In the Kitchen: My Favorite Foods


During my time, there were some tasty dishes and recipes which were popular, but may not be well-known today. We usually check the newspaper to see what kinds of produce are available at the market.


Sometimes Ma or the "hired girl" cooked dinner or a very fancy meal. A meal may consist of a dish with oysters, like oyster soup, tomatoes, corn, pheasant, custard, cakes and pies, turkey and potatoes. We ate very differently in my time then you do today. You may eat chicken nuggets regularly, but chicken is very expensive and we only eat it on special occassions such as Easter.

We have a garden and in the summer we grow strawberries, cherries, raspberries and currants. After we all pick them, Ma uses them to make pies. They are absolutely delicious!

Here are a few recipes of some of my favorite dishes!

Mrs. W.’s Scalloped Oysters

Eight square soda-crackers rolled fine, seven ounces of butter, one quart of oysters; drain the oysters; put the crackers and oysters in alternate layers; divide the butter equally, putting it on the oysters at each layer, with a dust of pepper, leaving the bottom and top layer crackers. A moment before baking add a coffee cup of the liquor from the oysters from the oysters; bake a light brown. This receipt will be found perfect.


Oyster Soup for the City

Have ready two quarts of boiling water, into which put three quarts of fresh oysters, and their juice. Let them come to a boil, and skim thoroughly; have ready a teacupful of sweet butter, with a large table-spoonful of flour worked into it; add to it sufficient hot soup to melt the butter, and stir the whole into the soup; let it boil up once, and take it off immediately. The oysters should not be on the fire over fifteen minutes; they only want heating through. Have fresh crackers or tasted bread; if the first, split them; if the latter, cut in small squares; put them in the tureen, and pour over the soup. Let each person add pepper and salt to suit the taste. Celery and ground horseradish, are both excellent relishes for oysters. Pickles can also be served with them.


To Roast Quail, Black and all other Small Birds

Pick them with great care, and draw them so as to leave all the fat in the bodies of the birds, wash and dry them nicely. Stuff them with bread moistened with melted butter and very little water, seasoned with pepper and salt. Truss them nicely, and fasten the wings and legs in place with very small skewers; roast or bake them fifteen or twenty minutes, basting frequently. Toast some nice bread quickly on both sides without burning, make up the gravy from the drippings; soak the toast; lay the slices in order on the platter, allowing half a slice to each bird, remove the skewers and strings; set a bird on each half slice of toast, and dip the gravy over them; serve hot. When the birds are roasted without stuffing, they will cook in from ten to fifteen minutes.



Cream Custard

One quart of sweet cream, one half-teaspoonful of salt, four eggs beat as light as possible and strained into the cream. Do not beat the cream, but merely mix the egg in it, stirring lightly. Bake until solid, but do not scorch; a nice way is to set cups in hot water in a pan in the oven or on the stove until the custard is solid; but in this case it had better be allowed to thicken over hot water before putting it in the cups; flavor to suit.


Mince Pies

One part of beef suet finely chopped and freed from skin to two of lean chopped beef, and four of sour chopped apples. Mix the suet and beef together, and rub salt through it, then add the apples and mix thoroughly, add sugar, sweet cider, a little nice syrup, raisins, currants, cinnamon, mace, a few cloves. Work all together, and let the mince remain until morning-then taste; if not sufficiently spiced, add more, but be careful not to overspice with cloves; add sugar and cider if needed; if too much seasoned, chop more suet, meat, and apple, and add to the mince. If properly made in December and kept cool, it will keep three months. Sugar and cider must be added to the quantity used at each baking, stir up the whole once each week, and cover it tightly, to prevent mice or insects from troubling it. Currant wine is excellent in mince pies. Cover a plate with good plain paste or half-turned puff paste, (see Puff Paste,) fit three layers of the best puff paste to the edge of the plate one and a half inch wide, fill the pies even with the layers, put in each four pieces of butter the size of hazlenuts, add a little nutmeg, dredge with flour, and cover with thin puff paste; bake rather quick without browning the paste. A mince pie should be juicy, rich, sweet, the spices will balanced, and , to be perfect, should be two weeks old before cut; they are better one month old, if kept where they will not mould. Always warm, not heat, mince pies, before sending them to the table.


Sponge Cake, No. 1

One pound of pulverized loaf-sugar, twelve eggs, and half a pound of flour. Separate the yolks from the whites and put them in the sugar. Beat the whites separately, as stiff as possible, while another person beats with the hand the yolks and sugar; add the flour, a pinch of salt, and what flavoring is to be used, and bake immediately.




To Roast a Fillet of Veal

Fill the space, from which the bone is removed, with a dressing of bread and butter seasoned with pepper and salt, and moistened with water or sweet milk. Roast thoroughly, and baste with water or sweet milk. Roast thoroughly, and baste with water and melted butter, seasoned with a little pepper, and salt frequently. Make a gravy of the drippings. Serve with potatoes mashed, squash, and pickles. For dessert a whortleberry or blackberry pudding, or pie.


What are your favorite foods?

Do you like to cook?

Do you have a garden?

If you think these recipes are too hard, then try some recipes at


For questions or comments, please contact Catherine Stewart