Sure, there was no refrigeration back in those days, no stoves or even Yeti coolers so colonists could put stickers on their saddles or carriages advertising the durable brand even if they didn’t own one.
Nothing quite says coolness like a well-placed Yeti sticker on your truck these days along with the latest duck-hunting gear stickers even if you’ve never sat down in a blind on a cold winter morning — unlike our forefathers — right, kids?
Anyway, in preparing a story on Saturday’s Colonial culinary event at Historic Halifax, we were directed to an 18th Century cookbook which, depending on your taste buds or depending if you like to be grossed out by recipes featuring calves heads and udders, is probably THE quintessential culinary book of the day: The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy by one Hannah Glasse.
Ms. Glasse would be considered the Rachael Ray of her time or perhaps our favorite cookbook author — Jane Brody, whose Good Food Book doesn’t have any recipes for eel or thornback soup and doesn’t include chapters like Of Hogs, Puddings and Saufages. Remember, back in Colonial times people for reasons still unknown would fometimes use Fs for Ss so keep that in mind as you trudge forward with this column.
If Ms. Glasse lived today, we can imagine her having a show on Food Network talking about the importance of suet, apparently a fairly common ingredient our patriotic ancestors ingested for sustenance.
Suet gave them energy to craft the Halifax Resolves and the Declaration of Independence, which in our opinion remain important documents despite the way some politicians have conveniently forgotten about them.
This is not intended to be a political column, however, just a review of a book which includes an appendix — not the anatomical kind — which mentions how to dresf a turtle the Weft India way and prevent infection among horned cattle.
No one wants their horned cattle to be infected, especially if General Washington is your invited dinner guest because there is no pizza delivery in Colonial Halifax to use as a substitute for the baked cow head you planned to serve him which mysteriously became infected, probably at the hands of Tories.
Your backup plan would be to serve him those pickled ox palates, ftewed cucumbers and a ragoo of oyfters. Is your mouth watering yet? Fure, it is!
While horned cattle infection is a bad thing, it’s OK if your venison or hare starts to stink and become mufty as Ms. Glasse tells us.
In a section of the book aptly called to keep venifon or hares sweet or to make them fresh when they stink, she gives us implicit instructions on how to keep you deer meat from getting stinky when your horned cattle becomes infected. This, of course, means you can have yet another backup if General Washington is coming to dine with you and your horned cattle is infected but your venifon is only a tad mufty. He’ll never know the difference and as you eat calf’s foot pudding for dessert will tell you, “Man, I wish Martha cooked like this!”
We suppose, however, folks like William R. Davie and Cornelious Harnett didn’t realize there would one day be things like Yeti coolers which come with cool stickers you can put on the back of your truck.
We suppose they were happy eating vermicelli pudding with marrow, olive pye and boiled cod’s head and even though they ingested these weird things, may have mistakenly eaten infected horned cattle or stinky venison, these colonists did something remarkable — they crafted and fought for documents which supported our liberties. Thanks, you brave and hearty patriots — Lance Martin