Monday, April 20, 2015

Historical Food Fortnightly #23

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #23: 

"Sweet Sips and Potent Potables"

The Challenge: Sweet Sips and Potent Potables

Whether it’s hard or soft, we all enjoy a refreshing beverage! Pick a historic beverage to recreate - remember to sip responsibly!

The Recipe: Albumen Beverages
This drink recipe was included in the section with Barley Water and Beef Tea so I assume it's a drink for a sick person. The egg whites provide protein. 

Beat 1 egg white to a froth. Add 1/3 cup orange or lemon juice. Sweeten to taste with a syrup made by boiling 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water 12 minutes. Albumen water is made by mixing beaten egg white with 1/2 cup milk

Lily Haxworth Wallace, The Lily Wallace New American Cookbook, Books Inc., New York, 1947

How Did You Make It: I used pasteurized egg white in a carton, beat that with an electric mixer until foamy and mixed with 1% milk. 

I then squeezed two naval oranges by hand (because of course I can't find the juicer I swear I saw lying around a couple days ago). I only managed about 1/6 c. juice. I strained it and put it in a bowl. I boiled 1/2 c. sugar in 1/2 c. water for 12 minutes. Then I beat another egg white and added it to the orange juice. Finally, I did a stupid thing and poured the entire syrup into the glass. It was way too sweet and I never say that. 

Time to Complete: About a half hour

Total Cost: I had all the ingredients on hand.

How Successful Was It?: Success... yet it was too sweet with all the syrup and the orange taste was overshadowed by the sugar.

How Accurate Is It?:  The recipe was 100% accurate. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Historical Food Fornightly #22

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #22: 

"Make It Do or Do Without"

The Challenge: Make it Do or Do Without

Working around food availability to gain a desired outcome has been a challenge throughout history. Whether supplementing seasonal produce, dealing with rationed or blockaded food in wartime, or re-imagining a dish without access to crucial ingredients, the cooks of the past had to get creative. Do homage to their ingenuity by interpreting historical substitutions.

This was super easy for me, being well versed in food rationing and food substitutions. For more on that see my online exhibit on food in the World Wars (
The real challenge was finding a recipe that didn't use the oven since ours is broken!

The Recipe: I chose to make Cornstarch Pudding from Bureau of Home Economics, United States Department of Agriculture and the Consumer Division Office of Price Administration, Recipes to Match Your Sugar Ration, May 1942.

Cornstarch Pudding
1/3 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 quart milk
1/2 c. sugar, honey, cane or maple sirup
2 tsp. vanilla or 1 square chocolate

Mix the cornstarch and salt with 1 cup of cold milk. 

Scald the remainder of the milk in the top of a double boiler. Add the cornstarch mixture to the milk. 

Let it boil until thick and smooth, stirring constantly. Just before taking from the [heat], add the sirup and vanilla flavoring. If chocolate is used, melt the chocolate and add some of the pudding to it, then mix with the rest of the pudding. pour into molds and allow to cool before unmolding. If vanilla flavoring is used, served with fresh fruit. Serve chocolate pudding with cream or custard sauce.

How Did You Make It: I cut the recipe in half, cooked it on a modern electric stove according to directions. I used maple syrup and vanilla flavoring and made one with a few semi-sweet chocolate chips mixed in. I used ramekins as pudding molds, placed the warm pudding in the refrigerator over night to set the pudding. I didn't have fresh fruit or cream and custard sauce has raw eggs so I ate the pudding as is.

Time to Complete: an hour to cook and cool overnight.

Total Cost: I had all the ingredients on hand.

How Successful Was It?: Success... yet it is really really gross. The texture and taste were OK but the cold pudding is not very appealing so I ended up throwing most of it out since no one else would eat it. It reminded my mom too much of stories about my cousin's mom growing up poor in rural West Virginia and only having cornstarch pudding for dessert.

How Accurate Is It?:  The recipe was 100% accurate.