Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Planning Ahead for Easter Sunday.

Sunday dinner with the family can take some planning – and Easter Sunday dinner even more so. Today, well ahead of the date, I give you the suggested menus for the three meals of the day from The Original Buckeye Cook Book, (St. Paul, 1905.)

Easter Sunday.
Breakfast — Broiled sirloin steak, French rolls young radishes, Saratoga potatoes, boiled eggs, waffles and honey.
Dinner— Chicken soup or green turtle with Italian paste, fresh fish boiled with drawn butter and sliced eggs, or fish stuffed and baked, served with lemon and parsley, mashed potatoes, glazed ham, pudding of canned corn, tomato sauce, chicken salad, pickles celery, grape jelly, game; cream pie, assorted cakes, Easter jelly, Easter pudding, fruits, nuts and coffee.
Supper or Luncheon — Cold rolls, cream biscuits, cold ham, currant jelly, oysters baked on shell, cakes and fruit, chocolate or tea, ribbon jelly. 

It is interesting, from the current perspective of this part of the world, where it is as obligatory as Turkey at Thanksgiving, that there is no lamb on the menu. It is also interesting, not just how often currant jelly appears on suggested menus in the book, but how many variations can be applied to the method of making it, and how often it features as an ingredient in other sauces and savoury dishes.

Currant Jelly.
Weigh the fruit and to each pound allow half the weight of granulated or pure loaf sugar. Put a few currants in porcelain-lined kettle, and press with potato-masher, or anything convenient, in order to secure sufficient liquid to prevent burning; then add the remainder of fruit, and boil freely twenty minutes, stirring occasionally, to prevent burning. Take out and strain carefully through the three-cornered strainer above mentioned, putting the liquid into either earthen or wooden vessels. When strained return liquid to kettle, without trouble of measuring, and let it boil thoroughly for a moment or so, skim well and add the sugar, which has been heated as directed in preface. The moment the sugar is entirely dissolved, the jelly should be done, and must be immediately dished, or placed in glasses. It will jelly upon the side of the cup as it is taken up, leaving no doubt as to the result.
Blackberry and Strawberry Jelly, are made by either of above methods, and a very finely flavored jelly is obtained by mixing red raspberry and currant juice, two parts former to one of latter. For a clearer jelly, one can extract currant juice without boiling fruit, by crushing fruit with the hands in large earthen bowl, about a quart at once. Pour the currants into the strainer, and when all crushed and draining, stir them about with the hand and squeeze the thin juice from them ; then take about a pint and a half of the crushed fruit at a time in a strong towel and squeeze; the thick juice, that comes at the very last it is well to put aside for currant shrub ; the first can be used with that already strained for the jelly. A jelly of a prettier color is obtained by mixing the white and red currants, half and half. Some take the trouble to make jelly from the white and red currants separately, then harden it in successive layers in glasses. For the process see directions given for making Ribbon Jelly. Another pretty arrangement is to melt jelly before serving, add little dissolved gelatine, put in mold and, set in ice-box or cool place to harden. Some housekeepers report excellent success in making
Uncooked Currant Jelly. To one pint currant juice from raw fruit, add a pint granulated sugar; stir the juice very slowly into the sugar until sugar is dissolved, then let stand twenty-four hours and it will be stiff jelly. Turn into glasses, cover with a thin covering and set in the sun two or three days, then cover as directed and put away. Half a bushel currants makes twenty-two and one-half pint glasses of jelly.

Currant Jelly Sauce.
Three tablespoons butter, one onion, one bay leaf, one sprig celery, two tablespoons vinegar, half cup currant jelly, one tablespoon flour, one pint stock, seasoning. Brown butter and onion, add flour and herbs, then the stock, and simmer twenty minutes. Strain, skim off the fat, add the jelly and stir
over the fire until melted; serve with game.

Quotation for the Day.

Without a liqueur and a coffee the best of meals ends as tamely as a pretty mermaid.
Warner Allen (1881-1969)


Unknown said...

In my own peculiar way, I'm sort of hung up on how the celery was presented... (Not to say that the rest of the menu was any less interesting, but I love celery!)
I realise now that there's no comma between 'pickles' and 'celery', which has made me consider pickled celery... which actually sounds delicious, the more that I think about it. Hm.
Anyway, any light you could shed on the use of celery is more than welcome! :)

SometimesKate said...

Lamb isn't very common, at least not here in Illinois. I didn't have lamb until I was an adult. I'm not sure my mother ever had it either.

That being said, I am quite fond of lamb when it's cooked nicely, and it's a pity it's so hard to find, and expensive when you find it.