Posts Tagged ‘A Simple Mid-Day Meal’

As I’m sure you know, if you’ve read much of this blog,
I’m thoroughly fascinated with the preparation and
then the cooking of dishes over an open fire, be it
indoors at a hearth or outdoors at a fire pit. I enjoy
the entire process, from mixing historically-appropriate
ingredients to using antique or reproduction equipment
and tools to following each and every step of receipts


found in various historic cookbooks. I particularly like
the ingredients, tools, procedures, even receipt titles,
that prompt those “Say, what?!” exclamations. Things
like treacle or mace, a spider or a coffin, syllabubs or
Naples biscuits, forcemeat or a jugged hare…the list
seems endless! And I’m always eager to try them all.
So I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to use
one specific and unique cooking method: collaring.

Everybody, now: “Say, what?!?”

Collaring is a method of cooking meat and fish that’s
been around for centuries. Receipts can be found
in many historic cookbooks, both published and
handwritten, for preparing beef, mutton, pork,
and yes, even fish (eel?!?), in this manner. The
meat is laid out flat (cut, if necessary, to do so),
herbs and spices are spread on top, it’s then rolled,
tied, wrapped in a cloth, and boiled. As to the term
“collar,” it’s believed to refer to its resemblance
to the real thing when coiled up in a cooking pot.
Maybe. Maybe not! I suppose no one really knows,
but it makes for a great story, yes?!

In any event, when I was informed late last year
that another “private” hearth cooking class* was
to be held this winter at The Israel Crane House,
I was VERY eager to include the collaring of a meat,
specifically pork, on the menu. So I had the House
staff check to make sure there were no objections
of any kind. There weren’t, so it was a go! And so,
our menu featured not only receipts for assorted
side dishes, but also one for “collaring” pork.

photo 1(3)

And now a few photos of our menu preparations…

54. To coller Pigg or Eals
from the manuscript cookbook of the Ashfield Family
of New York and New Jersey (c 1720s to 1780s):

does it look like a collar? you decide!


here it goes, happily boiling away in a mixture of half
water and half vinegar with a few herbs and spices…




(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

The half vinegar/half water “Liquor” that it was boiled
in made a great sauce.

Potatoes Fried in Slices or Ribbons,
from The Cook’s Own Book (1832),
by a Boston Housekeeper (Mrs. N.K.M. Lee):


(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

Beets, Stewed

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

…and A Cheese Pudding,
both from Mrs. Lettice Bryan’s
The Kentucky Housewife (1839):

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane


and last, but not least, Portugal Cakes
from The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy,
by Hannah Glasse (1747):


This dish is supposed to be baked in individual tins.
However, not having any (dagnabit), we made one
large cake instead. I’ve been searching for a set
of small individual baking pans for quite some time,
but have yet to find any. I do have a few ceramic
ones, but not enough. So I’ll continue my search.
Or perhaps have some made? We’ll see!

It was a fantastic meal! HUZZAH! The ladies did
a terrific job. Each dish was absolutely delicious.
I tell you, there’s really nothing like food cooked
over an open fire! And everyone pitched in whenever
and wherever needed. In fact, things went so well,
that we ended early. Whodathunk?! I may have
to add extra dishes next time. Either that, or
a few that’re more difficult. All in all, everyone
had a marvelous time. I look forward to next year’s
“private” class!

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane

(c) 2016 Angelica Kane


*So-called because a woman who attended
one of the hearth cooking classes two or three
years ago at The Israel Crane House had such
a great time that she gathered several friends
together and made arrangements for the group
to participate in another. We’ve since dubbed
it the “private” hearth cooking class.

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Speaking of videos…Don Dempsey, a student in one of my recent
hearth cooking classes at The Israel Crane House this past winter,
did a whole lotta filming and then created this fantastic little video.
See what fun we all had! HUZZAH!

Not only that, but you get to hear part of my rant against that dang
fakelore-riddled story about the Mary Todd Lincoln cake. Help stomp
it out NOW! LOL oy

In any event, we had a marvelous time, and I hope you enjoy this
beautifully-filmed peek at hearth cooking in the Crane kitchen. And
don’t forget, you, too, can join the fun at a future class. Stay tuned!



Video courtesy of Donald Dempsey of White Light, LLC

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The hearth cooking class held at The Israel Crane House
this past Saturday was a tremendous success! HUZZAH!
We had a full roster of folks who eagerly participated in
the preparation, the cooking, and, of course, the EATING


of the dishes that comprised our “Simple Mid-day Meal.”
The menu was designed to be appropriate for this winter
season, and its contents were concocted in accordance
with original receipts from several historic cookbooks.

Of course, as usual, my opportunities for picture-taking
were limited. You’ll find a few below, however, along
with the corresponding receipts and their sources.


The central dish of our meal was a meat pie, courtesy
of Mrs. Lettice Bryan’s The Kentucky Housewife (1839):

A Chicken Pie.
Take two small chickens, (no other sort
being fit for a dish pie) cut them up in
small pieces, and season them with salt
and pepper. Line a deep dish with puff
paste, roll out another sheet tolerably
thin, and cut it into small squares; put
the chickens and dumplings in the dish,
in alternate layers; put in a pint of water
and four ounces of butter, that has been
rolled in flour, and broken up, put a paste
over the top, ornament it handsomely round
the edge with scolloped or crimped leaves
of the paste, and bake it in a moderate oven.



Into the bake kettle:


After about an hour…Wowza!


Simply put, this pie was mighty tasty and absolutely, downright
AWESOME! I’ve made it before, long ago, but WOW! I’d forgotten
just how good it is. And even though we suddenly realized after
all was said and done that we’d forgotten to put in the water, it
didn’t seem to matter. Definitely, this Chicken Pie gets the Crane
House Seal of Deliciousness. HUZZAH!

Next, from The Virginia Housewife (1824), by Mary Randolph:

Sweet Potatos [sic] Broiled.
Cut them across without peeling, in slices
half an inch thick, broil them on a griddle,
and serve then with butter in a boat.

Our sliced sweet taters were broiled both on a griddle hung
above open flames (below, left) and on a gridiron placed atop
hot coals (see the latter farther down this page*):


A beet dish (seen to the right above, during the “stew” stage),
which was made per directions that’re also found in The Kentucky
. I just love the final sentence in this receipt, wherein
the author tells how to store and preserve this root vegetable
for the winter:

Beets, Stewed.
Having boiled them till nearly tender,
scrape off the skin, cut the beets in
thick slices, put them in a stew-pan
with a little salt, pepper, vinegar, and
a good slice of butter, rolled in flour;
stew them a few minutes, and serve
them up with the gravy. Beets keep
well through the winter, buried in
heaps in the garden.

There’s nothing better, and more historically-realistic, than
multiple dishes cooking together above the flames or over
hot coals out on the hearth. Now, THAT’S a meal! HUZZAH!
(*more sweet potato slices are broiling on the gridiron)


We also made a “pine-apple” tart, using the following receipt
from The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director…Part II (1732),
by Richard Bradley (our “pine-apple” pieces are stewing in the
kettle in the lower left, above

To Make a Tart of the Ananas, or Pine-Apple.
From Barbadoes.

Take Pine-Apple, and twist off its Crown:
then pare it free from the Knots, and
cut it in Slices about half an Inch thick;
then stew it with a little Canary Wine,
or Madera Wine, and some Sugar, till it
is thoroughly hot, and it will distribute
its Flavour to the Wine much better than
any thing we can add to it. When it is as
one would have it, take it from the Fire;
and when it is cool, put it in to a sweet
Paste, with its Liquor, and bake it gently,
a little while, and when it comes from the
Oven, pour Cream over it, (if you have it)
and serve either hot or cold.

Our lovely, mighty tasty, Tart of the Ananas:


The Tart is served:


The pastes, or crusts, for both the Chicken Pie and the Tart were
perfect. They were light, flaky, and flavorful, and our cooks did
a fantastic job. I must say, it’s always amazing (to me, at least)
what can be accomplished without modern “stuff.”

And lastly, we made a chocolate beverage using two different
receipts. The first is from the 17th century and can be found
in Sophie and Michael Coe’s The True History of Chocolate (an
excellent book, by the way!). The second is from Lydia Child’s
The American Frugal Housewife (1833, 12th edition).

St. Disdier’s Chocolate
Recipe 1 (“very good”)
2 lb prepared cacao
1 ½ lb cassonade (sugar)
6 drachm powdered vanilla
4 drachm powdered cinnamon

Many people boil chocolate in a coffee-pot;
but I think it is better to boil it in a skillet,
or something open. A piece of chocolate
about as big as a dollar is the usual
quantity for a quart of water; but some
put in more, and some less. When it boils,
pour in as much milk as you like and let
them boil together three or four minutes.
It is much richer with the milk boiled in
it. Put the sugar in either before or after,
as you please. Nutmeg improves it. The
chocolate should be scraped fine before
it is put into the water.

Me and our intrepid hearth cooks (minus the three who had to leave early):


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Of course, we included bread as part of the “Simple Mid-Day Meal”
that we created during the hearth cooking class held at The Israel
Crane House
about a week ago (March 19). Using Mrs. Lettice Bryan’s
receipt for “Saleratus Biscuit” in her cookbook The Kentucky Housewife
as our guide, we made a couple of batches. Participants churned some
creamy butter, as well:


Mrs. Bryan’s receipt from The Kentucky Housewife (1839):

Saleratus Biscuit.
Sift a quart of flour, sprinkle into
it a salt-spoonful of salt, and rub
into it one ounce of butter. Pour
half a tea-cupful of boiling water
on a small tea-spoonful of saleratus,
let it stand to dissolve, and then stir
it into enough sour milk to make the
flour into rather a soft dough. Knead
it but very little, flour your hands,
make it into small biscuits, and bake
them in rather a hasty oven. In using
saleratus or pearlash, for any kind
of cake or bread, be sure to dissolve
it in boiling water or sour milk, and
make up the bread with sour milk;
otherwise, it will not rise so well.
Pearlash biscuit may be made
in the same manner.

NOTES: We cut the amounts to about half. We didn’t have saleratus,
or potash/pearlash, so we used baking soda as a substitute. Yes,
I could’ve acquired some from Deb Peterson, but I had to consider
the expense and our class budget. Maybe next time! And so, we
didn’t bother with the “boiling water” portion. Of course, I made
dozens and dozens of biscuits during my years at Conner Prairie,
and it’s something I can do with my eyes closed. Basically, I relied
on that past experience, and the formula I used (which was akin
to Bryan’s receipt), to make these biscuits.

We did use sour milk, and it was made by adding a tablespoon
of vinegar to one cup of milk, then allowing it to “clabber.” It was
slowly stirred into all the other ingredients, which had been mixed
well together previously. Our dough was then hand-patted out on
a floured board, and the individual biscuits cut out with a tin cutter
(the one I’d made last summer at Old Sturbridge Village). They were
placed in a tin pie pan (which I’d bought in the OSV Gift Shop, also
last summer), and baked.


NEXT: and finally, our Clove Cake

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As you may know, I’m a Big Fan of carrot puddings. Not sure why,
but I am just fascinated with them! I enjoy making them, and I’ve
whipped up quite a few in past years. Maybe it’s because they’re
just so delicious! I even wrote here several times last fall about
my various carrot pudding-making adventures.

And so we made this dish during Saturday’s “Simple Mid-Day Meal”
hearth cooking class at The Israel Crane House. Naturally, we used
my favorite receipt (recipe) from the 18th century work E. Kidder’s
Receipts of Pastry and Cookery

A Carrot Pudding.
Boyl 2 large carrots, when cold pound
them, in a mortar, strain them thro [sic]
a sive, mix them nth [with] two grated
biskets, 1/2 a pound of butter, sack
and Orange flower water, Sugar and
a little Salt, a pint of cream mixt with
7 yolks of eggs and two whites, beat
these together and put them in a dish
covered and garnished. “Good”*


“Boyl 2 large carrots” (we used three medium-sizeds)

pound them and “strain them thro a sive”

Nadia hard at work

the previously-made Naples Biskets, soon to become “two grated biskets”

enough batter for two puddings

ready for baking




*handwritten commentary on the original receipt


NEXT: our biscuits

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This past Saturday’s hearth cooking class at The Israel Crane House
was a HUGE success. HUZZAH! Everyone had a fantastic time as we
prepared, cooked, and, of course, ate, several dishes, all as part of our
“Simple Mid-Day Meal.” It was such great fun working with new and

old friends creating sumptuous dishes from the past. Of course, there
are lots and lots of photos to share, so I’ll be posting them, along with
all the historic receipts (recipes) we used, during the next few days.

Let’s get started!


First up, a dish that reminded everyone of what we’ve seen prepared
so often on all those cooking shows. However, it’s from Joseph Cooper’s
17th century The Art of Cookery Refin’d and Augmented (1654):

An Excellent Way to Roast Pigeons or Chickens.
Prepare them to trusse; then make
a farcing-meat with Marrow or Beefe
filet, with the liver of the Fowle minced
very small; and mixe with it grated Bread,
the yolkes of hard Eggs minced, Mace and
Nutmeg beat, the tops of Thyme minced
very small, and Salt: incorporate all these
together with hard Eggs and a little Verjuice,
then cut the skin off the Fowle betwixt the
legs and the body, before it is trussed, and
put in your finger to raise the skin from
the flesh, but take care you break not the
skin; then farce it full with this meat, and
trusse the leggs close to keep in the meat;
then spit them and roast them, setting
a dish under to save the Gravy, which mixe
with a little Claret, sliced Nutmeg, a little
of that farced meat, and Salt; then give it
two or three walms on the fire, and beat
it up thick with the yolk of a raw Egg and
a piece of Butter, with a little minc’d Lemmon
and serve it up in the dish with the Fowle.

[Note: sadly, due to time limits, we didn’t make the gravy]


preparing the “farcing-meat”

first, the farce-meat was placed “betwixt” the skin and flesh

we “trusse the leggs close”

“then spit them”

“and roast them”

mmm-mm-mmmm, lookin’ mighty good ‘n tasty!


NEXT: our Carrot Pudding

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