In honor, here are some bits I like from an 1829 cookery book. (All odd spellings or punctuation are the cookbook author’s.)
TOMATAS OR LOVE-APPLES:
These have gone down in France, but are just (like other fashions) coming into vogue among us. Tomatas are used both in sauces and soups, and are pickled.–See Tomato Catsup.
The French put grated nutmeg or minced parsley to stews of cucumber, and thicken the sauce with beat yolks of eggs. Nutmeg is indeed a very suitable condiment with this watery vegetable, so is cayenne.
Those who are more solicitous about the appearance of their tables than the quality of the dishes, have their potatoes mashed, or boiled peeled, all the year round.
The French, among our other insular distinctions, speak of us as a nation “with twenty religions and only one sauce,”–parsley and butter, by the way, is this national relish,–and unquestionably English cookery, like English manners, has ever been much simpler than that of our neighbours.
For stuffing to fill the craw [of a turkey], take a breakfast cup full of stale bread finely grated, two ounces of minced beef-suet, or marrow, a little parsley parboiled and finely shred, a teaspoonful of lemon-peel grated, a few sprigs of lemon thyme, a little nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Mix the whole well in a mortar, with a couple of eggs.
So… What’s your favorite holiday food? And if someone offered you a dish of stewed cucumber with nutmeg, would you try it?
Cara King, author of My Lady Gamester, in which some jellies are eaten, but (luckily) no mushrooms