Monday, May 03, 2010

Sherry Therapy

Last week I gave you a recipe for a treacle posset intended as a remedy for a cold. The source was Cookery for Invalids: Persons of Delicate Digestion, and for Children by Mary Hooper, published in London in 1876. I want to refer to this book again today, because it is a wonderfully refreshing home medical text for the era, for one particular reason.

The author is clearly in favour of alcohol for medicinal purposes – and not just any old alcohol. She stresses the importance of the lady of the house developing her palate for wine in order to ascertain its quality and avoid being cheated by dealers - if wine is a ‘necessity’ for her family.

“Port and Sherry are costly wines, and it is difficult to procure them genuine; indeed, much sold under these names are chemical compositions or vile adulterations, and so uneducated is the public taste that it accepts anything described by the vendors as Port or Sherry. Ladies are very much at the mercy of unscrupulous merchants, and will do well to avoid advertising firms, and still better, if wine is a necessity for themselves or their families, to acquire a correct taste and judgment in the matter.”

If you like her attitude on wine in general, I am sure you will like her specific thoughts on champagne – and so true and important I fell they are that I hope to immortalise them by using them in the Quotation for the Day, which you will find, as usual, at the end of this post.

The author recommends weak brandy and water ‘as without doubt the safest and best beverage for persons of delicate digestion’. She also gives a recipe for ‘Orange Tonic’ which is essentially brandy infused for a month with the peel of Seville oranges, and which can be used to add value to a glass of sherry or claret cup! She also suggests brandy be added to egg-drinks, gruel, wine jelly, tapioca jelly, and custard cream.

Today, however, I want to share with you a selection of Mary Hooper’s recipes which use sherry. Naturally she adds sherry to various puddings and drinks as well as wine jelly. I particularly like the idea of her sweet Sherry Macaroni – it might be just the thing next time I feel a bit poorly.

Sherry Macaroni
Break half an ounce of best Italian macaroni into a quarter of a pint of sherry mixed with a quarter of a pint of water ; let it boil until it is tender and has absorbed the liquid. It can then be served dusted over with sifted sugar, mixed with a pinch of ground cinnamon, or be made into a pudding in the same manner as rice custard pudding.

Sherry Sponge Pudding.
Put two penny sponge-cakes into a buttered tart dish, pour over them a wineglassful of sherry, let them stand until the wine is absorbed. Boil half a pint of milk with two or three lumps of sugar, beat an egg up with it, pour it over the cakes, and bake in a slow oven until the custard is set, when turn out, and serve.

Quotation for the Day.

First class champagne is expensive, but when it is necessary must be looked upon as medicine, which nobody dreams of as getting second or third rate.
Cookery for Invalids: Persons of Delicate Digestion, and for Children; Mary Hooper, 1876

1 comment:

Karen said...

Sherry macaroni - what an interesting recipe!!!