Days of Olde

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Some recipes have been adapted for modern use.

The following recipe comes from the Manual for Army Cooks, War Department Document #18, dated 1896.

Old Army Chili

1 beefsteak (round)
1 tblsp hot drippings
1 c boiling water
2 tblsp rice
2 large dried red chile pods
1 c boiling water
flour, salt, and onion (optional)

Cut steak into small pieces. Put in frying pan with hot drippings, cup of hot water and rice. Cover closely and cook slowly until tender.
Remove seeds and parts of veins from chile pods. Cover with second cup of boiling water and let stand until cool. Then squeeze them in the hand until the water is thick and red. If not thick enough, add a little flour. Season with salt and a little onion, if desired. Pour sauce over meat-rice mixture and serve hot.
Note: This recipe was designed for the use of one ration of beef. It could be cooked in a mess kit by an individual soldier, or the ingredients could be multiplied according to the number of beef rations available and contributed to the communal cookpot.

Rye Drop Cakes

2/3 c rye flour
2/3 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tblsp molasses
1/2 c milk
1 egg

Mix and sift dry ingredients; add milk gradually, molasses and egg well beaten. Drop by spoonfuls in hot, new, deep fat; fry until light brown and cooked through, which must at first be determined by piercing with a skimmer, or breaking apart. Remove with a skimmer and drain on brown paper.
From The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book late 1800's and 1918


Chop fat and lean pork together; season it with sage, pepper, and salt, and you may add two or three berries of allspice: half fill hog's guts that have been soaked and made very clean; or the meat may be kept in a very small pan, closely covered; and so rolled and dusted with a very little flour before it is fried. Serve on stewed red cabbage; or mashed potatoes put in a form, brown with salamander *, and garnish with the above; they must be pricked with a fork before they are dressed, or they will burst.
* Look under the Gadgets section for the meaning of Salamander.

Making Meat Rations Go Furthur
From Watkins Economy Recipes 1945

To meet the Government's rationing of meat, we recommend that you serve fish,chicken, eggs, cheese, or dried beans and peas made into a substitute meat loaf; or soybeans, to supply the necessary protein needed for a balanced meal.
Non-restricted meats include sweet breads, liver, heart, kidney, tripe, liver-sausage, bacon squares and ox tails. Organ meats are rich in vitamins and mineraqls.
To economize on your food budget, we suggest the following meat order for a family of four for one week:

2 lbs lamb neck slices
2 lbs ground veal and beef or pork
1 1/2 lbs veal cutlets
1 1/2 lbs short robs
1 1/4 lbs sliced bacon
1 1/2 lbs pork chops
1/4 lb chipped beef

Use neck meat for a stew or for thick soup. Use ground meat for a meat loaf, in croquettes, or meat patties.
Use a stuffing of well-seasoned dressing to stretch the amount of meat. Stuff a boned pork or lamb shoulder or breast of lamb. Serve veal or beef birds with bread dressing.
Use a cheap cut of meat for a meat loaf and blend with cooked flaky rice, with fluffy mashed potatoes or with bread crumbs. Blend bits of cooked ham with macaroni and cheese and add Watkins Paprika. Or use cooked ham in an omelet. Watkins Seasonings will add flavor.

To Make Economy Meat Cuts Tender

Use a heavy cooking kettle. Add one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to the water in which corned beef is cooked. Cover meat with a little lemon juice or vinegar and place in the refrigerator one hour or more. Drain, then cook. Cheaper cuts of meat require long, slow cooking. Pour either canned tomato juice or pineapple juice or sour cream over the meat, cover kettle tightly and cook slowly to break down the tough fiber. Or pound the meat to break up the connective tissue.

To Make Gravy

Use a heavy cooking utensil with a tight fitting lid. For beef stew, buy the heel of round, flank, neck, short ribs, plate or brisket. For Veal Stew, use veal or lamb riblets, lean shoulder or irregularly shaped pieces of veal, lamb or pork. Add salt and Watkins Pepper and brown the meat on all sides in hot fat to give a rich flavor, or dip the meat in flour then brown. Add one and one-half cups of water to the drippings, stir slowly to thoroughly blend, bring to boil and pour over the meat. Cover tightly and bake in a 350°F oven about three hours or until tender. Or cover kettle tightly and cook on top of the stove. Add peeled onions and carrots cooked in butter, about 30 minutes before serving. If the stew is a chop suey type, serve with hot rice or noodles. For an Italian stew, serve with spaghetti and tomato sauce. It is important to have long cooking of the meat at moderate heat and short cooking of the vegetables. Use Watkins Pepper, Watkins Onion Seasoning, Watkins Celery Sale and Watkins Paprika.

Ground Meat

Ground meat in a meat loaf and as hamburgers is economical and one pound will serve four persons. In combination with spaghetti, steamed rice or hot noodles a variety can be planned in the menu. Or place cooked ground meat between hot biscuits and it becomes a short cake when served with a well seasoned hot mushroom soup sauce. Tamale pie is another suggestion for ground meat served with tomato sauce. Use Watkins Onion Seasoning and Sage dressing with rolled hamburgers. Use the meat from a soup bone in a meat pie, for hash, or croquettes, or serve with macaroni, spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Old West Cooking Dictionary

Airtights: All Canned goods.
Bear Sign: Similar to the modern donut.
Calf Fries: Branding time.
Canned Cowboy: Canned milk; real milk was hard to get.
Charlie Taylor: A butter sustitute of sorghum and bacon grease.
Chip Wagon: A wagon dedicated to carrying campfire "prairie coal."
Chuck: Range cowboy's word for any food.
Chuck Wagon Chicken: Bacon, also called "Kansas City fish."
Cooney: Hammock stretched under a chuck wagon, also "possum belly."
Cow grease: Real butter.
Dough Keg: The wooden barrel containing the sourdough starter.
Eatin' Irons: Utensils: fork, spoon and knife.
Feed Bag: Ranch eating place; also "mess house" or "nose bag."
Firkin: The sourdough container on a chuck wagon, also "dough keg."
Greasy Sack Outfit: Not using a chuck wagon but packouts on mules.
Grubpile: A call from the cook to "come 'n' get it."
Gut Robber: The cook, also "bean master" or "bicuit roller."
Hog Side: Salt pork used in cooking and some baking, also "Old Ned."
Lick: Molasses, also called "blackstrap" or "larrup."
Mountain Oysters: Calf testes roasted as a between-meal snack.
Music Roots: Sweet potatoes with a pronounced gaseous effect.
Overland Trout: Pigs and hogs, sometimes bacon.
Possum Belly: A hammock streched below the chuck wagon for cargo.
Pairie Coal: Cow or buffalo manure, dried and used in campfires.
Prairie Strawberries: Red beans, also called "Arizona Strawberries."
Sea Plums: Oysters (canned).
Skunk Egg: An onion.
Soft Grub: Hotel or diner food.
Squirrel Can: Large can used for after-meal scraps.
Suckeyes: Pancakes.
Swamp Seed: Rice.
Texas Butter: A butter substitute of hot lard, flour, and water.
Wool on a Handle: A lamb chop, generally despised by cattlemen.
Wreck Pans: Pans filled with water to accept dirty dishes.
From: The Old West Baking Book by Lon Walters, 1998

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