Spring has finally arrived around here. HUZZAH!
And it was certainly evident over at the Israel
Crane House this past weekend. Sunny blue
skies, flowering trees, and bright green leaves
and lawns spread out as far as the eye could
see. It was a marvelous day for a bit o’ cooking
at Crane’s. People are out and about once again,
as well, for we had a nice crowd stop by to chat
and enjoy a few hot-off-the-fire tasty treats. Our
“menu” on this lovely spring day included a baked bread pudding and
boiled squash with parsnip. I’m sure every visitor would agree both
dishes provided a great opportunity to savor food of the past.
The baked bread pudding:
all mixed and ready for baking:
there’s simply nothing better than food cooked over an open fire:
it must’ve been mighty tasty for it disappeared quickly:
I used the following receipt from the 1747 edition (the first of many)
of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery, made Plain and Easy. Note that,
contrary to many “mo-dern” recipes, this does not specify day-old or
A Baked Bread Pudding.
Take the Crumb of a Penny-loaf,
as much Flour, the Yolks of four
of four Eggs and two Whites,
a quarter of a Pound of Sugar,
a Tea Spoonful of Ginger, half’
a Pound of Raisins stoned, half
a Pound of Currans clean washed
and picked, a little Salt; mix first
the Bread and Flour, Ginger and
Salt and Sugar, then the Eggs,
and then as much Milk as will
make it like a good Batter, then
the Fruit, butter the Dish, and
pour it in and bake it.
Incidentally, many present-day Italian bread pudding recipes
use fresh, and not stale, bread.
I also completed my “experiment” involving the use of “old” root
vegetables. As you may recall, I made several squash puddings
last fall. Of course, I had to purchase all those squashes, and
when all was said and done, I had one left over. So, for the past
six months, there it sat on the ledge above my kitchen sink, where
it endured various fluctuations in the room’s temperature. Naturally,
I wondered if it was still good; so I cut it open. Well, surprisingly,
it was! HUZZAH! I then pared it, cut it into chunks, and cooked it
down. Just for fun, I also threw in a parsnip. Finally, on Sunday,
I finished preparing the dish:
For my squash ‘n parsnip concoction, I followed this Elizabeth Raffald
receipt from her cookbook The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769):
To Boil Parnips.[sic]
Wash your parsnips very well.
Boil them till they are soft, then
take off the skin, beat them in
a bowl with a little salt, put to
them a little cream and a lump
of butter. Put them in a tossing
pan, let them boil till they are
like a light custard pudding. Put
them on a plate, and send them
to the table.
It was most definitely a marvelous day, filled with cookin’ at Crane’s.