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Pork Sausage and apples is a period concoction; pies are too, and putting anything in a pie goes back to the Middle Ages. I didn’t have any blackbirds to bake in a pie for the last muster but this seemed to satisfy.

Several members asked me for the recipe and as I didn’t have one, you’ll have to be indulgent as to quantities of ingredients. I’ll start with the crust . For meat pies, I like a lard crust. While flaky, they hold up better to the moisture and are substantial .

Pie crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  23 cup lard (or Crisco if you’d rather)
  • 5 -7 tablespoons cold water. I actually use vodka which I store in the freezer. it’s colder than water and the alcohol evaporates when baked.

Directions

  1. Put flour into a mixing bowl with the lard or shortning
  2. Using a pastry cutter or your floured fingers, cut the lard into the flour until it’s very crumbly.
  3. add salt and water.
  4. Mix until dough is formed.
  5. Roll out on flat surface.

I made the crust at home , rolled it out and on waxed paper and brought it with me. Since I made 2 pies, I did two batches which made 4 – 9 inch crusts. I put 2 of them  in pie pans and set aside while I made the filling.

Filling:

  • 2 lbs homemade lean pork sausage (or any kind you want)
  • 2 medium sized sweet onions, chopped fine
  • 1 medium red pepper, 1 small  green pepper, chopped fine
  • 6 medium apples (I used Macintosh but half whatever apple you have AND  half Granny Smith would be great.), peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb divided, grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 tablespoon + of flour (maybe more)
  • 1 egg scrambled
  • 1/4 organic apple vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + Stevia (If it weren’t for my diabetic friends, I’d use dark brown sugar)

Directions:

  1. In a skillet, Crumble the sausage and brown it. Remove after it’s done and set aside.
  2. Deglaze with a little bit of vinegar. Then melt butter, add the onions and peppers and fry until semi soft and the onions are golden. Ad the apples and cook down a little.
  3. Add the sausage back to the pan and mix with the remaining vinegar and sugar or stevia. cook a little to combine.
  4. At this point, you’re done and then you fill the crusts high. the crusts should be in pie pans ready to be filled.
  5. Brush the egg on the sides and bottom of each crust.
  6. mix a bit of flour in the filling to bind the liquid when baking.
  7. Layer the cheese on top and fill each pie.
apples and sausage

Egg washed pie crust and filling

 

cheese

Add the cheese

Put the crust lids on, pinch the sides to close and spread remaining egg wash on tops. Cut vents in to let the steam out.

As to baking. , I put each one in a dutch oven and used what is described as a quick fire, coals on top and on bottom. If I was making this in my oven, I’d start at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes and them reduce to 375 for about 40 minutes or so.

pie baking

Dutch ovens are stacked with coals between. I turned them every 15 minutes.

I made a salad. The dressing was a simple dressing of 3 parts good olive oil (I used infused oil with lemon), a bit of Stevia or sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 part apple cider vinegar. Can’t get anything this good in a restaurant!!!

 

Savoring the Past

Proper seasoning can make all the difference between a bland chunk of meat and a course fit for royalty. We decided to dig through a collection of 18th and early 19th century cookbooks to see which spices were mentioned. We also took one of the more recognized books and looked at the frequency by which the spices appear in the recipes.

It’s seems to me to be a fairly safe and logical conclusion that the frequency by which particular spices, herbs, and seasonings were mentioned may lend insight into which were more popular. Granted, I can’t be too dogmatic in my conclusions. First, my sample is small. Second, taste preferences in the 18th century varied regionally and culturally just as they do today. So I wouldn’t attempt to apply my conclusions to every 18th century English-speaking cook, but this exercise seems to be an interesting starting point toward understanding preferences…

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And you thought beer was just for drinking? Read on!

Cooking in the Archives

We’re sometimes asked how the early modern recipe books we cook from ended up in library collections. It varies: some were purchased directly by the library, others were gifts. However they made it into holdings like the Kislak Center’s, we feel fortunate that they did. As I looked over the provenance notes for UPenn Ms. Codex 205, I saw a familiar name. The book was a gift from Esther Bradford Aresty, part of the Esther B. Aresty Collection of Rare Books on the Culinary Arts. Aresty (1908-2000) was a culinary historian and cookbook collector who donated her collection of 576 printed volumes and 13 manuscripts, ranging from the fifteenth to twentieth century, to the University of Pennsylvania. (For more on Aresty’s remarkable life and collecting, see here and here. Penn also holds Aresty’s papers, which I’m looking forward to digging into soon.) Aresty’s collection has already informed this…

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It’s cold and snowy and there’s nothing better than some good ol’ comfort food. That brings me to mind of meatloaf. Before I get going on making one, I happened to think whether 18th century cooks made meatloaf. Sure enough, it goes back in time, way back if you read this very interesting article by Nadia Arumugan. Nadia Arumugam is a writer in New York City and the author of the cookbook, Chop, Sizzle & Stir. Her work has appeared in Fine Cooking, Slate, Epicurious, NPR, and Saveur, and she writes the Chew On This blog for Forbes.com.
meatloaf

In 1940, the Culinary Arts Institute published a recipe for Savory Meat Loaf that called for beef, vegetable soup, and cereal flakes. A pork loaf from the 1957 Complete American Cookbook was to be seasoned with turmeric, Angostura bitters, meat extract, and caramel. In 2008, the now defunct Gourmet swore a meatloaf of beef, pork, bacon, sautéed onions, garlic, carrots, celery, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, cider vinegar, and prunes, to be the best. It’s no coincidence these seemingly distinct dishes are unified by the incongruous fact that they’re all meatloaf. This peculiarity illustrates the essence of one of our best-loved meals. There is no one way to create meatloaf: It’s precisely this capacity for re-invention that’s allowed the iconic mélange to keep in step with the ebb and flow of American life over the last century. In its nuanced response to societal change, meatloaf has maintained a favored place on our dinner tables.

Had it not been for the advances of the Industrial Revolution, meatloaf as we know it might never have been.
This isn’t to say there aren’t limitations to the dish’s elasticity. The criteria are clear. Ground meat is primary — the options for meatloaf span the gamut of proteins available at the butcher’s counter, but an all-beef or beef and pork combo is commonly called for. The meat must be cut with filler or the loaf will be dense. Breadcrumbs, oatmeal, crackers, Japanese panko crumbs, rice, and minced vegetables are all fair game. Egg and/or dairy of some kind is essential to bind and moisten. As for seasoning, stick with salt and pepper if you’re a purist; if not, raid your pantry. The loaf shape is half the point and it’s provided by a tin or free-form shaping on a baking sheet. Top with bacon or serve naked, glazed, or sauced — these are all acceptable forms of décor.

Though modern meatloaf is an American innovation, its ancestry spans the globe, and centuries. In his cookbook, De Re Coquinaria, Roman gastronome Apicius features chopped meat combined with spices, bread soaked in wine and pine nuts and formed into a patty. In Medieval Europe, odds and ends of meat were arduously diced fine, mixed with seasonings and fruits and nuts, and molded into pie-shaped disks called pastez. The lavish spreads of 17th-century France featured loaves of chopped meats and offal preserved within a hefty layer of gelatin. The Ur-American meatloaf was born in the 18th century courtesy of Pennsylvanian Dutch settlers who were partial to an austere concoction called scrapple. To further stretch the yield of a slaughtered pig — after the steaks, loins, chops, hams, bacon, and sausages were cut and produced — meat was scraped from bones and combined with the lungs, liver, and heart in a cauldron of broth. Cornmeal and seasonings were added and the resulting mush was pressed into loaves, allowed to set, then sliced and pan-fried.

Had it not been for the advances of the Industrial Revolution, meatloaf as we know it might never have been. According to the Oxford Companion to Food, that meatloaf was first mentioned in print in the U.S. in 1899. It was no accident this this was immediately after the invention of the mechanical meat grinder by German inventor Karl Drais. From then on, recipes started appearing in cookbooks. Fannie Farmer’s 1918 edition of The Boston Cooking School Cookbook included two variations of a ground veal-based loaf, as well as a recipe for Cannelon — a dish that recalls almost every aspect of a beef meatloaf, except the name. For the gastronome, the grinder offered a new degree of fineness and consistency of texture. Cooks previously had to chop meat in large wooden bowls using a curved blade, but now they were buying pre-ground meat directly from butchers and working it through grinders. A 1906 grinder from the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia could process 1 ½ pounds of meat per minute, all for $1.75. This, and the fact that beef was increasingly accessible due to advances in refrigeration and a thriving meat packing industry in Chicago, propelled meatloaf onto every housewife’s radar.

For the millions burdened by the hardships of the Depression, it was lucky meatloaf arrived when it did. The notion of meatloaf as comfort food stems from its frequent appearance in this period. Warm and filling, it provided cheap, nourishing sustenance. Tough cuts of beef like chuck or rump were tenderized by way of a good grinding. Small amounts of beef or veal were stretched by adding fillers. Manufacturers commercialized World War I developments in food technology and the ’30s saw a significant shift towards processed and canned products. In addition to bread and crackers, quick-cooking oats, tapioca, breakfast cereal, and powdered sauce mixes could pad out a meatloaf, and condiments such as mustard, bouillon, canned soup, and Heinz ketchup added flavor and moistness at small cost. Manufacturers themselves, seeing an opportunity for increased sales, positioned meatloaf recipes on the backs of products such as Quaker Oats, Campbell’s Soup, and Post Toasties.

With the increased strictures of wartime rationing in the ’40s, meatloaf consolidated its high-ranking position in the housewife’s culinary artillery. Here, meatloaf took on new symbolic significance. By maintaining the health and strength of a country at war, it played its role on the front lines. Penny Prudence’s “Vitality Loaf” was jammed with beef, pork, pork liver, oatmeal, wheat germ, onion-evaporated milk, egg, and chili sauce. The most economical options of this era, however, even deviated from the aforementioned ingredients — they didn’t actually feature meat at all. Capitalizing on the familiar shape and texture of the dish to appeal to the American palate, cookbooks with titles such as Cooking on a Ration (1943) were filled with recipes that used beans, nuts, rice, and soy flour in place of meat.

But meatloaf was capable of more than just budget fare, and the post-war era of the 1950s and ’60s liberated it. Taste and creativity now served as primary ingredients. For a large contingent of women who spent the war in the work force, the ’50s were a time of re-discovering the kitchen. Advertisers, magazines, and newspapers, charged with the task of encouraging women to embrace their new role, glorified the image of the housewife, celebrated kitchen skills, and stressed the importance of being creative as a means to fulfillment. Naturally, meatloaf fit seamlessly into this milieu. It could be personalized and adapted any number of ways, all the while requiring only basic skills. The 1955 edition of the Good Housekeeping cookbook included Sherry-Barbecued Meatloaves, Mushroom-Stuffed Meatloaves, and a Spicy Peach Loaf. The frosted meatloaf, where mashed potato is slathered on a baked loaf, then broiled for a golden crust, debuted in the ’50s. To enliven a simpler offering, there was an inexhaustible trend for garnishing, glazing, saucing, and decorating. The traditional loaf was even temporarily retired in favor of the fashionable ring shape. A proponent of this trend, Betty Crocker, the fictional domestic doyenne of General Mills, advised piling vegetables in the center.

No doubt innovators of the ’50s and ’60s would reel at the next turn in meatloaf’s evolution. The dish maintained its popularity, particularly in blue-collar homes, but dropped the outlandish accoutrements. Recognizing this, supermarkets packaged an inexpensive ground meatloaf mix of 1/3 pork, 1/3 veal, and 1/3 beef. And so the sacred triumvirate that many advocates hold as gospel was born. The dish gained a reputation as tasty, honest fare, for honest, hard-working folk. Then the ’90s happened. Restaurant chefs looking for the next wave of culinary inspiration embraced the food of the home and hearth. They called it comfort food and slapped a $20 price tag on a $2 slice of ground meat and filler.

A tireless chameleon, meatloaf is up to its old tricks again. With more television shows that document exotic fare, eclectic cookbooks that chronicle dishes from around the world, and wider access to global ingredients in mainstream grocery stores, Americans are increasingly hungry for ethnic flavors. According to a study by market research group Mintel, sales of ethnic foods climbed steadily in the early ’00s to reach a record high of $2.2 billion in 2009, and are expected to advance a further 20 percent within the next three years. At Eatery, in Manhattan, a ricotta meatloaf with pecorino sauce and a grape tomato and balsamic reduction is a crowd-pleaser. San Francisco’s Sentinel serves a turkey meatloaf, moisturized with lemon juice, chile paste, tahini and cream. Buckhead Diner in Atlanta adds green chile and chorizo to a veal and wild mushroom loaf. Gussied up once more, this time meatloaf has traded retro cool for ethnic chic.

Yep, they got meatloaf.

Yep, they got meatloaf.

Image: Jovinacooksitalian.

SLURRRRRRP AND BURPPPPPPPP!

SLURRRRRRP AND BURPPPPPPPP!

I have fun at all the musters but take a particular delight when I’m doing a cooking demo and especially making dinner that someone actually eats. Lately, I’ve been researching various things to make to create a bill of faire. The visitors keep asking for recipes, so I thought I’d do something that people would make even today. For some reason, this led me to think about table manners. It galls me no end when I hear and see people eating with their mouths open; as a matter of fact, I’ve left the table or moved to a different table in a restaurant when I’m near the uncouth. I also know that manners, particularly table manners aren’t taught in the home anymore and it’s sad that schools have to pick up the slack…..but I digress. Fast-Day-1795-1024x758

In reading about table manners three-hundred years ago, I found that it’s not so different then as now in some ways ,for those parents who insist on table manners in their children. Oh to be sure, they used forks (if they had one), knives and spoons differently. Maybe they didn’t have the multiplicity of silver ware that my aunt and mother made me identify at the table and where the wine and water goblets go, but it seems that manners really haven’t changed all that much. The basics are still with us, theoretically at least . It’s interesting to note, though that there was a whole lot more than what we have and they were much stricter then in terms of what you can’t wipe and where you wipe it and who can sit where and what you can say when you’re at the table. The eating experience was a lesson on how to rise in class and learn from your betters. And when it came to kids, WELL! there was no McDonald’s playground and the kids better not be playing at table, if they happen to be allowed at the table with adults and not stand behind them. I LIKE that! The list below is the short list of MANY rules concerning eating at the table.

There's also rules for not throwing your bones under the table....

There’s also rules for not throwing your bones under the table….

School of Manners, 1701:

Feed thy self with thy two Fingers and the Thumb of the left hand.

Bend thy Body a little downwards to thy plate, when thou movest any thing that is sauced, to thy mouth.

Gnaw not Bones at the Table, but clean them with thy knife (unless they be very small ones) and hold them not with a whole hand, but with two fingers.

Bite not thy bread but break it, but not with slovenly Fingers, nor with the same wherewith thou takest up thy meat.

Dip not thy Meat in the Sauce.

Take not salt with a greazy Knife.

Sup not Broth at the Table, but eat it with a Spoon.

Smell not to thy Meat, nor move it to thy Nose; turn it not the other side upward to view it upon the Plate.

Throw not any thing under the Table.

Hold not thy Knife upright in thy hand, but lay it down at thy right hand with the Blade upon thy plate or trencher.

Before and after thou drinkest, wipe thy lips with thy Napkin.

Pick not thy Teeth at the Table, unless holding up thy Napkin before thy mouth with thine other Hand.

To know more, check on these sites.

http://18thcand19thc.blogspot.com/2014/05/knife-fork-and-spoon-etiquette-in-1800s.html

http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/food/rules.htm

https://engl3164.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/18th-century-table-setting/

http://revolutionarypie.com/2013/01/31/table-manners/

Thehistoricfoodie's Blog

Today’s post isn’t about food, but it is an important topic when studying 18th century cooking – the lowly apron. We will be looking at utility aprons and not those beautiful sheer works of art worn by upper class women. The reader will kindly note that girls’ aprons were little different from those of their older counterparts.

1. “Market Girl” mid to late 18th century. Notice the pinner apron barely visible underneath her cloak. The cloak appears to be heavy, most likely wool.
2. Housed in the Walters Art Museum. The working woman wears a red apron which looks as if it might have a patch in the lower corner. She wears what is probably a dark petticoat and jacket underneath the apron, a white cap, and neckerchief. Cookware and vegetables are worth notice in this kitchen scene. She has a raised brick stove with tiles on the wall behind.

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As we use our fort hearths to heat and cook, this article deliniates what a might be used to make the meals.

The Regency Redingote

Last week I catalogued the different types of fireplace equipment which might have been found alongside Regency fireplaces in all the rooms of a house, except the kitchen. This week, I shall focus on kitchen fireplaces and the many unique devices and gadgets which had been invented to customize those fireplaces for the preparation of food in times past. Though you may not think so, most of these devices were considered the latest thing in labor-saving cooking when they were first introduced, regardless of the fact that a number of them look like instruments of torture, better suited to a dungeon than a kitchen.

And now, the sometimes confounding cooking contraptions with which Regency cooks could contend …

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