Recipes and Stories

21 May 2018: The Case of the Corrupted Collop

May 21, 2018

Tags: Historical Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, Historical English Cooking, Collops, Scotch Collops, Minced Scotch Collops, Mary Randolph, Harriott Pinckney Horry, Eliza Acton, Beeton's Book of Household Management, The Savannah Cook Book, Harriet Ross Colquitt

Classic Scotch Collops, here made with pork tenderloin.
Oh, the convolutions of an historian’s mind. While researching a story for my regular newspaper column, I was reminded of a curious old recipe from Harriet Ross Colquitt’s timeless classic, The Savannah Cook Book, published in 1932. The recipe was for Scotch Collops.

Now, collop is an old English word for a thin slice of meat. It could be used for anything from veal to bacon, though it most commonly described thin slices of veal or beef round. They were usually fried in butter or lard and sauced with a rich gravy made from the deglazed pan juices—essentially the same as Italian scaloppine. (more…)

14 December 2016: Mince Pies

December 14, 2016

Tags: Mincemeat, Mince-Pies, Christmas Cookery, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Classic English Cookery, Eliza Acton

Individual Mince-pies, here cooked with a puff pastry topper instead of the usual full top crust.
A while back I was asked to—or perhaps more accurately, was cajoled into—planning and cooking a supper for a Dickensian Christmas ball earlier this month. The menu was to be drawn from Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, published in 1843. As we started to plan, the first heady morsel from the text to tease our imaginations, and the first name to pass our lips was “mince-pies.” Mentioned at least twice, these pastries were, back then, the very essence of Christmas and to this day remain an iconic symbol of holiday feasting.

There would, therefore, be mince-pies on the dessert board. (more…)

2 May 2013: Asparagus Season

May 2, 2013

Tags: Asparagus, Spring Cooking, Classic French Cooking, Entremet, Eliza Acton, Classical Southern Cooking

Newly gathered asparagus, kept fresh for the table in a vase of water.
A glance through cookbooks of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries might give the casual reader the impression that our ancestors played a one note theme when it came to asparagus. (more…)

31 March 2012: Mulligatawny

April 1, 2012

Tags: Shannon Hayes, Eliza Acton, William Kitchiner, Mulligatawny, Historical Cooking

Mulligatawny, as interpreted by Shannon Hayes in her forthcoming cookbook
One never knows what will catch the imagination and send one down the rabbit hole of history. Over the last few months, it has been my privilege to edit a lovely little cookbook called A Long Way on a Little, written by friend and colleague Shannon Hayes, a farming food writer from upstate New York whose family farm specializes in all natural, pasture-raised animals. (more…)