Friday, February 22, 2013

Thank You

Thank you so much for reading my Mid-century food blog. This project has come to an end but that doesn't mean that I will no longer be cooking, baking, gardening and researching. I just will not be posting any more information here.
I invite you to follow my adventures on my regular blog here:
I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me by adding your comments in any post.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Candied Fruit

"Candied Fruit - Any fruit or peel which has been first preserved in syrup may be candied.
Take the fruit out of the syrup and let it drain on sieves; then dip the sieve with the fruit into lukewarm water, to wash off the syrup from the surface; take it out, let it drain, and dry it in the stove. Boil some fresh syrup to the blow; put in the fruit and give it a boil in it. The fruit when it is put in will reduce the sugar, it must therefore be boiled to the same degree again. With a spoon or spatula rub the sugar against the side of the pan, to grain it; when it begins to whiten put the fruit in the white part separately: with two forks take it out and lay it on sieves or wire frames, for the sugar to drain from it."    From The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-cook, and Baker: Plain and Practical  1864

Sunday, October 14, 2012


"The white silver-skins are the best species. To boil them:- Peel off the outside, cut off the ends, put them into cold water and into a stew-pan, and let them scald two minutes; then turn off that water, pour on cold water, and boil slowly till tender, which will be in thirty or forty minutes, - according to their size; when done, drain them quite dry, pour a little melted butter over them, sprinkle them with pepper and salt, and serve hot."

"Onions are very nice fried in butter. Many people like them roasted, by burying them in ashes without removing the outer skin: when roasted, pull off the skin and season them with salt and butter."

The Practical Cook Book pg 94

Thursday, October 11, 2012


"Sweet Potato Pie - Take two pounds and a half of sweet potatoes, mashed fine, half a pound of sugar, two oz of butter, six eggs, two tumblers of sweet milk, a little cinnamon. Make a nice crust in a deep dish and pour it in. Bake moderately."

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"Pumpkin Pies - One quart stewed and sifted pumpkin, two quarts milk and a pint of cream, half a teaspoonful of ginger, two teaspoonsful of cinnamon, one nutmeg, a tea spoonful of essence of lemon, four eggs and sugar till sweet."

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 I used the crust or paste recipe from this post for Apple or Junk Pie


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


"Fried Turn Overs - Have ready a kettle of boiling lard. having made a pie crust not very rich, cut it in squares, roll them out even and put in a table spoonful of dried apple sauce, make it very fine and sweet, add a little nutmeg or allspice if you prefer it. Eat them when just cold, with a little sweet cream. They must have the edges pinched very tight so as not to let a particle of apple escape in the lard. They are delicious if rightly made."    From The Practical Housekeeper 1855

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"Sausages Cold - Take fried sausages, cut them into picea three inches long, roll them up in nice pastry and bake them. They are nice for supper or luncheon."  From The Practical Housekeeper 1855

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"no 3 Mince Pie (temperance) - Boil until very tender, three pounds of beef's heart; then chop it as fine as possible and add half a pound of beef suet, cleansed from its skin and filaments, and finely minced; mix all these well together, and add one pound of brown sugar, two pounds of Zante currants, two pounds of raisins, stoned and cut in halves, the grated rind of one orange, the grated rind and the juice of three lemons, one fable spoonful of powdered cinnamon, one of ginger, one of cloves, one of mace, two of salt, and one quart of the best West India molasses; stir all well together; the mixture should be very moist, but not thin.

If you wish to use this mince immediately, add two pounds of finely minced apple, and half a pound of citron cut in slices, to every pound and a half of meat; the apples should be very acid."   From Practical Cook Book 1850

Friday, September 14, 2012

Boiled Custard

From Mrs. Beeton's Dictionary of Every-day Cookery
"CUSTARDS, Boiled Ingredients - 1 pint of milk, 5 eggs, 3 oz of loaf sugar, 3 laurel leaves or the rind of fresh lemon, or a few drops of essence of vanilla, 1 tablespoonful of brandy.
Mode - Put the milk into a lined saucepan with the sugar and whichever of the above flavourings may be preferred, the lemon rind flavours custards most deliciously, and let the milk steep by the side of the fire until it is well flavoured. Bring it to the point of boiling then strain it into a basin, whisk the eggs well and when the milk has cooled a little, stir in the eggs and strain this mixture into a jug. Place this jug in a saucepan of boiling water over the fire keep stirring the custard one way until it thickens, but on no account allow it to reach the boiling point, as it will instantly curdle and be full of lumps. Take it off the fire, stir in the brandy and when this is well mixed with the custard, pour it into glasses which should be rather more than three parts full, grate a little nutmeg over the top and the dish is ready for table To make custards look and eat better, ducks eggs should be used when obtainable, they add very much to the flavour and richness and so many are not required as of the ordinary eggs, 4 ducks eggs to the pint of milk making a delicious custard. When desired extremely rich and good cream should be substituted for the milk and double the quantity of eggs used to those mentioned, omitting the whites.
Time - A hour to infuse the lemon rind about l8 minutes to stir the custard. Average cost fid Sufficient to fill 8 custard glasses Seasonable at any time."

I used a double boiler instead of a jug. I used vanilla and omitted the brandy. The image from the book reminded me of my punch glasses, so I used them.

I put the (2 cups) milk in a saucepan with the sugar and vanilla and brought it to a boil. Once the sugar dissolved, I let it cool while I mixed the eggs. I used 8 egg yolks and 3 strained whites instead of 5 eggs because I'm not very good at keeping the whites from cooking, and making the custard chunky. I mixed a little of the milk in with the beaten eggs and then added it to the pot. I heated and stirred it in a double boiler until it became firm. It filled 7 small glasses, topped with nutmeg. Ours were served chilled since I made them ahead of time.

We liked these very much!

My custards served in punch cups

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Corn Bread

Most of the recipes that I have found for corn bread use milk or vigorous stirring as the leaven. I am not good at those methods. Here is one that I have found for plain corn bread. This is not a sweet corn bread as there is no sugar or other sweetener added. It is also not savory as there are no herbs or seasoning.

From the Cook Book 1855
"CORN BREAD 1 lb corn meal, 1 tablespoonful butter, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoonsful of cream tartar, and 1 of soda, and mix with milk to be a thick batter. Mix the cream of tartar with the meal, mix soda in a little milk and do not add it until you are ready to pour it into the pan to bake. Grease your pans well."

There were several references as to what corn bread should be cooked in. Some called for a round cake tin and others described more of a bread pan type. I prefer to use a round cake tin.

Modern Translation: Pre-heat the oven to 350. Have ready 2 overly buttered cake tins. Beat together 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 lb corn meal, 1 Tbs butter, 2 eggs, 1 tsp soda and 1.5-2 cups milk. The mixture should be a thick batter. The milk should be added 1/2 cup at a time. Pour half of the batter in each tin. Bake for 45 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, it's done. The corn bread should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let it rest for a moment, loosen the edges with a heat resistant spatula, turn out on a cooling rack. Once it is totally cooled, slice in wedges.

If the tins are not buttered enough, it will stick. You could also butter and flour the tins if you like or use paper in the bottom of your pan. This second method is what I will most likely do the next time I make this.

I do not care for the taste of this cornbread, plain. I can only eat it smothered with thick cream butter. Personally, I like modern sweet corn bread. However, I think that would be more like mid-century corn cakes.