Vintage cookbooks usually assumed a certain level of kitchen acumen among its readers and, accordingly, gave quite simple instructions. Recipes never spelled out what size bowl to use (come on!), what size flame to cook over, or other basic considerations that today signal the amateur. Cooks of yesteryear were skilled because they were in practice every day, with every meal. When a receipt stated to “add enough flour to make a stiff dough,” terror didn’t strike the reader’s heart because she knew what stiff dough felt like.
Kitchen Gems: Vintage Cookbooks
Put your old-timey kitchen know how to the test with this Scrapple Recipe.
Scrapple Recipe (Ponhaws)
From Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook of Fine Old Recipes (1936)
Separate one hog’s head into halves. Take out the eyes and brains. Scrape and thoroughly clean the head. Put into a large kettle and cover with 4 or 5 quarts cold water. Simmer gently for 2 or 3 hours, or until the meat falls from the bones. Skim off grease carefully from the surface; remove meat, chop fine and return to the liquor. Season with salt and pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon of powdered sage. Sift in granulated yellow corn meal, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened to the consistency of soft mush. Cook slowly for 1 hour, watching carefully as it scorches easily. When sufficiently cooked, pour into greased oblong tins and store in a cool place until ready to use. Cut in thin slices and fry in hot fat until crisp and brown.
(Editor’s Note: Find more Ponhaws recipes in GRIT Recipe Box: January/February 2012.)
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