Tag Archives: S.B.C.

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

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


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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Day 318: Dishes of Prunes

I’m busy today getting ready to deliver a cooking workshop tomorrow so it is a good day to make something from the 1898 New Galt Cook Book that requires little attention. I decided to make Dishes of Prunes. It’s another recipe from the anonymous contributor named S. B. C.



I wanted to try this with just a small amount of prunes so I took a handful and put them in a bowl of cool water to soak. One of the differences between 1898 and 2014 is the cleanliness of our ingredients. Often recipes talk about cleaning dried fruits since they could be shipped and stored in less than ideal situations. My prunes are clean and quite soft so they didn’t require a long soaking. I drained the soaked prunes and put them in a saucepan. I poured on enough water to just cover the prunes and left them to simmer for an hour. I stirred occasionally during that time and when they started to become a paste I added a touch of sugar. I let the prunes cook longer and then removed the pan from the stove. This is a nice thick jam. It is time to taste.

As mentioned S.B.C. is a mystery person. Based on information in the Canadian Grocer trade magazine of 1898, prunes were coming from California, France and Bosnia.

If you like prunes or even plums you’ll probably like this spread. It is nice and thick and the dark colour is a change. I liked it and it is nice to be able to change the amount of sugar depending on how it will be used. I dont’ know when I’ll have a tea party but hopefully I’ll remember S.B.C.’s recipe and prepare a dish of prunes.


To prepare them for stewing they should first be thoroughly washed, then soaked for four or five hours in just cold water enough to cover them. When ready to be cooked put them on the stove and bring them as quickly as possible to the boiling point, then let them simmer for several hours. The sugar necessary to sweeten them should be added about half an hour before they are removed from the fire. This makes a thick rich marmalade, which is delicious for a filling or tarts or to serve alone as a preserve on the tea table. It may also b strained, sweetened more and cooked down till it is thick enough to use as a jam filling between cakes.

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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.


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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Day 267: Succotash

Sufferin’ succotash. I know this as a saying rather than an actual food. At least that was the case until 2012 when I prepared succotash using a recipe in The Berlin Cook Book (1912). I discovered it was good but still haven’t made it again … until tonight. I’ve decided to try the Succotash recipe in the Vegetable section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898). This is another recipe from the mysterious S.B.C.

Lima Beans in Peter Henderson seed catalogue 1898.

Lima Beans in Peter Henderson seed catalogue 1898.

I’ve been trying all summer to make this recipe but I haven’t been able to find fresh Lima beans. I’ve just done some online research and apparently they are ready in this area in September as I thought but neither farmers markets seem to have them. Instead I bought some frozen Lima beans, not an option in 1898, but these beans must have been more popular. I decided to cut the recipe in half so I put 1/2 pint (1 cup) of frozen lima beans in 1 quart (4 cups) of boiling water and added 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I left if to boil for 1 hour. This was a huge mistake. The pot boiled dry and the beans burned. I had to start over.  This time I boiled the beans gently for 15 minutes since they were starting to become too soft. I thought they might disintegrate. Clearly my 2014 frozen lima beans are different from fresh in 1898.

Just before the beans were ready, I started the corn. First I heated 1/2 pint (1 cup) of milk in a pot and then added 1/2 quart (2 cups) of corn kernels and a bit of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon butter. I let it cook for 5 minutes and once the beans were done it was time to turn it all into succotash. I drained the beans and seasoned them with 1/2 teaspoon salt, a bit of pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of butter. I added the seasoned beans to the corn and milk mixture and let it cook for another 5 minutes.  It was time to try my succotash.

As usual I’m at a loss as to how to discover the identity of S.B.C. The gentleman responsible for the incredible and useful website called Waterloo Region Generations has been able to identify another of the women using just initials but we’re stuck with S.B.C.

Well S.B.C. has contributed an interesting recipe. It is more detailed than the one in The Berlin Cook Book but the proportion of the beans and corn is the same. The only aspect that differs is the amount of milk. This recipe uses a specific amount of milk but I think it is too much. It would be difficult to serve this along with any other food unless a slotted spoon was used. Otherwise it is an acceptable vegetable side dish. The lima beans were tender and combined well with the corn.


Put one pint of tender Lima beans in a stew-pan with two quarts of boiling water and a teaspoonful of salt, and boil gently for one hour. Cut enough green corn from the cob to make one quart. Put this in a stew-pan with one pint of hot milk, one-quarter of a teaspoonful of pepper, one teaspoonful of salt and one teaspoonful of butter, and cook for five minutes. Drain the water from the beans and season them with a level teaspoonful of salt, a little pepper and one tablespoonful of butter. Stir them into the dish of corn and milk and cook for five minutes longer. Serve very hot.

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Day 260: Gipsy Pudding

I still have some of that sponge cake from a few days ago but it has gone stale. That type of cake doesn’t keep a long time. Therefore it is a good time to try this recipe for something called Gipsy Pudding which was contributed by the mysterious S.B.C. for The New Galt Cook Book (1898)

Ad for Bird's Custard Powder

Ad for Bird’s Custard Powder

First I started the custard. I made it using Bird’s Custard Powder since the recipe doesn’t include a recipe for custard and I don’t want to consume too many eggs. Bird’s Custard Powder was invented in 1837 by a man whose wife couldn’t eat eggs but liked custard. I simply followed the directions on the can. Once the custard was cooling I started preparing the rest of it. I cut thin slices of the sponge cake and then spread them with jelly. I put slices together like sandwiches and put them in a deep glass container. I poured the custard over and prepared to enjoy something called “gipsy pudding”.

As I’ve mentioned before I have no idea what names the initials S.B.C. have replaced. Clearly someone wanted to keep her (or his) identity private in the pages of this community cookbook.

Well, I’m not sure what to say about this recipe. Gipsy pudding is one way to use up some stale cake. It is basically trifle minus the whipped cream and fruit. It isn’t the best thing I’ve eaten but it is certainly edible. Maybe if I didn’t know it started as stale cake I might like it even more.  This recipe fits with the image of Scots as frugal and there are several such recipes in the New Galt Cook Book.



Cut stale sponge cake in thin slices, spread with apple jelly. Put together like a sandwich, place in deep dish, cover with boiled custard. Serve cold.

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Day 219: Orange Custard

I’m not a fan of custard but I do like oranges so I thought I’d see if S.B.C.‘s recipe for Orange Custard in The New Galt Cook Book (1898) could change my mind about custard.

Florida Orange ad from 1916

Florida Orange ad from 1916

Since I wasn’t sure if I’d like this custard I decided to reduce the recipe by 1/5th. I peeled one orange and removed the pulp from the “skin’ and put it in a custard cup. I started the custard by putting 1 egg yolk and measured out the milk (partway between 1/3 and 1/2 cup). I mixed them in a saucepan and added a bit of sugar. I kept stirring as the heat increased. I removed the pan when the custard had thickened and added a bit of orange flavouring. I left the custard to cool while I whipped 1 egg white. I folded the white into the custard and then poured it over the orange bits. I put a pan of water in the oven and placed the custard cup in it. I had the oven preheated to 300 F. and left the custard to bake for 20 minutes. I think it actually needed more but it appeared done when I pulled it out. It was when I put my spoon in that I realized it probably needed a bit more time but I went ahead and tasted.

S.B.C. contributed interesting recipes but with just these initials I have no idea how to find this person.  The Florida orange crop was particularly good in the summer of 1898, according to The Canadian Grocer magazine so it was likely easy for people in Galt to get this particular type of orange.


For an orange custard select five fine Florida oranges, removing the skin, every portion of the inside tissue around the lobes and the seeds, leaving only the pulp. Slice this pulp and lay it in the bottom of a porcelain pudding dish, pour over the oranges a cold custard made of a pint of milk and the yelks of five eggs sweetened and flavored with orange essence, beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth and stir in. Set the pudding dish in a pan of hot water, bake it till it is firm in the centre.

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Day 217: Date Sandwiches

Tomorrow I’m speaking at Wellington County Museum and Archives. They are going to recreate a Red Cross tea from the First World War. I’ve been asked to talk about the sorts of food eaten during the war years. Tonight I’m going to make Date Sandwiches a typical tea sandwich from The New Galt Cook Book 1898. This is another recipe from the mysterious S.B.C.

The first step was the bread. I cut the crusts from two slices of bread and buttered it. Then I chopped some stoned dates and spread on the bread. I didn’t try rolling them although I have done that before. I’ve even tied sandwiches with ribbon. It does look lovely but guests look at me strangely. They are not used to unwrapping a sandwich like a present.

I love dates so I enjoy any excuse to eat them. Date sandwiches might seem strange to 21st century tastes but they were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. And I like them!


Butter thin, even slices from a loaf that has been baked twenty-four hours. Spread with dates, stoned and cut fine, and fashion into sandwiches in the usual manner. For afternoon tea, the bread may be fresh baked and so thinly cut with a sharp knife that the sandwiches can be roled and each one tied with a ribbon. All crusts removed.


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