|~ Newark Valley Historical
~ Old Time Recipes ~
|Local Historic Sites||
At the Bement-Billings Farmstead meals are cooked on an open hearth, and bread is baked in a beehive oven. In the mid 1800s, open hearth cooking was gradually giving way to a new method of preparing meals... the wood stove! Homemakers had to adapt traditional recipes to this modern new appliance.
Tamara Manker of Hiawatha Farm, Owego, has prepared recipes for holiday dinners as they might have been over a century and a half ago. A special thanks to Tamara for sharing these recipes with us.
Thanksgiving Dinner 1841 Style
Take out the inwards [sic], wash both the inside an outside of the turkey. Prepare a dressing made of bread, soaked soft in cold water, (the water should be drained from the bread, and the bread mashed fine.) Melt a small piece of butter, and mix it with the dressing, or else put in salt pork, chopped fine; season it with salt and pepper; add sweet herbs if you like. An egg in the dressing, makes it cut smoother. Any kind of cooked meat is nice minced fine, and mixed with the dressing. If the inwards are used, they ought to be boiled very tender, as it is very difficult to cook them through while the turkey is roasting. Fill the crop and body of the turkey with the dressing, sew it up, tie up the legs and wings, rub on a little salt and butter. Roast it from two to three hours, according to size; twenty-five minutes to every pound, is a good rule. The turkey should be roasted slowly at first, and basted frequently. A little water should be put into the dripping pan, when the meat is put down to roast. For a gravy to the turkey, take the liquor that the inwards are boiled in, put into it a little of the turkey drippings, set it where it will boil, thicken it with a little flour and water, previously mixed smooth. Season it with salt, pepper, and sweet herbs if you like.
Parsnips and Carrots
Wash them, an split them in two--lay them in a stew pan, with the flat side down, turn on boiling water enough to cover them--boil them till tender, then take them up, and take off the skin, and butter them. Many cooks boil them whole, but it is not a good plan, as the outside gets done too much, before the inside is cooked sufficiently. Cold boiled parsnips are good cut in slices, and fried brown.
Turn a quart of lukewarm milk on to a quart of flour. Melt a couple of ounces of butter, and put to the milk and flour, together with a couple of eggs, and a tea-spoonful of salt. When cool, stir in half a tea-cup of yeast, and flour to make it stiff enough to mould up. Put it in a warm place. When light, do it up into small rolls--lay the rolls on flat buttered tins--let them remain twenty minutes before baking.
Halve the pumpkin, take out the seeds--rinse the pumpkin, and cut it into small strips--stew them, over a moderate fire, in just sufficient water to prevent their burning, to the bottom of the pot. When stewed soft, turn off the water, and let the pumpkin steam, over a slow fire, for fifteen or twenty minutes, taking care that it does not burn. Take it from the fire, and strain it, when cool, through a sieve. If you wish to have the pies very rich, put to a quart of the stewed pumpkin two quarts of milk, and twelve eggs. If you like them plain, put to a quart of the pumpkin one quart of milk, and three eggs. The thicker the pie is of the pumpkin, the less will be the number of eggs required for them. One egg, with a table-spoonful of flour, will answer for a quart of the pumpkin, if very little milk is used. Sweeten the pumpkin with sugar, and very little molasses--the sugar and eggs should be beaten together. Ginger, the grated rind of a lemon, or nutmeg, is good spice for the pies. Pumpkin pies require a very hot oven. The rim of the pies is apt to be burnt before the inside is baked sufficiently. on this account, it is a good plan to heat the pumpkin scalding hot when prepared for pies, before turning it into the pie plates. The pies should be baked as soon as the plates are filled, or the under crust to the pies will be clammy. The more the number of eggs in the pies, the less time will be required to bake them. If you have pumpkins that have begun to decay, or those that are frozen, they can be kept several months, in cold weather by cutting the good part up, stewing it till soft, then stirring it, and adding sugar and molasses, to make it very sweet. Make it strong of ginger, then scald the seasoning in well. Keep it in a stone jar, in a cool place--whenever you wish to use any of it for pies, take out the quantity you wish, and put milk and eggs to it.
A Note from Tamara
All these recipes are from The American Housewife "By An
Experienced Lady", published by Dayton and Saxton, New York, 1841. A
special compilers note is that these recipes were published at the very
beginning of the transition from hearth cooking to stoves, so let your
own mode of cooking, experience, and a modern cook book be your guide
for temperatures and times. Remember that this is food at it's most
honest--no artificial colorings, flavorings, or sweeteners.
Recipes from Christmas Past
The best kind of meat for mince pies, is neat's tongue and feet-- the shank of beef makes very good pies. Boil the meat till perfectly tender-then take it up, clear it from the bones and gristle, chop it fine enough to strain through a sieve, mix it with an equal weight of tart apples, chopped very fine. If the meat is not fat, put in a little suet, or melted butter. Moisten the whole with cider--sweeten it to the taste with sugar, and very little molasses--add mace, cinnamon, cloves and salt, to the taste. If you wish to make your pies rich, put in wine or brandy to taste, and raisins, citron, and Zante currants. The grated rind and juice of lemons improves the pie. Make the pies on shallow plates, with apertures in the upper crust, and bake them from half to three-quarters of an hour, according to the heat of the oven. Meat prepared for pies in the following manner, will keep good several months, if kept in a cool dry place: to a pound of finely chopped meat, a quarter of a pound of suet, put half an ounce of mace, one ounce of cinnamon, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, two tea-spoonfuls of salt. Add if you like the following fruits: half a pound of seeded raisins, half a pound of Zante currants, a quarter of a pound of citron. Put in half a pint of French brandy or wine, three table-spoonfuls of molasses, and sugar sufficient to make it quite sweet. Put the whole in a stone pot--cover it with a paper wet in brandy. When you wish to use any of it for pies, put to what meat you use an equal weight of apples pared and chopped fine. If not seasoned high enough, add more spice and sugar. If the apples are not tart, put in lemon-juice or sour cider.
NOTE: Mince was a way to use up meat from a recent butchering--hence the tongue and feet. A neat was a young calf. Mince was also a way of using up leftovers: bits of meat from dinner were mixed with sweet gravy, sautéed apples and finely diced left-over vegetables and heated to serve over bread.
To three quarts of fresh, ripe raspberries, put one of good vinegar. Let it remain a day--then strain it, and put to each pint a pound of white sugar. Boil the whole together for half an hour, skim it clear. When cool, add a wine glass of French brandy to each pint of the shrub. A couple of table-spoonfuls of this, mixed with a tumbler two-thirds full of water, is a wholesome and refreshing drink.
NOTE: Shrub can also be made with rum instead of the French brandy, and club soda instead of water.
Suet chopped fine, six ounces; Malaga raisins stoned, six ounces;
currants nicely washed and picked, eight ounces; bread crumbs, three
ounces; flour, three ounces; eggs, three; sixth of a nutmeg; small blade
of mace; same quantity of cinnamon pounded as fine as possible; half a
teaspoonful of salt; half a pint of milk, or rather less; sugar, four
ounces; to which may be added candied lemon, one ounce; citron, half an
ounce. Beat the eggs and spice well together, mix the milk with them by
degrees, then the rest of the ingredients; dip a fine close linen cloth
into boiling water, and put it in a hair sieve; flour it a little, and
tie it up close; put it into a saucepan containing six quarts of boiling
water; keep a kettle of boiling water alongside of it, to fill up your
pot as it wastes; be sure to keep it boiling six hours at least.
NOTE: The Plum Pudding recipe is from MacKenzie's Five Thousand Recipes printed in 1829 James Kay, Jun. and Brother of Philadelphia. The English Plum Pudding recipe is newer, but included for those who don't happen to have a very large pot to boil a pudding in. The second recipe is from The American Housewife published in 1841 by Dayton and Saxton of New York.
English Plum Pudding
Soak three-quarters of a pound of crackers in two quarts of
milk--they should be broken in small pieces. When they have soaked soft,
put in a quarter of a pound of melted butter, the same weight of rolled
sugar, half a pint of wheat flour, a wine glass of wine, and a grated
nutmeg. Beat ten eggs to a froth, and stir them into the milk. Add half
a pound of seeded raisins, the same weight of Zante currants, and a
quarter of a pound of citron, cut in small strips. Bake or boil it a
couple of hours.
The first requisite for roasting is to have a strong steady fire, or
a clear brisk one... A cook, who does not attend to this will prove
herself totally incompetent to roast victuals properly. All roasting
should be done open to the air, to ventilate the meat from its gross
fumes, otherwise it becomes baked instead of roasted. The joint should
be put down at such a distance from the fire as to imbibe the heat
rather quickly, otherwise its plumpness and good quality will be
gradually dried up, and it will turn shrivelly, and look meagre [sic]
... When it is warm, begin to baste it well....
NOTE: The Roast Beef recipe is from MacKenzie's Five Thousand Recipes, compiled by "An American Physician", and published by James Kay, Jun. and Brother of Philadelphia in 1829.
This nice dish is usually baked under meat, and is thus made. Beat four large spoonsful [sic] of flour, eggs, and a little salt for fifteen minutes. Then put to them three pints of milk, and mix them well together. Then butter a dripping-pan, and set it under beef, mutton, or veal, while roasting. When it is brown, cut it into square pices [sic], and turn it over; and when the under side is browned also, send it to the table on a dish.
NOTE: The Yorkshire Pudding recipe is from MacKenzie's Five Thousand Recipes, compiled by "An American Physician", and published by James Kay, Jun. and Brother of Philadelphia in 1829. Please note that in the Pudding recipe, the author neglects to instruct the cook to put the batter in the drip-pan after the butter has melted.
|Early Artists of NV|
|Looms and Wheels|
|Tioga County's Past|
|Misc. Historical Articles|