Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How I wish, wish for a nice juicy fish!


America and England: and may they never have any division but the Atlantic between them. - Dickens

In a slightly belated tribute to our American cousins and their Independence Day celebrations, I thought we could look at what Mrs Beeton has to say about Americans and their cookery.


Now that we receive American provisions in such good condition, it is as well we should know something about American cookery. We give, therefore, some recipes for the cooking of those provisions with which we are already familiar, together with some for purely American dishes that as yet we have not had an opportunity of trying here, feeling sure that ere long means will be found to bring the required ingredients within our reach.

Amongst the plentiful supply of fresh provisions in America, fish takes a prominent place, and forms a larger diet than here. The immense extent of the American coasts, Atlantic and Pacific, supplemented by the large lakes and rivers, yield an ample supply of not only those fish familiar to us, but many others as yet unknown, amongst which are those named for their colour, such as the blue and white fish, and the celebrated clam, while oysters are extremely plentiful and far too cheap to be considered a luxury. Game (although not preserved as here), poultry vegetables and fruit are all found in abundance in America.

One lesson we might learn from the Americans, and that is to make a greater variety in our bread and breakfast and tea-cakes. There is a terrible sameness in this branch of bakery in England, and we seldom rise above white or brown bread, tea-cakes, muffins or hot rolls; while at American breakfast-tables breads of various flours (often blended), dainty biscuits, crackers, and many other nice substitutes for these will be found to vary the monotony of these necessary adjuncts of the meals.

American drinks, candies, and ice creams we scarcely need speak of here, for they have come to us and been appreciated by most English people.
We ought to be grateful to Americans for having introduced us to the fluid beef, and other preparations of meat that form such good substitutes for alcoholic drinks in the cold weather, putting strength as well as life into our bodies when at all overcome by cold or fatigue. The iced drinks for summer we think are less valuable , for, though very refreshing for the time, they have, when partaken of very freely, an injurious effect.

So there you have it, Yay for American fish, breads and hot meat drinks - boo for cocktails.

Horr Dervs?


Hot Potato, hot potato....hot potato, hot potato

Those Wiggles sure know what they're talking about...I may not agree with the cold spaghetti or the mashed banana... but Hot potato certainly is the thing. Particularly in Autumn and Winter as it is here down under. While those of you in the Northern Hemisphere are complaining of heatwaves and hot days, down here (particularly right down here in Melbourne) we are getting chilblains.

So what better to warm up with than a hot potato...
or in this case POTATO SOUP.

INGREDIENTS. - 2 lbs. of potatoes
1 leek
1 stick of celery
1 1/2 pints of milk
2 oz. of butter
2 oz. of sago or tapioca
salt and pepper
2 quarts of water


MODE. - Cut up the vegetables, using only the white part of the leek, and put them in a lined saucepan with the butter.
Let them cook for about 10 minutes but not take colour; then add the milk and water and boil about 3/4 of an hour, or till it is soft enough to run through a fine sieve.
Boil it again, adding more milk if necessary, and the sago, which should simmer, till transparent.

TIME. 1 1/4 hours or rather more. Average Cost, 10d. SUFFICIENT for 6 persons. SEASONABLE in winter.

I thought this was quite tasty. My husband did not. Still, there's no accounting for taste. Requires some salt.