The Virginia Housewife: Or Methodical Cook: A Facsimile of an Authentic Early American Cookbook

The Virginia Housewife: Or Methodical Cook: A Facsimile of an Authentic Early American Cookbook

by Mary Randolph

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Charming guide, published in 1824, offers directions for making rabbit soup, beef steak pie, fried calf's feet, shoulder of mutton with celery sauce, leg of pork with pease pudding, pickled oysters, tansey pudding, plum cakes and other culinary treats. Also, household hints for cleaning silver, drying herbs, more.See more details below


Charming guide, published in 1824, offers directions for making rabbit soup, beef steak pie, fried calf's feet, shoulder of mutton with celery sauce, leg of pork with pease pudding, pickled oysters, tansey pudding, plum cakes and other culinary treats. Also, household hints for cleaning silver, drying herbs, more.

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The Virginia Housewife or, Methodical Cook

A Facsimile of an Authentic Early American Cookbook

By Mary Randolph

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1993 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-14219-7




TAKE four large bunches of asparagus, scrape it nicely, cut off one inch of the tops, and lay them in water, chop the stalks and put them on the fire with a piece of bacon, a large onion cut up, and pepper and salt; add two quarts of water, boil them till the stalks are quite soft, then pulp them through a sieve, and strain the water to it, which must be put back in the pot; put into it a chicken cut up, with the tops of asparagus which had been laid by, boil it until these last articles are sufficiently done, thicken with flour, butter and milk, and serve it up.

* * *


TAKE the hind shin of beef, cut oft all the flesh off the leg-bone, which must be taken away entirely, or the soup will be greasy. Wash the meat clean and lay it in a pot, sprinkle over it one small table-spoonful of pounded black pepper, and two of salt; three unions the size of a hen's egg, cut small, six small carrots scraped and cut up, two small turnips pared and cut into dice; pour on three quarts of water, cover the pot close, and keep it gently and steadily boiling five hours, which will leave about three pints of clear soup; do not let the pot boil over, but take off the scum carefully, as it rises. When it has boiled four hours, put in a small bundle of thyme and parsley, and a pint of celery cut small, or a tea-spoonful of celery seed pounded. These latter ingredients would lose their delicate flavour if boiled too much. Just before you take it up, brown it in the following manner: put a small table-spoonful of nice brown sugar into an iron skillet, set it on the fire and stir it till it melts and looks very dark, pour into it a ladle full of the soup, a little at a time; stirring it all the while. Strain this browning and mix it well with the soup; take out the bundle of thyme and parsley, put the nicest pieces of meat in your tureen, and pour on the soup and vegetables; put in some toasted bread cut in dice, and serve it up.

* * *


GET eight pounds of coarse lean beef—wash it clean and lay it in your pot, put in the same ingredients as for the shin soup, with the same quantity of water, and follow the process directed for that. Strain the soup through a sieve, and serve it up clear, with nothing more than toasted bread in it; two table-spoonsful of mushroom catsup will add a fine flavour to the soup


TAKE the nicest part of the thick brisket of beef, about eight pounds, put it into a pot with every thing directed for the other soup; make it exactly in the same way, only put it on an hour sooner, that you may have time to prepare the bouilli; after it has boiled five hours, take out the beef, cover up the soup and set it near the fire that it may keep hot. Take the skin off the beef, have the yelk of an egg well beaten, dip a feather in it and wash the top of your beef, sprinkle over it the crumb of stale bread finely grated, put it in a Dutch oven previously heated, put the top on with coals enough to brown, but not burn the beef; let it stand nearly an hour, and prepare your gravy thus:—Take a sufficient quantity of soup and the vegetables boiled in it; add to it a tablespoonful of red wine, and two of mushroom catsup, thicken with a little bit of butter and a little brown flour; make it very hot, pour it in your dish, and put the beef on it. Garnish it with green pickle, cut in thin slices, serve up the soup in a tureen with bits of toasted bread.

* * *


PUT into a pot three quarts of water, three onions cut small, one spoonful of black pepper pounded, and two of salt, with two or three slices of lean ham; let it boil steadily two hours; skim it occasionally, then put into it a shin of veal, let it boil two hours longer; take out the slices of ham, and skim off the grease if any should rise, take a gill of good cream, mix with it two table-spoonsful of flour very nicely, and the yelks of two eggs beaten well, strain this mixture, and add some chopped parsley; pour some soup on by degrees, stir it well, and pour it into the pot, continuing to stir until it has boiled two or three minutes to take off the raw taste of the eggs. If the cream be not perfectly sweet, and the eggs quite new, the thickening will curdle in the soup. For a change you may put a dozen ripe tomatos in, first taking off their skins, by letting them stand a few minutes in hot water, when they may be easily peeled. When made in this way you must thicken it with the flour only. Any part of the veal may be used, but the shin or knuckle is the nicest.

* * *


WASH and drain two quarts of oysters, put them on with three quarts of water, three onions chopped up, two or three slices of lean ham, pepper and salt; boil it till reduced one-half, strain it through a sieve, return the liquid into the pot, put in one quart of fresh oysters, boil it till they are sufficiently done, and thicken the soup with four spoonsful of flour, two gills of rich cream, and the yelks of six new laid eggs beaten well; boil it a few minutes after the thickening is put in. Take care that it does not curdle, and that the flour is not in lumps; serve it up with the last oysters that were put in. If the flavour of thyme be agreeable, you may put in a little, but take care that it does not boil in it long enough to discolour the soup.

* * *


PUT on three gills of barley, three quarts of water, few onions cut up, six carrots scraped and cut into dice, an equal quantity of turnips cut small; boil it gently two hours, then put in four or five pounds of the rack or neck of mutton, a few slices of lean ham, with pepper and salt; boil it slowly two hours longer and serve it up. Tomatos are an excellent addition to this soup.

* * *


TAKE one quart of split peas, or Lima beans, which are better; put them in three quarts of very soft water with three onions chopped up, pepper and salt; boil them two hours; mash them well and pass them through a sieve; return the liquid into the pot, thicken it with a large piece of butter and flour, put in some slices of nice salt pork, and a large tea-spoonful of celery seed pounded; boil it till the pork is done, and serve it up; have some toasted bread cut into dice and fried in butter, which must be put in the tureen before you pour in the soup.

* * *


MAKE it exactly as you do the dried pea soup, only in place of the celery seed, put a handful of mint chopped small, and a pint of young peas, which must be boiled in the soup till tender; thicken it with a quarter of a pound of butter, and two spoonsful of flour.

* * *


GET two double handsful of young ochra, wash and slice it thin, add two onions chopped fine, put it into a gallon of water at a very early hour in an earthen pipkin, or very nice iron pot; it must be kept steadily simmering, but not boiling: put in pepper and salt. At 12 o'clock, put in a handful of Lima beans; at half-past one o'clock, add three young cimlins cleaned and cut in small pieces, a fowl, or knuckle of veal, a bit of bacon or pork that has been boiled, and six tomatos, with the skin taken off; when nearly done, thicken with a spoonful of butter, mixed with one of flour. Have rice boiled to eat with it.

* * *


CUT up two hares, put them into a pot with a piece of bacon, two onions chopped, a bundle of thyme and parsley, which must be taken out before the soup is thickened, add pepper, salt, pounded cloves, and mace, put in a sufficient quantity of water, stew it gently three hours, thicken with a large spoonful of butter, and one of brown flour, with a glass of red wine; boil it a few minutes longer, and serve it up with the nicest parts of the hares. Squirrels make soup equally good, done the same way.

* * *


The only way in which they are eatable.

PUT the fowls in a coop and feed them moderately for a fortnight; kill one and cleanse it, cut off the legs and wings, and separate the breast from the ribs, which, together with the whole back, must be thrown away, being too gross and strong for use. Take the skin and fat from the parts cut off which are also gross. Wash the pieces nicely, and put them on the fire with abort a pound of bacon, a large onion chopped small. some pepper and salt, a few blades of mace, a handful of parsley, cut up very fine, and two quarts of water, if it be a common fowl or duck—a turkey will require more water. Boil it gently for three hours, tie up a small bunch of thyme, and let it boil in it half an hour, then take it out. Thicken your soup with a large spoonful of butter rubbed into two of flour, the yelks of two eggs, and half a pint of milk. Be careful not to let it curdle in the soup.

* * *


An excellent dish for those who have not imbibed a needless prejudice against those delicious fish.

TAKE two large or four small white catfish that have been caught in deep water, cut off the heads, and skin and clean the bodies; cut each in three parts, put them in a pot, with a pound of lean bacon, a large onion cut up, a handful of parsley chopped small. some pepper and salt, pour in a sufficient quantity of water, and stew them till the fish are quite tender but not broken; beat the yelks of four fresh eggs add to them a large spoonful of butter, two of flour, and half a pint of rich milk; make all these warm and thicken the soup, take out the bacon, and put some of the fish in your tureen, pour in the soup, and serve it up.

* * *


CHOP up twelve large onions, boil them in three quarts of milk and water equally mixed, put in a bit of veal or fowl, and a piece of bacon with pepper and salt. When the onions are boiled to pulp, thicken it with a large spoonful of butter mixed with one of flour, Take out the meat, and serve it up with toasted bread cut in small pieces in the soup.


KILL it at night in winter, and in the morning in summer. Hang it up by the hind fins, cut off the head and let it bleed well. Separate the bottom shell from the top, with great care, lest the gall bladder be broken, which must be cautiously taken out and thrown away. Put the liver in a bowl of water. Empty the guts and lay them in water; if there be eggs, put them also in water. It is proper to have a separate bowl of water for each article. Cut all the flesh from the bottom shell, and lay it in water; then break the shell in two, put it in a pot after having washed it clean; pour on as much water as will cover it entirely, add one pound of middling, or flitch of bacon, with four onions chopped, and set it on the fire to boil. Open the guts, cleanse them perfectly; take off the inside skin, and put them in the pot with the shell; let them boil steadily for three hours, and if the water boils away too much, add more. Wash the top shell nicely after taking out the flesh, cover it, and set it by. Parboil the fins, clean them nicely—taking off all the black skin, and put them in water; cut the flesh taken from the bottom and top shell, in small pieces; cut the fins in two, lay them with the flesh in a dish; sprinkle some salt over, and cover them up. When the shell, &c. is done, take out the bacon, scrape the shell clean, and strain the liquor; about one quart of which must be put back in the pot; reserve the rest for soup; pick out the guts, and cut them in small pieces; take all the nice bits that were strained out, put them with the guts into the gravy; lay in the fins cut in pieces with them, and as much of the flesh as will be sufficient to fill the upper shell; add to it, (if a large turtle,) one bottle of white wine; cayenne pepper, and salt, to your taste, one gill of mushroom catsup, one gill of lemon pickle, mace, nutmegs and cloves, pounded, to season it high. Mix two large spoonsful of flour in one pound and a quarter of butter; put it in with thyme, parsley, marjoram and savory, tied in bunches; stew all these together, till the flesh and fins are tender; wash out the top shell, put a puff paste around the brim; sprinkle over the shell pepper and salt, then take the herbs out of the stew; if the gravy is not thick enough, add a little more flour, and fill the shell; should there be no eggs in the turtle, boil six new laid ones for ten minutes, put them in cold water a short time, peel them, cut them in two, and place them on the turtle; make a rich forcemeat, (see receipt for forcemeat,) fry the balls nicely, and put them also in the shell; set it in a dripping pan, with something under the sides to Keep it steady; have the oven heated as for bread, and let it remain in it till nicely browned. Fry the liver and send it in hot.

* * *


AT an early hour in the morning, put on eight pounds of coarse beef, some bacon, onions, sweet herbs, pepper and salt. Make a rich soup, strain it and thicken with a bit of butter, and brown flour; add to it the water left from boiling the bottom shell; season it very high with wine, catsup, spice and cayenne; put in the flesh you reserved, and if that is not enough, add the nicest parts of a well boiled calf's head; but do not use the eyes or tongue; let it boil till tender, and serve it up with fried forcemeat balls in it.

If you have curry powder, (see receipt for it,) it will give a higher flavour to both soup and turtle, than spice. Should you not want soup, the remaining flesh may be fried, and served with a rich gravy.

* * *


HAVE a large head cleaned nicely without taking off the skin, divide the chop from the front of the head, take out the tongue, (which is best when salted,) put on the head with a gallon of water, the hock of a ham or a piece of nice pork, four or five onions, thyme, parsley, cloves and nutmeg, pepper and salt, boil all these together until the flesh on the head is quite tender, then take it up, cut all into small pieces, take the eyes out carefully, strain the water in which it was boiled, add half a pint of wine and a gill of mushroom catsup, let it boil slowly till reduced to two quarts, thicken it with two spoonsful of browned flour rubbed into four ounces of butter, put the meat in, and after stewing it a short time, serve it up. The eyes are a great delicacy.




PREPARE your brine in the middle of October, after the following manner: get a thirty gallon cask, take out one head, drive in the bung, and put some pitch on it, to prevent leaking. See that the cask is quite tight and clean. Put into it one pound of saltpetre powdered, fifteen quarts of salt, and fifteen gallons of cold water; stir it frequently, until dissolved, throw over the cask a thick cloth, to keep out the dust; look at it often and take off the scum. These proportions have been accurately ascertained—fifteen gallons of cold water will exactly hold, in solution, fifteen, quarts of good clean Liverpool salt, and one pound of saltpetre: this brine will be strong enough to bear up an egg: if more salt be added, it will fall to the bottom without strengthening the brine, the water being already saturated. This brine will cure all the beef which a private family can use in the course of the winter, and requires nothing more to be done to it except occasionally skimming the dross that rises. It must be kept in a cool, dry place. For salting your beef, get a molasses hogshead and saw it in two, that the beef may have space to lie on; bore some holes in the bottom of these tubs, and raise them on one side about an inch, that the bloody brine may run off.

Be sure that your beef is newly killed—rub each piece very well with good Liverpool salt—a vast deal depends upon rubbing the salt into every part—it is unnecessary to put saltpetre on it; sprinkle a good deal of salt on the bottom of the tub. When the beef is well salted, lay it in the tub, and be sure you put the fleshy side downward. Put a great deal of salt on your beef after it is packed in the tub; this protects it from animals who might eat, if they could smell it, and does not waste the salt, for the beef can only dissolve a certain portion. You must let the beef lie in salt ten days, then take it out, brush off the salt, and wipe it with a damp cloth; put it in the brine with a bit of board and weight to keep it under. In about ten days it will look red and be fit for the table, but it will be red much sooner when the brine becomes older. The best time to begin to salt beef is the latter end of October, if the weather be cool, and from that time have it in succession. When your beef is taken out of the tub, stir the salt about to dry, that it may be ready for the next pieces. Tongues are cured in the same manner.


Excerpted from The Virginia Housewife or, Methodical Cook by Mary Randolph. Copyright © 1993 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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