After posting the 17th Century tomato receipt that we used
in last week’s modern cooking class at ICE, I began looking
through my other historical cookbooks for more. Based on
the books that I have, which are mostly British and American,
there are no published receipts using tomatoes until the early
19th Century. The first one I found is in A New System
of Domestic Cookery, by a Lady (aka Maria Eliza Rundell),
which was first published in London in 1806 (I have the 1816
edition). It’s an interesting receipt. Note the use of capsicum
vinegar; or, if you have none, Cayenne; and the “few cloves”
of garlic. Compare it to Latini’s receipt (see 9/28). Seems
there’s a definite Spanish and/or Italian influence here.
I’d sure like to know the background, the how and why,
of Rundell’s reasons for including it. Had it been in her or
her family’s keeping for years? The second (1807) edition
has it, but what about the first? Or, possibly, it’s the result
of her collaboration with her publisher (and family friend)
John Murray (1778-1843)? According to information on
the Feeding America website, Rundell chose some entries
for her second and later editions from receipt collections
provided by Murray. It’s an intriguing food forensics puzzle,
and I’ll keep searching for an answer (if there is one).
In the meantime, here’s Rundell’s receipt:
Tomata Sauce, for hot or cold Meats.
Put tomatas when perfectly ripe
into an earthen jar; and set it in
an oven, when the bread is drawn,
till they are quite soft; then separate
the skins from the pulp; and mix this
with capsicum vinegar, and a few cloves
of garlic pounded, which must both be
proportioned to the quantity of fruit.
Add powdered ginger, and salt to your
taste. Some white-wine vinegar and
Cayenne may be used instead of
capsicum vinegar. Keep the mixture
in small wide-mouthed bottles,
well corked, and in a cool dry place.
NOTE: Spelling was not standardized in past centuries,
so you’ll see tomata and tomato. I’ve even found both
spellings within the same receipt!