Time Capsule: Food For Thought

By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack Premium

Fresh pork should be cooked more than any other meat. A thick shoulder piece should be roasted full two hours and a half; and other pieces less in proportion. The slight sickness occasioned by eating roasted pork may be prevented by soaking it in salt and water the night before you cook it. If called to prepare it on short notice, it will answer to baste it with weak brine while roasting; and then turn the brine off, and throw it away.

Six or seven pounds of mutton will roast in an hour and a half. Lamb one hour. Mutton is apt to taste strong; this may be helped by soaking the meat in a little salt and water, for an hour before cooking. However, unless meat is very sweet, it is best to corn it, and boil it.

Fresh meat should never be put in to cook till the water boils; and it should be boiled in as little water as possible; otherwise the flavor is injured. Mutton enough for a family of five or six should boil an hour and a half. A leg of lamb should boil an hour, or little more than an hour, perhaps. Put a little thickening into boiling water; strain it nicely; and put sweet butter in it for sauce. If your family likes broth, throw in some clear rice when you put in the meat. The rice should be in proportion to the quantity of broth you mean to make. A large tablespoonful is enough for three pints of water. Seasoned with a very little pepper and salt. Summer-savory, or sage, rubbed through a sieve, thrown in.
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Lydia Child’s The American Frugal Housewife was published in 1832 as a revised edition of her 1828 book The Frugal Housewife. Besides offering directions for cooking meats, vegetables, desserts, breads and more, Child provided household hints, home remedies and a glossary.
Etiquette books, prescriptive literature and advice columns were popular reading material for women in the 19th century. Women’s magazines began appearing on the market as early as 1828. Godey’s Lady’s Book, a monthly magazine begun in 1837, offered information on fashion, homemaking and health matters, and published fiction, poetry and recipes. You can access the full collection with a subscription to Accessible Archives.
A woman’s role often went beyond wife, mother and cook. Women also were expected to be nurses and caregivers for the elderly, injured and infirm in their homes. This role was especially important in rural and frontier areas. A woman might have turned to Ladies’ Indispensable Assistant, published in 1852, to help her with family medicine.
See the Library of Congress’ American Memory website to find more of these domestic literature publications. 
From the March/April 2013 issue of Family Tree Magazine 

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