Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Recipes from the Past

I would like to share some recipes from a very very old recipe book that was given to me when I was visiting a great aunt in my teens. I  think my Aunt was so amazed that a teenage girl would be interested in the old book that she gave it to me for safe keeping.  The book, which had been passed down through the family was old and battered and without its cover. It is called Cassell's New Universal Cookery Book, by Lizzie Heritage (Holder of First-Class diplomas in Cookery and Domestic Economy), and was published by Cassell and Company, Ltd in 1896.

It is worth noting a small part of the preface, which starts:

"The great development of intercourse between different nations, considerable advances in the methods of preparing and serving food, and the modern tendency to examine into the principles and foundations of things, have not only brought about a large increase of books upon cookery, but perceptible changes in their character.  Of these developments, the present work is an example.

To the first cause we owe in that the art of cooking has now become to a large extend cosmopolitan.  Differences in local products and climates will always maintain, to some extend, national "schools" of Cookery.  but as much of the French cuisine has long become the common property of civilisation, so an intelligent cook is now expected to know something of the best dishes from the German, Italian, Indian, and American schools, and does not disdain contributions from even more distant fields. It has been said, with truth, that "the most scientific chef who ever served up a Parisian banquet could probably learn something new from the ignorant savage, who chews strange herbs to help him to digest the meat which his intellect has not sufficiently expanded to enable him to cook." Modern Cookery draws both viands and methods from all countries." 

Wow!! You have to take a step back and remember this was written in the 1890's. 

Today, keeping with the International theme of the preface I have chosen to share with you a recipe from the book is:

American Cheese Salad

Required:  shrimps, cheese, oil, seasoning, and garnish as below.  Cost, about one shilling.

This is also known as mock crab.  Put a quarter of a pound of sliced or grated cheese in a mortar, add a tablespoonful and a half of oil or cream, and a scant teaspoonful of mustard, the same of white pepper, salt as required - the cheese regulates the amount - and a pinch of grated nutmeg, with cayenne to taste.  Half a pint of chopped shrimps and a squeeze of lemon juice are added last.  Serve in the shell of a crab, should one be handy; or in scallop shells, and garnish with cress and celery.  the mixture is sometimes put in the centre of a bed of salad on a flat dish.

A simple and delicious dish from the past.

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