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De Witt's Connecticut Cook Book, and Housekeeper's Assistant

De Witt's Connecticut Cook Book, and Housekeeper's Assistant

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De Witt's Connecticut Cook Book, and Housekeeper's Assistant

696 pagine
4 ore
Apr 16, 2013


Published in New York in 1871 and covering an extensive range of practical and wholesome recipes, De Witt’s Connecticut Cook Book, and Housekeeper’s Assistant includes recipes for everything from soups, roasting, broiling, and stewing meats, and coffees to vegetables, pickling, breads, preserving jellies and fruits, cakes, and cheese. However, it contains more than recipes. Emphasizing local culture and conditions, his regional collection also provides a wide range of information about housekeeping such as removing stains from tablecloths, washing flannel, cleaning sheepskin rugs, and greasing cowhide boots. Orr also includes “useful sanitary rules” for bathing, eating, ventilation, escaping a fire, nosebleeds, and snake bites. With all of the recipes, housekeeping tips, and health guidelines, De Witt’s Connecticut Cook Book, and Housekeeper’s Assistant was truly an indispensable tome for 19th century women as well as an incredibly informative historical work for modern times.

 This edition of De Witt’s Connecticut Cook Book, and Housekeeper’s Assistant was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes.
Apr 16, 2013

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De Witt's Connecticut Cook Book, and Housekeeper's Assistant - Mrs. N. Orr


OF primary importance is the cooking apparatus. It would be evidence of incapacity in an engineer, should he undertake to manage a steam engine without first becoming familiar with, and then lubricating all its parts. A cooking range or stove is but a piece of mechanism, depending upon a proper circulation of heated air through its several passages. Hence the importance of keeping them free from an accumulation of soot and ashes.

A well polished exterior will not compensate for underdone pastry, neither will an elegant dinner service impart a flavor to viands chilled during the re-making of a coal fire. Therefore—

To Make a Coal Fire.

Having scraped and swept all the flues, and cleaned the ovens thoroughly, place upon the grate a handful of shavings, or crumpled paper, upon this a sufficient quantity of kindling wood or charcoal, and upon this a thin layer of hard coal. (Do not be tempted to try a little kerosene, or burning fluid. Hundreds of lives, and much property has been lost by this wasteful and dangerous practice.) See that the proper dampers are opened to allow a free entrance of cold air under the grate to kindle the fire, and carry the smoke by the nearest outlet into the chimney. With a good draught the coal will be ignited in a few minutes. Then close the upper dampers and add a little more coal. Do not grow impatient, and poke the fire, or throw on wood because you do not hear it burn. Your fire will be ready by the time you need it, and the tea-kettle, if put on at first, is now nearly boiled. You cannot make water hotter than boiling. If you attempt it you convert it into steam, and soon have an empty vessel with an unmistakable odor of something burning A few shovelsful of coal, evenly distributed, will do you more service than a half bushel red hut, warping the top and covers, burning the contents of the oven and kettles, making an unhealthy atmosphere for you to work in, and tilling the fire-box with ashes and cinders, to the serious detriment of a continued good fire. By a judicious management of the dampers, and adding coal in their layers, a steady, useful fire can be kept throughout the day.

It would be a great advantage to have attached to the side of all ranges a piece of soapstone, proportioned to the size of the range and the room. This, when once heated, would be of great value to the cook, and enable her to keep many dishes perfect that require moderate heat, for soapstone is superior to bricks as respects this; and it is said a soapstone oven, after being heated once, can be used for baking nearly all the same day, and bake the last time as well as the first.

To Put out a Coal Fire.

Close the front dampers, open the upper ones, and the top of the fire-box, and with the poker make a hole in the middle of the fire, heaping the coal on either side.

Of equal importance with a good fire, is the absolute necessity of perfect cleanliness in the cooking utensils.

Tin vessels, washed, rinsed, and turned up to dry, impart a metallic taste to whatever is cooked in them. This is owing to a slight ozidation, caused by the evaporation of the moisture, and if really not unwholesome, is certainly not pleasant.

Iron-ware is frequently scraped with a knife, leaving streaks of the original contents, with rust, to flavor a succeeding dish, while the frying-pan and gridiron, not entirely freed from the grease and drippings, are set upon the top of the stove or range, to dry, left just a minute too long, become overheated, and give a peculiar musty taste to that which otherwise would be a luxury.

Earthen and stone-ware, pickle and preserve-jars, washed in hot water, have the glazed surface cracked, become porous, and absorb the contents, which cannot be removed by any amount of washing.

A little dough or paste is left here and there to dry upon the bread-bowl, paste-board and rolling-pin. Then a knife is used to remove it, and a rough surface is the consequence.

Egg-whisks, sieves and paste-brushes are dipped into boiling water, and come out with a liberal coating of albumen.

Through the whole domestic routine, there is a right and a wrong way, and without a proper attention to little things, there can be no satisfactory results.

To Wash Tinned Vessels.

See that everything foreign is removed from the surface, either by washing, soaking, or the use of fine sand. Examine the upper rims and covers of sauce-pans. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. Do not put on the covers, but leave them partly open.


By constant use gets a kind of black enamel on its surface, that is destroyed by scraping. Wash and dry, and if there is any roughness, remove it by rubbing with paper and dry salt.


Wash with cold or lukewarm water, dry them thoroughly, and keep them in a dry place.

Pastry-Board, Rolling-Pin, etc.

Wash without soap, and put away when perfectly dry. Egg-whisks, etc., should be washed first in cold and then in hot water.

Vessels containing milk must stand awhile with cold water in them, and then be carefully scalded, or they will spoil any liquid that is afterward put in them.

Pudding-cloths should be washed in clean warm water as soon as possible after the puddings are taken out of them. No soap should be used. Should they become musty, scald them with a lye made of wood ashes or soda. Rinse carefully, old and but them away where they will not become damp.


Doctors disagree. So do cooks. The perfection of soup is, says Mrs. Hale, that it should have no particular flavor.

In cooking, writes Miss Leslie, every dish should have a distinct taste of its natural flavor predominating. Frenchmen boast of their soup being delicate, while the Esquimaux would in all probability protest against the skimming process. We have no pet theory, and prefer to give that which in our experience has proved palatable.

Soup Powder.

Take equal proportions of dried parsley, thyme, sweet marjoram and summer savory, and half the quantity of sweet basil and lemon peel. Dry in a warm oven and pound in a mortar until the powder will pass through a fine sieve. Put in a dry bottle and cork tightly.

Curry Powder.

Take black pepper, mustard, and ginger 1 oz. of each; coriander seed, 3 oz.; turmeric, 3 oz.; allspice and less cardamons, 1-2 oz. each; cummin seed, 1-4 oz. Dry in a cool oven, pound in a mortar and pass through a fine sieve.

A superior kind can be bought for a mere trifle of any good grocer, put up in different sized bottles and labelled Indian Currie.

Feelee Powder.

The powdered leaves of sassafras.

Brown Stock.

Put into the stock pot any kind of dark meat; the shin of beef is best; add to it any kind of game and some slices of ham or bacon. Season with spices and vegetables. Add salt and pepper, and cold water in the proportion of a pint to a pound of meat. Simmer gently for eight or ten hours, skim off the fat and strain the liquor through a fine sieve or woolen tamis. Color it with browned sugar, burnt onion, or a piece of bread toasted as brown as possible—but not blackened.

Brown Coloring for Soup or Gravy.

Put in a stew pan 8 oz. of lump sugar, and 1 oz. of butter, and place it over a gentle fire. Stir it with a wooden spoon till of a bright brown. Add 1 pint of water; boil, skim, and when cold bottle and cork it close. Add to the soup or gravy sufficient to give it the proper color.

White Stock.

Take a knuckle of veal, calf’s head, or any other part, with fowls and any other white meat or poultry, and lean ham in the proportion of 1–2 lb. to every 7 lbs. of meat. Cut it into small pieces, add some white pepper, mace, celery and onions. Put on of water just enough to cover it. Let it simmer for five hours. In order to be very nice it should be made of milk instead of water.

Zue’s Stock.

Put in a soup kettle a small lump of butter. Let it become quite hot. Add a pound of lean beef cut up in small pieces, a teaspoonful of brown sugar, and an onion cut up small. Dredge this slightly with flour, shake and toss it until thoroughly browned, but not scorched, then put in four quarts of cold water, and four pounds of lean, juicy beef, cut in pieces (or a shin bone), two carrots, two leeks, or two small onions, a teaspoonful of soup-powder, one of pepper, and a tablespoonful of salt.

Place the kettle where it will warm gradually for half an hour or more, then simmer gently until all the juice and flavor is extracted, strain and set away until the following day. When used, remove the fat from the top and be careful not to disturb the sediment at the bottom.

This stock will furnish a good basis for any of the soups, especially those thickened with noodles, rice vermicelli, maccaroni, etc.


Mulligatawny means pepper-water. The soup derives its name from its peculiar pungency. Take four pounds of the lean of veal, sliced, fry it in butter with four onions. Put this into a stew-pan with four dessertspoonfuls of curry powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, cover with water and stew gently until the meat is tender. If too thin, thicken it with a little butter and flour rolled together. Serve it up with rice in another dish.

Sago Soup.

Make three quarts of mutton stock, which strain through a fine sieve into a stew-pan. Add to it three ounces of sago, and let it boil gently for twenty minutes, then skim it. Just before serving, put into the tureen the well beaten yolks of four eggs, and to them half a pint of cream; then take the stew-pan off the fire, pour it in, stir quickly for one minute, and serve immediately. If it boil again it will be spoiled.

Clam Soup.

Take fifty clams, with half of their liquor, to this add two-thirds the quantity of water, cut up the clams in small pieces, boil and skim. Take one egg, a lump of butter half its size, a teacupful of sweet milk and flour enough to make a batter stiff enough to adhere to the spoon. Drop into the boiling liquor a spoonful of this at a time, and when done serve immediately.

New Orleans Gumbo Soup.

Cut up a fowl, salt, pepper, and flour it. Take a tablespoonful each, of butter, lard, and finely chopped onions. Into this fry the fowl until well browned, and add four quarts of cold water. Cover close and simmer two hours. Then put in thirty oysters, a cup of chopped okras, and a very little thyme Simmer for half an hour longer, add half a tablespoonful of feelee powder and serve. Use cayenne pepper if liked.

Tomato Soup.

Take two quarts of clarified beef stock, two quarts of ripe tomatoes, stewed in their own liquor until entirely dissolved, and a large handful of okras stewed in a small quantity of water, until their shape can no longer be discerned. Strain separately into the boiling meat-liquor, the tomatoes and the okras. Mix butter and flour into a lump, and when the mixed liquors are boiling hot stir in the butter and flour, and give the soup one boil up. Transfer it to your tureen and serve small rolls, or milk biscuits with it.

Chicken Soup.

Cut up two large fine fowls, as if carving them for the table, and wash the pieces in cold water. Take half a dozen thin slices of cold ham, and lay them in a soup-pot, mixed among the pieces of chicken. Season them with a very little cayenne, a little nutmeg, and a few blades of mace, but no salt, as the ham will make it salt enough. Add a head of celery, split and cut into long bits, a quarter of a pound of butter, divided in two, and rolled in flour. Pour on three quarts of milk. Set the soup-pot over the fire, and let it boil rather slowly, skimming it well. When it has boiled an hour, put in some small round dumplings, made of half a pound of flour mixed with a quarter of a pound of butter; divide this dough into equal portions, and roll them in your hands into little balls about the size of a large hickory nut. The soup must boil till the flesh of the fowls is loose on the bones, but not till it drops off. Stir in, at the last, the beaten yolks of three or four eggs, and let the soup remain about five minutes longer over the fire. Then take it up. Cut off from the bones the flesh of the fowls, and divide it into mouthfuls. Cut up the slices of ham in the same manner. Mince the livers and gizzards. Put the bits of fowl and ham in the bottom of a large tureen, and pour the soup upon it.

Cabbage Soup.

Remove the fat and bone from a good piece of fresh beef, or mutton, season it with a little salt and pepper, put it into a souppot, with a quart of water allowed to each pound of meat. Boil, and skim it till no more scum is seen on the surface. Then strain it, and thicken it with flour and butter, mixed. Have ready a fine fresh cabbage (a young summer one is best), and after it is well washed through two cold waters, and all the leaves examined to see if any insects have crept between, quarter the cabbage (removing the stalk), and with a cabbage-cutter, or a strong sharp knife, cut it into shreds. Or you may begin the cabbage whole and cut it into shreds, spirally, going round and round it with the knife. Put the cabbage into the clear soup, and boil it till, upon trial, by taking up a little on a fork, you find it quite tender and perfectly well cooked. Then serve it up in the tureen. This is a family soup.

Split Pea Soup.

Wash two quarts of them over night in two or three waters. In the morning make a rich soup of the lean of beef or mutton, and the hock of a ham. Season it with pepper, but no salt. When it has boiled, and been thoroughly skimmed, put in the split peas. Let it boil till the peas are entirely dissolved and undistinguishable. When it is finished, strain the soup through a sieve, divesting it of the thin shreds of meat and bits of bone. Then transfer it to a tureen, in which has been laid some square bits of toast. Stir it up to the bottom directly before it goes to table.

Bean Soup.

Early in the evening of the day before you make the soup, wash clean a large quart of dried white beans in a pan of cold water, and about bedtime pour off that water, and replace it with a fresh panful. Next morning, put on the beans to boil, with only water enough to cook them well, and keep them boiling slowly till they have all bursted, stirring them up frequently from the bottom, lest they should burn. Meantime, prepare in a larger pot, a good soup made of a shin of beef cut into pieces, allowing a large quart of water to each pound of meat. Season with pepper and salt. Boil the soup, skimming it well, till the meat is all in rags, then take it out, and put in the boiled beans. Let them boil in the soup until it is very thick and the beans entirely dissolved. Great care must be taken that the soup does not burn. Put some pieces of toast in a tureen and pour the soup upon it.

Noodle Soup.

This soup may be made with either beef or mutton, but the meat must be fresh for the purpose, and not cold meat, recooked. Cut off all the fat, and break the bones. If boiled in the soup, they improve it. To each pound of meat allow a small quart of water. Boil and skim it, till the meat drops from the bone. Put in with the meat, after the scum has ceased to rise, some turnips, carrots and onions, cut in slices, and boil them till all to pieces. Strain the soup, and return the liquid to a clean pot. Have ready a large quantity of noodles. These are composed of beaten eggs, made into a paste or dough, with flour and a very little fresh butter. This paste is rolled out thin into a square sheet. This sheet is then closely rolled up like a scroll or quire of thick paper, and then with a sharp knife cut round into shreds, or shavings, as cabbage is cut for slaw. Put them on a well-tinned dish and expose them to the hot sun for fifteen minutes. Throw them into the soup while boiling the second time, and let them boil for ten minutes or longer.

Mock Turtle Soup.

Take a set of calves’ feet that have been singed, not skinned, split them; also a knuckle of veal cut up, and a hock of cold boiled ham. Season with cayenne pepper. To each pound of meat allow a pint and a half of soft water. After it has boiled and been well skimmed, add six sliced parsnips, three sliced onions, two carrots sliced, a small head of celery cut small, and a bunch of sweet basil. Boil all together until the vegetables are nearly dissolved, and the meat falls from the bone. Then strain the whole through a cullender into a clean pot.

Have ready some nice sweet-breads that have been soaked in warm water, until perfectly free from blood. Then put them in boiling water for ten minutes, and from that to cold water to blanch them. Cut the sweet-breads into small pieces, remove all pipe and grizzle from them, and put them into the pot of strained soup. Add two or three dozen forcemeat balls, a lemon sliced, a pint of Madeira wine, boil up once, and serve.

To Make the Forcemeat Balls.

Take cold minced veal and ham, seasoned with butter and mace, and mixed with grated lemon-peel, bread-crumbs, chopped marjoram and beaten eggs to make the whole into balls about the size of a hickory nut.

The hard-boiled yolks of eggs would, by some, be considered a great addition to this soup.

Soup Maigre.

Melt half a pound of butter in a stew-pan, shake it round, and throw in six middling onions, sliced. Shake the pan well for two or three minutes, then put to it five heads of celery, two handfuls of spinach, two cabbage lettuces, cut small, and some parsley. Shake the pan well for ten minutes, then put in two quarts of water, some crusts of bread, a teaspoonful of beaten pepper, three or four blades of mace, and if you have any white beet leaves add a large handful of them, cut small. Boil gently an hour. Just before serving, beat in two yolks of eggs and a large spoonful of vinegar.

Oyster Soup.

Strain the liquor from one hundred oysters, and carefully remove any bits of shell or particles of sea-weed. To every pint of oyster liquor allow an equal quantity of rich milk. Season it with whole pepper and some blades of mace. Add a head of celery, washed, scraped, and minced small. Put the whole into a soup-pot, and boil and skim it well. When it boils put in the oysters. Also, a quarter of a pound of fresh butter; divide into four pieces, each piece rolled in flour. If you can procure cream,

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