Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vegetarian Recipes for a Week (1854)

I thought I would follow-up yesterday’s post with a little more on the early vegetarian movement.

In the days before “it’s not-bacon”, veggie burgers, tofu-turkey, textured vegetable protein, and other faux meat substitutes, what did vegetarians eat? Well, in the early days of the movement, in the mid-nineteenth century, even less variety than you might think, given that the flesh-abstaining zealots of the time also eschewed most condiments and spices on account of the belief that they were too “stimulating.”

The following suggested weekly menus in the American Vegetarian and Health Journal. (1852-1854) would hardly encourage the vegetarian lifestyle, I would think. They seem spectacularly bland and soulless. Not only are there no spices (except one mention of “a little ginger”) there is neither cheese nor eggs. If it were not for a little milk, we could call it a vegan diet – although the term was not coined then.

Breakfast, - Rice, boiled but 12 minutes, flung into the water when boiling, the water drained from it, and taken with syrup or milk and sugar, with fruit; good light brown bread and cocoa.
Dinner.- Vegetable soup, made with six onions, out fine, a small teacupful of
pearl barley, boiled till the onions become a jelly: then celery added to the taste, two or three small carrots sliced thin, and potatoes sliced and boiled, not so soft as to become a pulp, and a little toast taken with it. Vegetables cooked by themselves. Fruit of some kind. A bread pudding made by putting three slices of bread into a common-sized pudding dish, pouring on cold water; when it becomes pulpy, pour off the water, pour over cold milk, add a little ginger, and currants or raisins, and bake till well browned.
Supper. - Brown bread; cocoa, not taken too hot, or sago, oatmeal, rice, or Indian mean gruel, with a little cooked fruit.

Breakfast. - Wheat meal porridge, the meal stirred in while the water is boiling, and cooked not more than five minutes; taken as the rice is, with the same accompaniments.
Dinner.-Split peas made into a soup, boiled in pure water and salt; potatoes and parsnips, mashed and browned, eaten with white sauce, made by boiling a little water, stirring flour into milk, and adding to the water while boiling; other vegetables, with fruit, may be taken. A carrot pudding, the carrots scraped
into cold milk, a little flour stirred in, sugar added, and baked till the milk
becomes a whey.
Supper, of any kind of gruel, bread, fruit, or plain cake.

Breakfast.- Milk toast, made by boiling milk, adding a little water and salt, stirring in flour, and pouring it over the toast. Gruel or cocoa as best suits,
with fruit.
Dinner. - Vegetables, always throwing salt into the water before boiling. Rice pudding, made by putting a small teacupful of rice into a quart of cold milk, sweetened; currants or raisins added; baked till the rice is soft.
Supper, as on Monday.

Breakfast.—Oatmeal porridge; appendages to suit the taste.
Dinner. - Haricot beans boiled tender, and baked in an oven. Vegetables and fruits. Boiled pudding, composed of Indian meal stirred into buttermilk; a little soda, fruit, and sweetening added, the latter made thin, put into a cloth, and tied so loosely that it can properly swell; put into the pot when the water is boiling, and the boiling not stopped for two hours and a half. Eaten with milk and sugar, or syrup.
Supper, as on Tuesday.

Breakfast, as on Monday.
Dinner. - Vegetables, fruits, ground rice puddings, the rice stirred into the milk when it is boiling, then sugar and currants added, then well baked.
Supper, as on Tuesday.


Breakfast, as on Tuesday.
Dinner. - Haricot bean soup, the beans boiled till they swell, the water changed, then boiled till quite soft; a part may be put into the oven and baked for the Sabbath dinner. The soup should not be divested of the skin of the bean; a variety of vegetables. A dish of mashed potatoes and parsnips left for the Sabbath. A brown loaf boiled in pure water and salt till tender, eaten with milk and sugar, or syrup. Apples, boiled whole, with the rinds on, and a little sugar added, are good and economical. A bird’s-nest pudding, made by taking off the rinds from sweet apples, and taking out the core with a sharp knife, then soaking bread or soda-biscuit in cold water, till soft, then pouring off the water, and adding cold milk, sugar, and cinnamon; baked till the apples are soft, which should be left whole. The baked beans, the mashed vegetables, boiled apples, and bird’s nest pudding, will make a good Sunday dinner, leaving the servant at liberty to attend a place of worship, and the mistress free from worldly cares on the Sabbath.


Anonymous said...

I knew about avoiding "stimulating" spices, but did that include herbs as well? They aren't mentioned, but neither is salt - their inclusion might have been understood, not something that needed to be discussed.

The Old Foodie said...

I think salt was on the list of condiments to be avoided as much as possible: vinegar certainly was. I dont remember seeing too many fresh herbs either, come to think of it, but I will check that. I dont think much was "understood" - there seems to have been the need felt to spell out a whole lot of detail - especially the undesirable!