"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Times Gone By

I found this old cookbook in the cabinet recently and looked through it.  Printed in 1932, some of the recipes are more than 100 years old.  I loved the recipes, two of which are Dimples and Nun's Sigh.  The author, Mary Moore Bremer, states in her forward, "The negro woman, who reigned in the kitchen, had inherited from her ancestors in Africa, as well as in America, a knowledge of cookery and herbs that made her skill look like magic."  In another section, she writes, "Many of these recipes were written before calorie counting became a world sport, but when a little colored delivery boy asked," "Missus, is dis reducin' or increasin' bread?" " I knew it was time to put in some whole wheat recipes for those who do reduce."  It is amazing to me that back in the early days of the 20th century, and in New Orleans, no less, people were dieting and counting calories. 

Another part of the book gives recipes for cocktails and spirits.  Seems drinking alcoholic beverages in New Orleans had rules which were to be strictly followed at mealtimes. Even the size and shape of glassware had to be correct for measuring amounts and just because (a pony is one ounce and a gill is four ounces.)   "Delmonico's chef, Charles Ranhoffer, believed wine was to be the intellectual part of the meal, which must be served in correct order and at the proper temperatures, though preference must be given to taste and the effect on health as he believes that certain tastes go with certain temperaments: The sanguine natures feel the want of light wines such as Champagne; the phlegmatic love the warm wines from Languedoc and Fontignon; gloomy dispositions crave sweet Spanish, Italian and Burgundy; while the billious require something stimplating like Bordeaux which is easily digested and leaves the mouth clear and the head free."  The rule for formal dinners was observed thusly: 
Sauterne or other white wine with the oysters.
Dry sherry with clear soup.
Sherry or Madeira with turtle soup.
Champagne with entrees.
Claret with salads.
Bordeau with game.
Claret with roast.
Burgundy with dessert.
Brandy, Liqueurs, Cognac or Pousse Cafe followed the coffee.

This book is charming and I wish I could have visited the New Orleans of long ago.  My mother left home at fifteen, and without shoes, walked to New Orleans, where she worked and lived until she met my father who was stationed there and in the Navy.  We never knew this story until after her death at forty when her sister told me. 

After seven weeks, my new knee is healing and I am finally able to get back to normal.  Glad to be back!