How to Make Sausage

I love sausage and buy it often. One time I tried some sausage that was homemade, but didn’t like it because it was too coarse.  

In the days before refrigeration, people had to make sure they preserved their sausage so it would last for several months.

Words You May Not Know:

  • chine – a cut of meat along the backbone.
  • gill –  four ounces in the U.S. and five ounces in the U.K.
  • saltpeter – potassium nitrate, an early food preservative, but now rarely used.
  • spider – a skillet with a flat bottom, straight shallow sides, a short handle and three short legs.

A common fault is that the meat is not chopped enough. It should be chopped very fine, and this is most easily done if it is a little frozen. When ready for the seasoning, put in water just cold enough to enable you to mix the ingredients equally, but be careful not to use more than is necessary for this purpose.
To twelve pounds and a half of meat, put a gill of fine salt, a gill of powdered sage, and half a gill of ground pepper. Let the measures be exact. read more

Cooking Pigs’ Feet

I’ve never seen fresh pigs’ feet in the grocery store like in the photograph.  However, I have seen pickled pigs’ feet in glass jars. I don’t like looking at them either fresh or pickled.  I might try the meat if it was cooked off the foot bone, though.


Pigs’ feet should be well cleaned by dipping them in scalding water and scraping off the hairs. Leave them in weak salt and water two days, changing it each day. If you wish to boil them, they are now ready, but if the weather is cold, they will keep in this a month. They should be kept in a cold place and if they are frozen, there is no danger of their spoiling. But if there comes on a thaw, change the salt and water, and soak them in fresh water all night before you boil them. In this way, they are good to eat with pepper and vinegar while hot, or may be dipped in batter and fried after they are cold. read more

A Christmas Goose Pie

Although I’ve never eaten one, the Christmas Goose Pie is similar to the English Pork 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 top. Have ready four pounds of flour sifted into a pan. Make a hole in the middle of it and pour in the melted butter while hot. Mix it with a spoon to a stiff paste, adding the beaten yolks of three or four eggs. Knead it very well with your hands on the paste-board, keeping it dredged with flour till it ceases to be sticky. Then set it away to cool. read more

Good Soup Starts With Good Stock

So many recipes from 1800s cookbooks call for soup stock and all good cooks kept a supply on hand.


Soup stock may be regarded as a liquid containing the juices and soluble parts of meat, bone, and vegetables, which have been extracted by long, slow cooking and which can be utilized in the making of soups, sauces, and gravies. Keep stock in small jars in a cool place. It makes a good gravy for hash meats and one tablespoon of it is sufficient to impart a fine flavor to a dish of macaroni and various other dishes. Good soups of various kinds are made from it at short notice. Slice off a portion of the jelly, add water, and whatever vegetables and thickening preferred. It is best to partly cook the vegetables before adding to the stock, as much boiling injures the flavoring of the soup. Season and boil a few moments and serve hot. read more

Roast Turkey, Dressing, and Gravy

Years ago, when people went to the market to buy poultry, it wasn’t already plucked and cleaned.


Select a young turkey. Remove all the feathers carefully, singe it over a burning newspaper on the top of the stove, then “draw” it nicely, being very careful not to break any of the internal organs. Remove the crop* carefully, cut off the head, and tie the neck close to the body by drawing the skin over it.

Now rinse the inside of the turkey with several waters, and in the next to the last, mix a teaspoonful of baking soda. Oftentimes the inside of a fowl is very sour, especially if it is not freshly killed. Soda, being cleansing, acts as a corrective, and destroys that unpleasant taste which we frequently experience in the dressing when fowls have been killed for some time. read more

Roasting Meat in an Open Hearth Fireplace

Years ago, meats were roasted in an open hearth, in FRONT of the fire, not over the fire like when we cook outdoors.

I’ve cooked roast beef in an oven before, but realize now it’s actually baked beef. Roasting meat in an open hearth was sure complicated.


The success of every method of cooking depends largely upon the correct management of the fire. In roasting, this is particularly the case, as a clear, brisk and yet steady fire is needed.

Some cooks season a joint before it is cooked, while others season it with salt and pepper just before it is served. There is a difference of opinion as to which is the more correct way of the two. read more

Is There Any Meat in Mincemeat?

My mother only made mincemeat pies at Thanksgiving. She used mincemeat from a jar but there wasn’t any meat in it. 

Originally, mincemeat WAS made with meat and included spices, dried fruit and spirits (alcohol). That way, mincemeat could be preserved for many years. I’ve never seen mincemeat in stores with any meat in it, but it’s probably sold somewhere. 



These pies are always made with covers and should be eaten warm. If baked the day before, heat them on the stove or before the fire. Mincemeat made early in the winter and packed close in stone jars will keep till spring if it has a sufficiency of spice and liquor. Whenever you take out any for use, pour some additional liquor into the jar and add some more sugar before you cover it again. No mincemeat, however, will keep well unless all the ingredients are of the best quality. The meat should always be boiled the day before you want to chop it. For pie, cover the bottom of a pan with paste,* put in a sufficiency of mincemeat and lay on it a lid of paste to completely cover, notching the edges tightly together. Cut a slit in the top before baking. read more

Larding and Daubing Lean Meat

Many lean meats don’t have much flavor. Adding fat is one way to make meat taste better.

Information below from Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book, 1894.

Many kinds of meat which are very lean and dry are improved by the addition of some kind of fat. The tenderloin or fillet of beef, the thick part of the leg of veal, grouse, and liver, are often prepared in this way.

LARDING is drawing small strips of fat salt pork or bacon through the surface of the meat. Take a piece of fat salt pork two inches wide and four inches long. Shave off the rind the long way of the pork. Then cut two or three slices about a quarter of an inch thick, the same way as the rind. Cut only to the membrane which lies about an inch below the rind, as this is the firmest part of the pork. Then cut each slice across the width, into strips one quarter of an inch thick. read more