Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Retro Recipe Challenge#4: 1918 Fall Favorites


My father-in-law continues his sorting and cleaning, and some months ago I was given a copy of the Rumford Complete Cook Book, published in 1918, that had been his grandmother's.

This book is sufficiently old that baking instructions take the form of 'bake in a slow oven for twenty minutes'. As my mother-in-law and I were discussing, this was a time when 1. you usually knew what you were doing, and B. there was much less variety in cooking and baking: if you needed to make or bake a pie, there really weren't too many ways of doing it.

One of the pure joys of this cookbook are the hand-written recipes, added by Matt's great-grandmother.

They're scattered throughout the book, and despite not being a drinker, I'm tempted to make the blackberry wine!

Laura Rebecca has issued another Retro Recipe Challenge, and I was more than happy to accept. This time, it was Fall foods.

While the theme can be interpreted many ways by many people, for me...it's hot soups or stews, warm bread, and fresh from the oven, 'heavier', desserts.

So, I give you Irish Stew, Baked Brown Bread, and Dark Gingerbread.

First, dinner.

The Irish Stew

Chunks of 'beef suitable for stewing', sliced onions and carrots are simmered in hot water, about an hour. At this point, chunks of peeled potatoes are added, as well as salt and pepper. Cook, still at a simmer, till potatoes are done.

The only way I could convince Matt to try this? No flour in the stew. He hates gravy, so traditional (ie, the way my Grammy made it!) Irish stew just makes his stomach turn.

But this he could, and did, eat. Nothing fancy about it. It's a manly food, very much proclaiming it's meat-and-potato-ness. But, on a cool day, absolutely perfect.

Brown Bread

Whole wheat (graham) and white flour, sifted with salt and baking soda, then mixed with sugar and butter(sour)milk, and baked in a slow oven. Much sweeter than expected, moist but dense, almost like a savory poundcake.

And an honest-to-goodness Gingerbread.

Another simple recipe. Shortening is heated 'till sizzling', and poured into molasses, add an egg and some milk, then flour, salt, baking powder (recommended? Rumford, of course!), and ground ginger.
All poured into a 'shallow' pan, and baked in a hot oven.

Very molasses-y! Dense and moist. With a full cup of molasses, it's the strongest flavor.

So, there you go. A full Fall Favorites Retro Meal!

Blogging by Mail, the Holiday Edition, is going on now! Sign-ups will be open until 16 November.

Blog Party#16 is coming, and this month, we're turning our favorite take-out foods into cocktail party fare! Browse those take-out menus, and get your entries to me by Thursday, 16 November...early is always good...by leaving a link here in the comments, or firing off an email to thehappysorceress at gmail dot com. Tell a friend, and hope to see you there!

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4 Thoughts for food:

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Brilynn said...

It looks as though you've already created a menu for foodbloggers to enjoy, nevertheless I'm tagging you for the Foodbloggers Welcome Dinner, I hope you'll participate!

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...


Might take a few days...I've got the whole week planned out...but I will definitely do it.

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Tanna said...

Fantastic cookbook! what a treasure!!! Dinner looks excellent!

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Tanna!

I love old cookbooks; I found one on eBay that was filled with newspaper clippings and hand-written recipes; a total gem.


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