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Author Topic: Cooking in times of economic crisis
Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 06:19 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Inspired by Gruel all round as the Victorian workhouse diet makes a comeback

"Please sir, may I have more?"

excerpt:

Yet, we can learn a lot of lessons from the Victorians, says Peter Higginbotham, author of The Workhouse Cookbook. "If you follow this book you could produce very filling and reasonably appetising food using simple recipes and basic ingredients," he says. "If you can get over the mental obstacle of 'Oh God, it's the workhouse cookbook', here is a book that has a lot to offer in terms of making a good range of dishes economically without compromising totally on taste."

The renewed interest in workhouse cooking is a part of a wider trend for people to cut back on their food bills to cope with the effects of the credit crunch. Just last week, Delia Smith reissued her 1970s bestseller Frugal Food, claiming its recipes for dishes such as kipper quiche and kidney-stuffed onions are "more relevant than ever" in the current economic climate. Her book has a "pauper's puddings" section, including stodgy desserts such as spotted dick, as well as her own Cheap Charter on how to save money when cooking.

eta: Workhouse Recipe

Sea Pie

Ingredients: 5oz raw meat free from bone (beef stickings or similar quality). ¼oz dripping. Pepper, salt. 5oz carrots, onions and turnips. ¼oz flour. Water.

For crust: 2oz flour. Salt. ¾oz suet. Cold water.

Method: Melt the dripping in the pan, when hot put in the onion sliced; fry golden brown, sprinkle in the flour, add water, and boil. Add meat cut into pieces, also vegetables cut into small dice. Simmer or steam for half an hour. Make crust of flour, chopped suet, salt and water. Roll out to pan size. Put carefully over the meat, and simmer or steam gently up to 2 hours.

[ 30 September 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 06:27 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A Recipe for Gruel

excerpt:

You will need the following ingredients: oats; water.

The following equipment is essential: a big pot; a big spoon; the Holy Bible.

excerpt:

Let us press on without further ado, for by now your pot of water should be boiling. Please pay attention, as the next step, if fumbled, will put paid to your dearest wish, which is to make a successful pot of gruel. With your right hand, scoop some oats from the pail. Grasp the lid of the pot, if there is one, in your left hand, & lift it free of the pot. Cast the handful of oats into the seething cauldron & replace the lid. You may repeat this step once or twice, but on no account overdo the oats, as this will spoil your gruel making it too thick, & as the only remedy for this would be to add more water, you would have to return to the spigot, breaking the village curfew, and so risk being clubbed within an inch of your life by merciless curfew-cadets, & your gruel, imperfect though it may be, would then go to waste. Sin upon sin. You are now free to allow the contents of the pot to boil merrily away, although of course from time to time you ought to brandish the big spoon in your fist & give the gruel-to-be a mighty stir. In the intervals between stirrings, you must on no account remain idle. This is the perfect time to read improving passages from the Bible. Indeed, why not throw open your door, stand upright & magnificent in your weed-choked yard, & declaim the scriptures in a booming voice for the benefit of whoe'er may be within earshot in the vast & pitiless night?


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
scott
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posted 30 September 2008 06:34 AM      Profile for scott   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mmmmm.... gruel... I had that for breakfast this morning. I skipped the bible part though. Does checking you e-mail count?
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Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 06:35 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

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DrConway
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posted 30 September 2008 10:34 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I love that part about reading the improving scriptures. I laughed
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Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 10:53 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Funny not one of the articles I read about this subject this morning mentions having one's own veggie garden to compliment (or replace) what you can get from the store. I haven't brought any lettuce, carrots, tomatoes or turnips since my garden started producing back in early August.
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ElizaQ
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posted 30 September 2008 10:59 AM      Profile for ElizaQ     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sprouts! Best economical, off season way to git your greens. I'm getting a sprouter thingamajiggy next week. Been meaning to get one for a while. It will be good for the chickens too.
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Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 11:09 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
traditional working class foods from Ireland

excerpt:

Potato Soup

Ingredients

1kg potatoes

3 onions

6 cups of half milk and water

Chives or parsley

Rashers (streaky)

Salt and pepper

1 cup light cream.

Cooking

Chop all above into chunks, except milk and cream.

Put chunks and milk into a large pot, cover and simmer gently until it goes to a pulp.

Put pulp in a blender and puree, add cream.

Reheat; place parsley or chives on top. Fried crispy bacon is added to the top on serving.

(what are rashers? bacon?)


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bagkitty
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posted 30 September 2008 11:15 AM      Profile for bagkitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Boom Boom... ah potato soup, yum. Even better if you make it potato and leek soup (add 3 finely chopped leeks (store bought or home grown if your soil is suitable) to the recipe you posted). Smells wonderful, tastes better.

And yes, rashers are bacon, potato soup is filling but not particularly tasty, the rashers add flavour... but then again, so do my beloved leeks, so if you are cooking for non-omnivores... leeks -- the Welsh can't be wrong about everything.


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ElizaQ
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posted 30 September 2008 11:19 AM      Profile for ElizaQ     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mmm Bagkitty you are so correct. I buy leeks when they in season and thus cheaper, chop them up and freeze them, just so I can have them in my winter potato soup. They go mushy but that doesn't matter. It's the taste that matters.
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Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 11:20 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I love potato soup, but usually I add a handful of fresh caught scallop in addition to bacon. Then it almost becomes chowder - and delicious!
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Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 11:22 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Have a look at the other recipes on the traditional working class foods from Ireland webpage - some of them are a hoot!
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bagkitty
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posted 30 September 2008 11:33 AM      Profile for bagkitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ElizaQ:
Mmm Bagkitty you are so correct. I buy leeks when they in season and thus cheaper, chop them up and freeze them, just so I can have them in my winter potato soup. They go mushy but that doesn't matter. It's the taste that matters.

I have a great recipe for curried leek/cucumber balls (you grate both the leeks and the cucumbers, form them into balls or patties and fry them before cooking them in a curry)... it sounds a little strange first time around, but really tastes good. If you like I can send it to you.


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Boom Boom
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posted 30 September 2008 11:33 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From the OP:

"Yet, we can learn a lot of lessons from the Victorians, says Peter Higginbotham, author of The Workhouse Cookbook. "If you follow this book you could produce very filling and reasonably appetising food using simple recipes and basic ingredients".

So, do we have more favourite recipes that follow this advice? I suspect some of our "comfort food" recipes probably fit into this category, but would mac 'n cheese be one of these? I wonder if Higginbotham is talking about using the very basics.

ETA: I think BK's recipe for curried leek/cucumber balls could be an excellent example of using the basics - could you post the full recipe?

[ 30 September 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


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ElizaQ
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posted 30 September 2008 12:01 PM      Profile for ElizaQ     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by bagkitty:

I have a great recipe for curried leek/cucumber balls (you grate both the leeks and the cucumbers, form them into balls or patties and fry them before cooking them in a curry)... it sounds a little strange first time around, but really tastes good. If you like I can send it to you.


Sure!


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Fidel
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posted 30 September 2008 12:09 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Boom Boom:
I love potato soup, but usually I add a handful of fresh caught scallop in addition to bacon. Then it almost becomes chowder - and delicious!

PEI potatoes? Those new potatoes! They make really good fries cooked in peanut oil. Once every two months or so.


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bagkitty
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posted 30 September 2008 06:53 PM      Profile for bagkitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For ElizaQ

Cucumber/Leek vegetable balls in curry sauce -- serves 6

CURRY BASE

Ingredients

4 medium onions
2 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water


Method

  • Heat oil in pan (have a lidded pot to transfer into)
  • Finely chop tomatoes and onions and add both to hot oil, stir frequently (mod-high heat) about 5-7 minutes
  • transfer to lidded pot, reduce heat, stir in the spices and then add the water, cover and allow to simmer while preparing the vegetable balls

VEGETABLES BALLS

Ingredients

2 small field cucumbers
2 average sized leeks
1 anaheim pepper (or sweet banana pepper)
Canola oil for deep frying
1/2 cup besan (or chickpea flour, regular flour if you must)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp fenugreek (Methi)
1/4 tsp asafoetida (Hing)

3/4 tsp garam masala

Method

  • grate the cucumbers (using the medium grooves on your grater, do not use vegetable mandolin, you want shreds not slices
  • Squeeze the water from the grated cucumber, discard water
  • grate or medium chop the leeks
  • roughly chop the pepper
  • mash the cucumbers, leeks and pepper together in a small bowl, when thoroughly mixed together, add all the spices except the garam masala and mix again
  • a) for full immersion deep frying form the vegetable/spice mixture into balls (roughly egg sized) OR b) for frying in a pan, form into small patties
  • coat balls or patties in besan (the cucumbers should still be moist enough to make the besan stick), then transfer to deep fryer, cook until light brown, don't overload the fryer, do multiple batches
  • add the garam masala to the curry base
  • after draining from frying, spoon the cooked vegetables balls into the curry base, gently folding them in till they are covered,
  • cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • serve over rice

The heat factor is pretty mild, if you like things hotter, add 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to the spices for the vegetable balls. The asafoetida (called Hing in some South Asian markets) in the vegetable balls is a nice touch, but not vital (sometimes hard to find).

[ 30 September 2008: Message edited by: bagkitty ]


From: Calgary | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 30 September 2008 08:48 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hmmmm. My guess is that Bagkitty and Eliza will be the first to starve to death when the Newest World Order comes about.

There's a passage from Dr. Kay-Shuttleworth's examination of life among the cotton operatives in 1830s Lancashire that might help us in our quest for the perfect "hard times" recipe.

quote:
The population employed in the cotton factories rises at five o'clock in the morning, works in the mills from six till eight o'clock, and returns home for half and hour or forty minutes for breakfast. This meal generally consists of tea or coffee, with a little bread. Oatmeal porridge is sometimes, but of late rarely used, and chiefly by the men; but the stimulus of tea is preferred, and especially by the women. The tea is almost always of a bad, and sometimes of a deleterious quality; the infusion is weak, and little or no milk is added.

The operatives return to the mills and workshops until twelve o'clock, when an hour is allowed for dinner. Amongst those who obtain the lower rates of wages this meal generally consists of boiled potatoes. The mess of potatoes is put into one large dish; melted lard and butter are poured upon them, and a few pieces of fried fat bacon are sometimes mingled with them, and but seldom a little meat.

Those who obtain better wages, or families whose aggregate income is larger, add the greater proportion of animal food to this meal, at least three times in the week; but the quantity consumed by the labouring population is not great. The family sits round the table, and each rapidly appropriates his portion on a plate, or they all plunge their spoons into the dish, and with an animal eagerness satisfy the cravings of their appetite.

At the expiration of the hour, they are all again employed in the workshops or mills, where they continue until seven o'clock or a later hour, when they generally again indulge in the use of tea, often mingled with spirits accompanied by a little bread. Oatmeal or potatoes are however taken by some a second time in the evening.



Thanks for the opportunity to put my Master's degree to good use

[ 30 September 2008: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
bagkitty
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posted 30 September 2008 09:09 PM      Profile for bagkitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:
Hmmmm. My guess is that Bagkitty and Eliza will be the first to starve to death when the Newest World Order comes about.

There is going to be a shortage of leeks in the Newest World Order? Tell me, why do you hate the Welsh?


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al-Qa'bong
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posted 30 September 2008 09:55 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Have you ever tried growing leeks? It ain't easy. Besides, they aren't very filling.

My missus makes leek soup. She calls leeks "poireaux" though. She's from Bretagne (Breizh), which has a lot of cultural affinities with la Pays de Galles (Cymru ). I lurve the Celts!


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bagkitty
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posted 30 September 2008 10:26 PM      Profile for bagkitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No never tried growing leeks here, we only have about 70 consecutive frost (and snow) free days, and often have hard freezes early in October (not for long, but long enough to kill just about anything). From what I have read about growing them, it is not cool enough during the frost free days we do have for them to do well (welcome to Calgary, today's forecast is for weather).

Also the soil here is generally not suitable for gardening without major improvements (there is enough clay in my yard to open a pottery) and my yard is in an exposed position (top of a hill, open to the prevailing winds). I have essentially given up on truck gardening... I have some drought tolerant perennials that do very well, although apparently they would be considered invasive weeds in other provinces.

I am working on a master plan to blame this all on the Central Canadian Overlords.


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