I'm not a fan of the taste of beets, although I have evolved enough to abide roasted and pickled beets on occasion. I liked Piquant Beets, though, and I can't say that I've ever thought that about a recipe made with boiled beets! This recipe takes those (in my mind at least) repulsive boiled beets and jazzes them up with horseradish, honey, lemon juice and...wait for it...bacon. Steve's response to tasting this dish was, "I don't even mind the beets", which is probably the highest praise he could give to this recipe. We can thank Elaine Collett and Mary-Etta Macpherson, who compiled the 1965 Canadian classic The Chatelaine Cookbook, for this culinary miracle.Read More
To Fry Fish is found in A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes, written by Charles Elmé Francatelli in London in 1852. Fortunately, I had some bacon fat in my fridge, so that's what I used to fry my fish. Let me tell you, fish dredged in flour and fried in bacon fat is scrumptious, and so were the fried onions that we ate on the side. I paired the fish with Sharp Sauce for Broiled Meats from the same cookbook. The main component of this sauce is a variety of pickles and it reminds of relish, albeit without the sweetness. I round out this blog post by delving a little bit into the Fish Slice, a serving utensil for fish.Read More
Nut and Spinach Loaf is found in the "High-Protein Non-Meat Dishes" chapter of the 1929 Physical Culture Cook Book, written by fitness and health guru Bernarr MacFadden. This vegetarian loaf holds together well when its being formed, but doesn't slice well. Nevertheless, it is tasty and satisfying and I'd make it again! Bernarr MacFadden spoke out passionately against white bread, so I made my own whole-grain breadcrumbs for this recipe, and paired the loaf with a Tomato Sauce, which is thick sauce that tastes a bit like ketchup.Read More
Cookbooks used to not only be a resource for learning how to prepare food, but would also contain medicinal recipes and household tips. I’ve been wanting to explore other facets of cookbooks, so to start with, I chose my favourite remedy, To Restore from Stroke of Lightning. This “cure” is my favourite because it makes me chuckle every single time, no matter how many times I read it.
This helpful tip is found in the Medicinal Receipts chapter in The Home Cookbook, published in 1877, which was Canada's first fund-raising community cookbook and the best selling Canadian cookbook in the 19th-century. I had the vague thought that I had an ancestor who was killed by lightning, so I did some research and found out who it was! In this blog post, you’ll read the story of my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather’s death, along with a few other tales from that branch of my family tree.Read More
Cawdel of Almaund Mylk is a rather boozy and thick warm beverage that is slightly silty, made with white wine, ground almonds, sugar and ginger. This is a drink that you'll want to sip and be prepared for a strong alcohol taste, but if you are vegan and miss drinking eggnog, this is a recipe that you may want to try out.
So far, Cawdel of Almaund Mylk is the oldest recipe I've ever made on this blog. It is found in The Forme of Cury, which is a scroll of recipes written by the Master-Cooks of King Richard II in the 1390s. This is my first foray into Medieval Cookery, so I was surprised that many of its recipes contain almond milk! I did some research and found out that almond milk was a favourite of the British upper class in that era because there were many days in the Christian calendar when eating dairy was forbidden.Read More
I was intrigued by this gingerbread cookie recipe from The Cook's Complete Guide (1810): gingerbread cookies rolled like wafers! The historic recipe instructs us to "bake it gently; when hot cut it in squares, and while warm roll it over a stick, like wafers, till cold". But yet, my gingerbread cookies that I ended up with are flat squares. This is one of those occurrences when a historic recipe doesn't turn out as expected the first time around (they instantly cracked and broke when I tried to bend them). This is a delicious lightly flavoured Lemon Gingersnap, so I recommend it, whether it is rolled or flat.Read More
Besides the fact that Apple Butter is very delicious, I had an ulterior motive for making this recipe. I made Apple Butter because I wanted to make use of the discarded apples from the historic cooking classes that I taught at Nelles Manor Museum this fall, so you'll find a bonus Apple Water recipe in this blog post.
Our Apple Butter recipe is found in Miss Leslie's Directions for Cookery, published in Philedelphia in 1851. Making Apple Butter is much, much easier in our era because we're able to cook down our apples in a slow cooker, without having to stir the apples " nearly all the time with a stick" in a kettle suspended over a fire!Read More
If a sweet scone and a cookie got married and had a baby, that baby would be Albany Cakes. However you classify Albany Cakes, this sweet bit of bakery with cinnamon and rose water flavours is deelish! This was another recipe that we made at the cooking classes that I taught this autumn at Nelles Manor Museum in Grimsby. Our Albany Cakes recipe comes from The Frugal Housewife's Manual, published in Toronto in 1840, but written by “A.B.”, a mysterious resident of Grimsby who likely would have known the Nelles family.Read More
This Pumpkin Soup recipe comes from The Canadian Housewife's Manual of Cookery, which was compiled & published in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario in 1861. It is hearty & flavourful, and I think the reason for this can be found in a one-word answer: butter. Expect a creamy robust soup with small chunks of pumpkin (or squash, if you can't find pumpkin). This soup is so rich that it might make a better side dish rather than the main component of your meal, but if you do try this recipe out, I highly recommend the historic recipe's suggestion of adding croutons made of fried bread to your bowl!Read More
I wanted to make a candy recipe in honour of Halloween this year, so I did a search on my favourite place to discover new old cookbooks, the Internet Archive, and found the 1788 gem A new collection of receipts in confectionary.
Orange Drops are a candy made of a dehydrated purée containing orange peel, white sugar and a bit of orange juice. Depending on how you dehydrate them, Orange Drops can be crispy or soft like a jujube. If you love Candied Orange Peel, you'll probably enjoy these Orange Drops! They’re less sweet than Candied Orange Peel (probably because they don't have the white sugar coating found on candied peels), so expect a balanced sweet & sour citrus flavour.Read More
If you asked anyone in my family about our traditional family recipes, probably the first dish listed by everyone would be Squash Puff. I'd describe Squash Puff as a cross between squash pudding and soufflé. It is light, fluffy and very flavourful considering it doesn't contain any onions or herbs. My Mom cut the recipe out of a newspaper at some point and it's been in her giant binder of recipe clippings ever since I can remember. Give Squash Puff a try at your next Thanksgiving, potluck or family gathering...or when you've got a hankering for some satisfying comfort food.Read More
This Tuna Sandwich recipe comes from the Peanuts Lunch Bag Cookbook (1974), which is a cookbook that was in our house when I was growing up. I don't remember anyone ever making a recipe from this cookbook when I was a kid, but I remember flipping through this book to read the Peanuts comics that are nestled amongst the recipes. About 6 months ago, I found this book in an antiques market...and all the memories flooded back.
In this sandwich filling, you'll find flaked tuna, crushed pineapple and chopped water chestnuts. When I selected this recipe, my hunch was that it would either be delicious or disgusting and I had no idea which way it would go! I'm happy to report that it was delicious. The pineapple is very subtle. You can taste something a little bit sweet in there but you aren't quite sure what that is, and the water chestnuts add a nice crunch to the sandwich filling. The pineapple and water chestnuts cut the fishiness of the tuna, so you end up with a low-key tuna flavour (and smell), so this recipe would make tunafish sandwiches more palatable for someone who isn't a fan.Read More