Farm and Fireside Recipes

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[These recipes are transcribed exactly as they appeared in the McKinney Messenger in various issues of the 1870s under the title of "Farm and Fireside". If you decide to try any of them, let us know how they turn out.]

Apple Cake: 2 cups of stewed apples boiled in 2 cups of stewed molasses. Drain off the molasses (for the cake) from the apples, add 2 eggs, 2 teaspoonfuls of soda, 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of butter, 1 cup sour milk; spice to suit. Then add the apple (which was drained as above). The apples should be soaked the night before stewing for the cake.

Boiled Turkey: Hen turkeys are preferable for boiling on account of their whiteness and tenderness, and one of moderate size should be selected, as a large one is not suitable for boiling. After having dressed, trussed, and stuffed the bird, put it into sufficient boiling water to cover it; let it come to a boil, then carefully remove all the scum. Let it simmer very gently from one and a half to two hours, according to size. Serve with melted butter sauce, as with oysters. In the latter case the turkey should be stuffed with oysters.

Butrer [sic] Sauce: Beat of a pound of butter to a cream, add 1 teaspoonful of pepper and salt each, beat it well together, and serve with baked or boiled potatoes and cold meat, or over boiled vegetables.

Candy: Take one pint of molasses, one cup full of sugar, half a cup of butter. Boil twenty minutes.

Cheap and Good Boiled Pastry: An excellent substitute for the common sort of boiled pastry for dumplings and rolls is made thus: Take 3 pints of sifted flour, 1 teaspoonful of salt, and a pinch of soda; pour upon these boiling-hot water, stirring all the time, until it becomes a dough just stiff enough to roll, and to roll thin. Some sweetened stewed fruit having been previously prepared, proceed just as you do with other pastry. It is important that the whole process be expeditiously managed. A pot of water should be already boiling, into which to put the roll. Allow only half an hour for the boiling. Besides economy, the end to be subserved by this recipe is to furnish with a dessert delicate persons and children who could not digest richer food.

Coloring Butter: Take one good-sized orange carrot for every four pounds of butter; grate it up finely and put it in a strong muslin cloth; press out and pour into the cream before churning. You will then have the yellow butter if well worked. The juice is sweet and gives a good flavor to winter butter.

Crackers: Take nine cups flour, one cup lard, two cups water, two teaspoons cream-tartar and one teaspoon saleratus. First rub the lard into the flour and add two teaspoons salt.

Cream Cookies: One egg, one large cup of sugar, one cup of cream, one-half cup of sour milk, half a teaspoonful of soda, flour enough to roll.

Cream Cake: Two eggs, one cup of sugar, one cup of cream, two cups of flour, one teaspoonful of cream-of-tartar, one teaspoonful of soda.

Excellent Johnnycakes: One cup meal, one of flour, one of sugar, one of milk, one egg, butter the size of an egg, soda and cream-tartar.

another Johnnycake: Four tablespoons of cornmeal, three tablespoons of flour, one teaspoon of soda, one and a half of cream-tartar, one cup milk, small lump butter, two tablespoons sugar, a little salt.

Head Cheese: Select a clean, fat, and perfect pig's head; have it cut through the center of the forehead and snout, and again under the eyes, separating the snout from the forehead; also have the eyes, lips and surrounding membranes, with the sac, removed, going close to the bone socket that the eye may not break. Then remove the ears, with the wrinkled skin surrounding them, taking out the canal of the ear, and the portion containing the drum, etc. After this is done, the bones of the snout are easily taken out. Put the pieces to soak in plenty of lukewarm water, draining off and adding fresh until the blood is removed. Singe off the hairs, and examine the fleshy part of the snout and lower jaw, taking off the skin, which will now come away easily with the knife. Wash again and salt. Mix thoroughly together one quart of salt and a tablespoonful of finely pulverized saltpeter, rubbing the pieces of meat well with it and if wished, a little sugar or molasses. Pack the pieces closely in a crock; let them remain for two weeks, turning occasionally that the top pieces may go into the brine that has been formed at the bottom. Wash all the brine off at the end of that time, and boil gently until tender, and the meat strips off the bone without using a knife. After taking out all the bones, cut fine with knife and fork, season with black pepper and a very small portion of mace (pulverized sage is an improvement, if used sparingly). Put into a dish with straight sides, packing close, and pressing with a heavy weight. Cut in thin slices and eat with mustard and vinegar.

Improved Flour Paste: Paste which will keep unchanged in warm or damp weather, may be made in the following manner: Put a teaspoonful of powdered alum in two quarts of water, and let it boil. Mix a pint of flour smoothly into a pint of cold water, and stir it into the boiling alum water, continuing the boiling and stirring until the flour is cooked, and the whole is clear like starch. Add to this about half a teaspoonful of essential oil of cloves, strain through a wire gauze or perforated tin strainer, and bottle in wide-mouth jars, which should be corked to keep out dust.

Loaf Cake: Three eggs, one cup of sugar, half a cup of butter, one cup of cream, one teaspoonful of soda, one cup of raisins, one cup of currants, flour and nutmeg.

Molasses-Cured Ham: Moisten every part of the ham with molasses, and then for every hundred pounds use one quart of salt and four ounces of saltpeter, rubbing them in very thoroughly in every point. Then rub again with molasses and one quart of salt, and return the hams to the casks for four days. Repeat this the third and fourth time, and then smoke the hams. This process takes only sixteen days, while other methods require five or six weeks.

Molasses Candy: Two cups molasses, one cup sugar, one tablespoonful vinegar, butter size of a hickory nut. Boil briskly twenty minutes, stirring all the time. When cool, pull until white.

Parsnip Stew: Pare and slice together in the proportion of one large parsnip to three or four medium-sized potatoes. Cook thirty or forty minutes in a small quantity of water, so that when you have put in a little flour thickening, it will be nearly as dry as hash, though some might prefer it more moist. A little cream improves it. With no other addition than a little salt, this forms a delicious food.

Pickle for Hams: For 100 pounds of ham take six gallons of water, nine pounds salt, one quart of molasses, three ounces of saltpeter and one ounce saleratus. When ready to smoke they can be soaked and then freshened to taste if too salt [sic].

Quick Pudding: 1 egg, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoonful of melted butter, 1 cup of sweet milk, teaspoonful of soda, 3 cups of flour. Bake half an hour or more. Eat with sweet sauce.

Raised Cake: Two cups of raised dough, two eggs, two cups of sugar, one cup of butter, one cup of sweet milk, one teaspoonful of soda, two cups of flour, one cup of fruit, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. To be put into the oven at once.

Sponge Cake Pudding: 1 teacup of fine white sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teacup of flour, a nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 salt-spoon of bi-carbonate of soda dissolved in two tablespoons of milk. Beat together the butter and sugar, add the milk, nutmeg, and a teaspoonful of extract of lemon; then the yolks of the eggs. Beat well together, and bake twenty minutes. Sauce: of a pint of white sugar, 1 teaspoonful of butter, 1 of corn-starch, mixed dry into the sugar. Pour on 1 pint of boiling water, and boil the whole ten minutes. Add 1 teaspoonful of extract of lemon just after taking off the fire.

Sponge Cake: One cup of sugar, one cup of flour, sifted, four large or five small eggs. Beat the sugar and yolks nicely together. Beat the whites to a stiff froth, add to the sugar and yolks; then stir in the flour. One teaspoonful of essence of lemon. Bake in a quick oven.

Tea Relish: [Note: This recipe is for beef, but the name is as written in the Messenger.] Select a piece of beef from the fore-quarter weighing about twenty pounds; place it in a stone pot, or a perfectly sweet and clean butter-firkin; over three tablespoonfuls of saltpeter pour one gallon of hot water, and when cold pour over the beef. The weather should be cold, and in this mixture the meat should remain forty-eight hours. At the end of two days take out the meat, and into the pores and crevices rub well one pint of fine salt and one teacupful of molasses; next morning turn the meat over and rub again, turning and rubbing in salt and molasses for six mornings. The next day place the meat in boiling water and when it commences to boil, skim carefully, and put the vessel on the back part of the stove, where it will simmer, but not boil. Allow half an hour to each pound of meat in cooking it; when done, remove and press with a heavy weight. Slice, when cold, in very thin slices. If the twenty pounds is too large, cut in two or three pieces, but have the proportion the same of saltpeter, etc.

Tomato Soup without Meat: Take one dozen good sized, very ripe tomatoes, skin and chop fine; put into a soup kettle, boil for ten or fifteen minutes, add a bit of saleratus as large as a pea, stir till it stops foaming; turn in one pint of fresh, sweet milk and three Boston crackers rolled fine; season with salt and pepper and a good piece of butter; boil for fifteen minutes. This soup can be made upon short notice, and is really a toothsome dish, somewhat resembling lobster soup.