Tag Archives: Cambridge

Day 10 Soup in Haste

Today I spent a good part of the afternoon at the Cambridge Archives so I’m making Soup in Haste from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. It looks like it will be a recipe I can prepare quickly. The cook book contains a few recipes that help use up leftovers and this is one of them. No one has taken credit for the recipe so instead I’ll be talking a bit about what I learned at the archives today.

Toast triangles ready for the soup.

Toast triangles ready for the soup.

I had some leftover cooked chicken breast so I weighed it ,and found I had about half a pound, therefore I’ve cut the recipe in half. I chopped the meat and put it in a soup pot along with one ounce (1 tablespoon) of butter. I turned the heat to low on my electric stove and let the butter melt a bit while the kettle boiled. I shook some salt and pepper over the meat and butter, as well as sprinkling 1/2 tablespoon of flour over it all. Then I poured in half a quart (2 cups) of boiling water. I covered the pot and let it simmer away for 30 minutes before straining. I toasted some bread and cut it into triangles — the result of a failed attempt to cut diamonds. I put the bread pieces in the bottom of my bowl and poured the strained soup over it. I was a bit doubtful but prepared myself to taste.

City of Cambridge archivist Lynn Griggs helped me navigate their online catalogue. Today Galt is part of Cambridge so this is the place to find all sorts of material. I discovered they had an 1898 census of children for Galt and that there was a collection of visiting cards at the archives. From the catalogue listing it looked like some of the cards belonged to women connected to The New Galt Cook Book. Lynn found the two documents for me and I began to pore over the children’s census. It was made in connection with regulations about school attendance so it lists children between the ages of 8 and 14 plus their parent/guardian and their street. I wrote down everyone that could be remotely connected to the cook book. I’m hoping that it will help me narrow down the possibilities for common surnames and it helps bring a little more life to some of the contributors.

The visiting cards come from the estate of Stirling Macgregor. A Mrs. Macgregor contributed recipes and so did many of the women who left visiting cards at her home. Some of the cards are printed with the woman’s name while others have been written by hand. Occasionally a special message is included and several cards have black borders which I believe are connected to mourning. Some list a day of the week which usually indicates the day the woman would be “at home” to visitors. Mrs. J. T. Macgregor was at home on Friday while Mrs. Main’s card lists Tuesday. Sometimes an unmarried daughter is accompanying her mother when paying calls so her name is written by hand on her mother’s pre-printed card. Sometimes P. P. C. was written on the lower corner of the card. According to Emily Post’s 1922 etiquette guide, P.P.C. stands for pour prendre congĂ© — to take leave. It is written on the card when left at the door or sent by mail before leaving for the season, or for good. It is hard to describe the feeling I had as I held each card in my hand knowing it had also been held by a woman connected to this cook book or one of her friends. The engraved cards give me a sense of a woman who might have some money. The cards with hand written signatures occasionally gave a glimpse of her personality. Some signatures had lots of flourishes while others were written very carefully. Some had large signatures while others are small. Of course, they are all intended to give a good impression. I suspect that at least ten of the cards belong to women who contributed recipes. Did one of them share Soup in Haste but preferred to remain anonymous?

Soup in Haste ready to eat.

Soup in Haste ready to eat.

I don’t like soggy bread so I tasted my soup and bread as soon as possible. It was surprisingly good. I thought the broth would be bland but I had added the right amount of salt and pepper for my taste and there was a pronounced chicken flavour. It seemed wasteful to strain all the meat so after my first few tastes I put it back in the soup. I think my frugal Scots roots are showing. I even liked the bread bits when they were soggy. This is a very simple and quick way to use up some leftover meat . . . and it was especially soothing on a foggy slushy day when my cold decided to reassert itself. A modern cook might want to add some herbs, if you have them on hand, and of course the macaroni would have added some more bulk to the soup. I was too lazy tonight to cook the macaroni so I had the soup plain. As a modern cook you could even add some left over rice or vegetables to the soup. It is well named as it was prepped, cooked and served in about 45 minutes.


One pound of cold cooked meat, two ounces of butter, one tablespoonful flour, one quart water and a few slices of browned bread. Chop your meat very fine and put it into the stew-pan with the butter; pepper and salt to taste. Dredge over it a tablespoonful of flour, add a good quart of boiling water, cover it close, set it over a moderate fire for half an hour, strain it, toast some pieces of bread, cut them into squares or diamonds, put them into a tureen and pour the soup over it. Macaroni boiled tender may be put into the soup ten minutes before serving. Time, half hour.



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Day 7 Cure for a Cold

Sorry, this is not a way to warm up the weather. Instead it is supposed to help cure the cold virus that waylaid me yesterday. A recipe for Cure for a Cold was contributed by Mrs. Richard Jaffray for the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.

Boiling Flax Seed

Boiling Flax Seed

I weighed two ounces of flax seed and it equals 5 tablespoons. I put the seed in a pot with one quart (4 cups) of water and let it boil. Unfortunately I got sidetracked and let it boil for about 30 minutes and some boiled over. Although I lost a bit it was still fine. I strained this incredibly gelatinous mass to end up with a liquid that looked like clear mucus — at least to my congested view.

Sugar chunks.

Sugar chunks.

I put the liquid back in the pot and added 1/2 pint (1 cup) of honey. I didn’t have rock candy so I simply added two ounces (4 tablespoons) of white sugar. My sugar had clumped up so it seemed a bit like rock candy. Finally I squeezed the juice from three lemons. I try to have the lemons at room temperature and roll them a bit before I cut them and squeeze the juice.

Straining the "Cure"

Straining the “Cure”

I stirred the “mess” together and let it boil for about five minutes. The texture had changed completely. Instead of gloop plus honey with lemon juice floating on top no matter how much I stirred, the heat melted everything and it blended well. I strained it again and poured it into a bottle. I poured out half a cup while it was hot and drank it before my meal.

Mrs. Richard Jaffray would have been a familiar name in Galt in 1898. She started life as Mary Havill. Born in 1848 in Galt Ontario to English-born parents, she was the middle child and only girl. Mary had two older brothers and two younger brothers. She must have met and married Richard Jaffray sometime before 1870 when their first child was born. The woman who had four brothers ended up raising three daughters. Her husband was a printer and a public official. He took a turn as mayor of Galt and was a reeve for seven years. After his death in 1901, Mary and two of the girls continued to live in Galt. The 1921 census shows them living at 80 Blair Road and that is where Mary was living when she died the next year.

Bottle of Cure for a Cold

Bottle of Cure for a Cold

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this “cold cure”. The Berlin Cook Book had a recipe for a cough cure that seemed to soothe my sore throat and that of others who tried it. Mrs. Jaffray’s recipe uses similar ingredients but requires the sufferer to drink a larger quantity and to ensure it is hot. My first sip was great and I was skeptical that it would do any good. I could taste the honey and the lemon but then it seemed to be both tart and sweet at the same time. Now it seemed like medicine. And yet soon my stuffy nose was less congested. I coughed a bit and my chest didn’t feel so congested. Maybe this stuff was working! I struggled to drink an entire 1/2 cup of the cold cure. It doesn’t taste terrible but it puckers the mouth. I can’t imagine I’ll be able to drink an entire cup of it before bed but I might just sip 1/2 cup. Last night I drank a commercial hot lemon cold remedy. Maybe I’ll try this one instead. I doubt it will “cure” my cold but it might make it more bearable. I’ll let you know.

Mrs. Richard Jaffray

Boil two ounces flaxseed in one quart of water, strain and add two ounces of rock candy, one-half pint of honey, juice of three lemons; mix and let all boil well, let cool and bottle. Dose, one cupful on going to bed, one-half cupful before meals, the hotter you drink it the better.

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Day 5 Tomato Soup

Yes, I am making Tomato Soup today. Did you see the weather outside? This seems like the perfect recipe after coming home from work and then shovelling snow. It was contributed to the 1898 New Galt Cook Book by Mrs. A. Laidlaw.

I emptied a quart of stewed tomatoes into a pot and then added the same amount of water. One teaspoon of sugar and one tablespoon of butter went in next. I mixed 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn starch in some water and stirred it all together. I left it to simmer away for about half an hour. I seasoned it with the pinch of cayenne pepper plus salt and pepper before curling up with a bowl of this soup and some crackers.

Mrs. A. Laidlaw might be Clara Galloway Laird wife of Andrew Laidlaw. If Clara is the correct Mrs. Laidlaw then her life was more exciting than her recipe, or perhaps the cayenne pepper reveals her nature. Clara and Andrew were 20 and 23 when they married in Hamilton. They moved to Woodstock where Andrew was involved in the printing and newspaper business. Their two daughters were born there. Eventually they moved to Galt where according to Waterloo Region Generations Andrew was the publisher of The Reformer newspaper. Next the family moves west to Rossland in British Columbia and eventually to Spokane Washington in the United States. Clara died in Vancouver at the age of 91. I’m looking forward to finding out more about this family.

Mrs. A. Laidlaw's Tomato Soup.

Mrs. A. Laidlaw’s Tomato Soup.

Mrs. A. Laidlaw’s Tomato Soup recipe time travels just fine. This is a nice easy soup with a great deal of scope for a modern cook. The simple addition of cayenne pepper perks up the soup. Even a canned tomato soup could be livened up with cayenne. This particular spice was very popular in 1906 Berlin Ontario — at least based on my experience cooking everyday in 2012 from The Berlin Cook Book. It will not be a surprise if it is also popular in 1898 Galt. The soup was a bit thin so next time I’ll cut back on the water. That way I can add more liquid later if needed.

Mrs. A. Laidlaw
One quart stewed tomatoes, one uart of water, one and one-half tablespoonfuls of corn starch, one teaspoonful sugar one good tablespoonful of butter, one pinch cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Boil up and serve. Dissolve the corn starch in a little water before putting in the soup.


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