Sunday, January 29, 2017

Food Safety and Storage Back in the Day

A cookbook of vintage recipes is incomplete without anchoring it in the time frame.

In addition to recipes, the official BryonySeries cookbook defines unfamiliar terms used in Victorian kitchens, as well tips on food safety and storage 

Below is an excerpt and five tips from Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony."

In the 1890’s, books such as Miss Beecher’s domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplement to her Treatise on domestic economy, first published in 1860, were the kitchen Bibles of many Victorian cooks.

Since no good cookbook is complete without a few “helpful hints” the following, adapted from that receiptbook, are some the kitchen at staff at Simons Mansion and Mrs. Bertha Parks, housekeeper to the Reverend Galien Marseilles, might have utilized from time to time.

1) Buttermilk dissolved in potter’s ware dissolves the glazing and becomes poisonous.

2)  Lard and Drippings must be kept in a dry, cold place and should not be salted. Usually the cellar is the best place for them. Earthen or stone jars is the best place to store them in.

3) Indian meal should be purchased in small quantities, say fifteen or twenty pounds at a time, and be kept in a covered tub or keg. When new and sweet, it should not be scalded, but when perfectly fresh and good when used, it is improved by scalding. It must be kept very cool and dry, and if occasionally stirred, it is preserved more surely from growing stale or musty.

4) Tea, if bought by the box, is about five cents a pound cheaper than by small quantities. If well put up in boxes lined with lead (Editor’s note: It is now known to be dangerous to store tea in lead), it keeps perfectly. But put up in paper, and it soon loses its flavor. It therefore should, if in small quantities, be put in glass or tin and shut tight.

5) The most perfect way to keep Hams is to wrap and tie them in paper and pack them in boxes or barrels with ashes. The ashes must fill all the interstices, but must not touch the hams, as it absorbs the fat. It keeps them sweet and protects them from all kinds of insects. After smoked ham is cut, hang it in a coarse linen bag in the cellar and tie it up to keep out flies.

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