13 October 2009

The Orange Judd Cookbook

Around the turn of the last century, not ten years ago but a hundred and ten years ago, the publishing house Orange Judd published "farm" books. I have a large collection of their books. What was considered a general informative text on farming a hundred years ago, is toady a quite beautiful collectible. In 1914 Orange Judd decided to offer up a book for the wives of all those farmers and created The Orange Judd Cookbook. Ironically, the cookbook is a very utilitarian book, lacking the lovely gold leaf on many of the titles.

Perhaps they though that a cookbook, being used by the "little woman", didn't need any embellishment.

In her introduction, Adeline Goessling, addresses the parameters of her book:

"This book is intended especially and primarily for the farm cooks, though it will be found equally useful and helpful in the city kitchen where economy is an object. It is, of course, understood that country or farm housekeepers have many advantages their town sisters lack, such as fresh fruits, vegetables poultry, eggs, milk cream, and butter, which naturally cannot always be had in city markets, where even inferior grades of produce are high priced."

What would she think of the Kroger's and Piggly Wiggly's stuck in every little town and hamlet across America today?

As with many cookbooks of the day, Mrs. Gosseling felt the need to preach a bit about the virtues of good cooking.

"Some women do not seem to realize that very intimate relations exist between their own kitchens and the despised liquor saloons. Poor cooks have done more to drive men to strong drink than all the female temperance lectures in world can ever hope redeem. To accomplish the most effective work for the cause of temperance, health and happiness, it is therefore necessary that women should first of all learn how to properly prepare palatable and nourishing food which will so well satisfy the natural cravings of the average human stomach that artificial and harmful stimulants will not be required."

Here is my dilemma: Should I give you their recipe with the chicken heads or the roasted raccoon? OK, I admit there are perfectly lovely recipes for jams and breads and even okra and salsify, but admit you, you want to make that raccoon!

Baked Coon

The raccoon which makes free with the farmer's corn gets very fat in the fall, on corn, apples and clover, and makes delicious eating, though often thrown away because of the prejudice that many people have against wild meat. First, skin the coon carefully, then remove the layer of fat, which is often an inch thick, right under the skin. this fat would give the meat a disagreeable, oily taste, if left on, but it is nice and white and can be tried out the same as leaf lard, or used for soap. thoroughly wash the dressed coon in cold water and soak overnight in cold water with 1 tablesp salt added to each gallon of water. Bake the same as veal. If the coon is old, as shown by large size, dark meat, and stiff hard bones and joints, it should be parboiled from i to 2 hours before roasting.

Ah yes, we do indeed have many advantages our town sisters lack!

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