I Love to Cook! By Sue Eckhoff, Grundy County Heritage Museum
December 13, 2012
I love to cook. Note, that does not necessarily equate to the fact of if I’m a good cook or not! However, I must admit that one of my pastimes is perusing cookbooks and recipes, whether they are of the church variety, Food Network stars, Pinterest recipes, or something I’ve found online. I do cherish the old hand-written recipes of my grandmothers, many of which have become family traditions, such as Aunt Josie’s Chocolate Cake! Both of my grandmothers were good cooks in their own right, ones specialty was homemade chicken and noodles, and any kind of pie you could want, the other’s was spareribs and dumplings and kolaches. All of them were delicious. It’s really cool to have a recipe you know was written decades ago, although some of these have to be “translated” into contemporary terms. And in my mother’s case were certain superstitions, such as you could not boil potatoes on a rainy day because the pot would boil dry and they would scorch! Recently while doing some research for another article, I came across an online cookbook from Pocahontas County, listing recipes from 1884-1886. Shocking foods they ate back then! Here’s just a sampling of what the good cook would be preparing and how to cook it. (Just in case you’re inclined towards that sort of thing) Turtle – “Plunge the turtle while yet alive into boiling water. When life is extinct, remove the outer skin and toe-nails. Then rinse well and boil in salted water until perfectly tender. Then take off the shell, and clean the terrapin thoroughly. Next cut the meat into small pieces, put into saucepan without water and season to your taste with salt and pepper. Add butter the size of an egg and a few tablespoons of cream at last. Serve very hot!” Beaver Roast – First catch your beaver. Then dress same as any other animal. Cut your roast from any part of the animal you wish. Make strong brine and pour over meet and let stand overnight. Then take enough cold water to cover and lay it in a kettle with a few whole peppers, a piece of stick cinnamon, 6 allspice, a teaspoon of white mustard seed, all tied up together in a piece of cheese cloth. Parboil half an hour. Take up place in a pan and start roasting in the oven. The recipe doesn’t say how long to cook it, but it doesn’t matter, who would eat it anyway?! In the segment, entitled “4 Legged Meat” you can find old recipes on how to cook rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, venison, or woodchuck. Me, I’d be heading for McDonalds!
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