wooden barrel to make vinegar

How to Make Your Own Vinegar

VINEGAR To every pound of coarse sugar add a gallon of water. Boil the mixture and take off the scum as long as any rises. Then pour it into proper vessels and when sufficiently cooled, put into it a warm toast covered with yeast. Let it work about twenty-four hours and then put it into an iron-bound cask, fixed either near a constant fire, or where the summer sun shines the greater part of the […]

Continue reading
basket of vegetables

Food Hints and Advice

Most old cookbooks also included cooking and household advice. Here are some hints from 1800s cookbooks. Please note that the advice about preserving meat and milk is not safe according to today’s food safety standards, but this was before electricity and refrigeration was available. Lemons will keep fresher and better in water than any other way. Put them in a crock and cover them with water. They will in winter keep two or three months, […]

Continue reading
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 […]

Continue reading
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 […]

Continue reading
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 […]

Continue reading
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 […]

Continue reading
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 […]

Continue reading
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, […]

Continue reading