Food Formulas of Forefathers Handed Down Through Generations
Members of the Rebecca Stoddert Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution are commemorating Thanksgiving Day by sharing their valuable recipes used for many generations for family Thanksgiving feasts.
The recipes furnished by members of this group of ladies have been handed down for many generations. Some of them have been brought up to date since the first use not too long after the first Thanksgiving celebrated in 1621.
Although customs and eating habits have changed since the days of the Pilgrims, the custom of Thanksgiving feasting still goes on with the same traditional foods being served as were served to those brave pioneers.
History has it that wild turkey was first on the bill of fare at that first feast. Cranberries, the wild variety, were also served, as was Indian pudding, from which our traditional plum pudding is derived.
And so, in reviving these heirloom recipes. DAR members have traced the recipes to their beginnings back in pioneer days. Slight changes over the years have brought the recipes up to date.
MRS. KAY WARD, regent of Rebecca Stoddert chapter, has delved into her collection of fine old recipes and furnished one for Apple Strudel handed down from her mother and grandmother. It calls for 5 cups of peeled and sliced apples, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons lard, 2 eggs beaten lightly, ½ cup warm water, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup raisins, ½ cup chopped nuts, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, grated rind of one lemon. Sift flour and salt together. Mix well with lard. Add eggs and water. Knead well. Throw or beat the dough against the board until it blisters. Place it in a warm place under a cloth for a while. Pull dough out with hands carefully until thin. Spread with mixture made of apples, butter, raisins, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon rind. Fold in outer edges. Roll out about 4 inches. Bake (450 degrees for 10 minutes, 400 degrees for 20 minutes). Cool and cut into slices.
The recipe was used, in Mrs Ward's family for generations and brought to this country from Holland and Germany. The first ancestors to come to this country were the Mathias Koplin family in 1685, and Paulus Custer in 1685 from Crefeld, Germany. Mrs Ward's father and mother were the Ballentine Hunsicker family of Pennsylvania. In those days it was the custom to have regular baking days.
Other members of the chapter have delved into their recipe files for recipes, each of which is a least 100 years old.
SWEET POTATO BISCUITS is the recipe furnished by Mrs. W. J. Moran. It has been in in the family since 1702 and was served daily by her mother, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Haughton Burke, who with her family lived in North Carolina. Mrs. Buke moved to El Paso with Mrs. Moran in 1915.
The recipe reads:
Mix thoroughly 1 pint boiled and mashed sweet potatoes, tablespoon each of melted lard and butter. Add 1 pint sour milk into which 1 teaspoon soda has been stirred. Add enough flour to make a soft dough and make into small biscuits. Let stand 24 hours then bake in a hot oven.
BOILED CUSTARD, the recipe which is 150 years old, was furnished by Miss Annie and Miss Floride Harris. Their mother Mrs. Mary Reese Harris, used the recipe, handed down by her mother, Mrs. Caroline Wardlaw Reese, It has been the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas day dessert for generations of Harrises. The Harris sisters still use the recipe for ice cream. It states:
Mix 1 quart sweet milk, 4 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 pint whipping cream, a sprinkle of salt and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly and cook over low heat until thick. Chill and serve plain or garnished with fruit
ONE - TWO - THREE – FOUR CAKE recipe belongs to Mrs. R R. Deason. It calls for 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar. 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs, separated; 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups sweet milk. Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks, salt and vanilla. Sift together flour and baking powder alternately with milk to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold lightly into cake mixture. Bake at 350 degrees in greased and floured pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
This recipe comes from the files of Mrs. Reason's mother, Mrs. George M. Dunne, who received it from her mother, Mrs. George F. Parker of Kississimove, Fla.
SWEET POTATO PONE, a recipe belonging to Mrs. S. J. Caddy, calls for 4 cups grated, raw sweet potatoes 2 eggs, 1 ½ cups sugar, 2 tablespoons nutmeg, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cups sweet milk. Add the beaten eggs to milk, sugar and softened butter and grated potatoes. Mix well and add spices with 1 tablespoon salt, flour and milk. Bake in shallow pan in moderate oven for 45 minutes.
This recipe was given to Mrs Gaddy by her mother, Mrs. Corrie Capo Kees, of Pennsylvania, who has. been a frequent El Paso visitor,
MRS. FRANK P. SCHUSTER has furnished a recipe handed down by her great aunt for Old Fashioned Ragout Pickles. It calls for 2 gallons of cut cabbage, 1 gallon of green or ripe tomatoes, 4 tablespoons mustard, 3 gills white mustard seed, 2 tablespoons allspice, 2 teaspoons cloves, 1 pint onions, 1 1/2 lbs. brown sugar, 1/4 pint salt and 3 quarts of vinegar. Boil mixture well but do not use brass or copper kettle.
FRENCH COOKIES is the recipe furnished by Mrs. J. W. Hopkins, from the files of her father's family. These were a regular holiday cooky, used in their home in Alsace-Lorraine. The recipe calls for 6 eggs, 1 lb. fine flour, 1 lb. sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 lb. almonds, 1 tablespoon mixed candied fruit, 2 teaspoons cinnamon. The sugar and egg must be beaten until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, flour, fruit and almonds, The almonds must be roasted in sugar and ground. Lightly mix all ingredients. Drop by teaspoon on a cold baking sheet In the evening. Keep cold overnight. Bake in a slow oven.
To toast almonds, put a tablespoon of sugar in a cold fry pan with almonds on top.
A RECIPE FOR GINGER BREAD from Scotland, dated 1794 belongs to Mrs. L. L. Robinson. It was handed down from her grandparents and was originally from Lanark, Scotland.
The recipe reads, 1 cup heavy molasses, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup sour or sweet milk, 1 teaspoon soda and 2 1/2 cups flour mixed well and baked in a moderate oven.
MRS. CHARLES GRANT has furnished a recipe for beaten biscuits which was handed down from her husband's mother and was used for generations as the main biscuit recipe. It simply states to mix 1 ¼ lbs. flour, ¼ lb. lard, 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of soda with water and beat until blisters appear. Roll out, cut and bake in a hot oven.
VINEGAR PEACHES is the old fashioned recipe furnished by Mrs. H. C. Dyer and her daughter, Mrs. Henry McDonnell Jr. The famous recipe handed down through many generations of Mrs. Dyer's family reads: Peel large peaches Place in a stone jar , allowing 1 Ib. fruit for 1 Ib. sugar and 1 qt. vinegar. Boil vinegar and sugar with a little bag of cinnamon and cloves. When boiling hot pour over peaches in jars.
MRS. NANCY Jordan Garrett, one of the DAR members, is the owner of an old English cookbook, one of the earliest on record. It was printed in 1767. The title of the heirloom, leather bound book is "The Art of Cookery." It was printed in London and since it was not ladylike in those days for a woman to do such things as writing a book, the author is not listed. The fly leaf simply states, "Written by a Lady." On another fly leaf faded handwriting is the name 'Elizabeth Garrett, Her 'Book, 12 January, 1789," The writer is believed to be an ancestor of Mrs. Garrett's.
The book is written in old English fashion and home remedies includes such as Hysterical water, which was to relieve hysteria. . . a hair preserver which lists in the ingredients wine, rosemary flowers, honey and almond oil. It also includes "A certain cure for the bite of a mad dog," which includes an involved procedure of treatment.
Mrs. Garrett has contributed her ancestral recipe for Pound Cake, which has been traced back as far as 1792. It reads 1 cup butter, 1 2/3 cups sugar, 5 eggs, 2 cups sifted flour, 1/2 teaspoon flavoring, 1/2 teaspoon brandy or rum. Cream the butter and gradually add sugar. Beat until light. Add eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until sugar dissolves. Fold in flour. Add flavoring and pour into greased and floured pan. Bake about 1 hour at 325 degrees. Eggs should have been at room temperature.
WHEN THE PILGRIMS celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621, their menu would have put most of our modern Thanksgiving dinners to shame. In addition to the traditional turkey, the list of entries for that first celebration included ducks, lobsters; eels, clams, oysters and several varieties of fish.
Accompanying the main courses were corn, gooseberries, strawberries, cherries, grapes, plums, cranberries and biscuits made from flour carried in the Mayflower’s stores.
For dessert, the Pilgrims had Indian pudding made from flour, molasses and cranberries, using a recipe given them by the friendly Indian, Squanto. They may also have had fruit pies and tarts.
All this was washed down with new wine made from the local grape crop, with perhaps a few strong-spirits from the ship's stores.
Contrary to common belief, the first Thanksgiving celebration was not one meal, but a three-day series of meals eaten by 140 persons, including 90 Indians who were guests of the Pilgrims. After the long, hard first winter and the struggle to raise the first crops, we may imagine the Pilgrims adopted the Indian custom of eating heartily as long as the food lasted.
While it is difficult to estimate accurately the number of calories consumed in the three-day Pilgrim Thanksgiving feast, it is safe to assume from the variety of foods that the celebrants far exceeded what is now regarded as a proper daily intake.
As today’s Americans emulate their Pilgrim forefathers in celebrating Thanksgiving, they may not enjoy the extreme variety of foods featured in 1621. But many will exceed the recommended caloric intake by a great