Saturday, August 28, 2010
I went to another flea market today—a small one at a local park. I bought two cookbooks there despite the fact that I already have a large and varied assortment of cookbooks. However, I couldn’t resist. The first cookbook was the kind put together by a group of people to benefit their organization. Those types of cookbooks I’ve found to have some of the best recipes, ones that are simple but good. I’ve already decided to try one of the recipes this week—Smothered Chicken.
The other cookbook I can justify as a necessary reference book. Daughter #1 spotted it. It is The Victorian Seaside Cookbook, by Anne Bishop and Doris Simpson. It contains authentic recipes of the Victorian era served at hotels along the Jersey shore. It has lots of pictures and even a map of the railroad lines. History is a great deal of fun.
This amazing book contains menus, too. It is truly astounding to read of the quantity and variety of food served at each meal during the Victorian era.
Here I am, in 2010, counting every calorie I put into my mouth. By contrast, the Victorians seem like gluttons. Their breakfasts started with fruit, clam broth, and then a hot cereal. Next came three or four kinds of fish, grilled steaks, lamb chops, liver, and eggs. Following that, they heaped creamed codfish or beef, ham and bacon, several varieties of potatoes, hominy, and fried mush on their plates. In addition, there were griddle cakes with syrup plus hot chocolate, coffee, tea, milk or malted milk.
Reading all that made me groan. When I read about the Victorian dinner, which was far more sumptuous, my tummy started to ache.
Nevertheless, I found some of the recipes to be quite interesting. There’s stuffed tomatoes, a favorite of President Fillmore. There’s also rice pudding, said to be a favorite of President Grant.
Since we are what we eat, I do wonder about those Victorians. They spent a lot of time eating way back when along the Jersey shore.