Monday, September 26, 2016

HFF 2.19: Ethnic Foods

[I'm a few days late on this one--I was out of town, but mainly, I had the date wrong and thought this challenge ended next Thursday.]

The Challenge: Foodways and cuisine are at the heart of every ethnic group around the world and throughout time. Choose one ethnic group, research their traditional dishes or food, and prepare one as it is traditionally made.

I'm not sure whether I'd call this an "ethnic" German dish, but I did translate it from an 188-year-old German cookbook, complete with archaic spelling, usage, and typeface.

The Receipt:  Himbeer Eßig [Raspberry Vinegar] from Stuttgarter Kochbuch, page 32
Himbeer Eßig recht gut. 
An die Himbeer wird Eßig gegossen, bis er dar über geht, hernach wird ein Geschirr oder Brettlen auf die Himbeer gelegt, ein Schoppenglas darauf gestellt mit einem Gewicht, daß es die Himbeer hinab druft aber nichts in das Glas lauft und solche 24 Stunden in den Keller gestellt; den andern Tag wird der Saft durch ein Haarsieb abgegossen, und in eine Pfanne gethan; zu einer Maas Eßig nimmt man ein voellig Pfund Zuker welcher zu kleinen Stüklein zerschlagen wird; wenn er zerschmol zen ist wird er über ein starkes Kohlfeuer gethan, wo man ihn wie ein paar weiche Eyer [Eher?] sieden läßt. Der erste Schaum wird abgenommen.
My translation: 
Vinegar is poured over the raspberries, until they are covered, then a dish is placed on the berries, a pint glass is placed on it with a weight, so that the berries [are pressed?] and it is left that way for 24 hours in the cellar. The next day, the juice is poured through a hair-sieve into a pan; per liter* of vinegar, a pound of sugar is needed, which has been broken into small pieces; when the sugar is dissolved, place the mixture over a hot fire, where one keeps it at rather soft boil**.  The initial foam is removed.
*This 1875 document (Commercial Relations of the United States With Foreign Countries, page 463) indicates that a "Maas" is a Bavarian volume unit slightly larger than liter; and that the 'new' pound is about 7/8 of an old Bavarian pound.  I'm rounding these to 1 liter/1 pound.

**This could be wrong. I suspect there's some idiom or obsolete usage that I'm missing here.

The Date/Year and Region: 1828, Stuttgart (Swabian/German)

How Did You Make It: Rinsed the berries, then set them in a glass dish and covered with white vinegar (1 pint vinegar over 12 dry oz of berries). Placed another glass dish on top of them, and weighed it down with a pint glass full of water.  Set aside for 24 hours.

The next evening, I drained off the now-red vinegar, using a piece of muslin to strain it.  Twelve ounces of white sugar were added to the 2.75 cups of liquid, which was then brought to a boil on the stove.  The pink foam/scum which formed upon heating was skimmed off as it rose.  Once clear, the liquid was removed from heat and bottled.

Time to Complete: 24 hours to press the berries; about a half-hour for the rest

Total Cost: $5 for raspberries out of season; sugar and vinegar on hand.

How Successful Was It? I like it.  Full-strength, the vinegar flavor is very strong, but about 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) of it added to an 8-oz glass of water produces a very pleasant beverage.  It has a sweet raspberry flavor, with a slight kick from the vinegar, making an effect comparable to lemonade.  It was also fairly straightforward to make, and I'll be adding this to my event menus for next summer.

How Accurate Is It? Translation errors are distinctly possible.  Aside from that, I made guesses on the type of vinegar (white) and sugar (granulated).  The receipt mentions breaking the sugar into very small pieces, which I suspect means loaf sugar is intended--alternatively, it may mean to call for powdered/pounded sugar.  As the sugar ends up dissolved, I doubt it matters much.  I went with white vinegar so as to not mix flavors (though that might be a fun experiment).  An electric stove was used instead of a coal fire. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

ALHFAM Western Region Conference 2016

I've just returned from the ALHFAM (Association for Living History Farms and Museums) Western Region Conference.  This year, it was hosted by the Dorris Ranch in Springfield, OR, which is just outside of Eugene.  It is also an interesting mixed used park, historic site and living history village, which includes a working filbert/hazelnut orchard, and is approximately 172 times the size of Fort Nisqually.
ALHFAM 2016. Filbert/hazelnut trees. Dorris Ranch, Springfield, OR.
Filbert (hazelnut) trees at Dorris Ranch, Springfield, OR.
[They're also dealing with a really nasty blight that's affecting about 130 acres of America's oldest commercial hazelnut orchard, including trees over 110 years old.  Click here to find out more.]

ALHFAM 2016 Living History Clothing Collection Presentation.
Nancy prepares to give her presentation on site wardrobes.
I was there to provide tech support for Nancy's talk: "Clothes Make the Person: How We Run a Successful Living History Clothing Program at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum".  From the other presenters, we got to learn about Genesee Country Village's experiential programming around spices (the best-smelling presentation), points to consider when reproducing historic clothing (best display of original garments), and crowd-sourced museum funding (best slide-show).  Over dinner, author William Sullivan took us through 14000 years of Oregon history.  In a related note, he's a formidable hiker.

On Saturday, we toured the Dorris Ranch, and took time for some hands-on activities to explore Oregon history, while perhaps getting a bit silly. 
ALFHAM 2016 Dorris Ranch Filbert Nut Orchard.
Janna knows a great deal about filbert trees.
ALFHAM 2016 Dorris Ranch Oregon Trail Activity
Conference attendees prepare to embark on the Oregon Trail.
ALFHAM 2016 Dorris Ranch Archery
Peggy's archery puts us all to shame.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wool Side-Lacing Gaiters, c.1856

Pattern and instructions from Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker (1856), with advice from Mrs. Ryan, Mr. Kempe, and an anonymous brigader.

Wool gaiters or ankle boots from "Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker" (1856)
Plaid wool ladies' gaiters, style of mid/late 1850s. 
Sideview of ankle boots (gaiters).
Side Laces.
The fit could use further refinements, but I'm generally quite pleased with how they turned out.  I'll try a stiffer lining on the next ones.
Front view of Victorian-style ankle boots (gaiters) with chevron.
This is how I match plaids. :)

The outer material is wool (from S. R. Harris); the lining is pimatex cotton.  The silk bias binding and cotton laces were dyed to match.  Scrap leather for the soles and heel-stiffener.  Upper sewn with silk thread, soles attached with coarse linen (waxed).

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Another Rolled Sewing Kit

One of these days I will make some of the other items in Fanciful Utility (there's just too many to pick from!), but for now, here's another rolled sewing kit.  It's a gift for my other awesome mentor at The Fort.

Mid-nineteenth century sewing kit, open, from Anna Bauersmith's "Fanciful Utility".
Sewing kit open.
Victorian rolled sewing kit, closed, from Anna Bauersmith's "Fanciful Utility".
Rolled shut for transport or storage.
The blue stripe print is leftover from my wrapper (Windham 30586-2, from Eileen Trestain's "Sally Rose" line), the red is a Sturbridge Village print, and I don't recall the name of the purple coral. The needle pages are red wool, and the pin cushion is stuffed with wool roving.

Friday, September 9, 2016

HFF #2.18: Let's Get Saucy!

The Challenge: They can be the perfect addition to a delicious dish, the crowning glory, or stand on their own. Make your best sauce and show us how to use it!

The Receipt: Sweet Pudding Sauce  from Modern Household Cookery by Sarah Josepha Hale (page 54-55)
Boil together for fifteen minutes the thin rind of half a small lemon, an ounce and a half of fine sugar, and a wine glassful of water; then take out the lemon peel and mix very smoothly an ounce of butter with rather more than half a teaspoonful of flour; stir them round in the sauce until it has boiled one minute; next add a wine glassful and a half of sherry, or Madeira, or two thirds of that quantity and a quarter of a glass of brandy; when quite hot serve the sauce. Port wine sauce is made in the same way with the addition of a dessert spoonful of lemon juic,e some grated nutmeg, and a little more sugar; orange rind and juice may be used to give it flavour when preferred to lemon. Rind: half a lemon. sugar: one and a half ounce, water: one wine glassful; fifteen minutes. Butter: one ounce, flour: large half teaspoonful; one minute. Wine: one and a half wine glassful or one of wine and a quarter of a glass of brandy. 

To go under it: a plain rice pudding (page 223 of the same):
Wash well and pick eight ounces of rice, and put it into a deep dish with two quarts of milk; add to this two ounces of butter, four ounces of sugar, and a little cinnamon or nutmeg, ground; mix them well together and bake in a very slow oven. It will take about two hours.
The Date/Year and Region: 1854, London

How Did You Make It:  Mixed 8 oz of rice, 4 oz of sugar, approximately 1/3 of a nutmeg (grated) and a scant 2 oz of butter [estimated] in a pan, then poured over about 1.5 quarts of skim milk until the pan was full.  Stirred, then placed mixture in an oven pre-heated to 300F.  Baked about 2.5 hours, until rice was cooked, though the liquid in the pudding was not completely evaporated at that time.

Brought to boil on the stove 4 oz of water containing 1 oz of granulated sugar and the peel of half of a small lemon.  Allowed to boil for almost 15 minutes*, at which point very little of the original liquid remained.  Added approximately 1 oz of butter and a generous 1/2 tsp of flour to the pan, stirring all the while; added 6 oz of sherry and kept the sauce on low heat until ready to serve.

*The first time I attempted this, I went the whole 15 minutes, and ended up with a pan of charred sugar.  The liquid volume is reduced to almost nothing at that point, so I erred on the side of caution with the second batch.

Time to Complete: Nearly 3 hours.

Total Cost: Ingredients on hand.

How Successful Was It? Excepting the inedible cherry pie from year one, this was probably my worst HFF dish to date.  

Despite the decreased quantity of milk, there was a lot of extra liquid in the rice pudding.  Nonetheless, the rice cooked nicely, and while it did not taste bad, the pudding somewhat bland and generally uninspiring.  The sauce basically tasted like sherry with some butter--unfortunately, the lemon flavor didn't come through at all.  The general effect was both rich and insipid.  I'm not in a hurry to try this one again.

Edit: After leaving the rest of the pudding in the cooling oven, it did eventually solidify.

How Accurate Is It? I didn't deviate from the instructions, except in reducing the amount of milk by 1/4, and having to estimate the butter quantities.

Rice pudding with sweet sauce, Sarah Hale's Modern Household Cookery 1854
It tasted better than it looks, but not enough to make it again.
Cranford fans: I ate it with a fork.