March 16, 2016
Going through piles of old books and magazines, I came upon this little gem, published in 1969. The book is divided into various holidays, but there’s also a section for “New Homemakers” which contains some truly hilarious advice. (Imagine how those burgers must have tasted: “spread on bun halves and bake…..”)
Next time somebody waxes nostalgic for the food of the sixties, show them this.
March 13, 2016
I’ve always cherished this cookbook, self published by The Women’s Auxiliary of Olivet Episcopal Church in Franconia, Virginia in 1957. It’s chock-full of pickle recipes, arcane breads, church suppers – fried oysters for 200- and these esoteric axe-beaten biscuits. The Women’s Auxilary do a fine job of tracing their recipes from those of their immediate (colonial, white ancestors). The results, like those axe-beaten biscuits, are both surprising and genuinely hilarious
First, a thoroughly humble cornbread for a not-so-humble man:
Such simple cornbread really needs good corn meal. Imagine how it would shine when made with freshly ground sweet corn.
But it’s this ash cake that I really wanted to share: “Very particular people will cover the loaves with collard greens before the ashes are put over them.” What an immediately appealing voice!
March 1, 2016
It’s 1749, and England’s harvests have never been more robust. Peasants and noblemen alike had more than enough to eat. Here’s Daniel Defoe, writing in 1709:
Every single person living at the common rate of plenty in England… consumes in food two quarters of wheat, four quarters of barley, five quarters of peas or beans green, a bullock, six sheep, two calves, and a hog, and a hundred pound of butter, or cheese, or milk, in a year; besides fowls, fish, fruit, and garden-stuff.
With the lower classes so well provided for, the British aristocracy began looking to new cuisines to assert their superior tastes. Little wonder, then, that French food soon captivated the court.
Lorna J. Sass pinpoints this fertile culinary moment in her cookbook Dinner With Tom Jones, loosely inspired by the gourmet world of Fielding’s epic eight-volume novel. Here are eighteenth-century recipes adapted for the contemporary cook, ranging from humble British classics (hot water pastry meat pies) to delightful approximations of fashionable French fare.