beef Tea.
Boiled Schnapper and Oyster Sauce.
Fried Schnapper and Anchovy Sauce.
Saute of Kidneys and Bacon.
Veal and Ham Pie.
Lamb Cutlets and Tomato Sauce.
Roast Turkey and Pork Sausages.
Roast Fillet of Beef.
Grills.- Fillet Steak and Oyster Sauce.
Loin Chops and Chip Potatoes. French
Cutlets and Bacon. Peas. Potatoes.
Fruit Salads and Wine Jellies, 6d. extra.
Soup, Fish, Meat, or Poultry, with Tea,
Coffee, Bread and Butter, and Cheese, Is.
Three Courses for One Shilling.
Cafe Imperial, 28 Queen-street.
P.Hart, Proprietor

From Phillip Muskett’s The Art of Living in Australia (1893), a recipe for a local ugly but not particularly interesting fish, cooked in a thoroughly Victorian English style:

1 Flathead—9d.
2 oz. Forcemeat—2d.
1 gill Gravy
1 oz. Dripping—1d.
Total Cost—1s.
Time—Half an Hour
Take a little veal forcemeat and season nicely. Sew this into the flathead and truss it into the shape of the letter S. Rub some dripping on to a baking sheet, which should only be just large enough to take the fish. Put some dripping on the top, and bake in a moderate oven for half-an-hour, or longer if large. Slip it on to a hot dish, draw out the trussing string carefully, flavour and boil up the gravy and pour round it. Serve very hot.

Quotation for the Day.

"In the hands of an able cook, fish can become an inexhaustible source of perpetual delight."
Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Cakes in Queensland.

Still on our theme of Queensland, History, and Food, today I give you some 1930’s cake recipes from Brisbane newspapers – because really, truly, I know that most of you like “doable” recipes, especially if they are for cakes.

From the Courier Mail of March 15, 1934, an nice idea for the Ladies who Lunch but who don’t want the oven to add to the Queensland tropical heat:

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
This is a novel cake which is much appreciated at tennis or bridge teas or at supper parties. It is made with pure Copha* instead of butter, and requires no cooking. It cannot be successfully made with butter. The method is as follows:-
5 ounces copha, melted but not allowed to boil, mix in to this ½ lb. sifted icing sugar, 1 heaped dessertspoon cocoa, 1 egg, essence of vanilla to flavour. Have ready ½ lb. of coffee biscuits, which should have been softened by leaving them out of the packet. Line a square or oblong tin with greaseproof paper, place alternate layers of themixture and the biscuits until the tin Is filled, beginning and finishing with the mixture. Stand in a cool place till set, and when firm cut in slicesThe striped appearance adds to the attractiveness of this cake.

* Copha is an Aussie variation on the Crisco theme, made from fully hydrogenated coconut oil. Indispensible for making (also uncooked) Chocolate Crackles, which are indispensible for children’s parties, and for which I must give you the recipe one day.

From the Courier Mail of February 1, 1934, the lure of a “perfect” recipe:

The Perfect Orange Cake.
One of the most delightful and easy to-make of modern confections is orange cake. It has an orangey sweet frosting, light tender layers, a fluffy creamy filling, all delicately flavoured with orange. Here is the recipe for a cake large enough to serve eight people:
Beat together until thick two egg yolks, four tablespoonfuls of orange juice, the grated rind of one orange, and half a tablespoonful of lemon juice. Gradually add three-quarters of a cupful of sugar, beating with an egg-beater. Fold in the whites of two eggs beaten until stiff. Then fold in lightly one cupful of flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, and quarter of a teaspoonful of salt which have been sifted together four times. Put into a greased, deep round pan and bake for half an hour in a moderate oven. Split and put the cream filling between the layers and cover the top and sides with orange icing.
To make orange cream filling, melt two tablespoonfuls of butter. Add four tablespoonfuls of cornflour, the grated rind of one orange, one cupful of orange juice, and one cupful of sugar. Bring to boiling point and stir occasionally. Cook for 15 minutes over boiling water (in a double saucepan). Add half a teaspoonful of
lemon juice. Cool and fold in half a cupful of whipped cream.
Orange Icing: Boil one cupful of sugar and one-third of a cupful of water without stirring until the syrup spins a thread when dropped from a spoon, Pour slowly on to one egg white which has been beaten until stiff, Beat constantly with an egg beater until the mixture holds its shape. Then gradually fold in one egg yolk, half a teaspoonful of orange juice, and a little orange rind. Spread this on the cake. In making the icing, add the egg yolk very slowly until the right colour and consistencyis obtained.

The Courier Mail of February 8, 1934 realised that “To provide variety in the little cakes she offers her visitors is always an ambition of the capable housewife”, and to that end provided amongst its offerings this nice little variation on the cup cake them (but we would probably have called it “patty cake” theme back then?)

Mint Cakes.
The ingredients required are 4oz. sugar, 4oz. butter, 6oz. self-raising flour, essence of peppermint, rind of one lemon, 2 eggs, and icing sugar.
Cream butter and sugar, add each egg separately, and beat; add the flour and grated lemon rind and a very few drops of essence of peppermint. Bake in frilled papers 15-20 minutes In moderate oven. Ice with glace icing, flavoured peppermint, and coloured green.

And finally, because the Through the Ages with Gingerbread archive has not had a new addition for some time, I give you the following, from the Courier Mail of April 26, 1934.

2 cups self-raising flour, half a cup each of butter and sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon eachof cinnamon and ginger, 1 cup treacle or golden syrup, 1 cup hot water, ½ cup coconut, ½ teaspoon salt. Cream the butter and sugar together, add the egg, then treacle, sift in the flour and other ingredients. Add the water, beat till smooth and bake in a moderate oven.

Quotation for the Day.

I haven't trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.
Erma Bombeck.

Monday, June 01, 2009

In Praise of Pumpkins, Part 2.

As promised last week, in honour of History Week in Queensland, today I give you a few more ideas for pumpkins.

As you know, the humble pumpkin has one very important function above and beyond the purely culinary – it is essential for the proper manufacture of Halloween lanterns. You may not be aware of another role in another scary situation. The pumpkin is, according to an article in the Brisbane Courier of April 17, 1891, useful for distracting sharks away from happy picnickers.

“Here is a hint for Inspector Fison and his white shark pets in Moreton Bay. One day last week there was a picnic down Sydney harbour (says the Evening News). One of the guests, M. Bonifacio Zurbano, of George-street, seeing a number of sharks about a boat, in which were a number of the picnickers, conceived a very happy idea, and one, we venture to say, unequalled in the annals of shark stories. Mr. Zurbano roasted a large pumpkin until it was thoroughly done. He then threw is near to a large shark, who took it down at one full gulp. Things were quiet for a minute or two when the shark commenced jumping out of the water to a height of 6 ft. or 7 ft., now rushing this way, now that, and lashing the sea into foam. What ultimately became of the fish is not known, but one can guess that in future, if it has survived the vegetable pill, it will, however hungry, draw the line at baked pumpkin.”

To settle your nerves after that idea, and at the particular request of reader Alf, I now give you Pumpkin Scones which are very popular here in Queensland. They are the default scones, actually, in spite of their association with one of our previous Premiers (or rather, his wife … This is not the place for political commentary, so I wont give any.)

The recipe is from a little book intended to assist the teaching of “plain cookery to school girls”, called Simple Cookery. It was published by The Department of Public Instruction in Queensland, in (I think) the 1940’s.

Pumpkin Scones.
Materials: 1 ½ cups flour; ½ cup mashed pumpkin; 1 teaspoon cream of tartar; ½ teaspoon soda; ½ teaspoon salt; 1 dessertspoon sugar; 1 egg; 1 tablespoon butter; ½ cup milk.
Utensils: Bowl, wooden spoon, cutter, baking dish, knife.
1. Cream butter and sugar; add mashed pumpkin, egg, and milk.
2. Sift in flour mixed with cream of tartar, soda, and salt.
3. Turn onto a floured board; knead lightly; press out flat, and cut into scones.
4. Bake in quick oven 15 to 20 minutes.

And because I want to extend your opinion of the culinary potential of this vegetable that is botanically a fruit, I give you this interesting idea from the Canberra Times, in 1931

Pumpkin Pickle.
This pickle is ready to eat 24 hours after it is made. Peel and seed about 5 lb pumpkin. Cut the pulp in pieces about 3 in. long and 1 in. wide. Steam till tender. In the meantime, put one quart vinegar into a saucepan with one pint water, 2 lb. sugar, one tablespoonful salt, and four sticks cinnamon, broken in small pieces. Bring to the boil. Drain the pumpkin, put into small jars and fill up with boiling vinegar.

Quotation for the Day.

It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.
Robert Fulghum.