17 May 2009

Common Sense In the Household

“It is a mistake of Christian civilization to educate girls into a love of science
and literature and then condemn them to the routine of domestic drudge.”
Marion Harland

Marion Harland was the pen name of Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune one of the most successful cookbook authors of the late 1800’s. Long before the crass notion of “branding” Harland was just that – a brand. Her success was due in no small part to her father who instructed his daughter’s tutor to: “Educate them as if they were boys and preparing for college,” Samuel Hawes encouraged his daughter to write and at 23 she published her first novel that sold over 100,000 copies.

Two years later she married, and found she was ill-equipped to accomplish the work of housewife. Cookbooks of the late nineteenth century offered instruction on cooking but also instruction on proper morality with some domesticity and first aid thrown in. They were more sermon in tone than instruction. Harland relied on the vocation she knew, writing, vowing to produce a document that would offer a detailed yet colloquial approach to running a household. She succeeded. Common Sense In the Household sold over a million copies.

In one of the few “medical” recipes in the book, Mrs. Harland suggests for bleeding,
“Bind the cut with cobwebs and brown sugar, pressed on like lint. Or, if you cannot procure these, with the fine dust of tea. When the blood ceases to flow, apply laudanum.”

Her voice remained a constant for almost 70 years as both a writer and editor. During her lifetime, she produced 24 books from novels to books on cookery, etiquette, domesticity and travel as well as endorsing products. She continued to work as a writer and editor until her death in 1922 at age 91.

In the mid 1980’s, Oxmoor House, publisher of Southern Living, reprinted a series of classic cookery books and Common Sense In the Household was one of them.

Here’s are a couple of Southern family favorite!
Fried Ham

If raw, soak as for boiling. Cook it in a hot frying pan turning often till done. Serve with or without gravy, as you please.

Add some potatoes and you have dinner.
Pea Fritters

Cook a pint or three cups more than you need for dinner. Mash while hot with a wooden spoon, seasoning with pepper, salt, and butter. Put by until morning. Make a batter of two whipped eggs, a cupful of milk, quarter teaspoonful soda, a half teaspoonful cream tarter, and a half cup flour. Stir the pea-mixture into this, beating very hard, and cook as you would ordinary griddle-cakes.
I can testify, from experience, that they make a delightful morning dish, and hereby return thanks to the unknown friend to whom I am indebted for the receipt.
I haven't tried this for breakfast, but as an appetizer it's wonderful. Remember, the peas in this recipe are Southern peas not English peas. My preference is black-eyed, but crowder will work. Try adding some chopped onion and a bit of spice!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin