I just purchased a copy of "The Great 20th Century Cookbook", the publisher's page had been cut out so I am not sure of the exact date of publication. Suffice it to say the book is very old probably 1900-1910; it has some fascinating recipes. The primary assumption was that all of the cooking would take place on a cook-stove, you know the kind where you lift up the burner area circle with the spring handled holder and added another chunk of oak. There are some great recipes in the book which I will share as time goes on. There are also some eyestoppers as you look down the pages. From the "Meats" section: "Stewed Kidneys", "Beef Tongue,"Deviled Tongue", "Pickled Tripe" and last but not least,
"Calf's Head Boiled"
Clean the head nicely. (See directions for mock-turtle soup) Soak it in salt water to blanch it. Take out the eyes, remove the tongue, and salt the brains to make a little side dish. Boil the head until tender. Then rub with butter, sprinkle with salt, pepper and finely powdered sweet herbs, dredge with flour or finely powdered bread crumbs, set in a hot oven and squeeze the juice of a lemon over it; this gives it a fine flavor. Sometimes a little of the liquor used in boiling is used for basting. Roast to a fine brown, put on a hot platter and keep warm. Take a sufficient amount of the liquor for gravy, add a piece of butter the size of a hens egg, thicken with browned flour, let it boil up with a small lemon cut in thin slices, (The lemon may be omitted, but it is usually liked). Garnish the head with forcemeat balls or slices of lemon.
Not exactly a recipe for the squeamish and it is most interesting to see the changes in taste that have occured in a century. Which got me to thinking… What is the oldest known cook-book?
Forme of Cury was the name given by Samuel Pegge to a roll of cookery written by the Master Cooks of King Richard II of England. This name has since come into usage for almost all versions of the original manuscript. It is by far the most well known medieval guide to cooking.
The roll was written in late Middle English on vellum and details some 205 recipes (although the exact number of recipes varies slightly between different versions).
The following is a sample of a recipe taken from Pegge's 18th century edition of the roll.
SAWSE MADAME. XXX.
Take sawge. persel. ysope. and saueray. quinces. and peeres, garlek and Grapes. and fylle the gees þerwith. and sowe the hole þat no grece come out. and roost hem wel. and kepe the grece þat fallith þerof. take galytyne and grece and do in a possynet, whan the gees buth rosted ynouh; take an smyte hem on pecys. and þat tat is withinne and do it in a possynet and put þerinne wyne if it be to thyk. do þerto powdour of galyngale. powdour douce and salt and boyle the sawse and dresse þe Gees in disshes and lay þe sowe onoward.
(Modern English: SAUCE MADAME. 30. Take sage, parsley, hyssop and savoury, quinces and pears, garlic and grapes, and stuff the geese with them. Sew the hole so that no grease comes out, and roast them well, and keep the dripping that falls from them. Take galyntyne [sauce or jelly of meat juices] and grease and add to a posset; when the geese be roasted enough, take and smite [cut] them into pieces, and that which is within and add to a posset and put wine in it if it be too thick. Add powder of galingale, powder-douce and salt, and boil the sauce and dress the geese in dishes and put the sauce on them.)