Category Archives: Cheese

Day 333: Cheese Omelet

What to make today? I’m home from work and not very inspired. I have a craving for cheese something I can’t eat very often. I checked the Cheese section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898) and discovered that I haven’t made Mrs. James Young‘s recipe for Cheese Omelet yet. I’m surprised since I’ve made other omelet recipes but perhaps its due to it being in the cheese section rather than the egg part of the cook book. No matter — it is tonight’s recipe.

I had to read this recipe several times to make sense of it. It lists the ingredients at the beginning but the description of putting it together is very disorganized. I measured 1 cup of bread crumbs into a bowl. Next I added a pinch of baking soda to 2 tablespoons of hot water. I measured slightly less than 2 cups of milk and then added the soda water mixture to the milk. I poured the milk over the bread crumbs. In another bowl I whipped 3 eggs and poured them in too. Finally I added slightly less than 1 tablespoon of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. It was as I was typing this up that I realized the butter was supposed to have been melted. Somehow I mixed that instruction but I probably should have realized it needed to be melted when it didn’t mix in very well. I added 1/2 pound of grated cheese and stirred everything together. I poured the mixture into a greased casserole dish, sprinkled the top with bread crumbs and baked at 375 F. for 20 minutes. I really had no idea how long this should bake but thought I’d start with 20 minutes. I removed the dish of cheese omeletfrom the oven and served myself a portion to taste.

Mrs. James Young is a frequent contributor. She is the former Maggie McNaught who married newspaperman James Young. They were a prosperous and prominent couple.

This version of cheese omelet is quite good. Despite my aversion to eggs I enjoyed this easy supper dish. It is more like a cheese pudding than an omelet but it is surprisingly good considering it contains such simple ingredients as bread crumbs. I’d make this again partly because I don’t have to pay attention to it while it bakes and I get to eat eggs without the taste of eggs. It does surprise me such simple and economical recipe comes from one of the wealthier contributors but Mrs. James Young contributed other frugal foods.

CHEESE OMELET
Mrs. James Young

One cup bread crumbs dry and fine, two scant cups fresh milk, one-half pound dry old cheese grated, three eggs, one small tablespoonful butter, pepper and salt, pinch soda, eggs whipped very light, butter melted, a pinch of soda dissolved in hot water and stirred into the milk, soak the crumbs in the milk, beat into these the eggs, butter, seasoning, and lastly the cheese, butter a baking dish and pour into it, strew dry bread crumbs on the top and bake in a rather quick oven until delicately brown. Serve at once.

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Day 320: To Toast Cheese

It is time for comfort food. I just finished a two-hour snowy drive and since It’s the first real wintry weather here this year it was a bit nerve-wracking. I don’t keep much cheese in the house but I happen to have a block I bought for yesterday’s workshop but didn’t need. Therefore I’m going to make the recipe called To Toast Cheese in The New Galt Cook Book (1898). It is attributed to someone with the initials M.A.M.

I’m going to make just 1/3 of this recipe. I mixed 1/3 cup of milk and 1 egg together along with 1/3 teaspoon of flour. I mixed it well and then put a bit of butter in a frying pan. I put some slices of cheese in it and then poured the mixture on top. I kept the heat on the burner very low and left it to cook. Once the cheese was melted I could tell that the rest of it had thickened. I turned off the heat and prepared my sample.

Who is M.A.M.? She or he is one of three contributors who uses just initials.

This recipe was a disappointment. It doesn’t involve toast and the cheese isn’t nice and toasty. Instead the cheese is just part of a strange sort of omelettes. I guess if you like omelettes then this might suit you but it’s not something I’ll make again. At least I have my 21st century comfort food — mangoes and sticky rice my sister sent home with me.

TO TOAST CHEESE
M.A.M.

Take three eggs, a cupful of milk and a teaspoonful of flour, beat and mix well. Melt a small piece of butter in a skillet, put in about two ounces of cheese cut into thin slices; pour the above mixture over it (it ought just to cover the cheese), and stir over a slow fire until the latter is melted and the mixture has thickened.

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Day 316: Steamship Dish

I decided to live dangerously and make another recipe in the Cheese section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898). I love cheese but it doesn’t love me. I’ve been eying a recipe contributed by Mrs. McDonald called Steamship Dish. The title and recipe are intriguing but it requires three or four hours of slow cooking and that is more time than I usually have available on a weeknight. However, today I was able to work close to home and therefore get cooking sooner since I didn’t have much of a commute.

I put 1 pint (2 cups) of grated cheese in a pan along with 1 pint (2 cups) of bread crumbs. Next I beat up 2 eggs and added them along with 1 teaspoon of salt. I grated 1/2 a nutmeg and stirred it all together. Then I heated 1 pint (2 cups) of milk until it was hot and poured it over the cheese, bread and egg mixture. I again stirred and then set it on the burner at the lowest setting available on my electric stove. I put on the lid and left it alone. I was supposed to stir occasionally but forgot for over an hour.

Mrs. McDonald has not included her husband’s first name making it more challenging to identify her. However, when I made her recipe for Apple Jelly almost a month ago I decided that she was the wife of Alexander McDonald, the younger Alexander as there was another older married man with the same name. I think it is likely that Charlotte”Lottie” Groff contributed this recipe. Her mother’s sister Mrs. John Goldie (Margaret Rodgers) has recipes in the cookbook too. Lottie was born in 1865 in Berlin Ontario to Colin and Charlotte. Sometime before her younger sister Beckie was born in 1869 the family moved to the United States. Beckie was born in Michigan or in Illinois and the 1870 United States census shows them in Ward 3 of Chicago. Her father was a doctor there and the older children are attending school. Unfortunately their 34 year old mother had died in May that year and was buried back home in the Ayr Cemetery. By the Canadian census in 1871 seven year old Lottie and her two older sisters Margaret (11) and Ida (9) are with their maternal grandmother Rebecca in Galt Ontario. I’m not sure where her older brother Alexander has ended up but her little 3 year old sister Beckie is with her mother’s sister Margaret. Beckie is eventually adopted by Margaret and her husband John Goldie. In 1881 Lottie is living alone with her grandmother. Then in 1887 she married carpenter Alexander McDonald and they continued to live in Galt. Their first four children (Ruth, Hillary, Murray, and Roger) were born there but at some point before little Flora’s birth in 1903 they moved to York County. Later the family lives in Brantford and finally in 1921 they are in Port Arthur (now part of Thunder Bay) Ontario. I hadn’t been able to go beyond this point until tonight when I got creative with my Google search and discovered an Index of death notices, obituaries and estate notices as published in The Port Arthur News-Chronicle 1950 – 1959 via the Thunder Bay Library.  Lottie died in January 6, 1951 in Port Arthur.

This recipe is easy to follow but I’m not sure why it needed such a long cooking time or why it needs to be put in the oven at the end although the browning adds a nice look to the dish. Why is it called steamship? I have no idea. The end result is a bit like a savoury bread pudding. It tastes fine but the nutmeg dominates. I’d probably up the cheese just  a little but the nutmeg goes okay with it. It might be even nicer with something a little more herb like or spicy.

STEAMSHIP DISH
Mrs. McDonald

One pint of grated cheese, one pint of bread crumbs, two well beaten eggs, one-half grated nutmeg, one teaspoonful salt. Heat a pint of milk, boiling hot, with a large spoonful of butter; pour this over the other ingredients and mix well. Cover and set back on the range for three or four hours, stirring occasionally. Half an hour before supper, butter a pie plate, pour the mixture into it, set it in the oven and brown. It should not cook while standing on the range but merely dissolve. Send to the table hot.

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Day 156: English Fondue

I need a quick recipe from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book tonight since I”m home late. I’ve picked English Fondue, a recipe without a contributor listed. I don’t expect to like it since it contains egg so I’m going to cut the recipe and make just one sixth instead.

 June 1898 ad for cheese in The Canadian Grocer magazine.

June 1898 ad for cheese in The Canadian Grocer magazine.

I put the contents of one egg in a saucepan and added 1/6 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of grated cheddar cheese. I mixed well and got it heating on the stove. There are details in this recipe that clearly mark it as written during the cook stove era. An instruction like “cooked on the back of the stove” means it is further from the heat and therefore will cook more slowly. As a result I kept the heat low. It was quickly smooth so I wasn’t sure how long to cook it. The recipe says it must boil but that it mustn’t be cooked once it sets. It also must cook about 7 minutes. I thought it unlikely that my fondue needed the full amount of time since it was such  small quantity. I assumed it would soon turn into scrambled eggs but decided to risk a little longer. It simply became thick and smooth. I took it off the stove and was ready to taste.

Another cheese ad from the June 1898 Canadian Grocer magazine.

Another cheese ad from the June 1898 Canadian Grocer magazine.

I expected this to taste like scrambled eggs with cheese but it was more like a smooth cheese sauce. It is well worth trying if you like cheese and eggs. What is not clear is what one is to do with it! My experience of fondue is dipping things in it. What were people doing in 1898? What makes this fondue English? And is anyone else surprised that fondue exists in 1898? I certainly didn’t expect it. I think of it as a late 60s and early 70s fad in North America. The first difference is the use of a platter for serving rather than a pot. Apparently the version in the New Galt Cook Book is the style typical of this era although the type with wine and no eggs is beginning to appear. For more about fondue check here. I suggest digging into English Fondue with a spoon or put it on bread or crackers and not only taste a bit of the past but also experience the original style of fondue.

By the way one of the cheese ads pictured refers to wartime. I think this is a reference to the Spanish American war. Although the Canadian Grocer was published by Macleans a Canadian company, the economies of Canada and the US were very closely connected even in 1898. The magazine is full of articles about tariffs, trade and import/export with the United States and Britain.

 

ENGLISH FONDUE

Fondue is made with cheese, eggs and butter. The English rule allows an egg to each person at the table. Use six tablespoonfuls of grated cheese, and a tablespoonful of butter to six eggs. Break the eggs, add the cheese and the butter and put the whole in a saucepan set in boiling water. Stir over the fire till the mixture is smooth Season with half a teaspoonful of salt, and half teaspoonful of white pepper. Pour the fondue out on a hot platter as soon as it melts. It must boil and must not be cooked after it sets. It should be cooked on the back of the stove and will require about seven minutes.

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Day 102: Welsh Rarebit

I got home from work later tonight and wasn’t sure which recipe to select from The New Galt Cook Book (1898). Then I noticed this recipe for Welsh Rarebit and it seems perfectly suited. It is the kind of dish served to working men for their “tea”. That’s the tea that’s an evening meal not a cookie and a cup of tea in the afternoon. Mrs. Martin Todd‘s recipe seems to suit an 8:30 supper time.

Welsh Rarebit recipe

Welsh Rarebit recipe

Since I really shouldn’t eat cheese and my job doesn’t require a huge amount of physical labour I thought it best to halve the recipe. I put 1/4 pound (1 1/2 cups) of cheese grated in a saucepan and added 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard. I was very confused by the “or chow chow, best” part. It doesn’t appear to be a brand. I’m wondering if it means “or chow chow”. I’ve seen many chow-chow relish recipes that include mustard. Chow chow would be an interesting addition to Welsh Rarebit but it is not comparable to mustard. I measured 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar since I didn’t have any white vinegar and stirred everything together before turning on the heat. I added a few shakes of pepper and salt and left the cheese mixture to melt while I cut the crusts from a couple of slices of bread and toasted them (in my modern toaster). Once the cheese was melted I poured it over the toasted bread and was ready for my supper.

Johanna Gilholm was born in North Dumfries Township in the County of Waterloo in 1860. Her parents Robert and Janet were born in the same area. Robert was a sawyer and was involved in local politics. Johanna married Martin Todd in 1883 and they had four sons and one daughter. Their oldest boy fought in WWI and survived. I’m a bit surprised Johanna’s recipe for Welsh Rarebit doesn’t include beer since it is a typical ingredient and considering her husband owned a company that specialized in making malt. He died of arteriosclerosis at 59 in 1917. Johanna later took a trip overseas and returned safely. She died in 1935.

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit

This version of Welsh Rarebit is better than the other in the cook book. It is essentially melted cheese. The vinegar and mustard are well balanced and the vinegar provides just enough liquid to keep the cheese from burning or sticking as it melts. I suspect plain vinegar would suit it better than my apple cider vinegar but I liked it. I needed to stir it a couple of times but it was an incredibly fast and delicious meal. A salad would complement it well. This is a family dish not a company meal. There’s nothing fancy about it, just plain filling food.

WELSH RAREBIT
Mrs. Martin Todd

Bread, half pound cheese, teaspoonful mustard (of chow-chow, best), two tablespoonfuls vinegar;salt and pepper. Toast slices of bread from which the crust has been pared and lay on a warm platter. Grate the cheese, mix the other ingredients with it, boil up once and pour or spread on toast.

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Day 77: Cheese in the Oven

I’ve been curious about this recipe for Cheese in the Oven and finally decided to try making it tonight. It combines two problem foods for me — eggs (I loathe them) and cheese (I love it but it doesn’t love me back). However, the recipe comes all the way from Mrs. Boyd in Australia so there must be a reason the editors of The New Galt Cook Book  (1898) included it in the first edition and kept it in the Cheese section for this revised version of their cook book. I’m curious! Will it work? What sort of food is it? What will it taste like? And Why Australia?

I started my quest to make Cheese in the Oven by trying to figure out what size and type of “dish” to use. I finally settled on a small casserole dish. The next instruction seems simple. Put 1 tablespoon of butter in the dish. I did that and then wondered what exactly would happen when that blob of butter melted while baking. I decided to break it into bits and scatter it around the bottom of the dish. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, a special occasion that’s a bit hard to recognize using a cook book full of Scots inspired recipes. Tonight my nod to Ireland, in all its forms, is to use a loaf of bread containing potatoes. I cut five thin slices from the centre of the loaf of bread so that they would be consistent in size. I lay four slices around the edges of the round casserole dish and the last slice filled the middle.

Next it was time to cut the cheese since I don’t think pre-sliced cheese was available and certainly not Kraft cheese slices! I had a block of medium cheddar available so I started cutting slices. How thick should they be? I decided not to make them paper-thin — I like cheese so it made sense to me to cut slices that held their shape. I lay them across the bread until the bread was invisible. Now for the eggs and milk. I put 3 large eggs in a bowl. I hope people know to crack them open first and discard the shells. Then I whisked them with a fork and then added 1 cup of milk. Once it was well blended I started pouring it over the bread and cheese. Should I use it all? This made me realize I had no idea about the quantity of bread and cheese Mrs. Boyd used in making her version. I decided to include all the liquid and hope for the best. I seemed to work. The liquid didn’t even cover the cheese so there is hope that it will get toasty. I moved the oven rack one level so that there would be less bottom heat and more on the top. I turned the oven to 400 F. and popped the cheese in the oven. I waited 15 minutes before peeking. Everything looked good. I waited another few minutes and then removed the dish. It wasn’t brown on top but it appeared done. I felt that it wasn’t going to brown since it was sitting so low in the deep dish. I think it would work better in a shallow dish. My serving looked better in the casserole than it did on my plate but I prepared to eat it.

Who is Mrs. Boyd of Australia and how do I find her? Without a city or a first name for her husband it is an impossible task. Except that she must have some connection to Galt. Is she someone’s sister who has married a man working in Australia? Is she the Australian wife of a Galt man who is living in Australia? Boyd isn’t a very common name in Galt in the 1881 or 1891 census. I have discovered that one of the recipe contributors from Galt has a brother in Australia but his surname is Blain and another contributor was born in Australia  but her maiden name was Dodd and her married name is Howell. Clearly there are Australian connections in town if I can only find the right one. A search of the Australian census for 1891 via Ancestry.ca results in three obvious female Boyds but there are a large number of just initials and it is a very incomplete census. I haven’t given up yet and ideas are welcome.

I wonder how Mrs. Boyd used this recipe. Was it a lunch for a young family or was it supper for she and her husband. Did she serve anything with it? It was probably an inexpensive meal when eggs and milk were plentiful.

This is a recipe with potential. It is a savoury bread pudding and will appeal to some of you looking for a quick vegetarian supper. It’s not my cup of tea but perhaps with one less egg and some more bread and cheese I’d enjoy it too. I think I’d ease back on the butter as there was quite a bit of butter in the bottom of the dish. However, it does prevent it from sticking which makes serving and clean up much easier.   Try using a shallow dish and use a few more slices of bread and therefore more cheese. Then pour the liquid over. I think this would work better providing more surface area. Mine was more like scrambled eggs with soggy bread and then cheese. It looked a bit of a mess but tasted fine. I’d add a little seasoning to the liquid or use some interesting bread as a modern cook. I think this recipe is worth trying if you like eggs. You might just discover a new favourite.

CHEESE IN THE OVEN
Mrs. Boyd, Australia

Put a tablespoonful of butter into a dish, then a layer of bread cut into thin slices; on top of it put a layer of sliced cheese, and over the whole pour a mixture of three eggs and a cupful of milk. Bake in the oven until light brown on top. It needs very little heat underneath and ought to brown in fifteen minutes. It is delicious if the oven is in the right condition.

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Day 61: Macaroni with Cheese

I’m going to try Mrs. C. H. Warnock‘s recipe for Macaroni with Cheese that appears in the Cheese section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898). Many of us are familiar with macaroni and cheese. Whether it is KD (Kraft Dinner macaroni & cheese) or another brand, packaged macaroni or even frozen is a staple for families and students. Some of you might make delicious home made macaroni and cheese but did you know it’s been around for over one hundred years in Ontario? Macaroni was also included in soups here for at least 150 years.

This is a very straightforward recipe except for determining what sort of macaroni was used in the 1890s. Most of us expect to use elbow macaroni to make macaroni and cheese but this recipe talks of “sticks” of macaroni and says that it must be broken into one inch pieces! Another recipe in the book talks of pipe macaroni. It seems that the term macaroni was used a bit like we talk about pasta. It came to symbolize various types of pasta. I was able to buy long sticks of macaroni at an Italian specialty store. I took twelve sticks of this macaroni and weighed it to see if it was close to 8 ounces (1/2 lb). It turned out to be 4 ounces. I debated doubling the amount but decided to use just twelve sticks. I tried to break them into one inch pieces but they were more like two inches long. I brought 6 cups (3 pints) of water to the boil,  added some salt, and put the pieces of macaroni in the water. After twenty minutes I drained it and rinsed it in cold water. I set it aside to make the sauce.

The sauce is basically a white sauce. It starts with the roux — butter melted and mixed with an equal amount of flour. In this case it is 1 tablespoon of each. Once they were well blended in the saucepan I added the 1 1/2 cups of hot 1 % milk. I’m more familiar with 1 cup of milk for this proportion of roux but followed the recipe and added the extra 1/2 cup. It became thicker and I removed the sauce from the heat. I spread some grated medium cheddar cheese on the bottom of a casserole dish and covered it with the macaroni. I poured about half the sauce over it and then sprinkled more cheese. I put the rest of the macaroni in next and poured in the rest of the sauce. I covered the top with bread crumbs and dotted it with bits of butter. Finally it was topped with more grated cheese. I popped the dish in the preheated oven at 350 F for thirty minutes. It soon began to smell good but I waited the full 30 minutes before removing the dish from the oven and scooping some onto a plate.

Mrs. C. H. Warnock is Marion J. Cutler (1867 – 1942). I wrote about Marion and her husband Charles Rayfield Hunter Warnock on day 37 when I made her cake recipe. I was able to find a bit more information about her family. I think her father was Amasa T. Cutler who had a hotel in Brantford.

Macaroni with Cheese -- good to the last bite.

Macaroni with Cheese — good to the last bite.

Before tasting I decided this mac n cheese would be okay but nothing special. I was wrong. Mrs. C.H.Warnock’s recipe for Macaroni with Cheese makes an outstanding version of this classic comfort food. Perhaps I used an excessive amount of cheese but I think even if you use less, you’ll still end up with a wonderful meal. It had a crispy top oozing with cheese. The noodles were soft but not mushy or too hard and it was nice and cheesy. I’d always made homemade macaroni and cheese using a white sauce. I would add the cheese to the sauce. I’m not sure why layering the cheese and sauce instead works so well but I’ll try this next time. I imagine this recipe will work with regular macaroni and your favourite cheese. A modern cook can speed things up with a package of pre-grated cheese.

MACARONI WITH CHEESE
Mrs. C. H. Warnock

Half pound, or twelve sticks, of macaroni broken into one inch lengths; cook in three pints of salted boiling water twenty minutes; turn into a colander and pour over it cold water; drain, make a sauce of one tablespoonful each of butter, flour, one and a half cups of hot milk, salt. Put a layer of grated cheese in bottom of bake dish, then a layer of macaroni and one of sauce, then cheese, macaroni, sauce and cover the top with fine bread crumbs, with bits of butter and a little grated cheese. Bake half an hour, or until brown.

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