Days of Olde

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Some recipes have been adapted for modern use.

Spit Roasted Meat with Egerdouce Sauce

In medieval Europe, the spits were turned by kitchen boys and were perioedically dusted with spices and herbs. Since forks were still almost unknown the slices of meat were eaten in the fingers but accompanied by sauces. These were laid in small dishes (sauc-ers) along the tables, and diners would dip the little finger of the right hand only into the sauce and spread it on their meat. This finger was never licked but carefully wiped on a napkin out of respect for fellow diners.
In the modern kitchen-- any joint of meat can be used, but it should be well flavoured if the Egerdouce sauce is to be served with it. Cook it on a spit, a barbecue, or on an open rack in the oven. Sprinkle it lightly with ground mixed herbs plus a little of any spice that you fancy.

Egerdouce Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
75 g (3 oz) onions, roughly chopped
25 g (1 oz) each of raisins and currants
1/2 teaspoon each salt, gournd ginger, mace and saffron
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
120 mL (4 fl oz, 1/2 cup) dry white wine
90 mL (3 fl oz, 1/3 cup) wine vinegar
25 g (1 oz) sugar
75 g (3 oz) wholemeal or wholewheat breadcrumbs
approx. 90 mL (3 fl oz, 1/3 c) water

Gently cook the onions in the oil till they are soft. Add the fruit and spices and cook for a few minutes. Melt the sugar in the wine and vinegar and add this to the onion and fruits. Simmer all together, covered for 15 minutes then process or liquids. Return the mixture to the pan and add the bread crumbs and enough water to make a thick but not cloggy sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve with the roast meat. (served six)

A Salad

Salads, made mainly of herbs, were popular throughout the Middle Ages, often served at the start of a meal, rather than after the main course. The make up of the salad would change according to the season and what grew in the cook's herb garden, so feel free to adapt this basic recipe as desired. Do NOT make it with dried herbs!
2 bunches of watercress
2 cartons of mustard and cress
1medium leek, very finely sliced
6 spring onions or scallions, chopped small
1 bulb of fennel, slicked in thin match-sticks
1 large handful of fresh parsley, pull off into small sprigs
the leaves from 1 young sprig of fresh rosemary
the leaves from 4-6 prigs of fresh mint, slightly chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, slightly copped
the leaves from 2 small branches of thyme
a few leaves from any other herb you have (take care not to use too much of any very strong flavoured ones)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons wine vinegar
4-5 tablespoons olive oil

Wash the cresses, herbs and fennel and dry all thoroughly. Mix them, with the leek and spring onions, in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and mix again. Mix the oil with the vinegar and pour over the salad just before serving. Serves 6

For The Wash Day
Contributed by Mrs. Leona Barnes.

[This is the original wording and spelling, one day I may find an interpreter.]

1. Build a fire in the backyard to heat kettle of rain water.
2. Set tube so smoke won't blow in eyes if wind is pert.
3. Shave one hole cake of soap in boilin water.
4. Sort things, make three piles. 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags.
5. Stir flour in cold water and smooth then thin down with boilin water.
6. Rub dirty spots on boards. Scrub hard. Then, bile run colored but don't bile -- just rench and starch.
7. Take white things out of kettle with broom stick handle. Then rench, blew and starch.
8. Spread the towels on grass to blench.
9. Hang old rags on fence.
10. Pour rench water in flower beds.
11. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
12. Turn tub upside down.
13. Go put on clean dress -- smooth hair with side combs -- brew cup of tea -- set and rest and rock a spell and count blessins.

Carne Seca (Jerky or Dried Meat Spanish Style)
Contributed by Joanne Dean

Dried meat was a primary product of the ranches, used for internal consumption and sale.

Meat was cut into strips, then salted and hung upon a line or framework and sun dried until thoroughly hardened. Each night the meat had to be taken in, as with all sun drying. A slow fire could be made under the framework and kept up until the meat became smoked and dried. Oregano, vinegar, and pepper could be rubbed on the meat before drying for additional flavor. The finished product was sold by the Mexican vara or yard. Ana Begue de Packman says that animals were not killed in the summer, and that this was a way of preserving meat for that season.

To Keep Corn For Winter Use
Contributed by Laura Steele

Storage instructions do not get much simpler than those in this terse recipe, presented verbatim.

Boil corn in hot water for 20 minutes. Cut corn kernels off cob and dry. When dry, put in paper bags in cool dry area.

Contributed by Mrs. Leona Barnes

Well-to-do urbanites should have purchased their soap, but the poor and people far from stores would have had to make their own. This recipe uses commercial lye, though the very poor would have extracted their lye from ashes; the weak lye obtained thus often made soap-making difficult.

1 can of lye
2 qts. water, warm but not hot
5 lbs. strained grease (beef or tallow)
2 tbsp. powdered borax
2 tbsp. liquid ammonia

Dissolve the lye in the warm water; be very sure that the water is not too hot, or it will bubble up when the lye is added. Pour the grease slowly into the lye and stir slowly 10 to 15 minutes. Bring to the boiling point and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the fire and add borax; let the mixture cool a bit, then add ammonia and stir evenly until thick as cake batter. Turn into molds or pans and finish cooling.

Housekeeper's Alphabet

Apples--Keep in a dry place, as cool as possible without freezing.
Brooms--Hang in the cellar way to keep soft and pliant.
Cranberries--Keep under water in cellar; change water monthly.
Dish of hot water set in oven prevents cakes, etc. from scorching.
Economize time, health and means, and you will never beg.
Flour--Keep cool, dry and securely covered.
Glass--Clean with a quart of water mixed with a tablespoon of ammonia.
Herbs--Gather when beginning to blossom; keep in paper sacks.
Ink stain--Wet with spirits of turpentine; after three hours, rub well.
Keep an account of all supplies, with cost and date when purchased.
Love lightens labor.
Money--Check carefully when you receive change.
Nutmeg--Prick with a pin and, if good, oil will run out.
Orange and lemon peel--Dry, pound and keep in corked bottles.
Parsnips--Keep in ground until spring.
Quicksilver and white of eggs destroys bedbugs.
Rice--Select large, with a clear fresh look; old rice may have insects.
Sugar--For general family use, the granulated is best.
Tea--Equal parts of Japan and green are as good as English breakfast.
Use a cement made of ashes, salt and water for cracks in stove.
Variety is the best culinary spice.
Watch your back yard for dirt and bones.
Xantippe was a scold. Don't imitate her.
Youth is best preserved by a cheerful temper.
Zinc-lined sinks are better than wooden ones.
Regulate the clock by your husband's watch, and in all appointments of time, remember the Giver.
From: Buckeye Cookery 1877

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