Friday, June 11, 2010

Recipe Science and Mechanics.

I must have one more final little fling with recipes from non-traditional sources. How about publications for mechanics and scientists? It was not rare for nineteenth century magazines written for those with a mechanical or scientific bent to contain recipes for preserving various foods. Food preservation in the days before refrigeration was a rapidly expanding area of scientific interest for obvious reasons. I have previously posted a recipe for ‘preserving’ (prolonging the shelf life) of potatoes in 1894 from a cookery book, but an essentially identical recipe appeared several decades earlier, in an edition of Mechanics Magazine in 1828. Similarly, investigation and explication of the processes involved in yeast and bread-making were quite commonly covered in this sort of publication.

My challenge then was to find at least a couple of different recipes for you today. I guess the first one is a bit of a cheat, it being of interest to magazine readers interested in the scientific processes of fermentation (remember, this was before the understanding of the role of micro-organisms in baking, brewing – and disease.) The second recipe is, however, unequivocally culinary only, but perhaps does fit the ‘philosophical’ part of the magazine title?

Recipe for the beverage called imperial pop. - Put into an earthen pot two pounds of sugar, two lemons cut into slices, and two ounces of cream of tartar. Add nine quarts of boiling water, mix the materials well, cover the vessel with a stout cloth and let it cool. When cold, spread two table spoons full of good yeast from beer on a thin slice of bread and put into the vessel, which must be covered as before, and left till the next day. It may then be filtered through a fine cloth, and bottled and corked tight in strong bottles. In the course of three or four days the fermentation will be nearly complete and the liquor may be drunk. Jour. Con. Us.
The American Journal of Science and Arts, 1835

Cheap, Wholesome, and Savoury Food.
The different Committees for the relief of the distressed manufacturers would do well to promulgate the following recipe:
Take one pound of East India rice, steep it in cold water for several hours (or from the night before would do better) then put it into boiling water, and previously steeped enough, it will be sufficiently boiled in about then minutes; then pour off the water, and dry it on the fire, as in cooking potatoes. Use with the following gravy or sauce:- Two or three ounces of mutton suet fried with onions until done enough; then add some flour and water (as in making gravy) with salt, and about as much Cayenne as will lie on a sixpence; the different ingredients may be varied to the taste. At the present wholesale prices of East India rice, the above would only cost about threepence, and would be a sufficient meal for a family of six persons.
Glasgow Mechanics Magazine, and Annals of Philosophy, 1826

Quotation for the Day.

Some things you have to do every day. Eating seven apples on Saturday night
instead of one a day just isn't going to get the job done.
Jim Rohn


Peabody87 said...

I marvel at how much time, energy and love you put into this site. I've been lurking for a while but felt compelled to comment today because I LOVE BACON!

Thanks for your hard work!

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks Peabody87 - I am not tired of writing this blog yet - and it is feedback like yours that helps keep me at it! Thanks.