Category Archives: Cooking
Lisa Alzo over at The Accidental Genealogist is posting a series of blogging prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month in March. The daily prompts give us the opportunity to write about our female ancestors. Today’s prompt is:
Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.
Now let me tell you my mom was not the world’s greatest cook. She did all right. Our meals were good but she didn’t have a flair for cooking or the desire to try new or different things. I can say this because I am my mother’s daughter. I cook well enough but I don’t pursue many new recipes or leaf through cookbooks. It’s just not my thing. So cooking or a favorite recipe isn’t something I’d readily associate with my mom. Except for one dish.
My mom’s homemade noodles. Whether it was chicken and noodles or beef and noodles (although I preferred beef and noodles) they were delicious!
I can still see her in the kitchen cracking eggs at the counter. She would separate the egg white from the yolk by pouring it between the two egg shell halves. There would be a bowl where the whites would drop and the separated yolk would go into another bowl. Mom would crack and sift a dozen eggs, then add flour and salt. There may have been other ingredients added that I missed as a kid. My sister has mom’s recipe so I need to get a copy from her.
Mom then rolled that mixture out on the floured counter top adding flour to keep the egg mixture from sticking to the rolling pin.
Since we’re all in the kitchen a little more this time of year I thought it’d be fun to see what our g-g-grandmother’s were whipping up in their Civil War kitchen. I found recipes from the Civil War era are surprisingly similar to those we use today yet there are still some big differences, especially in the ingredients used and oven temps.
First off recipes were called receipts in the mid-1860s and very rarely written down. Measurements we use in recipes today were almost unheard of then. Cooks used a “pinch of this” or a “pinch of that”. Our g-g-grandmother’s knew how much flour and shortening to use by the “feel” of the mixture. Another way of measuring was to “add butter the size of a walnut”, or the “size of an egg”.
I found most baking receipts listed oven temperatures at low or moderate oven not the 350˚oven temperature we use today. Of course that goes back to how hot your fire was and I’m not going to go into that at all! Today’s translation of these recipes generally equates a moderate oven to 350˚.
A lot of receipts of the mid-19th century have made the transition to today’s measurements without a loss of taste but may not always be agreeable to our 21st century palate! So try a receipt and see what you think! The recipes I’m sharing here