Thursday, February 18, 2010

Only Apples.

In yesterday’s post I mused on the history of ‘single ingredient’ cookbooks. They seem to have started to pop up in the second half of the nineteenth century, amidst the general great burgeoning of the genre. Today, I want to see if a cookbook published in 1865 (contemporary then with Mrs. Beeton’s famous tome) on the subject of the apple.

The apple, in one or other of its enormous number of varieties, is surely the most widely known fruit in the world – not to mention one of the most versatile? Has the sheer history and ubiquity of it bred disinterest, or even downright boredom with the apple, do you think? Will today’s source - How to Cook Apples: shown in a hundred different ways of dressing that fruit … by Georgiana Hill, (London, 1865) - yield any good ‘old’ ideas for us?

Amongst the expected variations on the themes of pies, puddings, dumplings, fritters, and fools, there are these rather more interesting ideas.

Apple Sausages.
Chop up some fat pork as for ordinary sausages, and, instead of bread crumbs, to each pound of meat put half a pound of sour apples finely minced; season with the finest whitepepper, and add a considerable quantity of Spanish pimiento to give it a richness of appearance. Fry to a fine brown, and serve with olives.

Irish Stew.
Take four large apples, two potatoes, and two onions, chop them all up together, add some herbs freshly shred, and any kind of meat, well seasoned with pepper and salt; put into a saucepan a layer of vegetables and a layer of meat alternately, until three parts full; then pour in a pint of gravy, cover it with a thick suet crust, put on the lid of the saucepan, and let it simmer for two hours.

Apple Bread.
Weigh seven pounds of fresh juicy apples, peel, core, and boil them to a pulp, being careful to use an enamelled saucepan, or a stone jar placed inside an ordinary saucepan of boiling water, otherwise the fruit becomes discoloured; mix the pulp with fourteen pounds of the best flour, put in the same quantity of yeast you would use in common bread, and as much water as will make it into a fine smooth dough; put it into a pan, and stand it in a warm place to rise; let it remain for twelve hours at least; form it into rather long-shaped loaves, and bake it in a lively oven. This bread is very much eaten in the south of Europe.

Quotation for the Day.

Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.
Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples.

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