First, this weblog is not for the food timid. I (or perhaps WE), will be discussing the making of certain foods that nutritionists, dieticians and the anomalous-minded won't like. YES, that means that there are risks adherent with this. Yet, the primary purpose of this log is to gather recipes for making foods that are about to become extinct, due to either bad government regulation (of which more later), economic problems (loss of grazing lands for cattle: instead condos for your grandmother) or even changing tastes ("oooohhhh!!!!! that has FAT in it".)
Now, I won't pretend to be much of an expert on all the foregoing. But I became a published cookbook author before the Internet came of age, so I actually am not a "self-styled" expert. Which brings me to explain that I could no longer abide the Usenet and the shameful lack of colloquy caused by a number of folks rendering what amounted to scientific or medical advice at what should seem like "hobbyist" user groups there. They took all the fun out of being a "member" of those groups. You know who you are if you are reading this.
Paul Hinrichs' "Playing With My Food" is what got me interested in w'logging. He has the title I want, but I just have to live with that. Paul had the good sense to "quit" the Usenet rec.food.*.* groups long before I recognized the disease growing there. If you want to see fine, inventive, saborissimo! cooking, check him at Salon.com:
you will have to wade through the political parts, however.
I also am not a computer gnerd, nurd, knerd, (see I can't even spell it!), so please bear with me while I try to get the log into 'ship shape and Bristol fashion'. I hope to have mine as nice as Paul's in a while.
At long last, dear reader, the beginning:
After more than five years of looking around the 'net and in print sources, I have decided that those who should be "in the know" about what I call Old Fashioned Fermented Dill Pickles absolutely, positively refuse to make them in the old-fashioned way. If you want to make fermented dills with or without garlic, the cukes MUST cure (or pickle) in temperatures between 80 to 90 degrees F. The best way to test this theory is to get a couple of bucks worth of cukes and pikcle them in your oven, if it has a pilot light. If not there then on top of the water heater or by putting a heating pad under the crock. I kept experimenting with pickles and couldn't get the taste I remember from my childhood in Saint Louis, until I read:
Author Campbell, Clyde H. (Clyde Henderson), 1883-1946.
Title(s) Campbell's book; a text book on canning, preserving and pickling.
Publisher [New York, Canning age, c1929]
Paging 246 p. incl. illus., fold. pl., diagrs. 31 cm.
Notes Bibliography: p. 217-229.
Campbell's Book is just a wonderful compendium of recipes for pickling, canning and preserving. For those of you who remember the sauce that used to come with your Ruben Sandwich, he has the real recipe for Russian Dressing. I know it's the real one 'cause he states that it should only be made in small quantities because it doesn't keep. He also give a recipe for Fruit Salad Gravy (ok, ok, Dressing), which is the hit of every summer around our house. Fermented dills don't keep well either. Made with heat, there is no vinegar in them and they really shouldn't be heat processed to preserve them. Two weeks in the frig is about it, so make them in small quantities during pickling season.
The Campbell's Book above is the earliest edition I know of. In 1929, its year of publication, the food industry was still in both a period of scientific nascency and local distribution, rather than where the U.S. is now with fewer and fewer local or regional brands. In fact, Kroger's just bought out the oldest supermarket chain in Los Angeles, Ralph's (founded 1876). They now have the Kroger brand brandishing around the stores. Campbell's Book is written with the cottage industry mindset of the early part of the 20th century. Hence, with a little work, one can scale his quantities down to homemade style portions. For those folks searching for new mustard recipes, there are quite a few. Of mustard recipes, see below.
I am always collecting recipes for dishes like gazpacho or cheesecake, anything were passions run high and joy abounds. Recipes that express family pride, local color, or festive feelingsl. If you think you qualify, bring it on, but be warned, if I post it, it may be with praise or jeeringly! Now you know.
Some time ago, I was emailing with a Dutchman, Noel Haegens, a pro-bakery consultant. His website:
Bread and the Technology of Bread Production
Some of the first things I would like to discuss are the farmhouse manufacture of Hams from the Ardennes forest. If you have an authentic recipe, or know where one is, drop me a line, please. The reason that is is somewhat first has mostly to do with the changing lifestyles of the people in that part of the world. The kids left the farm, the parents still make a few hams, nobody is writing down the recipes and soon this craft will be forever lost to our culture. I google around the 'net from time to time looking for info on them, but find little in the way of recipes or info about their manufacture. Hint -- the hogs are fattened on turnips and the hams are brined with juniper berries as a part of their flavor profile.
That brings me back to my Cottage Industry theme. If you have a public library near you, they may hold a copy of:
Author Brannt, William T. (William Theodore), b. 1844.
Title(s) A practical treatise on the manufacture of vinegar; with special consideration of wood vinegar and other by-products obtained in the destructive distillation of wood ... edited from various sources. By William T. Brannt.
Publisher Philadelphia, H. C. Baird & Co., 1890.
Paging 479 p.
Subject Headings Vinegar.
Again, great pickle and mustard recipes in quantities for the home.
I did a Google Groups advanced search in rec.food.preserving for the keywords: DILL PICKLES. The return was 1200 postings. Some threads were 70 or more messages in length. Yours truly had 24 postings in those 1200 and Mr. Hinrichs had about 150. No small wonder Paul refers to the repetitive motion syndrome there.