Randomness

A recipe I found in an old cookbook for omelettes:

cat from dish

Take the crumb of a slice of bread, sock it in hot milk (cold will do, but hot is better), beat up the whites of four eggs to a high froth; mix the bread with all the milk it will absorb, no more, into a paste, add the yolks of eggs with a little salt, set the pan on the fire with an ounce of butter. Let it get very hot, then mix the whites of eggs with the yolks and bread lightly, pour in the pan, and move about for a minute; if the oven is hot, when the omelet is brown underneath, set the pan in the oven for five minutes, or until the top is set; then double half over, and serve.

So, I had to read this recipe, like, three times to understand it. And I’m not blaming that completely on my brain fog.  I think I’m doing okay today actually.  But trying to figure this recipe out (and other recipes in the book) gives me a great thankfulness for the standardization of how we make recipes today.

Like, today it would read something like this:
Ingredients:

4 large eggs separated
1 slice of bread – crumbed
3 tablespoons milk (I’m guessing here) warmed.
1 ounce butter
salt to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Soak crumbed bread in warm milk. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. mix bread crumbs and milk into a paste and add yolks. Heat a 10 inch skillet on stove and melt butter.  Mix egg whites with egg yolk mixture gently and pour into hot skillet. Rotate pan to cover evenly and cook until brown on bottom.  Transfer pan to preheated oven and bake for five minutes or until set on top. Remove from oven and gently fold in half. Serve warm.

Remember, I’m no cookbook writer, I’m winging it here…

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I actually can cook, but this is funny

Anyway, the recipe I found in the book — called Culture and Cooking: Or Art in the Kitchen  and it was originally published in 1881– made no mention of an oven until halfway through and then you’re like, “Wait, I need to bake this?”  Though I guess that’s why you’re suppose to read a recipe all the way through before you attempt it. But still, that would catch someone right out if they’re not paying attention. And of course, there are no measurements at all except the butter, and eggs I suppose, but what size eggs? Small, large?  I went with large because that’s pretty standard… With most cookbooks these days, the people who’ve written them have tested the recipes, so they would know exactly how much milk one needs to make a paste out of bread and milk.  And I don’t even know if it’s supposed to be a thick paste or a thin paste (the recipe doesn’t say).  I’ve never made omelettes this way. Sounds interesting though. I might try it. Just because.

I’ve been busy trying to clean my house. I know, scary, right?! O_o Y’all are probably thinking it’s about time I turned my attention to the house, and you’re right…  It had to happen eventually. Ha! It’s amazing how much dirt and dog hair can build up in the corners when one just doesn’t have the energy to do the deep cleaning for a year. >_< I’m doing it in spurts.  Right now I’m resting after cleaning the dishes and counters. I put a lot of… stuff… away that’s just been gathering dust. The hubs won’t like it, but I’m roping him in to helping with some of the big stuff this evening. It’s not like my house is a filthy mess, but there are some things that have been let slide and yeah… they need tending too.

Anyway, that’s my randomness for the day. I’ll catch y’all later.

5 thoughts on “Randomness

  1. I too have a lot of old cookbooks. I have to look up the words because sometimes, I don’t know what they mean … and then I have to untangle the grammar. If nothing else, it gives us a really good idea of how much our language has changed in a relatively short time.

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    • It does that too. ^_^ Like we know long measure in “gills” and we no longer use potash. I had no idea what those were when I first started collecting these cookbooks.

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  2. “Gills”?? “Potash”? Uh what? And here I was thinking I knew how to cook and read a recipe…Well one learns something each day….

    My fail proof recipe for an omelette? I take four eggs (any size you want, use whats on hand…why quibble?), cheese and mushrooms (if I have some) and diced ham. And then (this is the spendy part)…I put the eggs (cracked open so all the good part has run out – no shells please. And why I include that bit? Some people are literal, too literal ((not you dear)) … and put them in one of those new agey ‘greaseless pans’ that one is supposed to be able to burn cheese in and not have it stick. (yeah right…these pans are good for about a year, then fuck that. They start to act like any other pan)… I lightly scramble the yolk and white of the eggs into an even mixture. Walk away (leaving the burner on medium), and wait about two minutes. When you return you’ll have an omelette sans ingredients because the eggs have firmed and cooked and you can flip them and everything. Add the cheese and ingredients for your omelette, get a plate and ease the whole thing onto it, flipping it closed as you go. If you want, let the cheese cook for a while (a minute or two) and get stringy – I like it like that, and if the mushrooms are fresh, you might want to let those cook through too. Enjoy! 🙂

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  3. I used to know how much was in a gill, but I’ve forgotten. Google says it’s four ounces or about half a cup. And potash is the precursor to baking powder… I think? I remember that it’s some kind of leavening.

    I make omelettes similar to the way you do… I just thought it was interesting how they used to write cookbooks compared to how we write them today.

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