Fried Oysters in Batter with Philadelphia Relish

Fried Oysters with Philadelphia Relish

Oysters were much more popular a hundred years ago than what they are now, and many old cookbooks had numerous oyster recipes.  Oysters were widely available and relatively inexpensive. By 1923 trains could quickly transport oysters to most places in the U.S.

I decided to make a fairly basic hundred-year-old oyster recipe – Fried Oysters in Batter. The cookbook recommended that the oysters be served with Philadelphia Relish, which is a cabbage slaw with a vinegrette dressing, so I also made that.

The oysters turned out well and were very tasty. The Philadelphia Relish reminded me of cabbage slaws that were served at church dinners when I was child.

Here’s the original recipe:

Fried Oysters with Philadephia Relish
Source: Boston Cooking School Cook Book (1923)

This recipe made a lot of batter. Since I had a pint of oysters, I halved the batter recipe (and still had more batter than I needed).

My sense is that green peppers have gotten much larger over the past hundred years, so I chopped 1/2 pepper instead of a whole one for the Philadelphia Relish. Also, the recipe called for “mustard seed,” but it didn’t seem like whole mustard seeds would work in this recipe, so I used ground dry mustard.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fried Oysters in Batter with Philadelphia Relish

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Fried Oysters in Batter

1 pint oysters

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 egg

3/8 cup milk

lard, shortening, or vegetable oil

Put flour, salt, pepper, egg, and milk in a mixing bowl; beat until combined and smooth. Set aside.

Drain oysters, and dry on paper towels. Heat about 1/2 inch of lard, shortening, or vegetable oil in a large skillet. Then drip oysters in the batter, and put in the skillet. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, then gently turn to brown the other side. When browned, remove from the skillet with a fork or slotted spoon. Drain the on paper towels, then serve.

If desired, serve with Philadelphia Relish.

Philadelphia Relish

2 cups cabbage, shredded

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

Combine shredded cabbage and chopped green pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, put the celery seed, mustard, salt, brown sugar, and vinegar; stir to combine. Then pour over the cabbage and green pepper mixture. Stir gently to evenly distribute the dressing.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fasioned Cabbage with Caraway Seeds

I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Cabbage with Caraway Seeds. It has an old-fashioned goodness, and makes a lovely side dish.

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for Cabbage with Caraway Seeds
Source; Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 pound cabbage (about 1/2 of a medium cabbage), shredded

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons fat (I used butter.)

1/4 cup vinegar

Put cabbage, onion, salt, pepper, caraway seeds, butter and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the cabbage is tender; stir frequently. If needed, add additional water. After the cabbage is soft (about 30 minutes), add the vinegar and cook an additional 5 minutes.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Coleslaw Recipe

Some foods memories are associated specific events. Others are much more scattered. For me, Coleslaw is one of those food where I have scattered memories – some wonderful; others not so great.

I have rich memories of eating Coleslaw at family reunions, at church potlucks, and at home. Some renditions had a light vinegar dressing; others had rich mayonnaise dressings. Occasionally the coleslaw had a hint of pepper or contained celery seed. And, sometimes there were additional ingredients – chopped onion, apple, or green and red pepper.

But I also associate coleslaw with fast food joints – often with a runny mayonnaise-based dressing.

Suffice it to say that I have mixed feelings about Coleslaw. But, I had a cabbage in the refrigerator so when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Coleslaw in a home economics textbook I decided to give it a try. The Coleslaw dressing had a very mild flavor with just a hint of sugar and vinegar, which allowed the flavor of the cabbage itself to shine. That said, I prefer Coleslaw dressings with a more pronounced sweet-sour flavor, so I probably won’t make this recipe again.

recipe for cole slaw
Source: School and Home Cooking by Carlotta C. Greer (1920)

This process for making this recipe is similar to the method used to make custard. I got this recipe from a home economics textbook. The author seeks to build upon skills learned in previous lessons. So she often referred back to previous recipes that used similar processes – in this case to a recipe for soft custard. I previously posted the hundred-year-old soft custard recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Coleslaw

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups shredded/grated cabbage

1 egg or 2 egg yolks (I used a whole egg.)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

dash cayenne (red) pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoon butter, melted

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Put egg (or egg yolks), salt, mustard, cayenne (red) pepper, and sugar in a small mixing bowl; beat until combined. Set aside.

Put the milk in a heavy sauce pan (use a double boiler if available); then heat using medium heat. Stir constantly until the milk just barely begins to bubble, then remove from the heat.

Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of hot milk into bowl with the egg mixture, stir quickly. Add this mixture to the hot milk and stir. (This helps prevent the egg from coagulating when the egg is introduced to the hot liquid.)  Return to stove and cook, using medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture just begins to thicken or coat a spoon. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vinegar Strain and then pour over the shredded cabbage. Chill at least 3 hours before serving. Stir before serving.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Traditional Cabbage Salad with Ham

Sometimes coleslaw with its typical sugary, mayonnaise-based dressing can seem like a bit much. I recently came a hundred-year-old dressing for Cabbage Salad with Ham that calls for simply dressing it with warm vinegar. The simplicity of the dressing really brings out the flavor of this salad.

Here is the original recipe:

cabbage salad with ham in bowl
Source: The Old Reliable Farm and Home Cook Book (1919)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cabbage Salad with Ham

  • Servings: 4 - 5 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 quart (4 cups) cabbage, grated (about 1 medium cabbage)

1 medium onion, finely minced

1/4 cup ham, diced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine grated cabbage and minced onion in a bowl. Set aside

Sauté diced ham in a skillet using medium heat until lightly browned. Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper; heat until hot. Pour heated vinegar over cabbage and onion; stir to combine. Serve.

Old-Fashioned Pearl Barley Soup with Cabbage (Cabbage and Bacon Soup)

Soup is the perfect comfort food on these cold winter days. I recently found a wonderful hundred-year-old recipe for Pearl Barley Soup with Cabbage. The soup was delightful – but the recipe name is misleading. The recipe only calls for two tablespoons of barley – and it is not a predominate ingredient in the soup. This soup is really a hearty, rustic Cabbage and Bacon soup.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (October, 1917)

Since modern pearled barley does not need pre-soaking, I skipped that step. Also, I didn’t think that three green onions were very many, so I used all the green onions in the bunch that I purchased. Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Pearl Barley Soup with Cabbage (Cabbage and Bacon Soup)

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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6 cups water

2 tablespoons barley

1/4 pound bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

1 small cabbage (about 1 pound), finely shredded

1 bunch green onions (6 -8 green onions), chopped

1 cup half and half

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Put water in a dutch oven; bring to a boil using high heat, then add barley, bacon, cabbage, and green onions. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 1 hour. Add half and half, salt, and pepper. Heat until steamy hot, then serve.

Old-fashioned Cabbage and Beet Salad

 

Sometimes salads can seem a bit boring, so I was delighted to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Cabbage and Beet Salad. This salad makes a lovely presentation that is just a tad dramatic. And, a subtle homemade French dressing adds just the right amount of flavor to the salad.

Here’s the photo and recipe for Cabbage and Beet Salad in the hundred-year-old magazine:

Source: American Cookery (August – September, 1918)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cabbage and Beet Salad

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 small cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups shredded cabbage)

2 medium beets, cooked and diced into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1 cup diced, cooked beets)

French Dressing

6 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons onion, finely minced

Put shredded cabbage in a bowl; gently stir in 2/3 of the French dressing. Put in refrigerator, and chill for at least 2 hours.

Put diced beets in another bowl; gently stir in 1/3 of the French dressing.  Put in refrigerator, and chill for at least 2 hours.

To serve:  Drain any excess dressing from the shredded cabbage, then arrange the cabbage in a ring with a hole in the center. (I pressed the cabbage into a circular mold, covered with the serving plate, and then quickly flipped and removed mold – but a mold is not necessary.)

Drain any excess liquid from the beets. Place beets in the center of the ring. Serve immediately.

To make French Dressing:  Put olive oil, vinegar, salt, mustard, and paprika in a small bowl; stir to combine. Stir in minced onion.

Hundred-Year-Old Bavarian Cabbage Recipe

bavarian-cabbage

I found a delightful Bavarian Cabbage recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine. This traditional German dish was refreshingly sweet-sour (more sour than sweet), and would be lovely served with sausages, roast beef, or pork. It tasted very authentic; and if I closed my eyes and listened hard enough, I could almost see myself sitting at an outdoor cafe on the banks of the Rhine on a cool October day while listening to merry Octoberfest music.

Here’s the original recipe.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1916)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1916)

Here’s how I updated the recipe for modern cooks:

Bavarian Cabbage

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/2 head cabbage (6 cups) shredded cabbage

1 tablespoon bacon drippings or butter (I used bacon drippings.)

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Using medium heat, melt  the bacon drippings (or butter) in a frying pan; add onions and cook until tender (but not browned). Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Then add the shredded cabbage and stir; cover the pan and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pan cover once or twice during cooking to make sure there is enough liquid; if too dry add enough water to keep from burning. (I did not need to add any water.)

I used less salt than the original recipe called for. One tablespoon of salt seemed like a lot – so I decided that it probably was a typo and instead used 1 teaspoon of salt. I also didn’t quite understand the last part of the old recipe about cold water (though I’m guessing that it was directing the cook to wash the cabbage prior to cooking).