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.
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.