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Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by gourmetm, Aug 31, 2011.
Are you planning to barbecue this Labor Day weekend? What will you be having?
Oh no! Is the summer really ending?
Sure! But the calendar has nothing to do with whether or not I grill. It's a year-round thing for me.
I'll be working, as usual, this weekend. But, coincidentally, will be barbecuing---in the 18th century style. Menu at Fort Boonesborough for this Saturday is: Pumpkin Corn Cakes, Creamed Chicken Soup, Roast Pork Shoulder (actually pulled pork), Carrot Pudding, and Stewed Tomatoes.
The roast pork recipe was originally titled "To Barbecue A Leg of Pork" when Miss Hannah Glasse first wrote it in 1745.
Amazing to hear that you're using a roast pork recipe from 1745!
Why the amazement, GourmetM?
Pork was the commonest protein in early America, particularly in the South. One reason being that when it comes to self-sufficiency, no other domestic animal is as good at it. Typically, pigs were turned loose in the woods, to fend for themselves. Thus the saying, "root, hog, or die."
Such is still the case. Some states, like Florida and Texas, are covered up with feral hogs. And it's getting to be a real problem here in Kentucky. Plus there's a population of true wild boar in western North Carolina.
But pork was common in the old world as well. Hannah Glasse's book---which, btw, went through 20-something editions---was actually English. In fact, all cookbooks used in British North America were either published in England, or reprinted here, until 1796, when Amelia Simmons published American Cookery, which is considered to be the first American cookbook.
What surprised me, when I first read that recipe, was the use of the word "barbecue." I somehow had it in my head that it was a relatively young term. As it turns out, the word was used as early as the 1500s. Notice, too, that she uses it as a verb, whereas in the South, today, it's mostly used as a noun. That is, grilling is what you do. Barbecue is what you eat.
As we have no such holiday in the UK - we won't be doing anything special!
The 'summer' this year has been abysmal. Two very hot weeks in may which upset the farmers as it was too much heat, too early - then sporadica fine days with not much sun. The farmers (predictably) are already predicting high prices for fruit and veggies this autumn!
My amazement is not about the pork--naturally there were then and still are pigs aplenty. Rather, my amazement is about the date of the recipe. Maybe "amazed" wasn't the best word choice; maybe 'impressed' would better express what I was trying for. And it's not being impressed that such old recipes exist in print, it's, somehow, that the mere mention of the date gives me a sense of--now I'm really clutching at word straws--delight!
Not sure just yet, plans are still fluid.
Probably smoke some spare ribs, might join KYH in pulled pork instead. Have to see what looks good at the store.
Our summer in Portland, Oregon has been abysmal as well: chilly and dreary, late to arrive and quick to disappear. We had 3 nice weeks in August, but that does not a great summer make!
We have been having alot of rain here in Montreal but yesterday was sunny and beautiful so my nephew asked me to make him ribs, which I did on the bbq....they turned out ok.
Oh, we're going back to the 18th century.
We're gonna take a bird up and hunt ferrel pigs.
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Rather, my amazement is about the date of the recipe......
Actually, GourmetM, both published cookbooks and cookery manuscripts from that time period abound.
In my own cookbook dealing with 18th century foodways (A Colonial Virginia Book of Cookery), for instance, we list 16 books in the bibliography. Eight of them date from the 18th or early 19th centuries. One of them dates from the 17th century. With two exceptions, the others are secondary sources dealing with the same subject, such as The Williamsburg Art of Cookery, first published in 1938. Many of these works have been reprinted, in both facsimile and modern-text versions, and are relatively easy to obtain.
The last two are modern books, such as Nancy Carter Crump's incredibly well done Hearthside Cooking.
BTW, the pork came out perfectly.
Cornish game hens on the Weber, baked potatoes on the Weber(grill), sauteed cabbage in bacon fat with the bacon bits, onion, whatever else I decide to toss in it. Trying to keep it simple so I can spend time helping friends side my house.
I decided on one rack of ribs and a chicken on a throne.
Trimmed a packer cut CAB brisket down to the red. Started a jus style sauce (stock, red wine, madeira, bourbon, aromatics, reduced). Separated a little of the jus, melted some butter into it, and used that as an injection for the brisket. Rubbed the brisket with my current standard beef rub. Smoked it over mesquite charcoal with some oak splits, the day before. Took it, the sauce, a whole bunch of homemade (Boursin-style) spiced cheese, and a bottle of Centenario Anejo to my son's new apartment (they just moved to the LA area) in Redondo. Sliced the brisket thin, and reheated it in a pot along with the jus. Max (my son) made some chicken and vegetarian kabobs on his brand new gasser. There was a big can of Widmer Draft, pink lemonade, "doctored-up" beans, great homemade mac and cheese, guacamole and chips in UCLA colors.
Played Sorry with the adults. Ate 'q with my granddaughter, the lovely and talented Ellie. She and I watched Sponge Bob and read to each other. Apple pie and whipped cream. Then there was Karaoke.
My chicken wouldn't stand up reliably. Kept tipping over. First time I had that problem. Still turned out pretty good.
My amazement would have been that the recipe from the 18th century is still applicable to modern pork in the 21st. I'm far more likely to be thinking of pigs of the 18th century as wild, gamy and lean, whereas modern pigs (farm raised) are pink, fatty and slovenly. That said, I've never cooked wild boar, and for a slower cooking method, the similarities are probably greater than the differences.
Actually modern pork is pretty lean compared to older pork.
Mary is correct, BJ. Modern pork is much leaner than what was available back then, except, of course, the heritage breeds.
Also, do not confuse wild boar with semi-feral hogs. They have totally different taste and texture profiles, particularly when the feral ones have been penned and fattened as was often the case.
What you have to do, of course, when adapting 18th century dishes to today's ingredients is keep those changes in mind. While less of a problem with low and slow, other times it can make a big difference. F'rinstance, this weekend we made a stuffed roast pork loin. Cooking time was much faster than it would have been when the recipe originated because there wasn't enough natural fat. True, the bacon in the stuffing helps somewhat. But the cooking times still have to be monitored carefully.