16 April 2009

The Steward Says...

Weekly Geek's prompt is Let's Talk Cookbooks! and boy do I have a cookbook worthy of discussing. The Original White House Cook Book: Cooking, Toilet and Household Recipes, Menus, Dinner-Giving, Table Etiquette, Care of the Sick, Health Suggestions, Facts Worth Knowing, Etc. Etc.: A Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information for the Home by Mrs. F.L. Gillette and Hugo Ziemann, Steward of the White House, published in 1887. That's right ladies and gentlemen, it is the cookbook to beat all cookbooks.

Along with higly attractive drawings of various animals with their bodies divided and numbered, this book is jam-packed with lovely tidbits of wisdom such as:

"Be careful to keep the mouth shut closely while masticating the food" (545).

"Do not attempt to eulogize your dishes" (550).

"Mutton is prime when cut from a carcase which has been fed out of doors, and allowed to run upon the hillside" (5).

"Dishes for invalids should be served in the daintiest and most attractive way" (69).

The Hilarious: "Pains in the side are most promptly relieved by the application of mustard" (495).

"Lamb born in the middle of the winter, reared under shelter, and fed in a great measure upon milk, then killed in the spring, is considered a great delicacy" (5).

Now while for the most part this book does nothing more than give me a chuckle, I have to admit the Custards, Creams, and Desserts section is very appealing. And the Pastry, Pies, and Tarts section has a recipe for Plum Custard Tartlets, which doesn't sound overly tasty, but does include the word Tartlet of which I am now a big fan.

There are also Lemon, Orange, and Meringue Custard Tartlets. Enough said.

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