Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Popular Food Errors.

I couldn’t help looking to see if the author of Popular Errors Explained and Illustrated (John Timbs) published in London in 1841 included any food-related issues. Indeed he did – a whole chapter of them. What is fascinating is that many of the issues he raises are still current, proving yet again that there is nothing new under the sun.

Here is what he has to say on nutrition and cookery:

It is a very mistaken idea that the nourishment in food is according to the quantity: a person may eat a great deal of some articles and receive very little nourishment from them. The quantity of nourishment depends greatly on the aromatic flavour contained in food, and whatever is insipid to the taste is of little service to the stomach. Now the difference between good cookery and bad cookery lies principally in the development of the flavour of our food; articles properly cooked yield the whole of it; by good cookery we make the most of everything, by bad cookery the least.

And on eating seasonally he says:

Forced Fruits realise a high price from the early period at which they are brought to market, and not from superiority of size or flavour, as their dearness leads many persons to imagine. Indeed Forced Fruits are very inferior to those of natural growth the former are obtained at a season when there is little light, whereas the latter are matured in the full blaze of a summer's sun. Thus melons grown in frames covered with mats and carefully excluded from the influence of that solar light which is indispensable to their perfection have, whatever may be their external beauty, none of that luscious flavour which the melon when well cultivated possesses so eminently. …Hume thus refers to this false taste of the rich ‘The same care and toil that raise a dish of peas at Christmas would give bread to a whole family during six months.’

One does not have to eat hot-house fruit in order to eat out-of-season fruit of course. One way to do this is to make it into wine.Wine is never out of season. Today’s recipe is from a popular cookery book contemporary with that of Mr. Timbs. It is A New System Of Domestic Cookery, Formed Upon Principles Of Economy by Maria Rundell (1840)

Raspberry or Currant Wine.
To every three pints of fruit, carefully cleared from mouldy or bad, put one quart of water; bruise the former. In twenty four hours strain the liquor and put to every quart a pound of sugar of good middling quality of Lisbon. If for white currants use lump sugar. It is best to put the fruit &c in a large pan, and when in three or four days the scum rises, take that off before the liquor be put into the barrel. Those who make from their own gardens may not have a sufficiency to fill the barrel at once; the wine will not hurt if made in the pan in the above proportions, and added as the fruit ripens and can be gathered in dry weather. Keep an account what is put in each time.

Quotation for the Day.
What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others.
Diogenes , 320 BC.

1 comment:

why_in_the_heck said...

I have to say, I love your blog. I just stumbled upon it looking for that Soup Fontanges but I'm going to be coming back often. I LOVE recipes from the old, old day.
Keep up the awesome work!