Monday, January 28, 2013

Lundi: Recipes

Over Yuletide I had the great good fortune to receive a time machine in book form. The door stop of a book, entitled The White House Cookbook, was originally published in 1887. The authors, Hugo Ziemann and Mrs. F. L. Gillette, both cooked at the White House and the book is full to bursting with curious recipes written in old-timey paragraph form with rarely a measure in sight.

One thing that did catch my eye right away was the recipes - there are twelve of them - for catsup (or ketchup if you're my husband.) Catsup was and is a curiously American condiment that was originally made by ladies at home. It was a wonderful way to store and use tomatoes but the cookbook includes recipes for such curious variations as oyster and gooseberry. One wonders how those might turn out. I'll focus, though, on the traditional recipe for tomato catsup which, in all fairness, may be a timely thing to have handy given that Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday. Here is Mrs. Gillette's homey recipe:

Put into two quarts of tomato pulp (or two cans of canned tomatoes) one onion, cut fine, two tablespoonfuls of salt and tree tablespoonfuls of brown sugar. Boil until quite thick; then take from the fire and strain it through a sieve, working it until it is all through but the seeds. Put it back on the stove, and add tow tablespoonfuls of mustard, one of allspice, one of black pepper and one of cinnamon, one teaspoonful of ground cloves, half a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper, one grated nutmeg, one pint of good vinegar; boil it until it will just run from the mouth of a bottle. It should be watched, stirred often, that it does not burn. If sealed tight while hot, in large-mouthed bottles, it will keep good for years.

Now doesn't that sound delicious? It would certainly be more flavorful than the stuff one gets in squeeze bottles at the modern market. But it is a deal of work and surely not a task for a hot day. Since it is 0 degrees on my front porch, perhaps I should foray into catsup making this afternoon.

More from The White House Cookbook another time. Until then, you can find it online here.

Header: Family dining room at the White House c 1900 via The White House Museum website


Timmy! said...

Sounds good to me, Pauline!

Pauline said...

It does, doesn't it? I'll have to give it a try sometime. As noted, now would be good given the horrible cold.