Recipes can tell you a lot about daily life during certain time periods. The recipes below come from the Branson’s Agricultural Almanac from 1884. You may view the entire issue from 1884 at http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll37,13645 or go directly to the page with these recipes.
This recipe for peach fritters seems straight forward. Fewer people cook with lard today, but some still do.
Make a batter of one cup of sweet milk, two eggs, a pinch of salt, and flour enough to make a stiff batter; cut the peaches in quarters and stir in the mixture. Fry in hot lard.
When I saw this recipe for sago pudding, I admit I had to do a search online to find out what sago was. I was pleased to see tapioca could be used as a substitute, though.
One quart of sweet milk, four eggs, four tablespoonfuls of sago, one cup of sugar. Cover the sago with water and soak over night, till it looks clear, then beat eggs, sugar and sago together; add the milk and enough grated nutmeg to taste. Bake or steam. If you wish frosting, beat white of an egg and sugar; spread over the top and set in the oven for a few minutes. The same recipe is good if made of tapioca.
I don’t make my own soap at home, so it may not come as a surprise that I was perplexed by several of the ingredients listed in this soft soap recipe.
Take six gallons of soft or rain-water, add three pounds of best hard soap (cut fine), one pound salsoda, four tablespoonfuls of hartshorn; boil the whole till perfectly dissolved; pour into vessels, and when cold it is fit for use. This makes fifty pounds of fine jelly soap.
What will people think of us 128 years from now based on the recipes they find in books from our time?