I have purchased several antique cookbooks which have loose hand-written recipes or recipes clipped from newspapers or magazines in them over the years.  It tugs at my heart strings to see a cookie recipe written hastily on the back of a bank deposit slip because I know for someone to have taken the time to write down that recipe it reflects a time of joy and happiness in the author’s life.  Had she not liked the dish and wanted to prepare it for her own family she wouldn’t have taken time to record it, and the fact that the only available paper was on the back of a check, deposit ticket, or other item attests to the fact that she probably wrote it on whatever was in her purse with enough blank space to fit the recipe.

I have done the same at times under just such circumstances.  Some day will my cookbooks live on another cook’s shelves and the recipes I’ve copied onto the partial blank pages make the owner wonder what the occasion was that made me determined to keep the recipe for future use? 

I think any cook who shared recipes among friends would be delighted to know that long after she’s gone to her reward her recipes are still being enjoyed and appreciated, and in that spirit I will share with my readers.  The following were found in a copy of the Rumford Complete Cook Book.  The book was purchased at a local Alabama antiques store, but since most of the papers on which the loose recipes are written feature addresses in North Carolina (mostly Aiken and Ashville) it is a safe bet the book was once the property of a North Carolina cook.

Loose recipes are meaningful and tangible ties to the past, however, from a historical standpoint one must have an open mind as they are seldom dated. 

NUT BREAD

3 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup walnuts, chopped, 3 tablespoons soft butter, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk.

Measure and sift dry ingredients together.  Add broken or coarsely chopped nut meats, butter, unbeaten eggs and milk.  Mix to a smooth dough; turn into well buttered loaf pan and let stand 15 minutes.  Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) 45 minutes. 

BROWN BETTY

3 cups soft bread crumbs, 1/2 cup melted butter, 3 cups thinly sliced apples, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, grated lemon rind.

Mix bread crumbs with melted butter.  Fill baking dish with alternate layers of buttered crumbs and sliced apples, sprinkling each layer of apple with sugar, cinnamon, and grated lemon rind.  Have top layer covered with crumbs.  Bake about one hour in moderate oven (350 degrees).  Uncover dish last twenty minutes to brown top.  Serve hot with plain cream.  This dessert is delicious when served with hard sauce.  Try it for a change.

HARD SAUCE

3 tablespoons brandy, sherry, or rum flavoring; few grains nutmeg; 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup powdered sugar.

Cream butter, add sugar gradually and cream until light and fluffy.  Add flavoring drop by drop.  Pile lightly in glass dish and sprinkle a few grains of nutmeg over the top. 

Blissful meals, yall,

The Historic Foodie

Advertisements