Monday, February 16, 2015

Any cheese with that?

I have always loved cheese. I have recently come to respect, if not exactly love, the USDA Farmers’ Bulletins produced during the first decades of the twentieth century. You can guess by now I am going to combine this love and respect, and give you some worthy and interesting information.

USDA Farmers’ Bulletin Number 487, published in 1912 is on the topic of Cheese and its Economical Use in the Diet. The first almost-two-dozen pages extol the nutritional and economic virtues of cheese, and these are followed by a goodly recipe section – a little of which I want to share with you today.

Firstly, may I introduce (re-introduce?) you to the concept cheesy breakfast porridge:

Oatmeal with Cheese.
2 cupfuls of oatmeal.
1 cupful of grated cheese.
1 tablespoonful of butter.
1 level teaspoonful of salt.
Cook the oatmeal as usual. Shortly before serving, stir in the butter and add the cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted and thoroughly blended with the cereal. The cheese should be mild in flavor and soft in texture. The proportion of cheese used may be increased if a more pronounced cheese flavor is desired.

Secondly, I want to give you a dessert option, in case your protein requirements lean in that direction. In a post some time ago I gave you a recipe for CheeseGingerbread from 1918. I was pleased to see that Farmers’ Bulletin No. 487 contained two versions of this treat, and I was sorely tempted to also give you these too, but in the interests of variety, I chose this instead:

Brown Betty with Cheese.
Arrange in a deep earthenware dish, alternate layers of bread crumbs and thinly sliced apples. Season with cinnamon, also a little clove if desired, and brown sugar. Scatter some finely shaved mild full-cream cheese over the top and bake 30 to 45 minutes, placing the dish in a pan of water so that the pudding will not burn.
If preferred, this may be sweetened with molasses mixed with an equal amount of hot water and poured over the top, half a cupful of molasses being sufficient for a quart pudding dish full.
Cheese may be used in place of butter in a similar way in other apple puddings. Apple pie made with a layer of finely shaved cheese over the seasoned apple and baked in the usual way is liked by many who are fond of cheese served with apple pie.

I find that I cannot quite abandon the opportunity to mention gingerbread with cheese, so I give you the following idea, from another Farmers’ Bulletin published in July 1918, called Neufchâtel and Cream Cheese: Farm Manufacture and Use.

Make a gingerbread, reducing the quantity of sugar. When cold, cut in two and put in a layer of the following between the two halves:
2 cheeses or ⅔ cup [Neufchatel]
2 tablespoons chopped dates.
2 tablespoons of pecan nuts (chopped fine)
¼ tablespoon of salt [surely this means ¼ teaspoon?]

Rub to a paste.

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