Tonight was a reminder that life is full of surprises. I am writing this just before midnight. We had an exhibit opening tonight at the museum where I work and when I came out to the parking lot to head home I found a note on the windshield of my rental car letting me know I had a flat tire. I am grateful to this anonymous person since I was able to get help from my wonderful coworkers in getting the tire changed. I arrived home to find another surprise. My mailbox contained a package from my sister to celebrate one month with this blog. She sent me an apron that says Galt Cookbook 1898 on it! Now what to prepare in the half an hour before midnight. I decided to try something that sounds easy and that will add to the “store cupboard”. I’m making a half batch of Celery Vinegar using an anonymous recipe in the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.
Since I’m cutting the recipe in half, I put one cup of white vinegar in a pot to heat while I prepared the rest of the ingredients. I weighed some celery and cut five ounces into small pieces. I needed 1/4 pound of celery seed but I didn’t have quite that much. I put both the celery seed and chopped celery in a jar. I added half a teaspoon of salt and then poured the hot vinegar over everything. I covered the jar and gave it a good shake to mix. The vinegar really doesn’t cover all the celery. I’m not sure if I was supposed to use both celery seed and celery. The recipe isn’t very clear. I wonder if it was supposed to say celery seed OR fresh celery. I think there would be a difference in the end result. I did taste my combined version even though I need to wait one month for the final tasting.
There is a distinct celery flavour to the vinegar even after a few minutes of steeping. I’m not sure how I’ll use the vinegar in a month but it is an interesting item. Is it for salad dressings? Would it be used in marinating meat? It appears in the drinks section of the cook book but I can’t imagine using it in a drink. Have you made celery vinegar? How do you use it?
One-half pound celery seed, ten ounces fresh celery, one pint vinegar, one teaspoonful salt. If the fresh celery is chosen use only the white tender part. Cut it into very small pieces, place it in a fruit jar and pour over it the vinegar scalding hot, add the salt. Cover tightly, and when it has stood one month strain the vinegar, put it in small bottles and cork tightly.
I just arrived home after seeing all sorts of former colleagues. It was a great retirement party but it was a long drive. I wanted to find a recipe that was easy but a bit celebratory. Hopefully Orange Creams will fit this requirement. The recipe was contributed to the 1898 New Galt Cook Book by Miss Harvey of Woodstock and appears in the Candy section.
Bowl of Orange Cream base.
I washed a medium-sized orange and grated the zest – the outside orange part of the skin. I cut the orange in half and used my glass juicer to squeeze out the orange juice. Note that this is not an electric appliance. It is simply a glass dish with an area to put half an orange and rotate it back and forth to squeeze the juice. My juicer is exactly the same design available in the 1890s. This was a particularly juicy orange but it smelled great. I started adding one cup of icing sugar at a time and stirring. I soon realized I needed to sift the icing sugar to eliminate lumps. After two cups of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar) I had a nice icing but the recipe specifically mentions moulding the cream. I added another cup of icing sugar and it was getting closer but still too sticky. Half a cup of icing sugar was all that was needed to take the sticky stuff and make it something that could be shaped. In total I added 3 1/2 cups of icing sugar. I took bits of the cream in my fingers and made small balls. I placed the shaped cream on a piece of wax paper. I imagine that it will harden a bit over night. I could not resist tasting one.
Miss Harvey of Woodstock might be Ev L Harvey. The 1901 census shows her as a single 38-year-old woman living in the home of her married sister Margaret Caldbeck (another recipe contributor) and her brother-in-law George Caldbeck. George was a dry goods merchant in Woodstock. I haven’t been able to find out anything more about her including whether Ev L was the census takers abbreviation of Evelyn or some other name.
Orange Creams drying
Wow! Orange Creams are wonderful. Very sweet but with a true orange flavour. This will make a good centre for home-made chocolates or to insert into pitted dates. There are probably other uses that I haven’t discovered. This quick and easy recipe is a keeper. I’ll report the condition of my orange creams in the morning.
Miss Harvey, Woodstock
The grated rind and juice of one orange, to this add enough icing sugar to mould.
I am not sick but I am staying in a hotel tonight. I’m travelling to get to the retirement party of a former boss. The highway has been closed due to an accident and rather than take the detour I decided to stay in a hotel here. This has restricted my cooking for tonight. I selected Dessert for the Sick since I could make it in my room — there’s a microwave and a fridge. Miss Gibson contributed the recipe to The New Galt Cook Book (1898).
Dessert for the Sick
I buttered some soda crackers and then moved to preparing the milk. I wasn’t very successful in warming the milk. I don’t like warm milk so I didn’t mind that it was cold. I poured some on the crackers, sprinkled with sugar, and dotted with jam. This doesn’t look or sound appetizing.
Miss Gibson might be Elizabeth Gibson. In the 1891 census she is single, 30 years old and her occupation is listed as matron. Below her are two women listed as nurses. This led me to believe she might be connected to the local hospital. The Cambridge Memorial Hospital has a great deal to say about Miss Elizabeth Gibson! A special fund with its own webpage has been named in her honour. She was the first superintendent of the Galt Hospital. According to the website, the tragic death of her eldest sister led her to nursing. She studied in Toronto and helped shape the Galt Hospital. She resigned her post in 1895 to care for her father. Elizabeth Gibson died in 1945. In 2002 she was inducted into the Cambridge Hall of Fame.
Close up of Dessert for the Sick
After writing the recipe below I realized that perhaps I was supposed to use something more like a tea biscuit for this recipe. This is the problem of language. I saw soda biscuit and thought soda cracker. Either way this Dessert for the Sick reflects Miss Gibson’s medical background. Although today this might not sound or even look appealing it was quite common to consume warm milk and the jelly would make this a bit of a treat. In preparing the recipe I rediscovered my long ago love of buttered crackers. They even taste good sprinkled with sugar. As I mentioned I am not a fan of warm milk unless it becomes hot chocolate. I also don’t like soggy bread. However, if you get past all that this isn’t too bad. I didn’t wait for the crackers to become soggy and used cool milk. This might appeal to some sick people … especially if they are tired of pudding or gelatine in the hospital. I’ll stick to the buttered saltines with a bit of jelly. That’s a perfect treat for me in my hotel room.
DESSERT FOR THE SICK
Take a couple of soda biscuits, buttered lightly, pour over them hot milk or hot thin cream. Sprinkle over them a little sugar and decorate with lumps of jelly.
I happened to see red bananas at the grocery store on the weekend. I remembered this recipe and decided to buy a few. I realized I should use them soon so tonight I’m making Baked Bananas using a recipe contributed by Mrs. James Trotter for The New Galt Cook Book (1898).
Red & Yellow Bananas
I discovered that my red bananas were smaller than the typical yellow banana in my fruit bowl. I’m not sure if they qualify as large but I’m going to use them. It turns out that the skin is difficult to peel on a red banana. I ended up using a knife to slice off the side of the banana and then I was able to work my fingers around to loosen the skin. I wondered how they compared to yellow bananas so I decided to use the same method on the typical type.
Bananas ready for sugaring and baking
I put the two red bananas and one yellow banana in a baking pan and sprinkled white granulated sugar on them. I wasn’t sure about quantity so my poor bananas were quite covered in sugar. I put the pan in a preheated 350 F oven for 30 minutes. I can’t wait to see what they look like and to taste them. I have a bit of wine left from Saturday’s dinner so I’ll put it on before serving.
At twenty-two Marion C. Henderson married twenty-five year old James W. Trotter soon after Canadian Confederation. The couple’s wedding day was July 11, 1867 in Dumfries Township. Marion was born in 1845 in Berlin Ontario but James was originally from Ohio in the USA. Soon after their marriage they moved to Galt Ontario where James was a watchmaker. In 1871 the household included James and Marion but also their two little boys William (3) and Archibald (7 months) and Marion’s 10 year old sister Bella. This Scots Presbyterian family employed a 22 year old German Methodist named Mary Simmer as a servant. By 1881 James is listed as a jeweller and they have seven children. James’ mother as well as Marion’s sister are living with them. They continue to have various family members and servants in the home. However, in 1903, the youngest daughter dies of consumption when she is 17. A few months later Marion (Mrs. James Trotter) dies at age 58 of a lung disease.
Baked Red Banana with red wine.
Baked Red & Yellow Bananas
I was looking forward to my first taste of this version of baked bananas. Unfortunately, they were a bit of a disappointment. The red bananas were quite hard and not at all sweet even with sugar and wine on top. The yellow banana was very sweet but mushy. This way of preparing baked bananas might work better with firmer yellow bananas. Perhaps my red bananas were not ripe enough. I have a few more of them so I’ll see if they become softer with age.
Mrs. James Trotter
Select large red bananas, strip off one section of the skin, loosen the remaining, place it in a baking pan the uncovered side up, sprinkle with granulated sugar, and bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes. If you use wine put one tablespoonful over each banana and serve in shells.
Today I’m going to make another soup from The New Galt Cook Book (1898). Although the recipe is Mutton Broth, it does say to use either mutton or lamb. I still have some lamb left from Saturday night so I’m going to use it for this soup. This also helps solve my difficulty in finding mutton. The lamb was cooked quite rare so it should work well. The contributor of this recipe is known only by the initials N. Y. T.
I cut up the pound of lamb into small pieces and put it in a pot and covered it with cold water. I didn’t have quite a quart since my pot was a bit small. I’ll add more as it cooks down. I think the lid fits tightly. I put 1 tablespoon of pearl barley in a bowl and added 6 tablespoons of warm water. Again I’ll check on it later to see if it needs more. Half an hour later the barley was fine but I added some more water to the soup pot. It is getting late so I went to take out the meat and continue with the rest of the soup. Unfortunately it had boiled dry and I’d managed to burn some of the meat so I couldn’t even add water to get a little broth!
The contributor must remain a mystery and so must the soup at least for now. I tasted a bit of the unburnt (but crispy) meat and it was okay. However, I wasn’t looking forward to the soup. Milky broth did not sound appealing. I suppose I must try again another day but for now I’ll enjoy Saturday’s Scotch Broth.
For mutton broth use one pound lean mutton or lamb cut small; one quart water — cold; one tablespoonful rice, or barley, soaked in a very little warm water; four tablespoonfuls milk; salt and pepper, with a little chopped parsley. Boil the meat, unsalted, in the water, keeping it closely covered, until it falls to pieces.Strain it out, skim, add the soaked barley or rice; simmer half an hour, stirring often; stir in the seasoning and the milk, and simmer five minutes after it heats up well, taking care it does not burn. Serve hot, with cream crackers.
I need to do something with the leftovers from yesterday’s Burns supper but finally settled on making a simple cake instead. I selected Mrs. John McDougall of Berlin’s Loaf Cake as today’s recipe from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.
This recipe lacks some basic directions. I followed it more or less as written which was a mistake. I tried mixing the dry ingredients first and then adding the eggs, milk and butter. I should have creamed the butter and sugar first and then added the eggs and milk followed by the rest of the dry ingredients mixed together. I’m curious to see how it turns out with my method. I really should have read the general directions at the beginning of the Cake section of the cook book. I’ve decided to include them below for future reference. I was able to get the batter reasonably well blended but there were still lumps of butter. I considered using my wonderful electric mixer but decided to stay true to 1898. This is the sort of mistake an 1890s woman new to cooking might make too. I poured my lumpy batter into a greased loaf pan and set it in the preheated 350 F oven. I quickly had a change of mind and decided to reduce the temperature to 325 F since I realized that it would be better to have long slow baking for a loaf cake. I checked the cake at the 30 minute mark. It was not close to ready so I left it for another 30 minutes before removing the cake from the oven. I let it cool slightly before cutting a slice.
The 1891 census shows a John and Mary McDougall living in Berlin Ontario. Berlin today is called Kitchener. John was born in Scotland around 1836 and 52 year old Mary was born in Ontario but her parents were from the United States. The couple have two young adult children Agnes (26) and Alexander (24), and the household includes Mary Simpson a 22 year old maid, and a 35 year old female lodger named Mary Glick. John is the Clerk of the County Court and Alexander is a ticket agent. Through an internet search I discovered a little booklet from 1905 that shows John McDougall is the president of the Berlin Lawn Bowling Club.
Slice of Loaf Cake
Loaf cake is very good. It would be even better mixed properly and baked in two pans. It seems similar to pound cake in taste and texture. This is a good thing since I like that type of cake. Although Mrs. John McDougall’s recipe needs some work the end result can certainly time travel into the 21st century.
Mrs. John McDougall, Berlin
Two cupfuls sugar, one cupful butter, three eggs, one cupful milk, one cupful corn starch, two cupfuls flour, two teaspoonfuls Cleveland’s baking powder. Beat all well together.