Monthly Archives: October 2014

Day 304: Potted Meat, Beef, Veal, Chicken, or Venison

I still have some leftover turkey so I decided to be brave and try making Potted Meat, Beef, Veal, Chicken, or Venison. The recipe comes from Mrs. T. Peck in the Meat section of the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.

I’m a bit worried about making this recipe since I don’t have a sausage grinder but I’m hoping that finely chopping the meat will still work. I took some cold cooked turkey breast and chopped it very fine. I had about 3 tablespoons once it was all chopped. It went into a small bowl along with about 1/4 teaspoon of soft butter. I sprinkled some salt and pepper in and then tried to estimate how much ground cloves and mace I needed. They are both very powerful spices and I tend to use too much. I decided to start with a pinch of each. I started mixing everything and discovered that the meat became paste like. I really didn’t need a sausage machine after all. I added a touch more butter and then tasted to see if I needed any more seasoning. I added just a tiny bit more cloves and salt and then set it aside to taste with a clear palate.

Mrs. T. Peck is probably Sarah Freeman Gissing. She was born 180 years ago on October 20, 1834 in Mendlesham Suffolk England. Her parents Sarah and Henry had seven more children after her and her father was a farmer. In 1855 twenty year old Sarah married thirty-three year old Thomas Peck in the same community most likely at this church. Thomas is listed as a malster once they arrive in Galt. They must have left for Canada not long after their marriage since their first child was born in 1856 in Galt Ontario. They have three more children born in 1865, ’70 and ’73. Thomas dies in 1886 leaving Sarah a widow with all four young adult children at home. The five of them continue to live together for many years with son Thomas employed as a customs collector. In 1911 they all live on Lansdown Avenue in Galt. Sarah died of pneumonia in 1917 when she was about 83. I think she and her son were living at 2 Brant Road South in Galt at the time. The neighbouring houses at 1 and 3 are visible on Google but I can’t see the Peck house.

I’m not sure what to do with potted meat but this has an interesting flavour. I expected to find this disgusting to look at and even worse to taste. Instead it looked like dough and tasted quite good. I think it would make a good sandwich spread and a modern cook could try other spicing.

Mrs. T. Peck

Cold meat, butter, pepper, ground mace, salt, ground cloves. Cut the meat into small pieces and put it through a sausage machine. Then add butter, pepper, a little ground mace, salt and ground cloves according to taste. Squeeze this all well through your hands, so as to thoroughly mix the ingredients, then pack tightly into moulds. Butter sufficient to make it moist.


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Day 303: When Cream Will Whip Well

Yes, I’m about to prepare a very simple recipe called When Cream Will Whip Well that is in the Creams section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898). It doesn’t have a contributor so that makes it easy since I don’t have to do any research. My excuse is simple. I’m tired after a busy day at work and home. But I also think that this recipe explains some aspects of dairying that could be useful or at the very least interesting. The recipe describes both the purchase of cream and the homemaker who has her own cow. Best of all it describes the types of cream available including how long the milk must sit to obtain the different types of cream.

When I was a child my mother’s sister moved with her family from a small house in a nearby city to a huge farmhouse on a farm several hours further north. It was exciting to stay with my cousins especially when they would hitch up their pony to an old carriage and we’d race around the fields wondering if we were going to bounce right out of the seat and onto the ground. I also enjoyed watching my aunt hand milk the Jersey cow they kept in the old barn. I felt the milk was far too creamy to drink but it was amazing to watch the rich cream skimmed from the milk become butter in an old glass butter churn. The best thing of all was eating the delicious homemade ice cream made from the Jersey cow’s milk.

I have a carton of whipping cream in the fridge so it is cold but is it really the right type to whip according to this recipe? Well, it does pour so it isn’t too thick. The carton says it is 35 % BF/MF (butter fat/milk fat). Even today we can buy several different types of cream. There’s table cream at 18% BF and half and half 10 %BF (or as one of my friends calls it “moitie moitie” since that’s what the carton says in French). Here’s a link to more about Canadian cream that includes equivalent terms used in the United States, Britain, and Australia.

I’m not going to dilute my cream by half as I just don’t think it would whip but I thought I’d try adding 1/4 cup of milk to 1 cup of cream to see what would happen. I have both a whisk and a “patent egg beater”. One of the big names in rotary egg beaters was Dover. Sometimes people used this brand name as the generic name for egg beaters much as we might talk about Cuisinart or Kleenex. Today there are only a couple of variations of these hand egg beaters but there used to be many different types including some that fit into an attached bowl. For more about the history of egg beaters check out this link.

Reproduction cans of Reindeer brand Condensed Milk

Reproduction cans of Reindeer brand Condensed Milk

One of the surprise discoveries while researching this blog is the variety of products available to consumers in 1898. The Canadian Grocer magazine has advertisements for all sorts of brand name foods, some are still available. Do you have a can of condensed milk or evaporated milk in your cupboard? People in 1898 could have these canned goods too.

Reindeer Brand Evaporated Cream

Ad for Reindeer Brand Evaporated Cream

Although my cream and milk combination started to thicken a bit it never became stiff or even had soft peaks. Sometimes I don’t beat my cream enough since I’m concerned about over-whipping. However, with the addition of milk I wasn’t worried about over beating and turning my cream into butter. I might try adding just a touch of milk next time I whip cream.


A cream so thick that it will hardly pour should be diluted with the same volume of milk; this will give good whipping cream. Such cream as is sold at the creamery as “heavy” cream will admit of this amount of milk. The thin cream, as a rule, has not body enough for whipping. If one have her own cream, particularly if from a Jersey cow, it will be apt to be too solid and must be strained after being thinned. The cream should be very cold. Put it in a large bowl, which place in a pan and surround with ice water. It can be whipped with a whisk, or with any of the patent egg-beaters. Single cream is cream that has stood on the milk twelve hours. It is best for tea and coffee. Double cream stands on the milk twenty-four hours, and cream for butter frequently stands forty-eight hours. Cream that is to be whipped should not be butter cream, lest in whipping it change to butter.

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Day 302: A Nice Breakfast Dish

I suspect there are other people out there who enjoy the occasional breakfast for supper. I sometimes have a bowl of cereal or pancakes in the evening so I don’t feel too bad about making S.B.C.’s recipe for A Nice Breakfast Dish tonight. It appears in the Meat section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898).

Reproduction cracker boxes in the dry goods and grocery store at Doon Heritage Village

Reproduction cracker boxes in the dry goods and grocery store at Doon Heritage Village

I have some turkey breast available so I used it. I cut a slice and then beat up 1 egg. This year I’ve been keeping cracker crumbs on hand. I took one sleeve of plain saltines and crushed them while still in the sleeve. Now I just pour out a bit of crushed cracker as needed and twist the rest of the sleeve for another time. I dipped the turkey slice into the beaten egg and then into the crushed cracker. I set it aside while I melted some butter in a frying pan. I set the coated slice in the hot butter and cut up some bread and gave it the same treatment. Once the one side of the bread and the turkey was toasty I turned them over and fried the other side. When both the bread and the meat were ready I put them on a plate and prepared to eat my breakfast for supper.

As usual I have no idea the identity of contributor S.B.C. Why would someone use initials rather than her name? A few contributors are identified only with initials.

I thought this breakfast dish would be okay but nothing special. It actually is rather nice just as S.B.C. claimed. Be sure not to soak the bread too long in the egg or it turns into French toast instead of the nice crispy bread that makes a great base for the crunchy coated meat. The turkey was still moist inside and I loved the crispy coating. This is not a diet friendly breakfast but if you are accustomed to meat for breakfast this is a nice variation. I’ll keep it on hand as a supper dish instead. There is plenty of scope for a modern cook by adding some seasoning to the egg or crackers or trying different types of bread.


Cut slices from the breast of a cold fowl (cold veal or any other white meat may be used). Dip in beaten egg and then in cracker dust, fry to a nice brown in butter or beef drippings. Cut slices of stale bread in quarters, dip quickly in cold water, then in the beaten egg, dust with the cracker and fry the same as the meat. Send to the table on the same or separate dishes as preferred. Garnish the meats with bits of parsley.

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Day 301: Scalloped Turnips

The weather was strange today. It was almost warm this morning but it is a bit dreary tonight and I just don’t feel like making anything complicated from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. I’ve decided to make Scalloped Turnips using a recipe from an anonymous contributor.

I bought some turnips at the Kitchener Market on my Saturday off and they are still fine. Remember that turnip and rutabagas are not the same thing! I peeled one and cut it into slices. I put the slices in saucepan and poured water over the top. I added some butter and salt and left it to simmer. Once the turnip was tender I drained the slices but saved the rest of the water since it was needed for the sauce. I set the turnip aside to make the sauce. I put a teaspoon of butter in the saucepan and added 1 teaspoon of flour. Next I poured in some of the liquid. I kept adding liquid until the sauce was liquid but not too much. When the sauce was thick I buttered a baking dish and put some turnip on the bottom, sprinkled some pepper, and then poured some of the sauce on top. I repeated this with the rest of the turnip. I topped the dish with some grated Parmesan cheese and bits of butter. The final step was to pop the dish of turnip into the oven at 350 F. for about 15 minutes. I didn’t think it needed a long time since everything was already hot and cooked. Once the top looked done I removed the dish from the oven and dug into my Scalloped Turnips.

Parmesan CheeseThe use of Parmesan is a big surprise to me. I had no idea it would be available in Galt Ontario in 1898. The Canadian Grocer magazine included an article on Hints on Buying, Keeping and Cutting Cheese by Henry Wright of A. F. MacLaren & Co. (Toronto & Stratford). I’ve clipped the section referring to Parmesan cheese.

I liked this far more than I expected. I like turnips. I don’t love them but I like them and I think that has to be the starting point for this recipe. The taste of turnip is still present but it is subdued by the sauce and cheese. I appreciate the sauce since it isn’t based on milk.  This recipe has inspired me to try adding some slices of turnip the next time I prepare scalloped potatoes. I make a wonderful version of mashed potatoes that includes parsnips and turnips. It has been enjoyed by people who rarely eat vegetables so I like a combo scalloped potato and turnip might work too.


Cut them into slices, stew them in water, adding a little butter and salt. When tender draw off what liquid is left and use it for sauce, which you make of a heaped teaspoonful of flour and the same of butter. Now butter a dish, put in a layer of the sliced turnips, dust with pepper and spread some of the sauce over it, then another layer of turnips, and so on until they are used up. Dust some grated Parmesan cheese over the top and put flakes of butter here and there. Bake in oven until light brown, and serve in the same dish. Bread crumbs may be used instead of cheese.

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Day 300: Cheese Cakes, No. 2

I’ve been wanting to try one of the cheese cake recipes for ages since it seems so strange to me to find cheese cakes in The New Galt Cook Book (1898). Two recipes plus introductory information about cheese cakes appear in the Pie section of the cook book. Tonight I’m trying the recipe titled Cheese Cakes, No. 2 contributed by Mrs. Gardham of Brantford.

I have to admit that I can’t really consider this an exact reproduction of this recipe. I’ve had to guess at proportions so that I could reduce it plus I’m not really sure how much milk would be in a milk pan. Also I’m using homogenized and pasteurized milk. I have a head start on replicating and understanding this recipe because I’ve actually worked with fresh milk and milk pans. I worked for two years in the Cassin House (a little early settler log cabin) at what was once the Ontario Agricultural Museum. Cows were milked daily and I could request milk delivered to the cabin so that I could use it for demonstrating various dairying activities. Usually that meant pouring the milk in the milk pans and eventually skimming the cream and later making butter. My cheese making experience is limited to preparing fresh cheese sometimes called cottage cheese or pot cheese. My cow milking experience is even more limited — some modern dairy barns and a few attempts at hand milking over the years.

I decided to pour the milk I had available into a flat container and get a sense of how much milk might be in a milk pan. I ended up using 2 cups of 2% milk and that looked like about a quarter of what I remember in a milk pan. I decided to try making one quarter of the recipe looking and tasting along the way to see if I was using reasonable amounts. I began with my 2 cups of milk and warmed it. Once it was ready I added several tablespoons of white vinegar. I slowly stirred and watched the milk begin to separate into curds and whey. Once all the curd had appeared I poured everything into a strainer and pressed out the whey. I didn’t bother washing the curds to remove the last of the whey since the curds would be used immediately.

Next I put the curds (somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup) in a bowl and beat them until smooth. I added a bit of salt and about a 1/4 teaspoon of butter plus a handful of white sugar.  I forgot to add the currants. I added some lemon peel and a few drops of lemon flavouring. I stirred and then tasted the mixture at this point. It was delicious. I used just 1 egg and mixed it in. Finally I added a few drops of brandy and a pinch of cinnamon. I put the mixture into pans and baked at 350 for 15 minutes. I let the cheese cakes cool a bit but I was eager to sample.

Mrs. Gardham of Brantford was probably Elizabeth Mary Ann Richardson. She was born in 1856 in England and had married a man with the surname Davis. After his death she met and married widower Joseph William Gardham. He and his first wife Isabella had several children including three who only lived a short time. After Isabella’s death in 1880 Joseph and Elizabeth were married in 1881 and had five children. Joseph was an engineer. For some reason the family moved to the United States just after the 1901 Canadian census that shows them still in Branford but by 1910 Joseph, Elizabeth and the two youngest children are in Detroit. Joseph is listed as an engineer for an auto supply company. Their son George is a tool maker in an auto shop and their lodger is a carpenter also in an auto shop. Here we are at the beginning of the auto industry!! Interestingly many of their neighbours seem to have come from Canada too. The 1920 census shows them living on Tennyson avenue in Highland Park, Michigan. Joseph is listed as a mechanic at a motor plant. Elizabeth dies shortly after the census and is buried back in Brantford.

If you’ve ever had ricotta cheese or a cottage cheese based fresh cheese cake then you can probably imagine the texture of Mrs. Gardham’s baked cheese cake. I liked the version I created but the texture might put some people off since the cheese springs back and has a somewhat grainy feel.

Mrs. Gardham, Brantford

Take a pan of milk, curdle it with rennet or vinegar (if vinegar is used, not quite half a cupful); pour the whey off, beat the curd fine, add a little salt, also a cup of currants, a piece of butter size of an egg, one cup of sugar, one ounce lemon peel, one tablespoonful essence of lemon, four eggs, one tablespoonful of brandy and a little cinnamon. Bake same as No. 1.

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Day 299: Light Fruit Cake

We are now two months away from Christmas. This is when shop keepers and house keepers had to start preparing for this special holiday. Stores needed to ensure they had stocked all the baking supplies households needed to start preparing special Christmas treats like fruit cake. I’m going to make Miss E. Cant’s recipe for Light Fruit Cake from The New Galt Cook Book (1898).

My first step in making this cake was gathering all the supplies including my scale so that I can weigh each ingredient. First I creamed 1/3 pound (3/4 cup) of butter with 1 pound of light brown sugar. Once it was ready I added 5 eggs. Next I weighed the flour and added 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1 1/4 pounds of flour. Finally I added 1/2 pound of peel. I decided to defer to the raisin haters and not add them although I like this dried fruit. When everything was well mixed I spooned the batter into two loaf pan and baked it at 350 F. for almost 1 hour. It smelled good and was browned on the top. I cut myself a slice, or two, to taste.

Miss E. Cant is probably Eliza Cant. She was born in 1841 in Scotland. Her parents Hugh and Alison had quite a number of children before her and brought them all to Canada where her younger sister Ellen or Helen was born. Hugh was a millwright and one of his sons was also while one of the other boys was a pattern maker.  After her father’s death the 1881 census shows Eliza living with her mother and sister Helen who was a public school teacher. When their mother died, the two sisters continued to share a home. At her death of paralysis agitan (apparently another name for Parkinson’s disease) Eliza was 65 and living on West Main Street.

I overbaked this cake slightly but it tastes good. This is a nice light cake with just a touch of peel. I’m hanging on to this one even though I don’t think it is suitable for soaking in alcohol like a rich dark fruit cake.

Miss E. Cant

Five eggs, one pound light brown sugar, one-third pound butter, one-half pound lemon and orange peel (mixed), one and a quarter pounds flour, one teaspoonful soda, one pound raisins (if wanted). Put raisins and peel in after the flour.


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Day 298: Oat Cake

Today has been a full day with work, dinner out and then a Barra MacNeils concert which I’d forgotten about and had to race to get ready to attend. Therefore I need a quick recipe from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. I decided on a recipe from Mrs. McIlwraith for Oat Cake. I selected it in honour of this wonderful music with its roots in Scotland just like this recipe. Oat cakes are a classic of Scotland.

I used my bag of Bob Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal which might be a bit coarse for this recipe but is better than rolled oats for this sort of recipe. I put 1 cup of oat meal in a bowl and added 1 tablespoon of melted butter. I’d hoped to make this recipe with beef drippings but I didn’t have any yet. Then I added about 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to about 1/4 cup of boiling water. I mixed it together and had to add a bit more meal since it was too wet to roll out. I heated a frying pan and added a bit of butter. I fried the oatcakes on one side and since I didn’t have a fire to toast them I simply flipped them over and fried the other side after spreading a bit of meal on top. It was time to taste.

Mrs. McIlwraith contributed quite a few traditional recipes to this cook book. I made her Soda Scones on Day 252 so I’m going to copy and paste tonight since it is getting late and I have to work tomorrow too. Mary Goldie McIlwraithMrs. McIlwraith was Mary Goldie daughter of John and Margaret. Mary was born in Scotland in 1834 and came to Canada with her family. In 1862 when Mary was 27 she married 31-year-old Andrew McIlwraith who was also from Scotland. Thanks to Ian Wilson we can see Mr and Mrs McIlwraith!  He gave me permission to use Goldie family pictures in my blog. I suspect this picture is from their wedding based on the clothing. She is wearing the full bell-shaped skirt of the era and a spoon bonnet. The Street Style exhibit currently at the Waterloo Region Museum has a dress like this on display. The couple appear to have had eight children although some only survived a few months. The family lived in Listowel in Perth County as well as in Galt. I’ve just discovered that Andrew kept a diary and that this family’s life is described in some detail in a book called More of a Man: Diaries of a Scottish Craftsman in Mid-Nineteeth-Century North America. It’s by Andrew Holman and Robert K. Kristofferson. It describes Andrew’s death in 1891 in some detail but Mary lived on until 1911. Her death at 76 was attributed to old age.

I put a somewhat crumbly and hot oatcake on a plate along with a generous spoonful of quince marmalade made yesterday. The oat cake was crispy on the edges but the flavour is bland like the other oat cakes. I think I need a finer grind of oatmeal as the type I used makes it a bit crunchy. The oatcakes were great with the marmalade. They were certainly made for each other.

Mrs. McIlwraith

Wet a cupful of fine oatmeal in a small tablespoonful of roast beef dripping (dripping is better than butter for it makes them crisp) and a very little soda with boiling until quite stiff. Roll out quickly til very thin then dust with meal, sweep the meal off again and put on a very hot griddle. Bake on one side only, then rub over with meal again and sweep it off and toast before the fire the side which was not on the griddle. Keep in a dry place and when going to use put in the oven for a few minutes to make them crisp, then set ion the edge to let the steam escape. They are much better done on the griddle than in the oven.


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