Saturday, August 13, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016 #17

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #17

Myths and Legends




The ChallengeMyths and Legends (August 12 - August 25) It’s time to make some legendary food! Pick a story from folklore (a myth, fantasy, legend, or fairy tale) that features food, and use a historical recipe to recreate it. 

Many myths and fairy tales feature pancakes of some sort. From King Midas, who eats hot cakes for breakfast, to Hansel & Gretl, whose witch makes pancakes for the children. There's also the "Runaway Pancake," the forerunner of the "Runaway Gingerbread Man". 



Pancakes seem to have originated in Ancient Greece, thus making them  historically accurate for King Midas. Greek pancakes, known as “Tiganites" were shaped like small medallions. They are thin pancakes,  slightly thicker than crêpes and can be sweet or savoury. Their main ingredients, then were wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk. Today they can be made with butter, milk and eggs. They are usually drizzled with honey and cinnamon and served for breakfast or dessert. These ancient Greek pancakes were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk, and were usually served for breakfast just as they are today. 


Historical documentation comes from  William Martin Leake, Travels in Northern Greecep. 254

"They received a farther annual gift from Venice of ...  pancakes made of oil eggs flour and honey ... It was at these two feasts [Christmas and Epiphany]  that the distribution was made of the tiganites."

I took my inspiration from the Norwegian folk tale the Pancake

"Once upon a time there was a good housewife, who had seven hungry children. One day she was busy frying pancakes for them, and this time she had used new milk in the making of them. One was lying in the pan, frizzling away -- ah! so beautiful and thick -- it was a pleasure to look at it. The children were standing round the fire, and the husband sat in the corner and looked on.

"Oh, give me a bit of pancake, mother, I am so hungry!" said one child.
"Ah, do! dear mother," said the second (through 6th children)
"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice, sweet, darling mother," said the seventh. And thus they were all begging for pancakes, the one more prettily than the other, because they were so hungry, and such good little children.

"Yes, children dear, wait a bit until it turns itself," she answered -- she ought to have said "until I turn it" -- "and then you shall all have pancakes, beautiful pancakes, made of new milk -- only look how thick and happy it lies there."

When the pancake heard this, it got frightened, and all of a sudden, it turned itself and wanted to get out of the pan, but it fell down in it again on the other side, and when it had been fried a little on that side too, it felt a little stronger in the back, jumped out on the floor, and rolled away, like a wheel, right through the door and down the road.

"Halloo!" cried the good wife, and away she ran after it, with the frying pan in one hand and the ladle in the other, as fast as she could, and the children behind her, while the husband came limping after, last of all.

"Halloo, won't you stop? Catch it, stop it. Halloo there!" they all screamed, the one louder than the other, trying to catch it on the run, but the pancake rolled and rolled, and before long, it was so far ahead, that they could not see it, for the pancake was much smarter on its legs than any of them.
Click the above link to read the rest of the story.

The Recipe: 

Pancakes.
(Another way.)

Put in an earthen pan four whole eggs, a pinch of salt, one of sugar,three spoons of flour; beat with one quart of milk. The preparation must be very light. Bake the pancakes in a frying pan, very thickly spread with butter, turn them upside down on the table, put some currant or other jelly on one side; roll them; put them on a plate; powder them with sugar.

Fullständigaste Svensk-Amerikansk kokbok: Swedish-English cookbook. Chicago: Engberg-Holmberg; 1897. p. 23.



How did you make it? I tried and I tried to follow the recipe. I added extra flour to compensate for using 1% (lowfat) milk. I melted butter in a frying pan and poured the batter in and fried until brown on both sides.




 I spread blueberry preserves on one pancake and rolled it and sprinkled on some powdered (confectioners) sugar.


 I also drizzled some cinnamon honey on one, in honor of the ancient Greeks. 


Time to Complete:  Maybe an hour

Total Cost:  I had everything on hand. The most expensive part the cinnamon honey I drizzled on top for $12 a pound at the farmer's market.

How Successful Was It?: Not very! I had a tough time incorporating the flour into the milk and egg mixture. No matter how much I whisked  and stirred, I was still left with an eggy mixture that made something akin to an omelet. I found all the flour at the bottom of the bowl. The taste is OK but pretty bland. They do need some jam or honey to make them taste better. I usually use a modern recipe and add a lot of cinnamon.

How Accurate Is It?: 100% as possible using modern ingredients and not farm fresh.


Historical Food Fortnightly 2016 #14 and #16

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #14 and #16

Waste Not, Want Not 

and 

Foods Named After People



I've been too busy with real life to keep up with HFF. I'm using the same recipe for two different challenges. I hope I can catch up and fill in the others later.



The Challenge: Waste Not, Want Not/Foods Named After People
14. Waste Not, Want Not (July 1 - July 14) Good housekeeping in any historic era included making the most of your food items. Pick a recipe that involves avoiding waste (maybe reusing leftovers, or utilizing things commonly thrown out) and show us how historically-green you can be!

16. Foods Named After People (July 29 - August 11) Beef Wellington? Charlotte Russe? Choose a dish named after a person (either fictional or real) to create. Bonus points if you tell us about the link between the person and the dish!

The Recipe: 

Blueberry Charlotte


found on forgottencookbooks.com and of course I have forgotten which cookbook!

This recipe fulfils both challenges because it uses up stale bread and leftover fruit from the summer harvest. It is also named after a person. According to foodtimeline.org, cooked Charlottes are related to bread pudding. Charlotte is said to be named after Queen Charlotte of Great Britain, wife of King George III, at the end of the 18thc entury. I'm not sure what the connection is or whether it was named to honor the Queen. This baked pudding usually contains apple baked surrounded by bread inside a round, deep mold. It can be made with any fresh fruit and variations appear in many cookbooks of the 18th and 19th centuries.




How did you make it?

I hate hate hate crusts of bread. I always cut them off and throw them out. The same with heels of bread. I used up my last remaining slices of white bread WITH the crusts still on and the two ends of the loaf for this recipe.


Stale bread


I substituted blueberries for raspberries. Raspberry season has just ended and raspberries are very expensive for only a tiny little container. Blueberries are fresh and plentiful still. I won a raffle for a gift certificate to the local farmer's market and promptly spent it on blueberries. 

I followed the recipe which is pretty vague. I don't have pudding molds so I greased two ramekins with butter. Then I broke up my stale bread into crumbs and sprinkled a layer on the bottom of each ramekin. 
Bread crumbs
Breadcumbs and butter

Then I added a bit of butter, some blueberries and a few teaspoons of sugar. 
Blueberry layer
I baked in the oven covered with foil for about 20 minutes and then uncovered for 10. 


The Charlottes were not quite sweet enough for my taste so I drizzled with some cinnamon honey I picked up at the farmer's market. I didn't have any cream but a smidge of leftover ice cream both moistened and sweetened this dessert. 



Time to Complete:  About 40 minutes plus cooling time.


Total Cost:  I had everything on hand. The most expensive part was blueberries $5.00 for two small containers at the farmer's market. Cinnamon honey was also expensive -$8 for a pound at the farmer's market.

How Successful Was It?: I burned the bread crumbs on the top and the berries were not sweet enough for me. Once I drizzled with cinnamon honey, however, the taste was much improved. This was an easy recipe and a good way to use up old bread.

How Accurate Is It?: The bread I used was not accurate for the period and I substituted blueberries and added honey. Blueberries and honey were of course available at the time. I believe my recipe is close to 100% accurate.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Love and Friendship: Take Two

Love and Friendship:  Take Two


I recently wrote a review of the Wilt Stillman adaptation of Jane Austen's Lady Susan. Herein I attempt a review of the novelization of the film.

Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely VindicatedLove & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated by Whit Stillman

Ostensibly written by Lady Susan Vernon's nephew by marriage in 1858, this is an attempt to vindicate Lady Susan, who, in the original novella, is the most awful mother and an accomplished flirt. The nephew claims that anonymous spinster maligned his aunt by making up certain situations and dialogues. He attempts to remedy that with his own memories - and fails. The dialogue is terrible. It's stilted and unnatural but in the movie, it's funny! The actors can pull it off and make it seem funny. The narrator is a dreadful, pompous, bore who inserts his very Victorian ideas into the story. While I do feel bad for Lady Susan, being around the same age, it would have been hard for her as a poor widow, to find another husband or some other way to live. In the original novella, she's scheming and callous but according to her nephew, Lady Susan and Alicia had their own language and often shared inside jokes any listener would misunderstand. Riiigghttt...

The story is a bit funny in parts but mostly because I saw the movie so I can picture the actors' facial expressions. I don't think Jane Austen would have written a character so stupid as Sir James Martin. She poked fun at people but not people who are truly intellectually challenged, as Sir James seems to be. Lady Susan still isn't very likable despite her nephews assertions to the contrary and Frederica comes across as kind of Fanny Price-ish.

This is a so-so attempt at fan-fiction and I applaud his attempt to go with a lesser known work. I didn't have high hopes coming into the movie but expected better of the novelization.

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016 13

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #13

Pies



The Challenge: Pies

Make a pie! Meat, fruit, sweet or savory; traditional pies, hand pies, standing pies, or galottes - get creative, but make sure it’s documented!

This challenge fell at exactly the right time. I had some rare days off work AND it's Father's Day. I didn't even have to ask my dad what kind of pie he wanted- I already knew- his mother's famous blueberry pie with crumb topping.  My grandmother always used fresh blueberries, stocking up during a sale. She would make the topping and freeze it and used prepared pie crusts. In in the interest of making this a true challenge, I made my own pie crust. This type of pie, a crumble or a crisp, goes back to early America but I think this particular recipe comes from the 1960s. I found a similar recipe clipping at this vintage recipe blog.

I also added a bonus challenge to use my extra pie crust.

The Recipe: 



Nonnie's Best Blueberry Pie

Pie crust recipe from my Nonnie (paternal grandmother) with help from The Lily Wallace New American Cookbook c. 1947:
3 heaping cups full of flour
1 handful equal to one stick shortening
1 pinch salt
3/4 c. ice water




Mix flour, salt and shortening by hand. Slowly add ice water and combine by hand. Press into a ball and divide into two parts.



 Chill and roll out until 1/8" thick. Flour rolling pin and roll dough back onto rolling pin and into pie tin.


 Gently press dough into pie tin and prick all around with a fork. 




Topping:
2 c. flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 pinch salt 
3/4 c. sugar (mix white and brown or use dark brown)
dash cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
Mix with fingers and knead until crumbly


Filling:
1 1/2 qt. blueberries
3/4 sugar
1 T. butter 
1 drop lemon juice
flour (opt.)

Wash and dry blueberries and place in a large bowl. If very dry you can add 6 T. flour. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix. Double tinfoil in pan so pie doesn't leak. Squeeze a drop of lemon juice on the blueberries. Put a pat of butter on top and add crumb topping. Bake at 350 degrees. Check after 15 minutes. Give it another 15 if not done. Bake until crumbs are golden brown. (You will smell it when it's done!) 

Bonus:
Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake
I had extra pie crust AND I have Pennsylvania Dutch mini pie pans. This recipe came from  a Swans Down recipe and advertisement from September 21, 1953. I found it on Pinterest from the blog Dying for Chocolate. See the full ad on the blog.



The Date/Year and Region: 1960s New England
Crumbles, crisps, slumps and grunts that date back to pioneer times, according to foodtimeline.org. This particular recipe, which is very similar, dates to the 1960s

Funny Cake recipe is from 1953 but it supposedly dates back a lot farther.

How Did You Make It: 
Nonnie was one of those old world grandmas who never measured. She had all her recipes in her head. Several years ago I watched my Nonnie make the pie and copied down actual measurements. She used a handful of shortening, a pinch of cinnamon, etc. I followed my own written directions.  I added more fat and more water to the crust and more fat and brown sugar to the crumbs. I let the pie crust dough chill for an hour in the fridge before rolling and then blind baked it for 15 minutes. 

(I poked holes in the crust, filled it with rice and baked). 


Put foil over the crust and filled with rice.
After blind baking my crust is lightly browned.


Smaller crush blind baked

For the Funny Cake, I made a chocolate sauce melting dark chocolate chips instead of unsweetened chocolate, which I didn't have. I made the cake flour by removing 2 T of flour and adding 2 T of cornstarch per cup of flour. I sifted that together. I creamed the shortening in an electric mixer and then sifted the dry ingredients together and then poured slowly into the shortening and mixed again. I followed the rest of the directions to make cake batter. Then I poured it into my two small PA Dutch pie tins.




I topped the pie with chocolate sauce and crushed unsalted peanuts.


 I poured more chocolate sauce on the cake before baking. My pie tins were close to overflowing!


and then more when I cut it and ate it. Oops we ate it too fast for a picture! Here's one of the cut pie/cake.


Time to Complete:  About 2 hours for the pie crust and an hour for the pie including baking time. 


The Funny Cake took about an hour.

Total Cost: Blueberries were on sale and I had to buy brown sugar but I had everything else on hand.

How Successful Was It?: 
Very. I normally don't like pie crust. It's too thick and tasteless but my homemade crust was really good. It's light and flaky. Everyone, including my uncle who stopped by, said it tasted like Nonnie's and it was delicious. I think I added too much sugar and too much nutmeg but it's still so good.

The Funny Cake was a pleasant surprise. My chocolate sauce was runny and not very chocolately. I ended up with more sauce than I needed so I poured some over the hot cake. The cake is very light and buttery. My dad thinks it could be eaten for breakfast. 

How Accurate Is It?: 100% for both.






Historical Food Fortnightly 2016 13

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #13

Pies



The Challenge: Pies

Make a pie! Meat, fruit, sweet or savory; traditional pies, hand pies, standing pies, or galottes - get creative, but make sure it’s documented!

This challenge fell at exactly the right time. I had some rare days off work AND it's Father's Day. I didn't even have to ask my dad what kind of pie he wanted- I already knew- his mother's famous blueberry pie with crumb topping.  My grandmother always used fresh blueberries, stocking up during a sale. She would make the topping and freeze it and used prepared pie crusts. In in the interest of making this a true challenge, I made my own pie crust. This type of pie, a crumble or a crisp, goes back to early America but I think this particular recipe comes from the 1960s. I found a similar recipe clipping at this vintage recipe blog.

I also added a bonus challenge to use my extra pie crust.

The Recipe: 


Nonnie's Best Blueberry Pie

Pie crust recipe from my Nonnie (paternal grandmother) with help from The Lily Wallace New American Cookbook c. 1947:
3 heaping cups full of flour
1 handful equal to one stick shortening
1 pinch salt
3/4 c. ice water




Mix flour, salt and shortening by hand. Slowly add ice water and combine by hand. Press into a ball and divide into two parts.



 Chill and roll out until 1/8" thick. Flour rolling pin and roll dough back onto rolling pin and into pie tin.


 Gently press dough into pie tin and prick all around with a fork. 




Topping:
2 c. flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 pinch salt 
3/4 c. sugar (mix white and brown or use dark brown)
dash cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
Mix with fingers and knead until crumbly


Filling:
1 1/2 qt. blueberries
3/4 sugar
1 T. butter 
1 drop lemon juice
flour (opt.)

Wash and dry blueberries and place in a large bowl. If very dry you can add 6 T. flour. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix. Double tinfoil in pan so pie doesn't leak. Squeeze a drop of lemon juice on the blueberries. Put a pat of butter on top and add crumb topping. Bake at 350 degrees. Check after 15 minutes. Give it another 15 if not done. Bake until crumbs are golden brown. (You will smell it when it's done!) 

Bonus:
Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake
I had extra pie crust AND I have Pennsylvania Dutch mini pie pans. This recipe came from  a Swans Down recipe and advertisement from September 21, 1953. I found it on Pinterest from the blog Dying for Chocolate. See the full ad on the blog.



The Date/Year and Region: 1960s New England
Crumbles, crisps, slumps and grunts that date back to pioneer times, according to foodtimeline.org. This particular recipe, which is very similar, dates to the 1960s

Funny Cake recipe is from 1953 but it supposedly dates back a lot farther.

How Did You Make It: 
Nonnie was one of those old world grandmas who never measured. She had all her recipes in her head. Several years ago I watched my Nonnie make the pie and copied down actual measurements. She used a handful of shortening, a pinch of cinnamon, etc. I followed my own written directions.  I added more fat and more water to the crust and more fat and brown sugar to the crumbs. I let the pie crust dough chill for an hour in the fridge before rolling and then blind baked it for 15 minutes. 

(I poked holes in the crust, filled it with rice and baked). 


Put foil over the crust and filled with rice.
After blind baking my crust is lightly browned.


Smaller crush blind baked

For the Funny Cake, I made a chocolate sauce melting dark chocolate chips instead of unsweetened chocolate, which I didn't have. I made the cake flour by removing 2 T of flour and adding 2 T of cornstarch per cup of flour. I sifted that together. I creamed the shortening in an electric mixer and then sifted the dry ingredients together and then poured slowly into the shortening and mixed again. I followed the rest of the directions to make cake batter. Then I poured it into my two small PA Dutch pie tins.




I topped the pie with chocolate sauce and crushed unsalted peanuts.


 I poured more chocolate sauce on the cake before baking. My pie tins were close to overflowing!


and then more when I cut it and ate it. Oops we ate it too fast for a picture! Here's one of the cut pie/cake.


Time to Complete:  About 2 hours for the pie crust and an hour for the pie including baking time. 


The Funny Cake took about an hour.

Total Cost: Blueberries were on sale and I had to buy brown sugar but I had everything else on hand.

How Successful Was It?: 
Very. I normally don't like pie crust. It's too thick and tasteless but my homemade crust was really good. It's light and flaky. Everyone, including my uncle who stopped by, said it tasted like Nonnie's and it was delicious. I think I added too much sugar and too much nutmeg but it's still so good.

The Funny Cake was a pleasant surprise. My chocolate sauce was runny and not very chocolately. I ended up with more sauce than I needed so I poured some over the hot cake. The cake is very light and buttery. My dad thinks it could be eaten for breakfast. 

How Accurate Is It?: 100% for both.