In a post last week on the subject of what is arguably the most important meal of the day I referred to a delightful book called What to Get for Breakfast: with more than one hundred different breakfasts, and full directions for each (Boston, 1882.) I made mention in that post of the chapter entitled Ancestral Breakfasts, and quite a number of you were intrigued by the concept, so today I am going to give you some extracts from the chapter.
The author of the book, a certain M. Tarbox Colbrath, remains rather mysterious. I do not even know his or her gender, and I have been unable to find any other books to attribute to him/her. The name ‘Tarbox’ is presumably another family surname, so perhaps we would hyphenate both nowadays? But I digress. Without further ado, here are his or her ideas about ancestral breakfasts.
The menus and recipes in the chapter include such things as fried beefsteak, baked apples, stewed beans, Johnny cakes, rye muffins, minced calf’s head and pluck, and chicken pie. I have chosen for your delectation the first menu in this chapter, and give the recipes which accompany it:-
Many old fashioned dishes, hygienic and palatable, are now contemptuously looked at and neglected. It is to be regretted that the simplicity of food is getting unfashionable. Progress has taught us many new ideas about food, yet the devotion to many ancestral dishes is. recommended as advantageous. These few resurrected ones are sterling, and by the sanction of them to our children, the vigor of our race can measurably be kept.
BREAKFAST No. 109.
Pan-dowdy and Cream.
Boiled Eggs. Fried Scrapple.
This is a homely, yet hearty and palatable breakfast dish. Pare and quarter enough sour and juicy apples to nearly fill a deep earthen baking- dish, add to the apples half a cup of hot water and nearly a cup of molasses. Make a crust as for strawberry short cake in Breakfast No. 45**. Roll it out an inch thick and fit closely over the apples. Bake in a moderate oven as long as the crust will allow. When done, while warm, break the crust in pieces, which mix through the apple. For breakfast this must be baked the day previous. Serve with cream or milk. Delicious.
** the Shortcake crust recipe is as follows:
One quart of flour.
One teaspoonful of soda.
Two teaspoonfuls of cream-tartar.
One teaspoonful of salt.
Half a cup of creamed butter.
One pint of rich sweet milk.
Incorporate soda, cream-tartar, and salt well into the dry flour. Work the creamed butter into the prepared flour, till fine and yellow. Pour the milk to this mixture, and mould to a delicate dough, which divide into three parts. Roll each part quickly half an inch thick. Fit each to a Washington-pie plate and bake at once.
Tis said this sterling dish came to America in the Mayflower, and for aught that is known might have been produced by Mrs. Eve. It is convenient, palatable and nourishing; combining beef, beef tea and hasty pudding.
Select such a piece of beef as you would for soups; when boiled tender, remove the meat, put the liquor into an earthen vessel to let the fat rise and cool. Cut the meat from the bones, mince it fine and put it into the kettle with the liquor and a little of the cooled fat that was on the top of liquor. Add pepper and salt at discretion. When it boils, thicken with Indian meal as for hasty pudding. Simmer till thoroughly done. Be careful not to scorch it. When done, mould in brick loaf pans. When hardened, cut in slices nearly an inch thick and brown on griddle greased with some of the fat from the top of liquor. This can be kept on hand three or four days in cold weather. A nice dish for hearty boys and girls or any one else.
P.S in a previous posts I gave other recipes for scrapple.