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The Art of Cookery: Receipts for the Sick, Part 1/2

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Following on from last weeks’ post, Hannah Glasse wrote a note to the reader, which in and of itself is entertaining, informative and historical.  She minces no words on her disdain for the French, so to my French readers I ask that they please take it on the chin with a pinch of salt and a wink!  I’ll post the note first, and then add a portion of section X, “Directions to prepare proper Food for the Sick.”  Without further ado:


Hannah Glasse Book

Here’s a sample of the original text; I’m gradually reading / typing my way through to a cleaner, searchable document…

Mace is the lacy casing around the seed known as nutmeg; the ones I’ve seen are white, but they can also be reddish brown.  If you can’t buy mace as such, nutmeg will substitute just as well.   By bruising, I’m assuming that it would be beating it to either soften it, or draw out the blood to the surface (bruising is a common term in this book, for various meats).  Beating the cock (rooster) would probably fall under the same category as bruising – to soften the meat (I can imagine that their basic meat products were quite a bit stringier / tougher / leaner than what we know today…).

Hannah Glasse’s “To the Reader.”

I Believe I have attempted a branch of Cookery, which nobody has yet thought worth their while to write upon:  but as I have both seen, and found, by experienced, that the generality of servants are greatly wanting in that point, therefore I have taken upon me to instruct them in the best manner I am capable; and, I dare say, that every servant who can but read will be capable of making a tolerable good cook, and those who have the least notion of Cookery cannot miss of being very good ones.

If I have not wrote in the high polite style, I hope I shall be forgiven; for my intention is to instruct the lower sort, and therefore must treat them in their own way.  For example:  when I bid them lard a fowl, if I should bid them lard with large lardoons, they would not know what I meant; but when I say they must lard with little pieces of bacon, they know what I mean.  So, in many other things in Cookery, the great cooks have such a high way of expressing themselves, that the poor girls are at a loss to know what they mean:  and in all Receipt Books yet printed, there are such an odd jumble of things as would quite spoil a good dish; and indeed some things so extravagant, that it would be almost a shame to make use of them, when a dish can be made full as good, or better, without them.  For example:  when you entertain ten or twelve people, you shall use for a cullis, a leg of veal and a ham, which, with the other ingredients, makes it very expensive, and all this only to mix with other sauce.  And again, the essence of ham for sauce to on dish; when I will prove it, for about three shillings I will make as rich and high a sauce as all that will be, when done.  For example:

Take a large deep stew-pan, half a pound of bacon, fat and lean together, cut the fat and lay it over the bottom of the pan; then take a pound of veal, cut it into thin slices, beat it well with the back of a knife, lay it all over the bacon; then have six-penny worth of the coarse lean part of the beef cut thin and well beat, lay a layer of it all over, with some carrot, then the lean of the bacon cut thin and laid over that:  then cut two onions and strew over, a bundle of sweet-herbs, four or five blades of mace, six or seven cloves, a spoonful of whole pepper, black and white together, half a nutmeg beat, a pigeon beat all to pieces, lay that all over, half an ounce of truffles and morels, then the rest of your beef, a good crust of bread toasted very brown and dry on both sides:  you may add an old cock beat to pieces; cover it close, and let it stand over a slow fire two or three minutes, then pour on boiling water enough to fill the pan, cover it close, and let it stew till it is as rich as you would have it, and then strain off all that sauce.  Put all your ingredients together again, fill the pan with boiling water, put in a fresh onions, a blade of mace, and a piece of carrot; cover it close, and let it stew till it is as strong as you want it.  This will be full as good as the essence of ham for all sorts of fowls, or indeed most made-dishes, mixed with a glass of wine, and two or three spoonfuls of catchup.  When your first gravy is cool, skim off all the fat, and keep it for use. – This falls far short of the expense of a leg of veal and ham, and answers every purpose you want.

If you go to market, the ingredients will not come to above half a crown, or for about eighteen-pence you may make as much good gravy as will serve twenty people.

Take twelve-penny worth of coarse lean beef, which will be six or seven pounds, cut it all to pieces, flour it well, take a quarter of a pound of good butter, put it into a little pot or large deep stew-pan, and put in your beef:  keep stirring it, and when it begins to look a little brown, pour in a pint of boiling water; stir it all together, put in a large onion, a bundle of sweet herbs, two or three blades of made, five or six cloves, a spoonful of whole pepper, a crust of bread toasted, and a piece of carrot; then pour in four or five quarts of water, stir all together, cover close, and let it stew till it is as rich as you would have it; when enough, strain it off, mix it with two or three spoonfuls of catchup, and half a pint of white wine; then put all the ingredients together again, and put in two quarts of boiling water, cover it close, and let it boil till there is about a pint; strain it off well, add it to the first, and give it a boil together.  This will make a great deal of rich good gravy.

You may leave out the wine, according to what use you want it for; so that really one might have a genteel entertainment, for the price the sauce of one dish comes to:  but if gentlemen will have French cooks, they must pay for French tricks.

A Frenchman in his own country will dress a fine dinner of twenty dishes, and all genteel and pretty, for the expense he will put an English lord to for dressing one dish.  But then there is the little petty profit.  I have heard of a cook that used six pounds of butter to fry twelve eggs; when everybody knows (that understands cooking) that half a pound is full enough, or more than need be used; but then it would not be French.  So much is the blind folly of this age, that they would rather be imposed on by a French booby, than give encouragement to a good English cook!

I doubt I shall not gain the esteem of those gentlemen; however, let that be as it will, it little concerns me; but should I be so happy as to gain the good opinion of my own sex, I desire no more; that will be a full recompence for all my trouble; and I only beg the favour of every lade to read my Book throughout before they censure me, and then I flatter myself I shall have their approbation.

I shall not take upon me to meddle in the physical way farther than two receipts, which will be of use to the public in general: one is for the bit of a mad dog: and the other, if a man would be near where the plague is, he shall be in no danger; which, if made use of, would be found of very great service to those who go abroad.

Nor shall I take upon me to direct a lady in the economy of her family, for every mistress does, or at least ought to know, what is most proper to be done there; therefore I shall not fill my Book with a deal of nonsense of that kind, which I am very well assured none will have regard to.

I have indeed given some of my dishes French names to distinguish them, because they are known by those names:  and where there is a great variety of dishes and a large table to cover, so there must be a variety of names for them; and it matters not whether they be called by a French, Dutch or English name, so they are good, and done with as little expence as the dish will allow of.

I shall say no more, only hope my Book will answer the ends I intend it for; which is to improve the servants, and save the ladies a great deal of trouble.

Chapter X:  Directions for the Sick (Part 1/2)

I don’t pretend to meddle here in the physical way; but a few directions for the cook, or nurse, I presume, will not be improper, to make such a diet, &c. as the doctor shall order.

To make mutton broth.

Take a pound of a loin of mutton, take off the fat, put to it one quart of water, let it boil and skim it well; then put in a good piece of upper-crust of bread, and one large blade of mace.  Cover it close, and let it boil slowly an hour; don’t stir it, but pour the broth clear off.  Season it with a little salt, and the mutton will be fit to eat.  If you boil turnips, don’t boil them in the broth, but by themselves in another sauce-pan.

To boil a scrag* of veal.

Set on the scrag a clean sauce-pan: to each pound of veal put a quart of water, skim it very clean, then put in a good piece of upper-crust, a blade of mace to each pound, and a little parsley tied with a thread.  Cover it close; then let it boil very softly two hours, and both broth and meat will be fit to eat.

[*Scrag:  the lean end of the neck of mutton or lamb.  Most likely a remnant of Old Norse in English, as skragg in Norwegian means a lean person, and skrog in Danish means skull, or carcass.]

To make beef or mutton broth for very weak people, who take but little nourishment.

Take a pound of beef, or mutton, or both together: to a pound put two quarts of water, first skin the meat and take off all the fat; then cut it into little pieces, and boil it till it comes to a quarter of a pint.  Season it with a very little corn of salt.  Skim off all the fat, and give a spoonful of this broth at a time.  To very weak people, half a spoonful is enough; to some a teaspoonful at a time; and to others a tea-cup full.  There is greater nourishment from this than anything else.

To make beef drink, which is ordered for weak people.

Take a pound of lean beef; then take off all the fat and skin, cut it into pieces, and put it into a gallon of water, with the under-crust of a penny-loaf, and a very little salt.  Let it boil till it comes to two quarts; then strain it off, and it is a very hearty drink.

To make pork broth.

Take two pounds of young pork; then take off the skin and fat, boil it in a gallon of water, with a turnip and a very little corn of salt.  Let it boil till it comes to two quarts, then strain it off, and let it stand till cold.  Take off the fat, then leave the settling at the bottom of the pan, and drink half a pint in the morning fasting, and hour before breakfast, and at noon, if the stomach will bear it.

To boil a chicken.

Let your sauce-pan be very clean and nice; when the water boils put in your chicken, which must be very nicely picked and clean, and laid in cold water a quarter of an hour before it is boiled; then take it out of the water boiling, and lay it in a pewter-dish.  Save all the liquor that runs from it in the dish, cut up your chicken all in joints in the dish; then bruise the liver very fine, add a little boiled parsley chopped very fine, a very little salt, and a very little grated nutmeg:  mix it all well together with two spoonfuls of the liquor of the fowl, and pour it into the dish with the rest of the liquor in the dish.  If there is not liquor enough, take two or three spoonfuls of the liquor it was boiled in, clap another dish over it; then set it over a chafing dish of hot coals five or six minutes, and carry it to table hot with the cover on.  This is better than butter, and lighter for the stomach, though some chuse it only with the liquor, and no parsley, nor liver, or any thing else, and that is according to different palates.  If it is for a very weak person, take off the skin of the chicken before you set it on the chaffing-dish.  If you roast it, make nothing but bread-sauce, and that is lighter than any sauce you can make for a weak stomach.

Thus you may dress a rabbit, only bruise but a little piece of the liver.

To boil pigeons.

Let your pigeons be cleaned, washed, drawn, and skinned.  Boil them in milk and water ten minutes, and pour over them sauce made thus:  take the livers parboiled, and bruise them find with as much parsley boiled and chopped fine.  Melt some butter, mix a little with the liver and parsley first, then mix all together, and pour over the pigeons.

To boil a partridge, or any other wild fowl.

When your water boils, put in your partridge, let it boil ten minutes; then take it up into a pewter-plate, and cut it in two, laying the insides next the plate, and have ready some bread-sauce made thus:  take the crumb of a halfpenny-roll, or thereabouts, and boil it in a half a pint of water, with a blade of mace.  Let it boil two or three minutes, pour away most of the water; then beat it up with a little piece of nice butter, a little salt, and pour it over the partridge.  Clap a cover over it; the set it over a chaffing-dish of coals four or five minutes, and send it away hot, covered close.

Thus you may dress any sort of wild fowl, only boiling it more or less, according to the bigness.  Ducks, take off the skins before you pour the bread-sauce over them; and if you roast them, lay bread-sauce under them.  It is lighter than gravy for weak stomachs.

To boil a plaice or flounder.

Let your water boil, throw some salt in; then put in your fish, boil it till you think it is enough, and take it out of the water in a slice to drain.  Take two spoonfuls of the liquor, with a little salt, a little grated nutmeg; then beat up the yolk of an eggs very well with the liquor, and stir in the egg; beat it well together, with a knife carefully slice away all the little bones round the fish, pour the sauce over it:  then set it over a chaffing-dish of coals for a minute, and sent it hot away.  Or in the room of this sauce, add melted butter in a cup.

To mince veal or chicken for the sick, or weak people.

Mince a chicken or some veal very fine, taking off the skin; just boil as much water as will moisten it, and no more, with a very little salt, grate a very little nutmeg; then throw a little flour over it, and when the water boils put in the meat.  Keep shaking it about over the fire a minute; then have ready two or three very thin sippets* toasted nice and brown, laid in the plate, and pour the mince-meat over it.

[*Sippet is the diminutive of sop, which was usually a small piece of bread to dip into a soup or broth.]

To pull a chicken for the sick.

You must take as much cold chicken as you think proper, take off the skin, and pull the meat into little bits as thick as a quill; then take the bones, boil them with a little salt till they are good, strain it; then take a spoonful of the liquor, a spoonful of milk, a little bit of butter, as big as a large nutmeg, rolled in flour, a little chopped parsley as much as will lie on a sixpence, and a little salt if wanted.  This will be enough for half a small chicken.  Put all together into the sauce-pan: then keep shaking it till it is thick, and pour it into a hot plate.

To make chicken broth.

You must take an old cock or large fowl, flay it; then pick off all the fat, and break it all to pieces with a rolling-pin:  put it into two quarts of water, with a good crust of bread, and a blade of mace.  Let it boil softly till it is as good as you would have it.  If you do it as it should be done, it will take five or six hours doing; pour it off, then put a quart more of boiling water, and cover it close.  Let it boil softly till it is good, and strain if off.  Season with a very little salt.  When you boil a chicken save the liquor, and when the meat is eat, take the bones, then break them and put to the liquor you boiled the chicken in, with a blade of mace and a crust of bread.  Let it boil till it is good, and strain it off.

To make chicken water.

Take a cock, or large fowl, flat it, then bruise it with a hammer, and put it into a gallon of water, with a crust of bread.  Let it boil half away, and strain it off.

To make a white caudle*.

You must take two quarts of water, mix in four spoonfuls of oatmeal, a blade or two of mace, a piece of lemon-peel, let it boil, and keep stirring it often.  Let it boil about a quarter of an hour, and take care it does not boil over; then strain it through a coarse sieve.  When you use it, sweeten it to your palate, grate in a little nutmeg, and what wine is proper; and if it is not for a sick person, squeeze in the juice of a lemon.

[*A caudle is a hot drink given to the sick, made of wine or ale, eggs, and bread.]

To make a brown caudle.

Boil the gruel as above, with six spoonfuls of oatmeal, and strain it; then add a quart of good ale, not bitter; boil it, then sweeten it to your palate, and add half a pint of white wine.  When you don’t put in white wine, let it be half ale.

To make a water-gruel.

You must take a pint of water, and a large spoonful of oatmeal; then stir it together, and let it boil up three or four times, stirring it often.  Don’t let it boil over, then strain it through a sieve, salt it to your palate, put in a good piece of fresh butter, brew it with a spoon till the butter is all melted, then it will be fine and smooth, and very good.  Some love a little pepper in it.


About Trinity

A melancholic pragmatist with a wide streak of mischief and an active imagination that turns into novels.

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