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Guests prepare a meal during a hearthside dinner at Remick Country Doctor Farm & Museum. Courtesy photo.




 Pork and Beans

“Is an economical dish; but it does not agree with weak stomachs. Put a quart of beans into two quarts of cold water, and hang them all night over the fire, to swell. In the morning pour off the water, rinse them well with two or three waters poured over them in a colander. Take a pound of pork, that is not very fat, score the rind, then again place the beans just covered with water in the kettle and keep them hot over the fire for an hour or two; then drain off the water, sprinkle a little pepper and a spoon of salt over the beans; place them in a well glazed earthen pot, not very wide at the top, put the pork down in the beans, till the rind only appears; fill the pot with water till it just reaches the top of the beans, put it in a brisk oven and bake three or four hours. Stewed beans and pork are prepared in the same way, only they are kept over the fire, and the pork in them three or four hours instead of being in the oven. The beans will not be white or pleasant to taste unless they are well soaked and washed — nor are they healthy without this process.”
— From The Good Housekeeper, or the Way to Live Well and to be Well While We Live, by Mrs. S. J. Hale, published 1839.
 
Modern Recipe: Baked beans
From Cooking With Fire: Two Hundred Years of Recipes and Foodlore for Today’s Cooks, edited by Helen Brody and Patricia Carr Morris published by the Fairfield Historical Society, 1993. Makes eight to 10 servings.
1 pound (2 cups) dried kidney, pea or navy beans
1 medium onion, peeled
1 teaspoon salt and/or pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dry mustard
5 tablespoons molasses, light or dark
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ cup brown sugar, light or dark
¼ pound piece salt pork
 
Pick over beans and wash. Cover with three cups of cold water and soak overnight. Drain beans. Put in a large pot with six cups of cold water and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer one hour. Place onion in bottom of ten-cup bean pot. Add beans and liquid. Stir in remaining ingredients except for salt pork. Slash pork at one-half inch intervals, almost through, and press cut side down into beans. Cover and bake at 250 degrees approximately six hours or until beans are tender (may also use a Crock Pot). Check during the last half of cooking time and add water if necessary; beans should be barely covered with water. Remove lid from pot for last one-half hour of baking.
 
To Stew A Round of Beef
“Tie up the beef with a strong tape and put it on to stew with as much cold water as will cover it — season with salt, black pepper, a little allspice, mace or cloves, and a gill of vinegar. Let it stew gently skimming it well, seven or eight hours, till it is tender. Take out the beef, skim off the fat, strain the gravy and thicken with a little flour, let it boil and pour it over the beef before serving. This is a rich dish and economical, because stewing meat saves all the juices and essence.”
 
— From The Good Housekeeper, or the Way to Live Well and to be Well While We Live, by Mrs. S. J. Hale, published 1839.
 
Modern Recipe: Beef Pot Roast
From Cooking With Fire: Two Hundred Years of Recipes and Foodlore for Today’s Cooks edited by Helen Brody and Patricia Carr Morris published by the Fairfield Historical Society, 1993. Makes eight servings.
 
3½ pound bottom round roast of beef
4 teaspoons Kitchen Pepper (see below)
4 cups beef broth
4 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
3 white turnips, peeled and sliced
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
½ cup Mushroom Catchup (optional, see below)
4 tablespoons of flour mixed with 2 tablespoons of butter
 
Rub roast with Kitchen Pepper, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 24 hours. Put into an eight quart pot, cover with the beef broth and bring to a boil (on the stove top or in a Crock Pot). Simmer covered for 1½ hours. Add vegetables and cook for another 1½ hours. Remove the meat and all vegetables, except for the tomatoes, to a platter and cover to keep warm. Whisk in the flour mixed with butter and the optional Mushroom Catchup. Stirring regularly, boil slowly uncovered another half an hour or until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. Slice beef and arrange vegetables on a platter, nap with gravy and serve the remainder in a sauceboat.
 
Mushroom Catchup
Prepares one cup.
½ pound Shitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon peppercorns
⅛ teaspoon ginger
2 cloves
Add all ingredients to one quart of water. Bring to a boil and simmer one hour. Strain, squeeze and reduce by one-third. Use as a seasoning for sauces.
 
Kitchen Pepper
Prepares scant ½ cup.
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
 
Blend all ingredients together and use as a dry marinade for meat, poultry or fish.
 
To make Pumpkin Pie
“Take the Pumpkin and peel the rind off, then stew it till it is quite soft, and put thereto one pint of pumpkin, one pint of milk, one glass of of malaga wine, one glass of rose-water, if you like it, seven eggs, half a pound of fresh butter, one small nutmeg, and sugar and salt to your taste.”
— From The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, by Mrs. [Hannah] Glasse, published in 1805
 
Modern Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
Remick Museum’s favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Modified from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.
 
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
2 cups cooked pumpkin
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup light cream
½ teaspoon salt
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt. Blend in eggs and cream; mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until knife inserted just off center comes out clean. It’s fine if the very center is a bit soft, it will set up upon cooling.
 
 Baked Apple Pudding
“Pare and quarter four large apples; boil them tender, with the rind of a lemon, in so little water that when done, none may remain: beat them quite fine in a mortar: add the crumbs of a small roll, four ounces of butter melted, the yelks of five and whites of three eggs, juice of half a lemon, and sugar to taste. Beat all together, and lay it in a dish with paste to turn out.”
— From New System of Domestic Cookery, Formed Upon Principles of Economy, and Adapted to the use of Private Families, by A. Lady, [Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell], published 1807
 
Modern Recipe: Baked apple pudding
From Cooking With Fire: Two Hundred Years of Recipes and Foodlore for Today’s Cooks edited by Helen Brody and Patricia Carr Morris published by the Fairfield Historical Society, 1993. Makes eight servings.
 
3 pounds firm apples (approximately eight) cored, peeled and cut into 1½-inch wedges
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon rose water
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ cup heavy cream
 
Put apples with water in a pot and cover, (add a little more water if necessary to prevent scorching) and simmer fruit approximately 20 minutes or until barely tender. The apples should keep their shape and remain firm. Remove apples from heat and gently mash with a fork. They should have some texture and not be as smooth as applesauce. Fold in remaining ingredients. Serve as is or slightly chilled. To make the dish more decorative, do not mash apples and cover with a pastry crust and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until crust is brown. Sprinkle top with confectioners sugar before serving.




Modern harvest, classic comforts
Hearthside cooking for today’s kitchen

10/02/14



Pumpkin pies, apple cider, warm soups — fall comfort foods haven’t changed that much in the past 200 years. We may have traded in the fireside hearth for modern kitchens, but many cooking techniques and recipes remain.

“Most simple homesteads ... in New England ate similarly to what we eat today,” said Erica Boynton, museum program manager at Remick Country Doctor Farm & Museum in Tamworth. “I get a lot of people who kind of want to go back to their roots in two different ways. They want to have a relationship with something that brings back memories. The fireside, and the museum as a whole, is really easy to connect to that. … [And] they have a desire to know where their food is coming from.”
Recipes that called for a kettle translate easily to the Crock Pot, we still use our Dutch ovens (sans coals) and, like 19th-century homesteaders, we’re still canning and preserving from our gardens.
Whether you’re looking to connect to a bygone era or to taste some classic comfort foods, the Hippo took a look at the recipes that your great-great-great-grandma used to make and translated them to today’s kitchen.
“The recipes are fairly easy; it’s just finding the recipes that appeal to you,” said Helen Brody, president of New Hampshire Farms Network and co-author of Cooking with Fire: Two Hundred Years of Recipes and Foodlore for Today’s Cooks. “They tell so many stories behind those lines.”
 
Simple, wholesome ingredients
The Remick Country Doctor Farm & Museum is still a small functioning homestead and Boynton regularly leads foodways education programs and hearthside dinners on 19th-century cooking. Guests appreciate the simple ingredients that remind them of old-fashioned cooking.
“It’s generated a lot of interest in people that live in a home that has a big fireplace or a beehive oven and they like to learn how to use it … using cast-iron pans and the tools,” Boynton said. “We have many people comment on, ‘That’s just what my grandmother used to make,’ or, ‘Wow, real butter.’ … The food is wonderful because it’s farm-raised. So all of our meat is raised here on the farm so we’re able to teach people about that as well.”
Naturally, 19th-century cooks would have been the original farm-to-table chefs (they didn’t have any other choice), but simple, whole-foods cooking was just as important then as it is today. That was true of the Shaker community too.
“One of the things that the Shakers were adamant about was whole grains. They were against flour that had things taken out of it. That’s another way in which the Shakers are much like our current philosophy about food. They were about pure milk, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, greens and herbs,” Canterbury Shaker Village Education Manager Maisie Keith Daly said.
Daly said that many dishes made in Canterbury by the Shaker community featured butter, cream and milk.
“They were intentionally simple with all that they did, and food was no exception,” Daly said. “Certainly the idea of Shaker cooking really resonates with our audiences here. People buy the Shaker cookbook a lot. The idea of the simple vegetable dishes and the simple entrees, the main dishes — they don’t have these exotic European flourishes. They’re very simple, but once prepared it’s quite good.”
At the Canterbury Shaker Village’s annual Village Rising event in August, chef Todd Sweet prepared a Shaker-inspired dish of herbed couscous salad with honey garlic chicken. 
“It was a cold dish and people really liked it. It goes back to the idea of the simple preparation and the use of select herbs for flavor,” Daly said.
 
No frills entrees & sides
Ever feel like making dinner is too complicated? While cooking was more challenging in 1814 than it is in 2014 thanks to inventions like stovetops and microwaves, in some ways it could be a little less complicated. Dishes were made up of simple ingredients, and they were either baked, stewed, roasted or boiled. 
“The recipes look simpler, sort of primary ingredients and a focus on using those as opposed to the fancier sort of stuff we have today,” New Hampshire Historical Society Reference Librarian Malia Ebel said. 
Common entrees included soups, boiled dinners, or meats cooked over the fire in front of a reflector oven for roasting (think broiled chicken, venison steak, roast beef, veal and duck). At Canterbury Shaker Village, midday meals would have consisted of beef, lamb, fish or chicken, with potatoes and cooked vegetables.
“I think there are recipes that would appeal to our modern sensibility in terms of that New England comfort food, things like squash, rolls, the lemon pie and some of the casseroles — cheese and vegetable casseroles, things like that,” Daly said. “That’s one of the things people find interesting is translating the Shaker recipes to the modern kitchen. They are surprisingly contemporary, particularly with the things like the vegetables.”
Vegetables would have been boiled or fried in a cast iron skillet. At this time of year, storage crops and root vegetables would have been used, including turnips, pumpkins, carrots, cabbage, squash and potatoes.
“Most of the preparation is the same, it’s the method of the cooking that’s different,” Boynton said. “It’s just going to take you a little more work in the 19th century, because [for example] you’re not using beef stock from a carton. … If you’re cooking a beef stew you would do the same things you’d do in the 19th century — you’d cut the meat, roll it and dredge it in flour and sear it before you add stock. … Either way, the ingredients are typically the same; it’s just we’ve added a few more twists to our recipes in terms of what’s available.”
At the time, spices were being imported from the West Indies, which only wealthier households could afford.
“You don’t see the curry, or the spices we have today,” Ebel said. “They were doing the best with what they had.”
As a result, recipes featured basic ingredients and were cooked with simple seasonings. There was no Mrs. Dash, but many kitchens may have had blends like “kitchen pepper,” a mixture of equal quantities of common seasonings, including salt, ground black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg, Brody said.
 
Harvest pies and puddings
Puddings were all the rage in the 1800s; of course, they weren’t exactly like the instant puddings we know today. Puddings could be savory, meat-based, custard-like and even cake-like.
“It seems like they [had], perhaps, different culinary interests,” Ebel said. “There are a lot of recipes for pudding and cake, and a lot of the cakes look like they’re savory as opposed to sweet cakes.”
While there were some sweet desserts, most puddings, pies and cakes weren’t like today’s confections. 
They also served a different purpose; pies and puddings were two popular forms of preserving harvest ingredients. A pie crust or pastry dough functioned as a method of food preservation. 
Pies and puddings were common desserts during the midday meal for the Shakers, Daly said.
“They [also] ate pie for breakfast quite often. They didn’t eat pie at supper, but they ate quite a lot of mince pie and apple pie,” she said. 
Mince meat pie was a recipe familiar across New England. The recipe incorporated canning the meat ahead of time, which made it popular during the winter months. 
“There’s a lot of planning involved in the 19th century to participate and to manage a household and a homestead,” Boynton said. “The husbands and wives were spending all their time thinking about the future and their needs, and what they needed next week and next month and next year. Every season you knew what you had to do for work to prepare for the next. … You ate based on what you had available to you, and you typically wouldn’t be eating out of season as well.”
During the harvest season, apples were readily available and often used in recipes.
“They [Shakers in Canterbury] had numerous orchards here, so they drank apple cider [and ate] applesauce,” Daly said. “Apples were really a staple for them.”
Of course, Galas, McIntosh, Red Delicious and Pink Ladies might not have been familiar to 19th-century orchards. According to apple historians (yes, that’s a field), there were thousands of apple varieties in North American orchards prior to the Industrial Revolution.
Pumpkins were another seasonal food source. Homesteaders would bake pumpkins in beehive ovens as they became available in autumn, and this made for a common Thanksgiving side dish, according to Boynton. And you can’t forget the pumpkin pie. While some may have been sweet, most pumpkin pies were of the savory variety, Brody said.
“What I really love is colonial pumpkin pie. What you think of as a pumpkin pie now is a puree, it’s a custard. This pumpkin pie was not at all that,” she said. “It was slices of apples and slices of pumpkin in a pastry crust. It’s certainly not as sweet as a pumpkin pie we’d have today.” 
 
As seen in the October 2, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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