Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Constitutional Cooking Cuisine


I didn't have to harvest the corn. I wasn't milking the cow and churning butter. Nor was I fermenting apples. The tasks I'm good at-planning the menu, cooking and serving it were a success.  Seems the 1790s menu was very compatible to those served today.

Beef was a staple in both lower and middle class households. In the early 1700s, Irish and Scottish immigrants imported cattle. During the French and Indian War, farmers increased their number of cattle. When wool was required to make soldiers uniforms for the Revolutionary War, mutton slaughter was prohibited. 

Though the soldiers food intake was inadequate, farm families could enjoy beef, milk and butter on the dinner table. Crops included corn, root vegetables and legumes. Fresh bread was served at every meal.  There was plenty of alcohol. Compared to modern times, Americans consumed three times the amount. Imports were prohibited and hops for beer were scarce, yet hard cider, wine and whisky were plentiful.

The meal pattern was unique with most of the calories consumed at the mid-afternoon dinner. Breakfast was served early-usually at 7, with porridge and pancakes the norm. The large dinner was the middle meal. Supper was small-often one consisting of apples, raisins and port wine. 

Not unlike the many farm tasks, preparing and serving the food kept the staff working many long hours.

That's my Washington style meal above, with slow roasted beef, potatoes, carrots and Lima beans. While I had no hard cider and I forgot to add the jar of pickles, I'm particularly fond of my sourdough cornbread which contains both corn flour and whole corn. 

This skillet cornbread has sweet peppers, more corn, fresh ground whole wheat berries and whole corn flour, making a perfect flavor combination.  This recipe is made in a 7-inch iron skillet.

Sourdough Whole Grain Cornbread

(Serves 8)

Saute peppers in buttery spread in 7-inch iron skillet. Set aside.
2 mini sweet peppers, diced
1 tablespoon melted buttery spread

In a separate bowl, mix ground corn, flour, baking powder, salt and soda.
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon ground corn
6 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

In a larger bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, honey, buttery spread and sourdough starter discard.
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoon buttery spread, melted
1/2 cup sourdough starter discard

Add corn and sauteed peppers to liquid ingredients, then stir in dry ingredients. Stir only until mixed.
1/2 cup corn off the cob, chopped in food processor
Sauteed peppers

Grease skillet with buttery spread. Pour batter into skillet. 
1 tablespoon melted buttery spread

Bake at 425 F for 25 minutes.  Cool in pan on wire rack.


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