Category Archives: Eggs

Day 361: Shrimp Salad and To Curry Eggs

Today is Saturday and my family is still in that post-Christmas holiday mood. No one has to go to work yet so we’re doing puzzles, playing music and relaxing. We are also beginning to tire of duck leftovers so it is time to make something completely different from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. I’ve picked a recipe To Curry Eggs from the Eggs section contributed by Mrs. Sheldon. Since I’m not fond of eggs I’m trying it when there are plenty of taste testers around. I thought it might go nicely with a salad. I’ve selected Shrimp Salad since I don’t like shrimp either and several of my tasters love seafood. The recipe was contributed by the mysterious S.B.C.

Starting to peel the cooling hard boiled eggs.

Starting to peel the cooling hard boiled eggs.

First I put a dozen (12) eggs in cold water and turned up the heat. Ten eggs are for the curry recipe while the other two will be for the salad. Apparently the eggs need to simmer for 8 minutes to be hardboiled. Check out this site for more about how to boil eggs. Next I started the salad since the dressing needed time to cool. I sliced one peeled hardboiled egg in half horizontally and removed the yolk to mash it.

 

Cooking the dressing for shrimp salad

Cooking the dressing for shrimp salad

Then I put 1 gill (5 fluid ounces) of vinegar in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon of mustard, a pinch of sugar and the mashed egg yolk. I heated the mixture until it boiled and then set it aside to cool. I prepared the glass dish for the salad by lining it with some lettuce leaves. The shrimp was already prepared so I put the shrimp around as well as two stalks of celery chopped and a pinch of salt sprinkled on top. I cut the white of the egg into rings and but was unable to find a jar of olives. I had the egg white rings ready to arrange once the dressing was poured on top just before serving.

Frying the onions

Frying the onions

Once the eggs were boiled and the salad dressing cooling, I started the curry sauce. I chopped 2 small onions and fried them in butter until the pieces were nice and brown. Then I added 2 dessertspoons (2 teaspoons) of curry powder. I debated using the duck broth but instead used almost 1 pint (2 cups) of chicken broth. I left it to simmer gently while I cooled and peeled the hard boiled eggs. I sliced them in half vertically before setting them aside until the sauce was ready. I measured ¼ pint (½ cup) cream and added a teaspoon of cornstarch since we didn’t have any arrowroot powder. Once the onions were tender I carefully added the cream mixture to the broth. I let it simmer and thicken just a few minutes before adding the peeled and sliced hard boiled eggs. I removed the eggs and set them on a platter and poured the sauce over top. I attempted to arrange the sliced eggs as described but I wasn’t entirely sure what was meant by the flat ends. I poured the dressing on the shrimp salad and added the egg rings and olives to decorate the top of it. It was time to eat!

Unfortunately S.B.C. remains a mystery but Mrs. Sheldon is interesting. I’ve pulled this information from primary sources on ancestry.ca and some family trees posted there. Mrs. Sheldon was Juliet Mary Demster (or Dunster) and born in Dorset England in 1846. Her father was a bookseller and stationer but her mother Rebecca died when Juliet was just two years old. Most of her brothers and sisters died when they were babies so the 1861 census in England shows her with one sister and her father. However, life must have taken a different turn because her marriage in 1872 to Joseph William Sheldon took place in Madrid Spain! Joseph was also born in England and their marriage was registered in England but they continued to be mobile. Their first four children were born in Bucharest Romania between 1873 and 1878. One of the children died as an infant. The next child was born in Breman Germany in 1881. By 1884 they were in London England and then in 1886 their son Edward was born in Galt Ontario. Their final child Ethel was born in 1889 also in Galt. Their birth certificates list Joseph’s occupation as Gentleman and yet the 1891 census lists Joseph as a farmer and they have seven children at home. Then in 1892 Joseph died of appendicitis! He was just 42. What was this like for Juliet? In 1901 she’s listed as head of household and six of the children are there too. The older boys are listed as manufacturers or machinists. They also have three domestic servants, two women named Jane and a man named Robert. She was  still at Lot 12 Con 10 in North Dumfries Township in 1911 but with just a few of the children and a domestic servant. One of her sons lived nearby with his family. Eventually by 1921 Juliet lived alone in a stone house near her son. She died of arteriosclerosis in 1923 in Galt.

Shrimp Salad and To Curry Eggs

Shrimp Salad and To Curry Eggs

Some of my tasters really like the eggs. They felt the curry had flavour and a little hit of spiciness. The onions were great with it and the sauce worked well with the eggs. I tasted the sauce and it is okay on its own but I think it would be better with coconut milk rather than cream and perhaps using a curry paste instead of the curry powder but then I like Thai food. I wonder if Mrs. Sheldon developed  taste for curry while living in Eastern Europe. That area was still part of the Ottoman or Turkish Empire at the time.

The shrimp salad seemed to be more about the presentation than the taste of the food. My tasters liked the shrimp (it is the type they use all the time) but we had to dig to the bottom of the bowl to get any of the dressing. The dressing is a bit thin for this salad but it tastes good.

 

To Curry Eggs

TO CURRY EGGS
Mrs. Sheldon

Ten eggs, one onion, two dessertspoonfuls of curry powder, quarter pint of cream, some arrowroot, nearly a pint of medium stock or good gravy. Fry one large onion or two small ones, a nice brown in butter, then add the curry powder and stock, or good broth, and set it over the fire to stew slowly until the onions are tender. Thicken the cream with a little arrowroot, stir it in and let all simmer for a few minutes, then add ten or twelve hard-boiled eggs cut in halves. Make them hot without allowing them to boil, and arrange them on the flat ends on a dish with the sauce over them.

 

Shrimp Salad ready to eat

SHRIMP SALAD
S.B.C.

Line a glass dish with crisp lettuce leaves. Mix together one plate prepared shrimps (boiled and picked), two stalks celery, pinch salt. Place among the lettuce leaves. Pour this dressing over: One gill cider vinegar, one teaspoonful mustard, pinch sugar, yelk one hard boiled egg, mixed and well mashed. Bring to a boil, then cool. Cut white of egg into rings, place an olive in each, and arrange about the salad.

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Day285: Steamed Eggs

After a day of work and a two-hour drive I’m at my parents for Thanksgiving. I stopped for a fast food supper so I’m not sure what to make tonight from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. I decided to try an egg recipe since there are people around who like eggs. I selected Mrs. A.. Taylor‘s recipe for Steamed Eggs.

I found a steamer and some cups. I set the steamer in a pot and added water. I cracked an egg into each of the custard cups and set them into the steamer. I debated whether I should have buttered the cups but didn’t do it. My mother and I discussed the amount of time they would need to steam. She suggested five minutes so I started the timer as soon as the water boiled. At the four-minute mark the whites appeared set and the yolk too. I removed them from the pan and gave one to each person who likes eggs.

Alfred Taylor home

Alfred Taylor home

Mrs. A. Taylor is probably the wife of Alfred Taylor rather than of his brother Alexander Taylor. Alexander married to Hannah Maria Wells. She was from England and Roman Catholic. Since this cook book is the project from a Presbyterian church Hannah is less likely to have contributed recipes than her sister-in-law Margaret “Maggie” Fisher. Maggie was born in Scotland and is Presbyterian. Her parents Alexander and Georgina brought her to Canada when she was around 5 or 6 years old. They lived in Galt and Maggie continued to live in the community after her marriage to Alfred Taylor. Alfred was a dry goods merchant and as this website states “the first proud owner of this gracious residence”. I’m sure Maggie was pleased with it too. I don’t know when they married but their first child Robert was born in 1877. He died of pneumonia when he was nine. Their second child, another son was born in 1879 and named Alfred E. for his father. He died of appendicitis when he was 25 years old. Margaret Alice “Maggie” was named for her mother after her birth in 1883. She was their only daughter and the longest lived since she was 89 when she died in 1972. Mrs A. Taylor (Maggie Fisher) died in 1929 when she was 79.

I took a tiny bite and they taste like eggs to me — not a recommendation. The tasters added a bit of butter to the top and some salt and pepper and then dug into the cups. My father would have liked it cooked a bit longer since he likes firmer yolks. They were more like a soft-boiled egg.  My mother liked it with the soft white and the runny yolk and commented that it would be great if you were sick since it is easy to eat. It is also very quick to make. She thought it made a good evening snack. Without knowing this family’s history my mother seems to have identified aspects of this recipe that would suit Mrs. A. Taylor’s situation. This is the perfect recipe for a woman trying to take care of a sick child or to quickly eat herself. They had a servant but this recipe would be great for her day off. They also had a lodger in 1891 and it’s something to make when he needed something extra to eat. This method avoids my fear of making poached eggs since they are contained and they are easy to serve in the cups rather than fishing around in the water. This recipe has time travelled well.

STEAMED EGGS
Mrs. A. Taylor

Butter a tin plate and break in your eggs, set in a steamer, place over a kettle of boiling water and steam till the whites are cooked.If broken into buttered patty-pans they look nicer by keeping their form better. Or,still better, if broken into egg cups and steamed until done, they are very nice. Cooked in this way there is nothing of their flavor lost.

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Day 279: Omelet with Bacon

I don’t like eggs and yet every so often when I want a quick supper I’ll make my version of scrambled eggs. Basically I cover up the taste and texture of eggs by frying up some bacon, onions, mushrooms, cheese and herbs along with the eggs and milk. Then I slap it between two slices of toast. I think the closest recipe in the 1898 New Galt Cook Book to my kind of eggs is one contributed by Mrs. James Young for Omelet with Bacon.so I’m making it tonight.

I cut the recipe in half. I have a European deli across the street and I can buy chunks of bacon — the style available in 1898. I had some in my fridge so I cut pieces until I had 1 ounce. I chopped it into small bits and put it in a frying pan. I turned on the heat while I mixed up 2 eggs with some milk and seasoning. Once the bacon was cooked I added the eggs and then started cooking the omelet. For some reason the recipe mentions baking but I’m assuming Mrs. Young is frying her omelet. Once it was ready I put it on a plate with some toast. It was time to eat.

I’ve talked many times about Mrs. James Young since she contributed so many recipes for this cook book. The former Margaret “Maggie” McNaught was one of the editors along with her sister Frances “Fanny”.  Maggie’s husband James was involved in politics and journalism.

Although I prefer my loaded version the addition of good bacon improves an omelet, at least for me. Select your bacon carefully and then try this recipe. I liked the idea of frying the bits of bacon rather than strips that need to be broken up afterwards. The Young household included Margaret and James, and Frances plus a servant so this was probably something the two sisters enjoyed as a simple lunch.

OMELET WITH BACON
Mrs. James Young

For four eggs take two ounces of breakfast bacon, cut it into small dice, cook it until light brown, and mix with your eggs before baking.

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Day 268: Bread Omelet

I was at work today and then went to a wonderful Turkish cooking class where we got to eat till we could eat no more. I’m stuffed with delicious food so the thought of trying to cook something from The New Galt Cook Book (1898) tonight is a bit daunting. What recipe doesn’t take long to prepare, cook, and that I can possibly eat without exploding? The answer came as I leafed through the Egg section. I don’t like them anyway so I really won’t be jeopardizing my view of the end result by having little appetite so tonight I’m using Mrs. Richard Strong‘s recipe to make something called Bread Omelet.

I am cutting this recipe to one–third. I know that this will throw off the cooking time perhaps but I also know I’d be throwing out most of it. I separated one egg and beat the yolk well. I boiled what i hope was a third of 1/2 cup of milk and then poured the milk over the same amount of bread crumbs. I seasoned it with salt and pepper as well as 1/3 tablespoon of melted butter. Next I beat the egg white and mixed it with the rest. I had some butter heating in a frying pan and poured this mixture into it. Once it was cooked on one side I turned it over to cook on the other. When it was firm and crispy on the edges I removed it to a plate and took a forkful to eat.

Mrs. Richard Strong is Mary Dowker. She was born in England and so was her husband Richard Sidney Sparks Strong. They were married sometime in the early 1850s and had about seven children. Richard was involved in several areas including Gore Insurance. They lived at 57 Grand Avenue North in Galt and it is amazing what can be found on the internet these days. I found their address on the Waterloo Region Generations website and then I found a virtual tour of the home including floor plans! Use your imagination and eliminate the modern features to get a glimpse of Mary’s home.

I’m shocked. One forkful turned into more. I LIKED Bread Omelet!! Well at least more than a regular omelet. I’m sure those of you who have connections to France and its cuisine are recoiling in horror that this combination of eggs, milk and bread crumbs could be considered French or even an omelet but really the result is very much like French toast. I liked the crispy edges and ate more than I expected. It is sort of like combining the toast you’ll eventually eat anyway when you eat your omelet. Give it a try if you want to stretch your eggs and are looking for something a little different – a combo of omelet, French toast and pancakes in one serving.

BREAD OMELET
Mrs. Richard Strong

Three eggs, one-half cupful sweet milk, one-half cupful bread crumbs, piece of butter the size of a small egg, a little chopped parsley, pepper and salt to taste, separate yelks and whites, beat yelks well, boil the milk, pour some over the bread crumbs, then add the pepper, salt and melted butter, the beaten yelks; beat whites to a stiff froth. Mix all thoroughly and fry on one side in a buttered pan, then fold over.

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Day 211: Panned Eggs

I’m making Panned Eggs tonight because I needed to clean out a room to prepare for a tenant of the human variety rather than the feline. The recipe was contributed to The New Galt Cook Book (1898) by Mrs. Robertson of Woodstock.

Ad for Capers in The Canadian Grocer 1898

Ad for Capers in The Canadian Grocer 1898

I don’t exactly have a porcelain pie plate but I do have a small glass one so I’m going to use it. I buttered the pie plate and poured in some whipping cream. I hate eggs and didn’t want to waste them so I’m just cracking a couple of eggs in on top of the cream. I put some capers on each of the yolks and sprinkled some parsley on top. Finally I added some bread crumbs and bits of butter. I baked them in the oven at 375 F. for 15 minutes. The time and temperature are based on my previous less than successful experience making baked eggs on day 18. Once the eggs were brown on top and firm I removed the plate from the oven. Time to be brave and taste.

Mrs. Robertson of Woodstock remains a mystery because there are several possibilities. One of the more likely is Jessie Fisher, wife of George Robertson because her parents are Alexander Fisher and Georgiana Fyfe. One of her sisters is another contributor to the cook book.

Well panned eggs haven’t convinced me to like eggs but if you already enjoy this great food than panned eggs might be an interesting way to prepare them. They still taste like eggs but I do like the capers and the toastiness of the bread crumb topping. The capers go well with eggs and bread crumbs, butter and parsley are typical additions. I was surprised to see capers as an ingredient but based on ads and information in The Canadian Grocer magazines in the summer of 1898, capers were being imported just like olives and other sorts of pickled foods.

PANNED EGGS
Mrs. Robertson, Woodstock

For “panned eggs” take a porcelain pie-plate, butter it, pour in thick cream enough to fill it half full, drop in some eggs (four or five) side by side; place on each yelk a few capers; dust over them some minced parsley and some fine bread crumbs, and put flakes of butter here and there. Place in the oven, and let the eggs get firm and slightly brown on top.

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Day 182: Devilled Eggs

Today is Canada Day. It was celebrated as Dominion Day in 1898 in much the same way as today. Perhaps some of the contributors to the 1898 New Galt Cook Book went on picnics nearby or took some of the special train excursions. There are a number of recipes in the cook book that would travel well packed in a basket. I thought I’d make that classic Devilled Eggs using Mrs. Andrich‘s recipe.

My first step was to boil eggs. One they were hard boiled I cooled them quickly in some cold water and then started taking off the shell. I grew up making devilled eggs as my mother often brought them to summer potlucks. I decided to cut them in half the way I remember so I cut them lengthwise. I have seen them cut in half around the middle. I removed the yolk and then realized I wasn’t sure if this was dry mustard or prepared mustard.  I mashed the yolks and chose to use dry mustard. I can’t really give you a suggestion for amount. This recipe provides room for personal taste and the amount you use will also be affected by the strength of your mustard powder. I sprinkled in some salt and pepper. I added some parsley and enough vinegar to moisten the mixture. Once it was well blended I spooned it back into the white and prepared to taste.

I’ve made several of the recipes contributed by Mrs. Andrich. She was born Rachel Roos in 1849 in Preston (now part of Cambridge) Ontario. Her parents are a bit unusual since her father was born in Alsace which went back and forth between Germany and France, and her mother was born in Switzerland another place with both French and German sections. Rachel married Martin Andrich a butcher in 1868 and they had six children. One of them died of diphtheria when he was three. Rachel died when she was 88.

I don’t like devilled eggs, well, I don’t like eggs at all so I’m not the best judge of the taste of Mrs. Andrich’s recipe. These are quite a typical recipe with the mustard and vinegar and even the parsley isn’t unusual in the sort I see in heritage cookbooks and even at modern potlucks. There’s nothing wrong with it and if you don’t already have a favourite recipe for devilled eggs then give it a try.  However, my mother’s version is the only one I can even dream about ever eating if I decide to eat eggs. Her recipe has mustard but also honey and she tops them with paprika. Do you eat devilled eggs, and what’s your favourite type? The next time you have some you know you are enjoying a bit of history.

 

DEVILLED EGGS
Mrs. Andrich

Boiled eggs until hard, take off shell and cut in half. Then take out the yellow part and mix mustard, salt, pepper and a little parsley and vinegar with it. Put back into white part.

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Day 171: The Cooking of Eggs

As many of you know I don’t like to eat eggs and yet I have a fascination for them. I’d also like to be able to cook them for house guests but since I don’t like to eat them I don’t have much experience in cooking things like soft-boiled eggs. The introductory recipe in the Eggs section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898) is simply the anonymous The Cooking of Eggs.

Many years ago I worked at a historic site where I gathered eggs nearly every morning. Some mornings I reached under a hen to get the warm egg from under her and other times an egg would be sitting in some random corner. Those abandoned eggs were the ones we weren’t sure were fresh enough to use. I loved showing visitors the simple freshness test described in this recipe. It is useful for store-bought eggs too if you aren’t sure how long they’ve been around. I filled a big bowl with cold water and placed the eggs carefully in the bowl. Eggs have an air pocket at their large end which grows bigger as eggs age. Old egg equals floating egg. A fresh egg will sit on the bottom of the bowl. Tonight I tried it with the last medium egg in the refrigerated carton since I wasn’t sure how long it had been around. The large end was slightly higher but most of the egg was sitting on the bottom of the bowl. It was fresh enough to use. Today we can keep eggs far longer since they are kept cold and the eggs are washed and then coated with mineral oil which seals the pores.

Egg Grader

Egg Grader

Sometimes when I gathered eggs they would have to be washed thoroughly and used immediately. As the recipe indicates anything on the outside can get inside. This is why eggs can pick up odors from your fridge. It was always interesting to candle and grade the eggs. Candling allows you to see inside the egg and grading reveals the weight/size of the egg. Cracking open a fresh egg, especially one from a hen that has been outside eating all sorts of things, is a very different experience from my commercial several weeks old egg. The colour of the yolk is more intense and the white is thicker in a fresh egg. If you examine the inside of the shell you can see the air pocket. The chalaza (the stringy thing) helps to keep the yolk centred in the shell.

Egg Cup at Woodside NHS

Egg Cup at Woodside NHS

I decided to try the second method for cooking my tested egg. I didn’t have to wash it since it was a commercial egg, although I have occasionally had some that needed a bit of a wipe. I wasn’t sure how to follow this recipe since I”m not cooking on a woodstove. I decided that turning on my oven would heat the top of the stove enough to resemble the “back of the range”. I boiled a pot of water and once it was in a rolling boil I put in the egg and covered the pot. I removed the pot from the electric burner and set it on top of the stove. I started timing from this point. I decided to aim for the eight minute mark. I turned the burner to the lowest setting and once it had cooled I put the pot back and waited. Once the eight minutes were up I removed the egg and prepared to slice off the small end of the egg just like my grandfather many years ago. As a child I loved watching this morning ritual. My grandmother would bring his soft-boiled egg in an egg cup and set it on the table in front of him. He’d take up his knife and tap tap around the top before cutting it off, shaking some salt and pepper on top, and then digging inside the shell with his spoon. I loved to watch it but I can still remember my disgust seeing the running yellow yolk. I hated eggs then too. Tonight as I carefully sliced off the top, I felt the same revulsion as the yolk began to ooze. It was a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg so I should have been please but I was also dreading the taste. I hoped that finally I would be able to eat a soft-boiled egg. It is such a simple and perfect breakfast. My sister has learned to eat and enjoy them so perhaps I can too.

I put my spoon in and closed my eyes as I brought the spoon to my mouth. The texture was interesting but it still tasted like egg. I only managed one bite. The green compost bin got the rest of it. Sadly I’m still not a convert to soft-boiled eggs. But if you want to try the eight minute egg then this is a good method for the days when the stove seems covered in pans. Just get the water boiling, pop in the eggs, cover and set in any free space on top of the stove. Wait 8 minutes and you’ll have a soft-boiled smaller egg. You’ll probably want to wait 9 or 10 minutes for a large or extra-large egg.

THE COOKING OF EGGS

Try your eggs as to freshness before you boil them; put them into cold water, and if they sink to the bottom they are fresh. An egg more than a week old will not sink, but swim on the top. Wash and clean them before boiling. This is very particular, because the dirt clinging to them will enter inside through the many small pores of the shell. Time to boil eggs for three to four minutes, or put in boiling water and set back on the range four eight or ten minutes.

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