Monthly Archives: August 2014

Day 242: Wine Whey

I started to type the title of this recipe as Whine Way rather than Wine Whey. The first version is a better reflection of how much whining I’ve been doing about this cough that won’t go away. It is a daily reminder of the summer cold I had a few weeks ago and I can’t seem to get rid of it. I thought this drink or food might soothe my throat or at least make me not notice it as much. The recipe contributed by Miss Wardlaw appears in the Cookery for the Sick section of the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.

I recently discovered milk in glass bottles at my grocery store. I bought some just to see what it would be like and thought it might be good in this recipe. I put 1/2 pint (1 cup) of milk in a small saucepan on the stove and turned on the heat. I had to hunt for a bottle of sherry in the house for this recipe. I keep some around for cooking and usually buy Harvey’s Bristol Cream out of nostalgia. The very first time I tasted it I was being polite while visiting some elderly relatives in Wales. They were distantly related but so welcoming I couldn’t refuse to try their beverage of choice. I checked the Harvey’s website and this drink was around in 1898. In fact they had recently received a royal warrant from Queen Victoria so using Harvey’s Bristol Cream seems appropriate for this recipe.

I poured some sherry into a small wineglass and poured it into the pot when the milk was just starting to boil. I stirred and it started to curd immediately so I took the pan from the heat. I continued to stir until the curds and whey seemed completely separated. I wasn’t sure whether it was the curd or the whey I was to consume so I kept both when I strained my mixture. This type of sherry is quite sweet so I wanted to taste both items before adding any sugar. I decided to start with the curds. Adding an acid like lemon juice, vinegar, rennet or sherry to milk or cream causes it to separate into curds and whey. Usually it is the curds that are used to make cheese or just a simple cottage cheese. I’ve made that sort of cottage cheese a number of times with vinegar and really like it. I’ve never tried it with sherry. The curds were an unappetizing grey brown colour but they tasted okay — just a bit sweet. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the whey but suspected that it is what I was really supposed to consume. I gathered a bit of bravery and prepared to taste Wine Whey.

Miss Wardlaw is Margaret “Maggie” Jane Wardlaw. I’ve written about her a couple of times since she contributed a number of recipes for the sick room. That’s not surprising since she was a trained nurse.

Wine Whey is really good — well if you don’t mind cream sherry. It’s not as strong as sherry on its own and drinking it hot was wonderfully comforting. I suspect I will sleep well tonight. I’m not sure I’d like it as much if I’d made it with lemon or vinegar.

I’ve been trying to figure out why this would be served to a sick person but think it could be a way to provide some of the healthful qualities of milk without the part that contributes to congestion or can be difficult to digest. I’m sensitive to the protein in milk but feel that wine whey might be okay.

Miss Wardlaw

Heat half a pint of milk to the boiling point and pour into it a wineglassful of sherry; stir these; as soon as the curd separates remove from the fire and strain. Sweeten if desired. The whey can be similarly separated by lemon juice, vinegar or rennet. With rennet whey use salt instead of sugar.


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Day 241: White Cake

There are four recipes in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) that are title White Cake. I’m going to try the one contributed by Mrs. Main but since it calls for ten egg whites, I’m going to halve the recipe.

I creamed the 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar as usual. Then I added 1/2 cup of milk. I mixed the 2 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder together and added it to the bowl. Finally I separated 5 eggs and whisked the whites until light. I blended them with the rest of the cake mixture and then added some almond flavouring. I spooned the cake batter in a greased cake pan and baked it at 350 F for 35 minutes. I split the cake and added my lemon filling from last night – with some lemon juice added to it. It was ready to taste.

Mrs. Main is one of two possibilities. The first Mrs. Main could be Matilda Jane Bishop. She married William Emerson Main in St. George Ontario in 1876 but their only child Olive Blanche wasn’t born until 1892 when Matilda is 38. This family moves around but lives for awhile in Preston. Matilda dies in 1925 when she’s 71.

The other possibility is Margaret “Maggie” Lowell was born in Galt to Francis and Mary in 1850. Her father was a hotel keeper whose religion varies from census to census. At one point he’s Catholic and later is listed as a Free Thinker. Maggie marries Henry Main in 1870 and they have five children. Henry operates a livery stable in Galt Ontario and later opens a private bank and brokerage. Clearly the family was doing well financially. Their youngest child is born on July 22, 1888  —-  five months after the death of Henry! It is hard to imagine what it would be like for Maggie. She’s about four months pregnant and has four other young children when her husband dies. But it gets worse. I had difficulty reading his death certificate but noticed it said he died immediately and the person providing information is his brother in law. That seems strange. Thankfully Waterloo Region Generations website had more details. Henry Main was murdered!! He was shot by a client who then killed himself. For more details scroll to the bottom of this entry in Waterloo Region Generations. I also found more details on a website that has digitized newspapers in California. This Galt murder suicide made the news there too. The entry is bit too descriptive for a food related blog.

The information listed in Waterloo Region Generations makes me think that Margaret Lowell Main is the most likely Mrs. Main as this family has connections to several others contributing recipes to this cook book. She goes on to raise the children in Galt. I lose track of her after 1911 when she’s living at 222 East Main Street in Galt with two of her daughters for company although I’m able to track her only son Gladstone Lowell Main through his military service during the First World War. He was a flyer who trained in England and made it through the war. The next time I find Maggie is at her death in 1933 at the age of 83.

This is an okay cake but not  great cake. I thought it would be a light cake since it has a significant number of egg whites and baking powder but it is a bit dense. It also tastes too strongly of egg but that’s my particular bias. The lemon filling complemented it very well. On its own it was bland so I must have been too sparing with the almond flavouring. I’m sure there are some better cakes in this cook book and I’ll keep testing to discover the best ones. In the meantime I just appreciate the strength of Margaret “Maggie” Lowell Main. She must have been quite a woman to go through such a shocking event while pregnant.


Mrs. Main

Two cupfuls of sugars, one cupful of butter, one cupful of milk, four cupfuls of flour, four teaspoonfuls baking powder, whites of ten eggs. Flavor with almond or any desired flavoring. Excellent.

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Day 240: Lemon Filling

I didn’t have much time to cook tonight so I decided to make a cake filling and then I’ll make a cake tomorrow. I selected Miss A. Woods’ Lemon Filling recipe in the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. It looks like it can be made ahead and used later.

I got some water boiling and put 1/2 cup of it in a small saucepan. I added 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. I grated a lemon and added the zest. Once this was all boiling I put a tablespoon of corn starch in a bit of cold water and stirred till it was dissolved. Then I poured this liquid slowly into the boiling water mixture and kept stirring until it thickened. I poured it into a small storage container and let it cool before I tasted it.

Miss A. Woods is probably Anna Woods. She was born in 1867 to Irish born James and Sarah. She grew up in Galt Ontario and in 1891 the 24 year old Anna was living with her father two brothers and a servant named Annie Macmillan. Her mother had recently died of breast cancer. Her father had a dry goods store and her older brother was an allopathic physician. The younger brother worked in the store as an accountant. I’m assuming that Anna was in charge of the household and supervised the work of Annie around the house. By 1901 it is just Anna and her father in the house with another servant named Sarah. One of her brothers had died in 1898 of flu and another had married and moved away. It is at this point that I lose track of Annie Woods. I’m assuming she marries and that’s why I can’t find her again. Or perhaps she leaves the area after her father dies of chronic bronchitis in 1903. They were living on Beverly Street at the time.

Once I tasted this filling I realized I might have made a mistake. The filling looks good. It is a nice pale  yellow colour and has a faint lemon aroma. However, it tastes more of sugar than lemon. I suspect I was supposed to squeeze the lemon and add the juice instead of just the zest. I think if you read the recipe you can see why I might have made the mistake. Yet, since I’ve made similar concoctions I really should have realized my mistake far earlier. Clearly I’m more fatigued than I realized. I’ll try to be a rested cook tomorrow and pay attention when I make my cake. I’ll have to fix this filling too before I can use it in the cake.

Miss A. Woods

Half cup boiling water, one large lemon grated, boil this with half cup of sugar, when boiling add tablespoonful corn starch dissolved in a little water, boil until thick. When cold it is ready for use.

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Day 239: Cure for Hiccough

I can’t believe it! I fell asleep soon after I got home from work and didn’t wake up for several hours. I now must find something I can make quickly and then I’ll head back to bed. I’ve decided to make a Cure for Hiccough since one of my co-workers often gets hiccoughs and I’ve threatened for months to test this “cure” and bring it in for him. The recipe appears in the Simple Cures section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898) and it is attributed to A Friend from Harriston.

I bought some slippery elm about a month ago at a store that carries a variety of herbs in bulk. I put a teaspoon of slippery elm bark in a cup and then poured some boiling water over it. Once it had steeped for a while I strained it and added a bit of sugar. I chose to sample it hot but I’ll also taste it tomorrow.

Harriston Ontario is not in Waterloo Region. This town is located not too far away in Wellington County.

This “cure” tastes okay. I don’t mind the flavour of slippery elm bark and of course this recipe lets me add my preferred amount of sugar. What I don’t know is whether this concoction will cure hiccoughs (hiccups). I wonder if I can convince my hiccuppy co-worker to try it?

Update: It tastes fine cold too.

A Friend, Harriston

A good cure for hiccough is slippery elm-bark boiled and made sweet with sugar.

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Day 238: Nice Relish

It was hot today. In fact it was probably the hottest day so far this summer so I’m making a recipe I saved for just such a day. This is a no cook hot weather dish called from The New Galt Cook Book (1898) and it is another anonymous recipe in the Vegetable section. The title is Nice Relish.

Cauliflower 1898

Cauliflower 1898

I washed a nice ripe tomato and cut a small hole in the top. I chopped some cauliflower and filled the hole I’d made in the tomato. I served it with mayonnaise and I was supposed to add parsley, chopped onion and vinegar too but forgot.  I going to blame it on the heat and that I don’t really like raw tomatoes. However, this “relish” was nice. The raw cauliflower and tomato combined far better than I expected and the zesty condiment of parsley, onion and vinegar would have been a great addition I think. I’m very surprised to see raw cauliflower in an 1898 recipe. Maybe it was common to eat this vegetable raw but not worthy of a recipe?

Keep this recipe handy the next time you need to make something “salady” on a hot day. It’s quick and easy and tasty too.


Cut a small hole in the top of a tomato and fill with chopped cucumber, onion, cabbage or cauliflower and the tomato taken out. Serve on a lettuce leaf with mayonnaise and parsley chopped with onion and vinegar.

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Day 237: Lady Fingers

I’ve been eying this Lady Finger recipe in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) for a while. The contributor is N.Y.T. another of the anonymous people who shared recipes for this fundraising cook book.

I started by weighing 1 pound of flour on my food scale and then putting it into a bowl. I softened 1/2 pound (1 cup) of butter and started rubbing it into the flour using my hands. Next I weighed 1/2 pound of sugar and stirred it into the bowl. I grated the lemon and then cut and juiced it. I separated 3 eggs and put the yolks in the bowl and then beat the whites. Once the whites were in the bowl I ended up having to mix with my hands. There were several moments during the “construction” of this recipe that I wondered if it was going to work. It just didn’t look like it was going to mix and yet it did end up blending. I was able to take the dough and roll it into small fingers. I put them on a cookie sheet and then baked them for 10 minutes at 350 F. They were still a bit pale at this point but the bottoms were turning brown so I decided to remove the pan and let them cool. Then it was time to taste. I wanted to taste them plain rather than with chocolate since chocolate makes everything better.

As mentioned I have no idea as to the identity of N.Y.T. but this person seems confident that this recipe will be successful “if properly made”. These cookies are okay but not at all what I expected. They are not fluffy or buttery like I expected. Instead they are dense and did not spread as much as I expected. The lemon flavour is nice. So what did I do wrong? Or is there a flaw in the recipe. I didn’t beat the egg yolks much and that might improve things. My lemon was a bit old and so it might not have had as much acid as a fresh lemon. Otherwise I’m at a loss — unless this is what lady fingers were like in 1898 — at least among the Scots.


Rub half a pound of butter into a pound of flour; to this add a half a pound of sugar, the juice and grated rind of one large lemon and lastly, three eggs, the white and yelks beaten separately, and the whites stirred in after all the other ingredients are well mixed together. This dough, if properly made, will be stiff enough to make rolls about the size of a lady’s finger; it will spread when in the oven, so that it will be of the right size and shape. If you wish them to be specially inviting, dip them in chocolate icing after the are baked.

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Day 236: Corn Oysters

One of the things I bought on Saturday was corn on the cob. We’ve been enjoying it just boiled but there’s also a recipe in the Vegetable section from Mrs. D. Howell for Corn Oysters in The New Galt Cook Book (1898). With several tasters around, including a few who like oysters, it seemed a good time to try it.

I husked two cobs of corn and removed the kernels which was about 2 cups (1 pint). I beat 2 eggs and added 3/4 cup of flour. I melted a little less than 1/2 cup of butter. I shook in some salt and pepper and mixed everything well. I put some more butter in a frying pan and let it melt before adding tablespoons of the corn mixture. Once they were fried on one side I turned them over. I tried cooking some crispy and some softer to see if it would make a difference in the taste.  Once they were all done I took the plate out for everyone to enjoy as part of our lunch.

Mrs. D. Howell also contributed the recipe for Toad in the Hole on Day 228 along with several others so Sarah Louise Spencer Howell is starting to be a bit familiar. She’s the one whose son ended up in Australia!

Well the oyster experts in the family say these are nothing like oysters. My brother wondered if the kernels were supposed to be the “pearls” in an oyster. However, we all ate them and some tasters liked corn oysters quite a bit. Other tasters including me felt they would be better with some additional seasonings. Suggestions included adding some green onion or herbs like cilantro (coriander). This historic recipe is a good base for a modern treat. Several people kept calling them corn fritters which is perhaps a better name for them. Others were reminded of some versions of corn bread that include kernels of corn. This recipe is great with fresh summer corn but it could also be made with canned or even frozen corn.

Mrs. D. Howell

To one pint of grated corn add two eggs well beaten, one small teacupful flour, half teacupful butter; salt and pepper. Mix them well and fry a nice brown. A tablespoonful will ake the size of an oyster.

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