August 11, 2014
Roaming around a used book sale this weekend, I came upon this irresistible tome:
First printed in 1986, the edition I have is from 1999; it's the 28th printing!
It's filled with all manner of wonderful information, like how to make Grit Wurst out of a hog's head, cream-fry a squirrel, and roast an antelope. There must be a dozen different recipes for kraut. I particularly like instructions for a "chemical garden" made of coal, to replace the flowers you can no longer afford for your table. ("Into a nice large glass bowl put 2 or 3 piece of good sized coal. Pour 2 T. each of water, bluing and salt over it. Let stand a day and then add 2 more T. salt and water; add 3 drops of mercurochrome on each lump. It will form interesting growth formations both attractive and colorful.")
Can you still buy mercurochrome?
I keep leafing through the book, fascinated by these recipes; there are so many I've never seen before, like "Dandelion Dinner," and "Grot." (Grot is essentially a very thinned out Bechamel, served in big bowls as a soup supper.)
But the recipe I couldn't resist was this one:
Xtra Light Beer Muffins
2 cups sifted flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 T cold shortening, cut into the above
3 T sugar
1 can beer, can be warm and stale.
Drop in muffin tins or roll out, knead and cut. Bake at 375 until browned.
(The batter was fairly loose, and it's hard to see how it could possible be made into biscuits without adding considerably more flour. The recipe makes a dozen muffins, which I baked for about 25 minutes.)
I used dark beer, which is what I had on hand. The flavor is pleasantly malty, a lovely contrast to the apricot jam I spread on the warm muffins.
I've certainly encountered better muffins, but I don't think I've ever met a lighter one. And they're certainly simple to make: I threw them together in less than five minutes.
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