Vintage Recipes – The Good, the Bad and the Calf’s Head, 1910
This is the almost unfortunately-named Mrs Dora Rea’s Cookery Book, from 1910.
This is a lovely cookbook, very sensible and everyday, and largely lacking in Victorian and Edwardian aspic-y froufrou. Full of recipes that are easily followed today.
A few cookery quirks of the time were the emphasis on “nitrogenous” foods (what we’d call protein now) and “invalid cookery”, sickroom cooking being taken very seriously before the advent of Heinz Tomato Soup.
It also turns out that there was good reason that British cooking was derided for its treatment of vegetables. Here’s a recipe instructing how to cook carrots:
Yes, that’s boil between one and two-and-a-half hours, then chop into mush. I wouldn’t boil carrots to make baby purée that long.
At this time they were also keen on cooking heads to make brawn. Otherwise known as “head cheese”, a name that gives me terrors.
Although it’s at least a step above the gothic-sounding “blood tongue” – http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_tongue
It seems like a lot of effort to go to, when the end result is still a head. All that removing of snout bone, tongue and brains. Shudder.
But there are loads of great things in here. I’m as mad about cooking as I am about history and I love testing out old recipes. This is “Potato Surprise”, a 100% delicious concoction that I make with the leftovers from yesterday’s sausage and mash (I have to make extra especially so there’s enough for leftovers, of course).
Mrs Rea’s Potato Surprises
1/2 pound of cooked sausages
1 1/2 pounds mashed potato
Salt and pepper
1/2 ounce butter
(Unmentioned – an egg, breadcrumbs and oil)
Melt the butter and mix with the potatoes, also seasoning.
Divide sausages into small pieces.
Cover each with potato, make into a ball, brush with egg, cover with breadcrumbs.
Fry in hot fat.
Nb. Love the old spelling d’oyley. Makes it infinitely posher-sounding.