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The Historic Kentucky Kitchen

The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today's Cook

Deirdre A. Scaggs
Andrew W. McGraw
Foreword by John van Willigen
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    The Historic Kentucky Kitchen
    Book Description:

    Kitchens serve as more than a place to prepare food; they are cornerstones of the home and family. Just as memories are passed down through stories shared around the stove, recipes preserve traditions and customs for future generations. The rich, diverse heritage of Kentucky's culinary traditions offers a unique way to better understand and appreciate the history of the commonwealth.

    The Historic Kentucky Kitchen assembles more than one hundred dishes from nineteenth and twentieth-century Kentucky cooks. Deirdre A. Scaggs and Andrew W. McGraw collected recipes from handwritten books, diaries, scrapbook clippings, and out-of-print cookbooks from the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections to bring together a variety of classic dishes, complete with descriptions of each recipe's origin and helpful tips for the modern chef. The authors, who carefully tested each dish, provide recipe modifications and substitutions for rare and hard-to-find ingredients.

    This entertaining cookbook also serves up famous Kentuckians' favorite dishes, such as John Sherman Cooper's preferred comfort food (eggs somerset) and Lucy Hayes Breckinridge's "excellent" fried oysters. The recipes are flavored with humorous details such as "[for] those who thought they could not eat parsnips" and "Granny used to beat 'em [biscuits] with a musket." Accented with historic photographs and featuring traditional meals ranging from skillet cakes to spaghetti with celery and ham, The Historic Kentucky Kitchen presents a novel and tasty way to experience the history of the Bluegrass State.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4304-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    John van Willigen

    Cookbooks and their recipes are important and historically revealing, because in addition to techniques of food preparation, they give us an understanding of people’s lives. While published cookbooks are important, manuscript recipes are another aspect of foodways. Almost every cook has a collection of recipes, often handwritten or typed, in a file folder or a shoe box. In The Historic Kentucky Kitchen: Traditional Recipes for Today’s Cook, University of Kentucky archivist Deirdre Scaggs helps us experience the domain of recipes beyond published cookbooks. Deirdre draws on her extensive experience working with historic Kentucky archival materials and her well-developed skills in...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    This book is a collection of nineteenth-and twentieth-century recipes from the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections. Archival collections were scoured for clues that would lead us to finding recipes: journals, scrapbooks, and books of “receipts”—an old term for “recipe.” Most of the recipes included in this book are adapted from handwritten recipes in the archives, many are from clippings pasted in scrapbooks, and some are from historic Kentucky cookbooks. We thought it was important to focus on the handwritten recipes; they seemed more cherished, more likely to have been used to prepare food in Kentucky homes, and more...

  6. Egg and Cheese Dishes
    (pp. 5-18)

    Because cows and chickens were abundant on southern farms, egg, milk, and cheese dishes were enjoyed often at the southern table. Most of the dishes in this chapter are breakfast fare, but the tasty combination also shows up in casseroles, soufflés, and sauces throughout southern contemporary and historical cuisine. No one has ruled that an omelet is good only at breakfast, and most certainly the other dishes can be served as main dishes, sides, or desserts. The tomato fricassee was an absolute delight. Although a fricassee is normally made with meat, and typically chicken, this rich gravy has been popular...

  7. Biscuits and Breads
    (pp. 19-26)

    Breads and biscuits were staples in southern cooking and an essential part of all meals. Breads were consumed at breakfast, dinner, and supper. Leftover bread was used for desserts. Bread of all kinds was made in the home, but especially corn bread was part of the rural landscape of Kentucky. As many Americans moved from the farm to cities in the twentieth century, bread increasingly became store-bought. But as these recipes show, bread-baking has a long, diverse, and delicious history. The classic Kentucky beaten biscuit could not be overlooked, and as Kentucky culinary authority Charles Patteson says, “beaten, ‘doesn’t mean...

  8. Sides
    (pp. 27-44)

    Side dishes are the support for the main dishes. In Kentucky they are diverse, as they have been for centuries in the South. They provide contrast and typically include egg and cheese dishes, fruits, salads, vegetables, and grains. Many of the sides in Kentucky’s food heritage are the vegetables grown in our gardens: potatoes, corn, carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, tomatoes, green beans, butter beans, peas, mustard greens, kale, scallions, sweet potatoes, yellow summer squash, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, asparagus, bell peppers, cabbage, beets, and eggplant. Kentuckians also had peaches, apples, watermelons, pears, grapes, cherries, and paw paws.

    This recipe makes...

  9. Soups and Stews
    (pp. 45-58)

    Soups were important staples in the American diet, especially for cooks struggling to feed their families. “For those of lesser means, soup was an important way of stretching meat, by means of grains, legumes, root vegetables, and liquid.”¹ Many of these dishes could be a main course, hearty and filling, while others could be prepared as a small course in a dinner party or for a light lunch. Several of the handwritten recipes were intended to feed large groups. They were difficult to decipher and had to be scaled to make smaller quantities. One burgoo recipe, ultimately not included, would...

  10. Main Courses
    (pp. 59-84)

    Dinner in the historic South reflected many cultural traditions and embraced meat as the main course. Meals, especially in rural landscapes such as Kentucky’s, were originally driven by wild game and other local ingredients. However, pork, the first domesticated meat, has been a mainstay across the South for more than a century. The dishes in this section reflect the diversity of southern main courses in using pork, beef, seafood, game, and fowl. Sadly, we did not discover any barbecue dishes to include in this section. There are many simple main dishes here that would have utilized a leftover cut of...

  11. Desserts
    (pp. 85-113)

    Desserts were hugely popular throughout the South in earlier years, as they continue to be today. No birthday is complete without a southern birthday cake. The availability of sugar also increased significantly in the nineteenth century as a result of the Spanish-American War, because sugar companies were allowed to import to the United States without paying a tariff. Many of the desserts in this section reflect the food trends of the time, combining “locally grown fruit, some sort of sweetener—sorghum, molasses, cane syrup, or sugar—and a flour-based pastry.”¹ We have provided a single piecrust recipe, referred to as...

  12. Beverages
    (pp. 115-126)

    From everyday drinks like coffee, tea, and lemonade to the fancy beverages for parties or get-togethers, these recipes represent historic classic southern and regional preferences. The spice tea may not be the sweet concoction that people associate with the South, but it should become a new staple from our past. After 1865, when the first mechanical refrigeration plant for the manufacture of ice was built in New Orleans, lemonade and ice tea rose in popularity. Before drip pots or percolators came into existence, boiling coffee was the way to make the morning brew. It is definitely worth trying. The sweet...

  13. Accompaniments
    (pp. 127-138)

    Accompaniments include the sauces, the pickles, and the bits that might be served before or with a meal. Preserving food has a strong tradition in southern and Appalachian homes. In addition to putting up the vegetables or juices from the summer garden, families regularly canned jams and jellies, pickles, relishes, and sauerkraut. Meats were also preserved for later use, by salting and curing them. We found countless handwritten recipes for ketchups, pickles, relishes, chowchow, and cured meats. The challenge with most of them was that they were intended to produce large batches, using gallons of vinegar, pounds of meat, and...

  14. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 139-140)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 141-148)
  16. Selected Resources
    (pp. 149-156)
  17. Index
    (pp. 157-168)