Tag Archives: Jaffray

Day 356: Christmas Cake

I know some of you prefer a nice dark fruitcake and I think Mrs. Richard Jaffray‘s recipe for Christmas Cake in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) might be that kind.

Ad for fruitcake ingredients in The Canadian Grocer magazine December 1898.

Ad for fruitcake ingredients in The Canadian Grocer magazine December 1898.

Since I made another fruitcake a few days ago I’m going to cut this one in half so that my family won’t hate me when I present them with three kinds of fruitcake (light, medium, and dark). Mrs. Jaffray’s recipe has some very specific directions so I’ll try to follow them exactly. I creamed 1/2 pound (1 cup) of butter and 1/2 pound (8 ounces) of sugar. Then I started added the 4 eggs one by one, stirring after each. Next it was 1/4 cup of molasses. I completely forgot to dissolve the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda or even add it at all! I kept thinking it was interesting there was no leavening. Now I realize I missed that direction but I did remember to add the 1/4 cup of brandy.

Once the more liquid ingredients were ready I weighed 1/2 pound (8 ounces) of flour and added 1 teaspoon mace, 1 teaspoon nutmeg and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Then I mixed the spicy flour into the rest of the cake. Finally I weighed 1 pound currants, 1 pound raisins, 1/4 pound (4 ounces) citron, and 1/2 pound (8 ounces) of chopped figs and added it all to the cake. It was a challenging cake to mix since it was so heavy with dried fruit. Once it was well blended I spooned the mixture into three loaf pans and baked them at 325 F. for 45 minutes. I could probably have used just two pans but I was concerned about cooking the centres of such a dense mixture. Once they were out of the oven I let them cool a little and then cut my first slice at 11:45 pm. It’s been a long day but I was looking forward to tasting this cake especially since I made the baking soda mistake.

Mrs. Richard Jaffray is Mary Havel (Havill). She was born in 1848 somewhere in Ontario most likely Galt since she was living there for the census when she was four. Her mother was Maryann and her father James was a plasterer. By 1871 she’d married Richard Jaffray and they had a one year old daughter named Mary Gertrude. Richard was born in England but his heritage is Scottish and he was a printer in Galt. They eventually had two more daughters Kate Fleury and Minnie. Richard became the proprietor of a newspaper. They lived next door to Mary’s parents in 1891. Unlike many of the other contributors this family’s religious was the Church of England (Anglican) rather than Presbyterian. At 64 Richard died of kidney disease the year this cookbook was published. Mary and two of her daughters continued to share the house until Mary’s death in 1922 when she was 73.

Mrs. Jaffray’s Christmas Cake is probably an acquired taste but I liked it. It is more dense than Mrs. Jaffray intended since I forgot to add the baking soda but it is also nice and moist. Some day I’ll try the proper way but in the meantime this is a good fruitcake. It is buttery which make the top of the cake a bit crispy, including the fruit. I like it that way. The figs are probably the most challenging part of the cake but they add an interesting flavour as well as their seedy texture. Although the cake is sweet it seems to come more from the fruit than the sugar or molasses. The brandy flavour enhances the cake and I can imagine Mrs. Jaffray in the weeks before Christmas “feeding” her fruit cake by wrapping it in a brandy soaked cloth.

If you try Mrs. Jaffray’s Christmas Cake let me know how it turns out when soda is added and what you think of the taste. I think it can time travel into the hands of 21st century fruitcake lovers but each person seems to have their favourite kind of fruitcake.

CHRISTMAS CAKE
Mrs. Richard Jaffray

One pound butter, one pound sugar, one pound flour, two pounds currants, two pounds raisins, one-half pound citron, eight eggs, one-half cup molasses, one teaspoonful soda dissolved in the molasses, two teaspoonfuls each of nutmeg, mace and cinnamon, one half cup of brandy, one pound figs. Mix butter and sugar to a cream, then add eggs slowly, then the molasses and brandy, then flour, and last of all fruit.

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Day 330 Potato Salad

Well, here we are at day 330. It’s been a while since I looked at the Salads section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898), probably because I tend to think of salads as a summer food. However, several of the salads in the cook book could be eaten anytime. The Potato Salad recipe I’m going to make tonight is such an example. The recipe was contributed by Mrs. Richard Jaffray and Mrs. Sylvester.

I have some potatoes already boiled so the first step is to slice them. Then I’m going to make the dressing so it has time to cool. However, I only have 3 potatoes so I’m going to cut this recipe. I beat1 egg and then sprinkled in some salt, pepper, sugar, and a dollop of prepared mustard. I poured a small amount of vinegar in and then some hot water. I cooked it until it was like custard before I added some cream. I set it aside to cool. I minced up a bit of onion and found some walnuts. I’m ready to put this all together. First I put some sliced potatoes in and then a bit of onion, dressing and potatoes and finally walnuts. I didn’t bother garnishing it with anything other than walnuts since I don’t like pickles or cucumbers. My cold place is the fridge. It is time to taste.

This is one of the recipes affected by the editors’ decision to eliminate duplicates for the 1898 edition of The Galt Cook Book. Therefore, it is attributed to two women. Mrs. Richard Jaffray and Mrs. Sylvester. Mary Havel (or Havill) was born in 1848 in Galt. Around 1870 she married Richard Jaffray and they had three daughters. He died the year this cookbook was published and Mary remained a widow for the rest of her life. She died in 1922.

Mrs. Sylvester is likely Charlotte “Lottie” Catherine Alma Reed was born in Bowmanville Ontario in 1854. She married George Perry Sylvester in 1977. He was an allopathic doctor and they had four daughters and possibly a son too. One of their daughters died when she was ten years old but the others grew up and married. George died in 1924 and Charlotte died in 1933,

My dressing was a bit odd but I like the addition of walnuts in my potato salad. It provides crunch and protein. Someday I’m going to try the dressing again and keep better track of the amounts I used. This salad would look nice in a glass bowl.

POTATO SALAD
Mrs. Richard Jaffray and Mrs. Sylvester

Take eight or ten potatoes, boiled, slice very thin, and have ready some blanched almonds or shelled walnuts (about a large half cupful), slice a piece of onion very fine or grate it. A salad dressing made of three eggs (well beaten), mustard, pepper, vinegar, sugar and salt to taste; stir in hot water until thick as custard, then add rich cream; put a layer of potatoes, just a sprinkle of onion, then dressing, then potatoes, then walnut, dressing until your dish is full; garnish with cucumber, pickle and walnuts, or nuts alone. Put on ice or in a very cold place until required.

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Day 118: Gingerbread

Today the wind is gusting and various parts of my neighbours’ houses are banging in the wind. It reminds me of November weather instead of the end of April so I’m going to make Mrs. Richard Jaffray‘s Gingerbread recipe from The New Galt Cook Book (1898).

I made a cup of tea and let it cool. I also creamed the 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of white sugar together and then added 1 egg. Once they were well blended I added 1 cup molasses. I mixed in 2 teaspoons of baking soda and then alternated the tea and flour. I ended up using 4 cups of all purpose flour to get a batter that seemed the right texture. I spread the batter in a greased rectangular pan. It baked for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. I was looking forward to sampling this gingerless gingerbread. Did you notice there isn’t any spice in this recipe. I’m not sure if it was deliberately not included or if it was missed. I decided to follow the recipe as written.

Mrs. Richard Jaffray is Mary Havill (or Havel). She was born in 1848 in Galt. Her parents James and Mary Ann were born in England and her father worked as a plasterer. Mary married Richard Jaffray sometime before 1869 when she was about twenty. He’d been born in England like her parents but his occupation is a printer. Eventually he was the mayor of Galt. Mary and Richard had three daughters and in 1891 they were still in their teens or early twenties living at home. The middle girl was teaching and the household included a lodger named Kate Nairn who was 45. They also had two domestic servants Margaret Kerr (47) and Annie Underhill (24). The eldest died in her early thirties of nervous prostration after several years according to the death register. Mary died in 1922.

Although there isn’t any ginger in this gingerbread it still seems like gingerbread. I assume that is due to the molasses. Could the tea have anything to do with it? Why was it included? I have no idea. I was really surprised that I liked this cake. I’d make it again simply for the novelty of a cake containing tea but it is also a very good dessert.

GINGERBREAD
Mrs. Richard Jaffray

One egg, well beaten, one cupful molasses, one cupful sugar, one cupful butter, one cupful cold tea, two even teaspoonfuls soda, flour enough to make the right consistency.

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Day 57: Cake without Eggs

I’ve run out of eggs something that also could happen in the 1890s. Therefore the recipe Cake without Eggs caught my eye tonight. Mrs. Richard Jaffray contributed this recipe to the 1898 New Galt Cook Book.

I creamed the 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 cups of white granulated sugar together. In a separate bowl I mixed the 3 cups of all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder. I decided to add the spices to the flour. I chose 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a few shakes of cloves. I added the 1 cup of milk alternately with the flour until it was well mixed. I chopped raisins until I had 1 cup and then mixed them with a bit of flour before adding to the cake batter — well really it was a dough. I tasted the dough to see if I needed more spice and decided to add a little more cloves. I spooned the dough into a loaf pan. I’m not sure why I picked a loaf pan rather than a cake tin. I think it was the nature of the cake since it resembled cookie or bread dough. I baked the cake at 350 F for 45 minutes before removing it from the oven. I let it cool briefly but I really wanted to taste this cake so it was still warm when I took my first slice.

I talked about Mrs. Richard Jaffray on Day 7 but I’ve found a bit more information.  She is Mary Havill (or Havel), daughter of James and Mary Ann Havill. Her English-born husband Richard Jaffray was involved in local politics and was in the newspaper business. He died the year this cook book was published. They had three daughters none of whom married. The eldest Mary Gertrude died in 1900 at the age of 31 of “nervous prostration” after several years. I’d never seen that particular illness on a death record although I’ve seen the term used in other contexts. It turns out it is not unusual to see it as a cause of death. There seems to have been a recognition in the Victorian era that one could die from emotional disorders. Did she have another illness that was missed? Was this anxiety or depression the result of some other disorder? Or did she simply fade away while suffering some loss?

The second daughter Kate Fleury remained single and was a registrar at Galt Collegiate Institute. The youngest Minnie was a music teacher. In 1901 the household included Mary and her daughters Kate and Minnie plus a 52-year-old woman named Kate B Nairn who is listed as a companion. She disappears for the 1911 census but that is the only change right through the 1921 census. Mary died the next year in 1922. Fifty year old Minnie died in 1929 from pneumonia and influenza. She was a matron at the posh Toronto girls’ school Havergal College at the time. Thirty years later Kate died at age 87. Her death notice appeared in the Barrie Examiner

Cake without Eggs

Cake without Eggs

The Cake without Eggs is an acceptable cake. It isn’t a special occasion cake but the sort of everyday basic cake Mrs. Jaffray or a servant could make quickly if they were running short of something to serve for tea or dessert. She didn’t even need to have eggs on hand to make this cake. It seems most basic cook books of this era have at least one eggless cake recipe. I’ve even seen a few eggless, butterless and milkless cake recipes. I should have baked Mrs. Jaffray’s cake in a square or round cake pan rather than in a loaf. It would have baked more quickly. I was too skimpy with my spices and if I was baking this as a modern cook I would add more raisins. I tried a slice of the cake warm with butter and found it works well as a sort of tea bread too. I’ll try this recipe again sometime.

CAKE WITHOUT EGGS
Mrs. Richard Jaffray

One and a half cupfuls sugar, half cupful butter, one cupful milk, three cupfuls flour, two teaspoonfuls baking powder, one cupful chopped raisins well floured and added the last thing before putting into the oven. Spices to taste.

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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.

CURE FOR A COLD
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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