Category Archives: Soups

Day 360: Turkey Soup

Last night while putting away the leftovers from our wonderful Christmas dinner, an important question came up. What are we going to do with the carcass of the duck? Although we’d managed to carve most of the meat from the roast duck there was still meat on the bones. I checked the 1898 New Galt Cook Book and discovered the recipe for Turkey Soup could apply to duck too. Mrs. James Young contributed the recipe.

This afternoon I put the wings, legs, and body of the roast duck in a pot. I tried to break up the bones but they kept springing back so I put the main part in whole. I added 1 quart (4 cups) of water. I turned the heat low and left it to simmer for two hours. I checked on it every half hour or so to make sure the liquid wasn’t boiling away but it was fine. However, in the last half hour a family member wanted to be helpful and added more water. In the end it was fine since the next step involves adding some more liquid. I strained the soup and measured the broth. I put a quart of it into the clean soup pot and added 2 tablespoons rice, 1 onion chopped finely and then tried to figure out how much carrot to use. I started grating the carrot and used about two inches of carrot. The grated carrot eventually added colour to the broth. I left the soup to simmer for another hour and then once again strained the soup. I served the clear duck broth as a starter to our meal of leftovers so I had several tasters.

Mrs. James Young is a familiar name since she contributed so many recipes to this cook book. Margaret McNaught’s sister Frances was one of the editors and lived in the home of her sister and brother-in-law James Young. Although this household was prosperous they seem to have also been frugal. A soup like this fits this image since it uses leftovers but creates a broth suitable for guests.

Most of the tasters couldn’t tell that it was duck. It simply tastes like chicken broth and that it would make a good base for further additions. I’m going to keep the grated carrot trick in mind for future use. It is an easy way to add some colour to a bland looking broth. More and more evidence is showing that chicken soup is actually beneficial in dealing with a cold so we’re keeping the leftover broth on hand for medicinal purposes!

TURKEY SOUP
Mrs. James Young

Bones of fowl or turkey, carrot, onion, celery, rice, salt and pepper. This is an excellent way to use the remnants of fowls or turkey on which considerable meat remains. Put in the soup kettle the carcass, and any bits of stuffing or gravy that remains. Pour over it one quart of cold water. Let the bones simmer for two hours (break the bones before putting them into the water). At the end of two hours strain your stock, wash the pot and put back your stock and add to it more stock if you have it, and if not, add boiling water enough to make a good quart, also a slice of carrot grated, a small onion cut fine, a piece of celery (the coarse pieces may be used for soup), and two tablespoonfuls of rice. At the end of an hour strain again, and serve, salt and pepper to taste.

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Day 250: Hare or Rabbit Soup

My brother is helping me do some home repairs today and he’s willing to eat things like rabbit so I thought I’d make Hare or Rabbit Soup for him. I started by buying a fresh rabbit at the Kitchener market yesterday and after reading the recipe realized I needed to start it Saturday afternoon if we were going to have it for lunch or supper on Sunday. This recipe was contributed to The New Galt Cook Book (1898) by Mrs. Allenby.

The market rabbit was already “dressed” so I simply cut it up in small pieces (removing the kidneys, liver and heart that were still inside) and put it in a casserole dish since that’s the closest to a crock I have at the moment. Doing this sort of butchering isn’t easy for me but I persevered. I peeled an onion and stuck about 1 teaspoon of whole cloves in it and then put it in with the rabbit. I added enough water to cover the rabbit and onion, put on the lid, and put the dish in the oven at 200 F. I left it to cook overnight. I found it very difficult to go to bed with the oven on and made sure I topped up the water. I didn’t have celery when I started making the soup but bought some on Sunday, cooked it a bit, and added it then.

The casseroled rabbit was in the oven for 12 hours and was well cooked when I removed it. The meat was coming off the bone easily. I put the dish in the fridge to cool while we did various chores. To finish the recipe I removed it few hours before supper and took all the bones out. I wasn’t sure if the recipe meant I was only to keep the broth but decided to use the meat too. I put it back in the casserole dish minus the bones and added 1/2 pint (1 cup) of port. I was a bit sparing on the salt and pepper so that we could add it to our personal taste later. I put a tablespoon of flour in some water to make sure it was thoroughly dissolved and then poured it in. I stirred everything again and put it in the oven at 275 F. for about 1 1/2 hours. It was time to eat.

Mrs. Allenby’s first name is Betsy and her middle name begins with A. but I don’t know her surname. In 1891 Betsy (54) and her lawyer husband Frederick George Allenby (55) lived in Galt with their 19-year-old daughter Ruth and a 27-year-old domestic servant named Margaret Arthur. Both Betsy and Frederick were born in England and it isn’t clear exactly when they emigrated but it was before 1871. By 1901 Ruth is newly married and her parents have a 24-year-old servant named Lydia Scarrow. Earlier in 1881 their servant was 21 and named Catherine Peacock. The Allenby’s disappear after 1901 so I don’t know what happens to them.

Well, Mrs. Allenby’s rabbit soup is quite a bit like chicken soup. I served it with brown bread and it made a hearty meal. My brother’s friend joined us for supper since he’d never eaten rabbit and welcomed the opportunity to try it. He had THREE helpings!! I tasted the soup and it was okay but the mix of dark and light meat is not to my taste. I don’t like dark chicken meat either. I also left a bit too much fat in the soup. This was a farmed rabbit so the meat was more tender, fatty and probably less flavourful than a wild rabbit. My brother didn’t really like the soup at all. He didn’t like one flavour and I suspect it was the port. He’s eaten wild rabbit and figures the port might work with the stronger game flavour. I imagine this is a recipe that Mrs. Allenby knew from her youth in England. It has that feel to it.

HARE OR RABBIT SOUP
Mrs. Allenby

Hare or rabbit, salt, onion, one-half pint of port or native wine, flour, pepper, cloves, one head of celery. Thoroughly cleanse in salt and water, cut into very small pieces, put into the oven in a crock with an onion pierced with cloves, and one head of celery cut fine and sufficient water to cover (the water will decrease and a little more must be added), the crock, of course, to be covered. The oven must not be very hot, and the crock may be left in until the meat will slip from the bones, then taken out and the contents strained, return the soup to the crock, adding one-half pint of port or native wine, flour to thicken, pepper and salt to the taste, allowing to remain in the oven until it is ready to boil. This soup takes fully twenty-four hours in preparation.

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Day 164: Tomato Soup

I had dental work done today and was told I should have soup for supper. Most of the remaining soup recipes in the 1898 New Galt Cook Book require hours of preparation but I did find another Tomato Soup recipe and since I’m visiting my parents they will be tasters too. This one was contributed by Mrs. Porteous.

An ad encouraging grocers to buy their canned goods - including tomatoes - from this company in 1898.

An ad encouraging grocers to buy their canned goods – including tomatoes – from this company in 1898.

The recipe calls for a can of tomatoes. Is this a home canned jar of tomatoes or a commercial can? How big is it? I ended up using a commercial can and they were available in 1898. My parents live in the country and tonight has reminded me of the differences among the contributors and users of recipes in this cookbook. Their financial resources varied, the amenities in their kitchens, their tastes and the availability of ingredients too would vary. Just like today households in large communities had access to more goods and services but people in villages and rural areas often had more home-grown ingredients.

I opened a can of tomatoes and put them in a saucepan to heat. Once it boiled I removed it from the heat and strained it through a strainer. This seemed pointless until I realized how much smoother it was after this treatment. Next I added a teaspoon of baking soda. This is an amazing thing to see. I stirred it and it began to foam and bubble. I kept waiting for it to die down but the strained tomato remained almost “fluffy”. I added a tablespoon of butter and 4 cups (1 quart) of milk. It was time to add the seasoning. I put in salt and pepper but you could add any sort of herb too. I crushed half a sleeve of crackers and added them. I turned the heat back on and stirred until it boiled once more.  It was time to taste.

Is Mrs. Porteus Catherine wife of John in the 1891 census? She is 60 and he is 78. Or is it 40-year-old Elza wife of 60-year-old James. What about Susannah? She’s 47 and married to 53-year-old Alexander. All three couples live in Galt so all three women are contenders as the contributor of this recipe. I’ll have to do more research.

Ad for Van Camps Tomato Soup in The Canadian Grocer 1898

Ad for Van Camps Tomato Soup in The Canadian Grocer 1898

My parents and I enjoyed this soup. I’d skip the crackers and use more seasoning to suit my modern tastes but the soda helps eliminate the acid in the tomatoes. The result is a sweeter tomato taste. This isn’t going to appeal to everyone. If you like the acid of tomatoes than this soup will be too bland.  The milk also moderates the soup. You’ll like this version if you normally add milk when making up condensed tomato soup. I hate that style so this is not the perfect tomato soup for me but it was very nice on a night when I can’t eat solids.

TOMATO SOUP
Mrs. Porteous

Take a can of tomatoes, bring them to a boil and strain through a coarse strainer; add one teaspoonful of soda, and when the foaming ceases add a quart of ilk and a tablespoonful of butter. Season to taste, and thicken slightly with cracker crumbs; boil for a few moments and serve.

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Day 142: Asparagus Soup

It’s another chilly soup day so I’m going to make Asparagus Soup using a recipe Mrs. James Young contributed to the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.

Asparagus Soup recipe.

Asparagus Soup recipe.

I started by searing a piece of round steak and then covering it in water. I left it to simmer for 2 hours. Once the broth was nice and rich, I  removed the meat, added the asparagus tips and left it all to simmer. Once the asparagus had dissolved I added the rest of the chopped asparagus stalks to the beef broth and asparagus tips. I seasoned it all with some salt and pepper and prepared to sample it.

Mrs. James Young is probably familiar to regular readers since I’ve written about her many times. She has many recipes in this cook book and was likely very well known in the community of Galt.

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

This soup was much richer tasting than I expected. I’m used to creamy asparagus soup rather than a broth based one. A modern cook could probably make it using prepared broth but it was nice to make it from scratch. It also reminded me that asparagus makes a good addition to other sorts of meals and pairs well with beef. With so much wonderful asparagus around right now use this recipe to inspire your creativity!

ASPARAGUS SOUP

Mrs. James Young

A piece of beef or mutton; a quantity of fresh asparagus; a few slices of toast. Make in the usual way a nice rich soup of beef or mutton seasoned with salt and pepper After it has been well boiled and skimmed and he meat is all to pieces, strain the soup into another pot (or wash out the same one) and return the liquid. Have ready a quantity of fresh asparagus with the stalks cut off close to the green tops; it should have been lying in cold water all the time the meat was boiling. Put into the soup half the asparagus tops and boil them in it till entirely dissolved, then add the remaining asparagus to the soup (having previously boiled them in a pan by themselves until they are tender but not broken). Give the whole a boil together. Make some nice slices of toast  with the crust cut off dip them a minute in hot water. Butter them and lay at the bottom of the tureen and pour the soup upon them. This is nice soup for company.

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Day 140: White Soup

Today became a typical rainy spring day. There’s a slight chill in the air which gives me the excuse to make soup. Most of the soup recipes in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) require hours and hours of cooking but I did find a recipe for White Soup that I can prepare and eat tonight.

Ad for Potatoes in May 20, 1898 Canadian Grocer magazine.

Ad for Potatoes in May 20, 1898 Canadian Grocer magazine.

I started by putting 2 quarts (8 cups) of water to boil in a large pot. Next I weighed four ounces of small tapioca so that I could get it soaking. I looked at my potatoes and realized they were starting to sprout a little so I peeled them before chopping the six potatoes and adding them to the pot. I also prepared the four onions and put them in the pot too. I left it to boil for 45 minutes. It was challenging to sieve the potatoes and onions.  A modern cook might want to try pureeing with a blender or mixer. I added a couple of tablespoons of butter, plus some pepper and salt, and finally the soaked tapioca. I left it to cook for fifteen minutes and kept stirring in case it burned. The soup quickly thickened with the tapioca. I’d expected the tapioca pearls to disappear but they were still visible. When the time was up I slowly added 1 1/2 pints (3 cups) of milk and let it come back to nearly boiling before removing the soup from the burner. It was time to taste.

There seems to be just one Risk family in Galt in the 1891 census. Mrs. Risk is Mary Miller Elliott the daughter of Thomas and Mary. She was born around 1866 and married Charles Muirhead Risk on Christmas Day 1889. They lived with Mary’s parents and brother and sister for a while. Charles worked as a machinist. The couple eventually had three children and later had various relatives living with them too. Mary was 59 when she died of Bright’s disease in 1924.

White Soup

White Soup

White Soup is a surprise.  Originally I thought I’d like it. I tasted it after the potatoes and onions were sieved and the butter, salt and pepper were added. It was very good. Then as it cooked I started dreading it. The addition of tapioca made the soup glutinous and rather disgusting looking. I dreaded the end result but adding the milk made a difference in the texture of the soup and so I prepared a bowl to taste. It was pretty good. I added a bit more salt and pepper and a tiny bit of butter and it was quite good. I preferred the simple plain soup but I guess there is a place for white soup. I keep trying to imagine Mary Risk serving it. Is this soup for a special company meal or every day family dining? Is it a starter or the main part of the meal?

WHITE SOUP
Mrs. Risk

Cut up six potatoes, four onions, put into two quarts of boiling water. Boil three-quarters of an hour. Rub vegetables through sieve and put the paste back into water again, add butter, pepper, salt to taste. Then boil four ounces of tapioca in it for fifteen minutes; the tapioca requires soaking; add one and a half pints of milk, and when fully heated through serve.

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Day 70: Macaroni Soup

I wanted something a bit quick to make tonight and that I could take for lunch tomorrow. For a while I’ve been eyeing this recipe for Macaroni Soup in the 1898 New Galt Cook Book and decided to try it now. The recipe was contributed by Mrs. A. Taylor.

One stick of "macaroni"

One stick of “macaroni”

I used the same type of macaroni that I used previously for the macaroni and cheese recipe on day 61. I weighed the macaroni. It was about two handfuls of the big long tubular macaroni pasta to get four ounces. I broke it into smaller pieces and started a pot of water boiling (about 8 cups). Once it was ready I tossed in the macaroni.

Onion stuck with cloves

Onion stuck with cloves

I peeled an onion and stuck five cloves around it and then put it in the water. Finally I added the 1 ounce (1 tablespoon) of butter. I left it to boil for about 8 minutes. The smell of cloves and onions was quite strong but I really wonder if it was infusing into the pasta.

Boiling the macaroni

Boiling the macaroni

Once the pasta was tender I removed the onion and poured away the water. That seemed silly since it had a nice flavour from the onion, cloves and butter. However, I followed the recipe. I got the pasta reasonably dry and put it back in the pot. I still am not entirely sure what Mrs. Taylor means by “clear soup gravy”.  Do you? I decided to use some chicken broth and thicken it slightly. I added 8 cups (2 quarts) of the broth and left it to simmer for ten minutes. I prepared a serving and was ready to sample.

Mrs. A. Taylor contributed more than fifty recipes to the cook book including one for chicken broth. She seems to have shared recipes for many different sorts of food including desserts, meat, seafood, eggs, preserves, salads, and of course soup. Many of the recipes seem to be intended for serving to guests but others are more everyday types.

Macaroni Soup

Macaroni Soup

This version of macaroni soup really depends on the broth for flavour. I really couldn’t detect much hint of onion or cloves in the macaroni. Most of the taste of this very basic soup comes from the broth so choose carefully. I think I probably should have broken the macaroni into tiny pieces so that it was easier to eat. The way I prepared the soup it would be challenging to eat with any grace. Is this a soup intended for every day or for company? I’d assumed it was going to be a special soup but it really is just a basic broth based soup. Broth or consomme was served to start an elegant meal to whet the appetite. This type of soup wouldn’t fill you but would set the tone for the rest of the meal. I guess Mrs. A Taylor’s Macaroni Soup could qualify for this role.

MACARONI SOUP
Mrs. A. Taylor

Four ounces macaroni, one large onion, five cloves, one ounce butter, two quarts clear soup gravy. Put into a stew-pan of boiling water the macaroni, butter and onion, in which the cloves are stuck. When the macaroni has become quite tender, drain it very dry and pour on it two quarts clear gravy soup. Let it simmer ten minutes, taking care not to let it become a pulp.

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Day 55: Chicken Broth and How to Draw a Fowl

Stewing Chicken

Stewing Chicken

I bought a chicken at the Kitchener Market on Saturday. It was labeled as a stewing hen and an old one at that, so it is perfect for making a rich tasting chicken broth. Stocks and broth are an important base for some of the savoury recipes in The New Galt Cook Book (1898). Although today we can buy a carton or can of broth, homemade was the main option at the end of the 19th century. I’m using Mrs. A. Taylor‘s recipe for Chicken Broth but I’m also going to share some of the information about Poultry from The New Galt Cook Book including How to Draw a Fowl. That is not about art but about butchering. No contributor is attributed to this information.

How do you buy chicken? Today we have a number of choices when buying chicken but the one most of us never see, at least not in Waterloo Region, is the opportunity to turn a live chicken into supper. We don’t even see poultry that resembles the bird. There are no feathers on our chickens and unless you enter some specialty stores poultry doesn’t even have feet or heads. Many people buy chicken parts — a package of boneless breast, chicken wings, or thighs — rather than a whole roasting or stewing bird.

One of the most memorable meals I ever had was in the north-eastern part of Thailand. Everything served had been grown, raised and cooked right there by the farmer — an amazing woman raising a family on her own — and that included the chicken. It had been running around the yard a short time before it became supper. The feathers and blood were saved and each part of the bird was cooked including the feet.

Chicken in the pot

Chicken in the pot

In the 1890s the chicken dinner could come from the yard or from a butcher shop or market stall like this at the Berlin Ontario Market. The information about how to Draw a Fowl would be useful for anyone who was buying a live or partially prepared chicken like in this photo from the Byward Market in Ottawa in the 1920s. Fortunately the chicken I bought had been killed, plucked, and cleaned (drawn) so I just needed to cut it up — a more challenging task than I expected. A sharp knife is important and I found it difficult to cut through the skin. I realized that I’ve always cut a chicken after it was cooked. I managed to split it open and partially remove the wings and legs. I put the chicken in a stewing pot and added 6 cups (3 pints) of cold water. I put the pot on the stove and turned the heat to medium.

Chicken and rice

Chicken and rice

I measured half a cup of rice and put it in with the chicken. I decided to use rice in honour of that long ago chicken meal in Thailand. I added a few shakes of salt and covered the pot. I turned the heat down and left it to simmer for one hour. Close your eyes and imagine the smell — a very nice chicken soup smell. After an hour, I removed the chicken to a plate and poured the broth in a large bowl. I had to scoop some of the rice out of the chicken. I added pepper to the broth and put a bit of butter on the plated chicken. It was time for sampling.

Mrs. A. Taylor contributed many recipes and I’ve already made several of them. Until her marriage to Alfred Taylor a dry goods merchant she was known as Maggie (Margaret) Fisher. By the time this cook book appears she is a well established Galt matron living in a lovely home on Grand Avenue in Galt. Her card is one of the visiting cards saved by the Stirling McGregor family and donated to the Cambridge Archives. Just imagine her coming out of her home to pay a call on Mrs. McGregor. You can see the house here.

Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

I’m not sure how Mrs. A. Taylor (Maggie) served her chicken broth but it is very good. This sort of simple soup could be served at the beginning of a family or company meal. There’s nothing really different about it but it is nice to know everything that went into the broth. I don’t know the history of the chicken but at least I know the rest of the ingredients. This broth makes a good base for other soup recipes and it is basically chicken and rice soup. The rice was starting to get mushy. Add it a little later in the cooking time if you prefer a firmer rice in your soup.

Chicken with butter

Chicken with butter

The chicken meat however was tough. I think it needs to cook longer than one hour indicated in Mrs. A.Taylor’s recipe. The chicken was cooked but wasn’t tender. Give the Chicken Broth recipe a try if you can find a flavourful chicken and be grateful you don’t need the other recipes.

POULTRY

To judge the age of a fowl touch the end of the breast bone; if it bends easily from side to side the fowl is young.
The skin of the chicken should be firm, smooth and white.
If a fowl is tough rub it inside with a teaspoonful of baking soda, being careful to wipe it off before cooking it; it is also good for tough meat.
Lumps of charcoal put with fowls when they are a little tainted will restore the flavor.
Slices of lemon cut into small pieces and stirred into drawn butter and allowed to come to the boiling point, served with fowl is a fine addition.
The inside of poultry should be ribbed with salt after it is drawn.

TO DRAW A FOWL

It is not every housekeeper that understands how to draw a fowl so that all the interior parts come out in one piece. In order to do this, first split the skin on the back of the neck and turn it back over the neck. Loosen the pipes around the neck with the finger. Remove all fat that can be reached under the skin and lay it aside for use. When this is done, cut with a sharp-pointed knife from the leg to and around the vent, in order to open the chicken. Pass the hand up the back of the chicken on the inside carefully till you reach two little ligaments near the wings, which seem to bind the intestines down to the back. Loosen them and pull slowly and firmly, and all the pipes in the neck, with the entire mass of intestines, will come out together without breaking. When they are on a plate it is easy enough to cut out the gall bladder and separate the liver and other giblets from the parts that are to be thrown away. The fat of poultry should always be taken out of the bird, because it gives a strong taste if cooked in it, but it should be saved, as it has many uses in cookery, except in the case of turkeys, geese and ducks, when it is too strong. Goose oil is saved for medicinal purposes by prudent mothers, and that of turkeys and ducks may well be added to the soap-fat can.

CHICKEN BROTH
Mrs. A. Taylor

One chicken, three pints of water half a teacupful of pearl barley or rice, pepper and salt. Cut up the chicken put it in the cold water with the barley or rice and salt, cover it close and let it simmer for an hour, add pepper to your taste. The chicken my be placed on a plate with pieces of butter over it.

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