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Great Old-Fashioned American Recipes

Beatrice Ojakangas
Copyright Date: 1988
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 216
  • Book Info
    Great Old-Fashioned American Recipes
    Book Description:

    This excellent selection of delicious home-style recipes by veteran food writer Beatrice Ojakangas highlights dishes that reflect many different cuisines. The recipe for Swedish Meatballs includes sauces adaptable for Asian-, Indian-, Italian-, and Russian-style meals, while the moist and sumptuous Chocolate-Applesauce Cake is a distinctive Dutch favorite, and original Country-Style Ice Cream is a traditional treat all will love.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9846-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-2)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 3-3)
    (pp. 4-4)
  4. What is American Country Cooking?
    (pp. 5-7)

    American country cooking is a story of cows and chickens and barnyard animals, of wild berries and fruits and vegetables. Although it may be a picture we have of our own growing-up years, there are still farm kitchens that spill over at times with eggs and milk, or tomatoes, green beans and other garden abundance. The kitchen turns into a factory in the summertime as the rhubarb is ready, the strawberries ripen, the cucumbers and zucchini proliferate.

    This seasonal abundance birthed the idea of festivals. Apple festivals were probably the prototype and began in the 1800’s when country folk discovered...

  5. Beef
    (pp. 8-24)

    “I am an eater of beef.” said Shakespeare. This he had in common with Midwestern and Western cattle farmers, as well as with most Americans. American country custom has traditionally spotlighted a platter of meat carried to the table for just about every meal. Beef has been, probably always will be, the favorite meat on the American table. Its simple abundance is what accounts for its dominance.

    Beef cattle were raised on Southern farms before the Civil War. The war devastated the livestock in the South, but longhorn cattle had been trailed into Texas. Here they proliferated to the point...

  6. Pork, Lamb & Game
    (pp. 25-37)

    Although wild pigs were found in Mexico by Cortes in the late 1400s, swine have probably been domesticated since the Stone Age. It is said that Hernando de Soto brought a herd of 13 pigs to Florida in the mid-1500s.

    Pork was the most important source of meat in early America. Colonists turned their swine into the woods for foraging and rounded them up in the fall for butchering. The animals developed strong muscles making the meat stringy and tough. Pork whether fresh or cured, required long, slow, moist cooking to make it tender enough to be palatable.

    Butchering day...

  7. Poultry
    (pp. 38-52)

    “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the representation of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character, like those among men who live by sharpening and robbing, he is generally poor and often very lousy. The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America,” wrote Benjamin Franklin in a letter dated January 26, 1784.

    Early reports of wild turkeys tell of birds as large as 50 pounds! Although the turkey is not mentioned as being on the first Thanksgiving menu in history books, it is safe to...

  8. Fish & Seafood
    (pp. 53-61)

    Between the “sea and shining sea” the early settlers in America counted fish and seafood in with the native bounty. Bass, trout, perch, chub, sturgeon (some 12 feet long) were there for the taking in fresh waters. Along the seashore were clams, oysters, scallops, mussels and other shellfish. There were giant crabs and lobsters large enough to feed four persons each. In historic books, there are reports of lobsters caught that were 6 feet long!

    The gift of the Algonquin Indians to New England was the clambake which became a colorful seaside meal. Native Americans were experts at community meals....

  9. Grains, Beans & Pasta
    (pp. 62-73)

    Each ethnic group that settled in America contributed a “favorite starch” to our cuisine. The Scandinavians, English and other Northern Europeans preferred potatoes and you will find favorite recipes included in the Vegetables & Side Dishes section of this book, page 105. The Spanish, French, Greeks and Italians were among those who contributed rice.

    Rice was first cultivated in America in the 1600s but every tale and legend credits a different person with the first crop. It was originally grown in South Carolina which to this day is a leading producer of rice.

    In the early days of American life, beans...

  10. Hearty Soups & Stews
    (pp. 74-88)

    A cauldron of soup hanging over an open hearth paints a classic scene in the early American kitchen. Old cookbooks credit all kinds of psychological and physical advantages to soup. It was variously prescribed as a remedy for the hungry, the fat, the tired, the worried, those in pain, in debt or in love. Not to mention that “useless” pieces of meat or poultry (in that they are old and tough) can be simmered to tenderness when making soup.

    Each ethnic group has added to the American repertoire. The Scandinavians gave us potato soups and pea soups, the English added...

  11. Finger Foods, Snacks & Sandwiches
    (pp. 89-104)

    Grandma might have called thesetidbits, and in many country homes something as fancy sounding as “appetizer” was completely out of place. But there were occasions when company came and the table was laid with coffee, sweets and “something salty.” In most old cookbooks, these tidbits were buried within the chapters on breads, meats or vegetables. Homemade sausages, cut into bits and fried, served on a hot plate with bowls of pickles or fresh vegetables, little meatballs, cheese sticks, and sandwiches are among the simplest and most satisfying snacks.

    The cocktail party with its drinks and trays of hors d’oeuvres...

  12. Vegetables & Side Dishes
    (pp. 105-118)

    Vegetables have been historically short-changed and if they have been served, it has usually been in an overcooked state, hardly dressed but with salt and pepper and perhaps butter. We do have a few classics such as Harvard Beets which became popular mostly because beets grow well in gardens. Country cooks will can beets into beet pickles and reserve a few without the brine to heat and season later. The other classic American vegetables are corn, beans, potatoes and squash.

    The potato, a native of the highlands of Ecuador and Peru, still grows wild today. The Spaniards brought the potato...

  13. Salads & Relishes
    (pp. 119-130)

    A “salad” to an American brings to mind a bowl of ruffled lettuces and other crisp, bright-colored vegetable ingredients. To make a salad, according to one old cookbook, you don’t need a recipe. You just go to the garden and gather lettuce, radishes, onions, spinach, baby carrots and other handy vegetables and toss them in a bowl. Then you drench it with oil and vinegar and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. That’s probably what Thomas Jefferson did, who loved salads and grew 19 or more varieties of greens in his Monticello gardens. Such latitude proves the statement that “there...

  14. Breads
    (pp. 131-152)

    One of the greatest contributions made to the American table by the immigrants was the great variety of breads these people introduced. Every country has given us at least one or two. From Scandinavia came knackebrod which we know commercially as Ry-Krisp. Euphrates bread arrived from Asia Minor. The Jewish community introduced the bagel. Rye breads have come from almost every northern European country. The French have given us croissants, buttery rolls and crusty baguettes. Italian bread, similar to French bread, is standard on most restaurant tables, while the familiar sliced white bread can be traced directly back to England....

  15. Cakes & Cookies
    (pp. 153-173)

    The earliest recorded recipe for an American cake was published by Amelia Simmons in 1796 in her book,American Cookery, where she gave instructions for a soft gingerbread cake. It was in fact almost identical to the standard gingerbread recipe.

    Abe Lincoln often quoted a childhood friend who said “Abe, I don’t s’pose anybody on earth likes gingerbread better’n I do—and gets less’n I do.” Gingerbread and molasses-sweetened puddings date back to Colonial times when sugar was expensive. In addition to molasses, early sweeteners were honey and maple syrup. The Indians extracted sweetening from the cornstalk which they would...

  16. Desserts
    (pp. 174-194)

    Country desserts are wholesome and uncomplicated. The delicate baked custard is basic. Stale bread or cooked rice added to the custard transformed it into a dessert that was not only “good for you” but the thrifty cook considered it a way to use up bread or rice rather than throw it out.

    I never liked bread pudding. There was too muchbreadin it. But with half the bread, a few spices and “juicy” ingredients such as fresh apples and raisins added, it is a delicacy. This transformed bread pudding is served in New Orleans with a bourbon sauce. Likewise,...

  17. Beverages, Confections & Jams
    (pp. 195-205)

    Americans have been adventurous when it comes to thirst quenchers. The tradition of tea drinking as well as the mixing of cocktails by the “genteel” is easily traced back to England. Country folk, however, figured out ways to use produce they had on hand to make a variety of beverages from rhubarb tonic, to soda beers to switchels. Mead and homemade wines made from everything from berries to dandelions to beets, potatoes and spruce and ginger were made to quench the thirst of haymakers. Honey mead hidden away in a closet for a little treat when influential friends called, or...

  18. Index
    (pp. 206-208)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-209)