Category Archives: Meat

Day 365: Mock Duck and Potato Puff

Tonight is New Year’s Eve and the last day for my self-imposed commitment to cook every day in 2014 from The New Galt Cook Book, a local community cookbook published in 1898. This occasion requires some celebration food and yet my family isn’t exactly in a celebratory mood. I decided to make something that will be recognizable and comforting. Without conscious planning it is also a bit of a nod to the meal I made on Christmas Day. Tonight’s supper is Mock Duck and Potato Puff. The Mock Duck recipe doesn’t list a contributor but the Potato Puff was shared by two contributors — Mrs. Capron and Mrs. Webb of Waterloo.

Striploin steak pounded flat and ready for the next step.

Strip loin steak pounded flat and ready for the next step.

My tasters purchased a 300 gram strip loin steak so that I could make this mock duck recipe. There’s another recipe for mock duck in the cook book but it uses liver. This version sounded much more appealing and much closer to the mock duck both my grandmothers used to make. The first step was to prepare the meat. After opening the package I pounded the steak with a meat mallet to flatten and tenderize it.

Stuffing placed on the steak ready to roll.

Stuffing placed on the steak ready to roll.

I made a the stuffing/dressing from at least three slices of white bread. I tore the slices into small pieces and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Next I chopped a tablespoon of butter into bits to mix into the bread crumbs. I poured a dribble of milk into the bowl and mixed using my hands until everything was well blended. Finally I took the stuffing and patted it into place on the steak making sure the edges were clear.

Mock Duck ready for the oven.

Mock Duck ready for the oven.

I began rolling the stuffing-topped steak like a jelly roll and then tied it in three places with string. It looked very small to feed five people but I put it in a baking pan and popped it in the 350 F. oven for 1 hour. As instructed I basted it with pan juices about three times. Once the hour was up I removed the pan from the oven and let it rest while I finished up the rest of the meal.

Earlier I’d made some mashed potatoes and let them cool. I took 2 cups of the mashed potatoes and put them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of butter I’d melted. I stirred until the potatoes were very smooth and creamy. I beat 2 eggs in a bowl until they were light and then added 1 cup of cream with a few shakes of salt. When these liquids were well blended I mixed them into the potatoes. Should I grease the deep baking dish? I decided not to add anything except the potato mixture. I smoothed the top and put the Potato Puff in the oven at 400 F. while the meat rested.

I checked on the potato puff after 15 minutes and it was almost done. It was beginning to brown. I sliced the mock duck and placed them on a platter with some parsley sprigs. The top of the potato puff was a bit browner a few minutes later so it was time to sit down to our New Years Eve evening meal circa 1898. My tasters were eager.

Billiards Sporting Life Dec 28 1895Mrs. Capron and Mrs. Webb of Waterloo both contributed other recipes I prepared in 2014. I’m assuming they are Mrs. J. W. Capron of Galt and Mrs. J. H. Webb of Waterloo. Annie Fairweather (or Farnveather) Scott was born in Galt around 1855 to Scottish born parents John and Catherine. John was a marble dealer and Annie was one of approximately twelve children according to Waterloo Region Generations. She was 24 when she married 26-year-old Joseph Wolverton Capron from Paris Ontario in November 1879. He was a Congregationalist and she was Presbyterian. His occupation is listed as gentleman. and their first child Anna Gertrude was born in January 1880 in Goderich where Joseph was now a Billiard Room Keeper according to her birth record in Ancestry.ca. Their next child Josephine Catherine was born in March 1883 in Chatham Ontario where again Joseph is operating a billiards room.

CapronThe family must have moved to Paris Ontario by March 1886 since it is there that little Catherine Josephine died of a fever when she was three years old. They were in Galt by September 1887 when their last child Mary Austin was born. Joseph’s occupation again is listed as a gentleman. Although I can’t find the family in the 1891 census they must have remained in Galt since it is there that Annie (Mrs. Capron) died of stomach cancer in March 1895. This means that her recipe in the 1898 revised Galt Cook Book appeared after her death. By December 1895 Joseph is playing billiards professionally and his name appears in an American paper called Sporting Weekly.

Mrs. J. H. Webb's house in Waterloo. (Photo WPL)

Mrs. J. H. Webb’s house in Waterloo. (Photo WPL)

Mrs. J. H. Webb of Waterloo is Helen Buchanan. She was born in 1851 in Branchton to John and Isabella. Her father was a farmer and a teamster. In the 19th century a teamster was someone who drove a team of horses or oxen not a member of a specific union for truck drivers. Helen was twenty when she married Doctor Joseph Hughes Webb in March of 1872. He had been born in Newmarket Ontario and was a Quaker. He is eventually listed as a Presbyterian like Helen. They have two children. Their first daughter Clara Belle dies when she is seven hours old. The doctor was unable to figure out why she died. The next year they have another daughter and also name her Clara Belle. By 1881 the little family have moved from Wilmot Township to the Town of Waterloo. Here’s their house in 1906. Dr. Webb seems to have been a general practitioner as his name appears on both birth and death records in the community. It must have been risky for their daughter and Helen as he cared for patients with all sorts of communicable diseases. Helen didn’t die until 1935 when she was 85 years old.

Mock Duck ready to slice.

Mock Duck ready to slice.

Our New Years Eve meal turned out great. To accompany the mock duck and potato puff I served some plain cooked carrots. Mock Duck made using this recipe is wonderful. There was just enough meat for the five of us to each receive one slice. All my tasters really liked the mock duck including the two of us who are not keen on steak. It came out tender and slightly pink inside but with a nice browning on the outside. The stuffing was good too. This is an easy recipe to make since it requires little attention and looks nice when served. It makes a cut of meat go further and can probably be made with a cheaper steak. I didn’t have enough pan juices to make gravy so I served the mock duck slices with some leftover gravy from another meal. This recipe can time travel as it stands but has lots of potential for creative cooks today. The dressing can be enhanced and the meat seasoned in different ways, plus it can be cooked for a shorter time to appeal to those who like meat medium rare.

The Potato Puff is fine. Everyone liked it but it isn’t all that different from mashed potatoes. The bonus is that it uses leftover mashed potatoes — something that doesn’t reheat well in a world without microwave ovens. Making Potato Puff turned my somewhat lumpy mashed potatoes into a nice creamy version that had some extra calories and nutrition from the eggs. However, again I think this recipe could be transformed by a modern cook through changing the seasoning and cooking method. To help this recipe time travel to 2015 add some interesting seasonings perhaps simply some chopped chives, then bake in individual dishes to present with the rest of the meal.

Thank you for joining me on this daily journey through time. I hope you enjoyed exploring the food and lives of people connected to Galt Ontario in 1898.  Happy New Year to you all!

 

Slices of mock duck.

Slices of mock duck.

MOCK DUCK

Mock duck is a particularly nice dish for luncheon. For a family of four, select a beefsteak weighing three-quarters of a pound, and free from loose fat or stringy pieces. Mix bread crumbs with salt, pepper and a little butter; chopped very fine. Moisten slightly and spread over the steak, half an inch in thickness, but not extending to the edges. Roll like jelly-cake and tie in three or four places with string. Place it in the oven for an hour, basting frequently, and it will come out nicely browned. Cut in slices and serve on a platter garnished with sprigs of parsley.

 

Potato Puff fresh from the oven.

Potato Puff fresh from the oven.

POTATO PUFF
Mrs. Capron and Mrs. Webb, Waterloo

Take two cupfuls cold mashed potato, two eggs, butter,cream or milk; stir into the potato two tablespoonfuls melted butter, beating to a white cream before adding anything else. Put with this two eggs whipped very light and a teacupful of cream or milk, salting to taste. Beat all well, pour into a deep dish, and bake in quick oven until it is nicely browned. If properly mixed it will come out of the oven light, puffy and delectable.

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Day 354: Tripe and Onions

Two days ago I prepared a basic recipe for tripe so that I could make some of the other recipes in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) calling for tripe. Today I’m trying Tripe and Onions. No one is listed as contributor but I’m assuming that Miss Wardlaw contributed this recipe along with the one for preparing the basic tripe.

I peeled an onion and then boiled it in water. I changed the water after 10 minutes and again after another 10 minutes. Based on some of the recipes for boiled onions I’m assuming this not only makes a tender onion but changing the water will make it milder. Next I cut the onion in half and added enough milk to cover plus a bit of salt and pepper. I cut some of the prepared tripe into small squares and put them in with the onion. I boiled it so that everything was hot and added a bit of flour mixed with water to make a liquid.  Then I was ready to sample.

Apparently tripe and onions is a classic recipe so it is no wonder it appears in this cook book however, it isn’t anything I’ve ever experienced. And I don’t think I’d eat it willingly again. The texture of the boiled onions and the tripe are similar. I think it was the milk that I really didn’t like in this dish. I also just couldn’t get past the fact that I was eating a cow’s stomach. As I child I was a very picky eater, particularly when it came to anything from creatures. Although I can eat meat now I still find organ meats difficult. However, if you are adventurous then this might be a place to start.

TRIPE AND ONIONS

Boil the onions in three waters, when tender drain, cover with milk, add a little butter, salt and pepper cut the tripe in squares, put with the onions, boil for a few minutes, thicken with a little flour, and serve.

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Day 351: Tripe

I am finally going to attempt some of the recipes in the Meats section of the 1898 New Galt Cook Book that use organ meats. I was able to buy some tripe and so I’m starting with Miss Wardlaw‘s recipe simply called Tripe. It is the basis for other recipes. I’m going out tonight so I’m starting this earlier in the day.

Honeycomb Tripe (image from telegraph.co.uk)

Honeycomb Tripe
(image from telegraph.co.uk)

I have never cooked tripe and I’ve never eaten it so this will be an adventure. The first step was to open the package I bought from a local grocery store called Central Fresh Market. It used to be called Central Meat Market and they still often have cuts of meat that other places don’t carry regularly. The label says honeycomb tripe and that’s basically what it resembles. I washed it off and put it in a pot of salted water. I turned the heat up and left it to boil, replenishing the water every so often. After an hour the smell became more obvious and I kept trying to determine why it made me think of farms. It’s not a horrible smell but a bit like standing next to a nice clean cow. Probably not surprising since tripe is the lining of one of the four stomachs of cattle. Apparently it can come from other animals too.

I knew tripe was the stomach – one of the reasons I’d been procrastinating in trying this recipe — but in confirming this I discovered that there is more to know about tripe. First is the cleaning of the tripe. This wikihow site provided lots of information. Mine was very white so I’m going to assume it had been cleaned and bleached. I’m hoping I washed it sufficiently. I think it is well washed since the aroma is cow not chlorine. I also don’t think I’ll need to cook it for five or six hours as it might have already been parboiled. I’m going to keep checking it for tenderness. It does seem that I’ve had a much easier time preparing my tripe than a homemaker in 1898. It was finally tender after two hours. Tripe is meant to be used for other things so I took just a tiny taste.

Miss Wardlaw is familiar to me from the number of sick room recipes she contributed to the cook book. She was Margaret (Maggie) Janet Wardlaw daughter of John Wardlaw and Mary Ann Davidson. Her parents were from Scotland but she was born in 1862 possibly in Oxford County where the family was listed in the 1861 census. By the time she was nine they lived in Galt Ontario where her father was a woollen manufacturer. He was a bronze medal winner for his woollen yarns at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876. In 1891 Maggie was living at home with her parents and several of her brothers. One is a dentist and she’s a nurse at the hospital in Galt. Although her parents were still living in 1901 the census shows Maggie is living with her brother who is a doctor. It is just the two of them plus a servant. I assume that Maggie is acting as the nurse for her brother’s medical practice. I think by 1911 she’s living in Toronto but I’m not sure and I don’t know how she ended up there. She died of a heart condition in Newmarket in 1931. Her brother Thomas was the person providing details for her death certificate. He’s a commercial agent and living on Scott Street in Toronto so I suspect that’s why Maggie ended up there. Her obituary appears in the Newmarket Era newspaper on October 30, 1931 but doesn’t provide any information.

The taste and texture of tripe is . . . well . . . unique. I thought it would be rubbery and taste “offal” but the texture was soft, tasting more of salt than anything else. Perhaps my water was too salty. I put it aside to cool and will make something with it in the next day or two. I don’t think I’d want to keep it for more than a few days. You’ll find tripe in some Vietnamese, Italian, French and even some British recipes. I’ve seen it on the menu of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants especially in the classic soup base called Pho. Please share your experience with tripe! Have you eaten it? Have you cooked with it?

UPDATE: Just fixed the numbering.

TRIPE
Miss Wardlaw

Wash it thoroughly, boil for five or six hours (in salted water), or until quite tender; it will keep for days and is now ready to be prepared in different ways.

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Day 338: Browned Flour

After a busy few days I don’t have the energy to make much of anything so tonight I’m making an apparently useful commodity called Browned Flour. The recipe appears in the Meat section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898) and was contributed by Miss McNaught.

I took out my sifter and sifted about 1/2 a cup of white flour onto a plain (not nonstick) frying pan since I don’t have a tin pan. I put it on the burner of my electric stove and turned the heat up to medium at first. As it started to brown I did as instructed in the recipe and kept moving the flour around so that the white flour in the centre moved to the edges to brown. I wasn’t sure exactly what colour I needed. I finally ended up with something resembling graham cracker crumbs. Once it was evenly brown I removed the pan from the heat and left it too cool. I’m not making gravy so I can’t test it that way but I will compare the taste of the flour before and after this treatment.

Miss McNaught is a frequent contributor to this cook book. In fact Frances “Fanny” McNaught is one of the editors of the book and I’ve talked about her many times.

You might also be wondering about a dredging box. You can still buy containers for dredging. They are usually round metal canisters like salt and pepper shakers but with bigger holes. They are usually kept near the area where they will be used. Dredgers containing sugar or icing sugar are handy when making cookies, cakes or doughnuts since you can simply sprinkle or dredge them with sugar. Flour dredgers are often near the stove so that you can quickly add some to thicken soups or stews or for browning meat or making gravy. I’m assuming a dredging box is the same idea but simply a wooden or metal box big enough to put a hand and grab some flour for the same sort of sprinkling. I suspect it might hang by the stove or sit on a shelf nearby.

The browned flour didn’t have the nutty flavour I expected but the browning gave it a slightly richer flavour. It certainly will add more colour to gravy and perhaps some more flavour too.

BROWNED FLOUR
Miss McNaught

This is to enrich the taste and improve the color of gravies, stews and soups. Sift some fine flour, spread it on a clean tin pan, place it on the fire so as to brown and not burn, it will color first at the edges; keep mixing it with the white from the centre. When it is nicely browned set it to cool, then put in a clean bottle and cork it, put some into a dredging box ready for use.

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Day 305: To Cook Corned Beef

I’m spending the weekend at my parents so I decided to try something different. However, they are without internet again so I’m keeping this short. I’m preparing Corned Beef using a recipe titled To Cook Corned Beef. There are several recipes in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) for turning meat into corned beef and just one for using it. The recipes for creating corned beef involve things like one hundred pounds of beef and the use of saltpetre. I certainly don’t have anyplace to put 100 lbs of meat and I’m not sure where to get saltpetre. One of the how to corn beef recipes was contributed by Mrs. Goldie and this one for how to use it appears to be a continuation of her recipe but there is another recipe from another contributor sitting between them so I can’t be sure.

I bought a package of corned beef brisket at the grocery store and brought it with me. I opened the package and put it in a pot. Although the recipe says to rinse the corned beef, I didn’t do it since the package mentioned cooking it in the liquid. I had to cut the meat in half so that it would fit in the pot. I poured 1 ½ quarts (6 cups) of water on top and added an onion, a peeled carrot and a bay leaf. I left the corned beef to cook without much attention for 3 hours but had to add more water at that point. I also turned over the meat to ensure it was evenly cooked. I removed the corned beef from the pot after four hours and set the carrot and onion beside it. I don’t have a press and I’m not even sure what sort of press is intended by the recipe writer. Is it like a cheese press or more like the weight placed on top of the crock of pickles?

Capture Corned BeefThe part that fascinates me most in the recipe is the idea that this is a pot roast but then that it needs to be cooled in the cooking liquid, pressed and then cut and served for tea. There are so many different pictures created by these instructions. I first expected a pot roast. Then that it is for a cold supper but what does the author mean by tea? Is this the working man’s evening meal? Is it a ladies mid afternoon tea with the meat used instead of sandwiches. Is it a high tea? This is one of the times when I know that I live in a different world from the women of 1898 Galt Ontario. Nearly everyone reading this recipe when the cook book was published would probably know exactly what to do with this corned beef. I’m even surprised there’s a recipe for how to cook it as I imagine it was quite common.

Corned Beef can 1898

Corned Beef can 1898

Canned corned beef was available and according to The Canadian Grocer magazine in 1898, the type packed by American companies sold at a higher price than Canadian types. The magazine mentioned the price had been even higher in May due to its use for rations for American soldiers in the Spanish-American war. It was also a big part of “the Klondyke [sic] trade” according to the magazine. It was sold in 1 lb, 2 lb, and 14 lb tins.

Without a press and being my usual impatient self, I sampled while the cooked corned beef was still warm. I had to run for a glass of water — not because it was too hot but because of the salt. This is salt meat and it is no wonder the recipe says to rinse it. Once I got past the saltiness, it is delicious. I love the way it can be pulled apart. The meat decreases a great deal in volume so I didn’t end up with as much meat as I’d feared when trying to fit it in the saucepan. My brother really liked my corned beef and packed up all the remainder to take home. This was a good thing to have simmering away on the stove all afternoon since it was a horrible day outside with the first snow and sleet of the season here.

TO COOK CORNED BEEF

It is then ready to cook, or it may be dried, if you please, like h tongue. If it is to be cooked, wash it, but do not soak it. Lay it in a pot that just fits it, and pour over it a quart and a half beef stock or water. When it begins to boil, skim well, add a small onion, a carrot, pieces of parsley and a bay leaf. Let it simmer gently for four and a half hour. Being careful that it does not boil down in the pot and burn. This is really a roast in the pot. Let it get cold in the liquid it was cooked in, then putting it in the press, pressing it without removing it from the liquid in the pot. Let it be pressed for twelve hours, and serve it sliced cold for tea.

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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.

POTTED MEAT, BEEF, VEAL, CHICKEN, OR VENISON
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 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.

A NICE BREAKFAST DISH
S.B.C.

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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