frying in cast iron skillet

General Rules for Frying

I don’t deep-fry foods anymore, but I often pan-fry.  I no longer use vegetable oils or shortening, though. Instead, I use coconut oil, butter, or extra virgin olive oil. INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS: Frying, though one of the most common of culinary operations, is one that is least  performed perfectly well. GENERAL RULES FOR FRYING Heating the Fat — Since fat, when heated, reaches such a high temperature, the kettle in which it is […]

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frying meat

Fats for Frying

When I was a child, my mother made delicious fried potatoes and fried chicken in a large Cast Iron Skillet.  She usually used bacon grease, but if she didn’t have enough, she used canned shortening.  My mother never did use lard, but I knew people who did. INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS: SCRAPS OF FAT All scraps of fat—cooked or uncooked—as well as any drippings from beef, veal, pork, and chicken, should be saved and […]

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dumplings in soup

How to Make Different Types of Dumplings

Most of the recipes from old cookbooks are for rounded dumplings. Some recipes say to wrap the dumplings in cloth, like when boiling a pudding.  Others say to roll the dumplings in a ball or drop the dumpling mixture from a spoon into hot liquid. The only dumplings I’ve ever eaten were in a Chicken and Dumplings recipe.  Those dumplings were rolled out flat and cut into small rectangular strips.   GLOSSARY: Dripping / Drippings […]

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1916 Advertisement for Pure Lard

How to Make Lard

My mother never used lard when I was growing up.  She used Crisco shortening in a can. It was thick like lard or butter.  As an adult, I used both shortening and vegetable oils. But lately, I’ve begun using butter, or coconut and other healthy oils.  I haven’t tried using lard yet, but will when I find some that are not processed, and where the pigs are pasture-raised  INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS: THE FINE POINTS […]

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standing crust pie

A Christmas Goose Pie

Although I’ve never eaten one, the Christmas Goose Pie is similar to the English Pork Pie. FROM an 1800s COOKBOOK: A CHRISTMAS GOOSE PIE These pies are always made with a standing crust. Put into a sauce-pan one pound of butter cut up, and one and one-half pints water. Stir it while it is melting and let it come to a boil. Then skim off whatever milk or impurity that may have risen to the […]

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Homemade lard, wet-rendered from pork fatback.

How to Try Out Lard

LARD is fat from a pig and used for cooking and flavoring. This fat is called lard whether it’s been tried out (rendered) or not. Trying out is melting fat to skim out the impurities so it is clean to cook with. INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS Every housekeeper knows how unfit for really nice cooking is the pressed lard sold in stores as the “best and cheapest.” It is close and tough, melts slowly, […]

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