Black-eyed Peas and Turnip Greens (1917)

IT IS rather astonishing to discover that New York vegetable markets, which lay under tribute the farthest comers of the earth, wholly lack two things as familiar as they are toothsome to folk brought up in the South, namely, turnip greens and black-eyed peas. Both are of the easiest culture, yield abundantly, and are stays to six appetite troubles that fail not in the seventh. The reason perhaps is that they do not bear shipment well. More likely it is lack of demand. Winter turnips, which furnish the very best greens, may not be hardy north of 36 degrees, yet the ordinary field turnip supplies a more than palatable green — one so excellent that it is well worth while to sow seed thickly, pulling them up when the tops are of edible size.

The turnip patch, which is a necessary part of equipment on any well regulated plantation, must be rich and clean. Clay soil is best, and it can not well be too highly manured. Make the surface fine, and sow seed broadcast, as evenly as possible. The countryside saying is that for a perfect patch the sower should begin with just half enough seed, give away half what he has, then fall and spill half the remainder. Then he must mix the seed well through fine earth, and sow the patch twice, going both ways. Tramping or rolling the surface helps to a sure stand. Sow any time between the middle of June and the end of July. There will be salad for cutting from mid-September until almost Christmas, espec ially if you have sown the famous Seven-Top turnips, which send up a great mass of the ten- derest herbage. Winter turnips make no edible roots, but send long, woody, well-fibered radicals deep into the earth. With scant protection or none, the tops put up again by the first of Feb ruary. Mild winters one may cut a mess of greens almost any time. From February for ward to mid-April or even. May the yield is constant. Further, turnip salad encourages to generosity — the closer it is kept cropped the longer its season. A seed plot should be marked off early, and stalks there allowed to grow tall and lusty. Seed from them will be much more vital than those ripening at haphazard after the salad-cutting ends. Moreover, the seed plot saves waiting to displace a ragged turnip patch with something else.

Greens from summer turnips — otherwise the flat white ones — are very, very good, much beyond spinach, corn salad, or kale, even though they do not reach the full measure of excellence. Seed sown thick in early spring will give greens by the end of May. Sow in rows, thin as the plants develop, and there will be turnips, no less greens. To cook the greens, pick over carefully, rejecting yellow or bruised leaves, wash very clean, and boil tender, along with a bit of bacon or salt pork. Smoked jowl is the thing to cook with the greens, but it is so rarely obtainable that one must not insist on it.

There are a dozen varieties of black-eyed peas. Red or gray Crowders and the big Whip-poor-will are among the hardiest and most prolific. Plant them in mid-May, in checks, so as to be plowed both ways. Cultivate until the vines cover the ground — say the end of June. There will be young peas before that time. Pick when the hulls begin to show color — red or whitey yellow —  along the outside seam. The peas may be full enough to eat somewhat earlier, but shelling them is tedious beyond words. Boil the shelled peas until tender in salted water — the time will depend something upon the size of the peas. As soon as they will mash easily, drain them, and put into hot bacon fat, stirring them back and forth, and mashing lightly until they absorb the grease. Serve with the crisp bacon laid on top. They are nearly as good cold as hot, and moreover can be warmed up without loss of flavor. A double handful put into vegetable soup will improve it very much. A pea patch of good size, besides furnishing peas throughout the summer, will also supply enough dry ones to help out wonderfully the winter menu. The soil must not be too rich, or there will be more vines than peas. But where the vines are over luxuriant they need not go to waste. Cattle eat them greedily green or dry, and as soil-renovators they are in the very first class.

Martha McCulloch Williams.

— The New Country Life, 1917

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Uneeda Fruitcake (1930)

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Fruitcake with Currant Jelly: Will Keep for Years

— 1 lb. brown sugar, 1 lb. browned flour, 3 lbs. seedless raisins, 2 lbs. currants, 1 lb. citron, 3/4 lb. butter, 1 cup molasses, 2 teaspoons mace, 2 of cinnamon, 1 of cloves, 1 of black pepper, 1 nutmeg, 1 teaspoon Royal Baking Powder, 12 eggs, 1/2 cup currant jelly melted in 1/2 cup hot water; will keep for years

Kate Finlay, Marysville, Kans.

— My Favorite Receipt. (Royal Powder Baking Company, 1886, New York.)

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Wesson Fruitcake (1928)

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Fruitcake with Coffee

— 1-1/2 lbs. raisins, 1-1/2 lbs. currants, 1 cup butter, 2 cups brown sugar, 4 eggs, 1/2 lb. citron, 1/2 cup strong coffee, 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in the coffee ; nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and mace to taste ; flour to make it a proper thickness ; this cake can be steamed 3 hours, and baked 1 hour, or baked 6 hours.

Olive Cainber, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Ca.

— My Favorite Receipt. (Royal Powder Baking Company, 1886, New York.)

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Layer Fruit Cake

Layer Fruit Cake.— 6 eggs, 1-1/4 lbs. sugar, 1-3/4 lbs. flour, 14 oz. butter, 1/2 pt. sour milk, or buttermilk, 1 lemon, grated, 1 nutmeg, 1 teaspoon saleratus, 1 lb. raisins, 1/4 lb. citron, 1 lb. currants. For baking this cake, spread a layer of dough in a deep, square pan, then a layer of fruit, which has been mixed with flour (of which there is sufficient in this receipt) ; another layer of dough, then layer of fruit, and finish with dough ; two large cakes; care must be taken in spreading the dough so as not to disarrange the fruit, and the layers will be very perfect when baked.

Mrs. E. K. Toft, Hawley, Pa.

— My Favorite Receipt. (Royal Powder Baking Company, 1886, New York.)

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Christmas Fruit Cake

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A Fruitcake for People Who Don’t Like All that Weird Fruit

— 1/2 cup melted butter, 1-1/2 cups sugar, 1-1/2 cups raisins, 1-1/2 cups milk, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons Royal Extract Vanilla, 3-1/2 cups flour, 3 teaspoons Royal Baking Powder; bake in a slow oven.

Miss H. A. Dunham, Bennington, Vt

— My Favorite Receipt. (Royal Powder Baking Company, 1886, New York.)

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A Fruitcake from the Temperance Movement (1886)

Mary G. Smith’s Temperance Cookbook (1886) begins with a preface: There should be nothing in our eatables to awaken the appetite of the reformed, and we certainly want nothing to cultivate a taste for intoxicating drinks in the young.

It is in this spirit that she provides an extremely detailed recipe for fruitcake that uses green tea in place of demon alcohol, and that clearly conveys her superior knowledge of pretty much everything.

When going to make pies or cakes (or do any other baking), the first thing to be done is to build your fire, and get the oven just right. Let the heat of the oven be regular and moderate. The next thing is to put yourself in order; secure the hair in a net, or other covering, to prevent any from falling, and brush the shoulders and back to be sure none are lodged there that might blow off; make the hands and finger-nails clean; (you should use separate towels when cooking), roll the sleeves up above the elbows, and put on a large, clean, white linen apron, which you should have especially for that purpose.

temperanceGet your ingredients together; in warm weather it is best to place eggs in cold water for a few minutes, as they will make a finer froth; be sure your eggs are fresh, as stale ones will not make a stiff froth; have the flour sifted, sugar rolled, yolks of eggs well beaten (beat them till they cease to froth, and are thick, as if mixed with flour), set the whites away in a cool place until you are ready for them, then beat them vigorously, in a cool room, till they will remain in the dish when turned upside down. Grease the pans with fresh lard, which is much better than butter; line the bottom with paper, using six or eight thicknesses, if the cake is large, greasing the top one well. (In some ovens, however, fewer thicknesses of paper would be needed on the bottom, and, in some, the sides also should be lined with one or more thicknesses).

Use none but the best materials for making cake. Be very particular to stir the butter and sugar to a cream, and beat the eggs well. Cakes are often spoiled because this rule is not followed. All kinds of cakes are better for having the whites and yolks of the eggs beaten separately. In winter, soften but do not melt the butter. Never add fruit till ready to bake, and in raised cake, spread it on top only, a little below the surface, or it will settle to the bottom. Never stir cake in tin; the stone china wash bowls are very good for this purpose. You can often find odd ones at the crockery stores. Have the dishes cool that you are going to beat the eggs in. Use none but silver or wooden spoons to stir the cake. In using milk, note this: That sour milk makes a spongy, light cake; sweet milk, one that cuts like pound cake; remember, that with sour milk, soda alone is used; while with sweet milk, baking-powder or soda and cream-tartar are to be added. In recipes where milk is used, never mix prohibition1-jpgsweet and sour milk, as it makes cake heavy, even when either alone would not do it. Butter in the least degree strong, spoils cake. An oven, to bake cake well, must have a good heat at the bottom, and not too hot on the top, or the cake will be heavy. For layer cake, you want a quick oven; if too slow, your cake will run over. Streaks in the cake are caused by unskillful mixing, too rapid or unequal baking, or a sudden decrease in the heat before the cake is quite done.

As these recipes have all been proved, if they fail to make good cake, the fault is in the baking. Never move the cake, if possible, while baking, as it is liable to fall. If it browns too fast, put a paper on top. Cake should rise to full height be fore the crust forms. Never place cake in a draught or take it out of the pan when first taken from the oven. Many fail to have good cake because they do not take pains, and are too lazy or careless to beat the eggs well. Cream the butter and sugar, and measure the ingredients. The mixing and baking have oftentimes as much to do with success as the recipe.

Most women in making fruit cake think it quite incomplete without wine or brandy, but it can be made equally as good by substituting one cupful of cold, strong, green tea. The flavor of tea is excellent in mince pie and fruit cake.

To facilitate the operation of seeding raisins, pour warm water on a few at a time, and take out the seeds with your fingers. This will not injure the fruit or cake. When you cut the citron, slice it thin, and do not leave the pieces too large, or they will cause the cake to break apart in cutting. Currants should be prepared for use as follows: Wash in warm water, rubbing well, pour off, and repeat until the water is clear; drain them in a sieve, spread on a cloth, and rub dry; pick out bad ones, dry carefully in a cool oven, and set away for use. The best way to put in fruit is to sprinkle flour over it, then put in a layer of cake at the bottom, half an inch thick, then a layer of fruit, taking care that it does not touch the sides of the pan, and thus dry up; then a little more cake, then another layer of fruit, and thus till the cake is three inches thick (not more), and let the top layer be cake.

Always dissolve soda or saleratus, in warm (not hot water), as milk does not perfectly dissolve it, and thus there will be yellow specks made. Hot water kills the life out of it.

To save repetition in cake recipes, I give below a formula which will be well to follow in making all kinds of cake in which butter is used. Beat the butter and sugar to a cream, then add the spices if any are to be used, next the yolks of the eggs, then part of the flour with the baking-powder or cream-tartar, next the milk in which soda has been added, if soda is used, then the remaining flour with the whites of the eggs added alternately, and if fruit is used, let that always be the last thing. Be sure to flour the fruit well before adding it.

In making all kinds of delicate cake, rub the butter to a cream add the sugar gradually, next part of the flour with the baking-powder or cream-tartar, next the milk with the soda, if any is used, then the rest of the flour, and beat hard fifteen minutes; add the whites of the eggs just before putting it in the oven. There is a great “knack” in beating cake; don’t stir it, but beat thoroughly, bringing the batter from the bottom of the dish at every stroke; in this way the air is driven into the cells of the batter instead of out of them, but the cells will be finer if beat en more slowly at the last. Remember, the motion is always upward.

— The Temperance Cookbook. (Mary G. Smith, 1887, San Jose, CA.)

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Farmer’s Fruit Cake

Farmer’s Fruit Cake. — 1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cup sweet milk, 2 teaspoons soda, 4 cups flour, 2 cups sour dried apples, chopped fine, soaked overnight, drained and stewed in a cup of molasses, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon allspice, cloves, 1/2 a nutmeg and a little black pepper.

Mrs. Benj. F. Youngs, Sempronius, N. Y.

— My Favorite Receipt. (Royal Powder Baking Company, 1886, New York.)

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