More coming soon — but I just wanted to post that I have finally found a Golden Rod Cake pan (as seen here)! When it gets here I will post some photos. And soon, I’ll actually try baking some Golden Rod Cake or Waldorf Triangles.
It’s June, which means that it’s strawberry season! (Well, usually it is. This year, the Northwest weather has been unusually cold, and so I bet the strawberries are running late.) If it’s strawberry season, it’s time for a strawberry festival, with some strawberry recipes and menu ideas!
110 years ago in June 1901, Good Housekeeping published “XXth Century Festivals: The Strawberry Festival,” suggesting that festivals should be held on a moonlit evening and furnished with tables with fine white linen tablecloths and fern decorations. The dishes should be strawberry red, green, and white.
The suggested centerpiece (which “should have a place of honor”) sounds quite lovely for a summer twilight party:
“In a conspicuous place set a table holding a glass bowl of strawberry frappe or lemonade, to be served in small glass cups. A block of ice hollowed out, with a lighted pink candle inside, may be put in the center of the bowl, and the frappe heaped around the ice, insuring coolness. Decorate the table with strawberry vines or ferns, and have two white-robed maidens to serve the frappe.”
Here is the recipe given a few pages later for the frappe:
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- Juice of 6 lemons
- 4 cups mashed fresh strawberries
The following recipe makes a very delicate frappe. Boil for fifteen minutes four cups of water and two cups of sugar, add to it the juice of six lemons and four cups of mashed fresh strawberries or one quart of the canned fruit.
Allow it to cool, strain and add one quart of ice water.
Freeze to a mush, using equal parts of ice and salt.
If you use canned fruit which is very sweet the frappe may not require so much sugar.
Good Housekeeping‘s suggested menu for the event might be slightly different from a modern menu, but not terribly so:
STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL MENU
Cold ham Cold tongue Rolls
Saratoga potatoes Tomato salad Crackers
Pickles Radishes Pimolas
Individual sweet shortcakes Strawberries and cream
Strawberry ice cream Strawberry eclairs
Sponge cake Angel cake Small cakes
The magazine also provided some recipes for cakes and preserves to sell at the festival. Here is one example:
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup butter
- A speck salt
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- sweetened strawberries or jam
- boiled icing colored with strawberry juice
Boil together in a saucepan one cupful of boiling water, one-fourth cupful of butter, and a speck of salt.
As it begins to boil stir in one cupful of sifted flour.
Stir constantly until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and cleaves together in a ball.
When partly cool add four eggs, beating them in one at a time.
Drop carefully in long narrow strips, some distance apart, on buttered tins, and bake in a moderate oven until well risen---about thirty minutes.
Leave the oven door open a few minutes before removing the eclairs, to prevent their falling.
When they are cool split one side, fill with sweetened strawberries or jam.
Spread with boiled icing colored with strawberry juice.
I plan to try this one and will report back.
(Editorial note 1: Pimolas appear to be what we’d probably call pimientos today — olives stuffed with sweet peppers. Perhaps the word is a portmanteau of “pimiento-olives”? Many menus of that period list them as “pim-olas.”)
(Editorial note 2: The formatting of the recipes is intended to be compatible with Google’s new Recipe View system. Though the formatting is slightly different than the 1901 original, the wording of the recipe instructions is unchanged.)
Imitation flavorings tend to be frowned upon these days, or, at least, not respected very much. No one wants “chocolate-flavored” candy if they can have real chocolate instead. But there is one imitation flavor that is commonly eaten without complaint in the US and Canada — maple.
The “maple” syrup that most people have on their pancakes and waffles isn’t made of maple at all. (In the US, if the label calls it “maple syrup,” it’s supposed to be 100% pure maple. But the majority of syrup sold in grocery stores is plain old “pancake syrup,” and that’s the artificial stuff.) It tastes reasonably similar to maple syrup, and it’s fine for what it is, but it’s still an imitation. Most grocery store pancake syrups, as you can see here on the Aunt Jemima website, are corn syrup with added colorings, preservatives, and natural and artificial flavorings.
Throughout the 20th century, however, many homemakers made a much simpler artificial maple syrup with only three ingredients: granulated sugar, water, and the flavor extract Mapleine.
Mapleine was (and is) a product of the Crescent Manufacturing Company in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. In 1905, a Crescent chemist invented Mapleine, “a wholesome, vegetable extract, made from roots and herbs” (according to a 1906 ad in The Pacific Monthly, pictured on the right). The formula has always been secret, but a modern Mapleine package lists the following ingredients: “Water, natural flavorings, caramel color, alcohol (7%), phosphoric acid, vanillin, and sulfiting agents.”In the product’s early years, Crescent did not (perhaps) communicate quite as well as they could have that Mapleine was, in fact, not maple at all. For example, the package pictured in the Pacific Monthly ad features a large maple leaf in the design, and does not mention at all on the front that the flavor is not real maple. One of the earliest ads for Mapleine, from a 1905 issue of The Pacific Monthly, calls it “The new Maple Sap,” with no mention of its artificial nature.
The United States government took issue with Crescent’s packaging, and in 1909, the case of The United States of America vs. 300 Cases of “Mapleine” ended up in court. The government charged that the cases were illegally labeled “Crescent Mapleine” on the outside, and that those words would indicate that the product contained maple. Crescent contended that the labeling on the cartons and bottles inside the cases, which stated “Mapleine, a Vegetable Product Producing a Flavor Similar to Maple,” should be taken into consideration. (This defense of Mapleine from a local Seattle perspective, from a 1909 issue of The Coast, is interesting reading.)
A jury found Crescent guilty of misbranding, after which the company reached an agreement with the government that the name “Mapleine” could continue to be used, as long as all labeling was modified to plainly show that the product was an imitation maple flavor. The modifications were made, and Mapleine stayed on the market.
This 1908 ad, published during the same month in which those 300 cases of Mapleine were seized in Chicago on the charge of misbranding, shows that Crescent was already taking pains to clearly label the bottles and ads. The ad leads with the not particularly enticing paragraph “Mapleine has nothing to do with maple syrup—except the flavor. Neither is it a substitute or even an imitation of maple syrup but an original flavoring with the Genuine Maple Flavor.” The bottle pictured now contains a clear disclaimer.
In 1909, Crescent hosted a large Mapleine display at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, and described Mapleine, perhaps with a bit of exaggeration, as a “household word” that “spread the fame of Seattle throughout the Western hemisphere.” The booth at the A.Y.P., standing between booths for Carnation Milk (also a local product, at the time, but currently owned by Nestle) and Jell-O, was proudly marked “Seattle, Wash.” in large letters.* Mapleine is still sold today, but Crescent was sold to McCormick and Company, Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland in 1989, and Mapleine no longer promotes Seattle on its packaging.
In the next few decades, wartime and depression frugality—along with a lot of advertising and recipe booklets from Crescent—caused Mapleine to grow even more popular. In Part 2 of this series, I’ll post advertising and recipes from Mapleine’s heyday; in Part 3, I’ll make a Mapleine Pie.
*(Editorial note added after this post was published.) On further examination of the picture, it seems possible that the “Seattle, Wash.” lettering on the booth was added to the photo after retouching. However, I cannot be certain of this. The University of Washington has a photo of the same booth, but not only has that area of the booth been clearly retouched in the UW copy, but there are some other small differences that make it seem likely the photos were taken at different times, so the UW photo does not necessarily confirm anything.
The above recipe is from Modern Housekeeping, December 1905. You may find it hard to read. Here’s what it includes:
Oysters on Half Shell Lemon Slices
Clear Soup Bread Sticks
Baked Red Snapper, Parsley Sauce
Roast Goose, Apple Sauce
Riced Potatoes Boiled Parsnips
Roast Haunch of Venison
Plum Pudding, Hard Sauce
Peach Ice Cream in Sticks
In December 1901, American Kitchen magazine provided four separate menus for Christmas dinner. Raw oysters, Lobster Newburg and Broiled Quail are included alongside the roast turkey we are more familiar with at Christmas today. Here they are, formatted as they were in the magazine:
CHICKEN CONSOMME. SALTED ALMONDS.
BROILED QUAIL. MUSHROOM SAUCE.
ROAST GOOSE. CHESTNUT STUFFING.
APPLE SALAD. SWEET POTATO CROQUETTES.
MARLBORO PIE. NUTS. RAISINS.
CELERY. OLIVES. BROWNED WAFERS.
ONION STUFFING. ROAST GOOSE. APPLE SAUCE.
GLAZED SWEET POTATOES. TURNIPS.
APPLE AND CELERY SALAD.
PLUM PUDDING. MINCE PIE.
LEMON JELLY. LEMON QUEEN CAKES.
NUTS. DATES. COFFEE.
JULIENNE SOUP. CELERY.
ROAST PIG. STUFFED POTATOES. ONIONS.
BOILED TURKEY. POTATO CROQUETTES.
WAFERS. LETTUCE SALAD. CHEESE.
NEAPOLITAN CREAM. CAKE.
CONSOMME. ROLLS. CELERY. OLIVES.
ROAST TURKEY. MASHED POTATOES.
SQUASH. ONIONS. BROWNED SWEET POTATOES.
TUTTI FRUTTI. CRANBERRY JELLY.
MINCE PIE. PLUM PUDDING.
GRAPES. FIGS. DATES.
Lastly, vegetarianism is not new. Meatless Cookery by Maria McIlvaine Gillmore was published in 1914, and includes several holiday menus, such as:
Salpicon of Fruit
Tomato Bisque Rice Biscuit
Radishes Pine Nuts Ripe Olives
Curried Vegetables Sauce Diced Cucumbers
Potatoes à la Maître d Hôtel
Spanish Onions Cranberry Sauce
Apple and Celery Salad Wafers
Caramel Ice Cream Assorted Fruit Creamed Cheese on Wafers
Perhaps some of these menus will inspire you to add old-style Christmas food to your holiday meals this year.
Back in January I discussed the Golden Rod Cake and the pan used to bake it. We did find several recipes, but were left wondering about what the cake was supposed to look like, and about the origin of the name. I have since found a tiny bit more information about this elusive cake.
This photo of Waldorf Triangles and their triangular pan is from American Cookery, April, 1921, p. 680. It accompanies this recipe:
Beat the yolks of six eggs very light; gradually beat into these half a cup of granulated sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of orange juice. Lastly, add half a cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and a few grains of salt. Put the mixture into Waldorf Triangle pans and bake in a moderate oven. As soon as the cakes are turned from the pan cover the sides with boiled frosting and sprinkle with fine-chopped pistachio nuts.
This should sound familiar, because it is nearly word-for-word the same as the recipe “Goldenrod Cake for Charlotte Russe Moulds and Waldorf Triangles” that the Boston Cooking School published in an earlier version of their magazine in 1904 and 1905, and that I included in my earlier post. One of the 1904-1905 recipes includes the boiled frosting and pistachio nuts, but the other does not. The older recipes also do not refer to the pans by name as “Waldorf Triangle pans.”
The title of the early Boston Cooking School recipes seems to be pretty clear that this is a recipe for Goldenrod Cake that can be used to make Waldorf Triangles. Other early recipes, however, do not mention the pistachios, and frequently mention orange icing.
The Rocky Mountain Cook Book: for High Altitude Cooking (1918 edition of a 1903 cookbook) includes a nearly identical one to the BCS recipe:
Beat the yolks of six eggs till light; gradually beat into these one-half cup of sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of orange juice and one-half cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and one-fourth teaspoonful of salt; bake in small cakes and cover with orange icing.
This is the same as the BCS “Goldenrod Cake for Charlotte Russe Moulds and Waldorf Triangles” and the later American Cookery “Waldorf Triangles” recipe, with one exception — the end. No mention of boiled icing sprinkled with pistachios, just orange icing. Could the pistachios be the defining characteristic of Waldorf Triangles? One of the BCS recipes doesn’t mention them either. Perhaps the cakes are Golden Rod Cakes if they have orange icing (or none?) and Waldorf Triangles if they have pistachios.
(Incidentally, the author of The Rocky Mountain Cook Book, Caroline Trask Norton, was a graduate of the Boston School of Domestic Science, so perhaps it should not be surprising that the recipe is similar to the BCS version.)
The recipe in 365 Orange Recipes: An Orange Recipe for Every Day in the Year is called “Goldenrod Cake” and says “Bake in goldenrod pans and when cold ice with the following Icing,” going on to describe an icing made from orange rind, egg, sugar, water, orange and lemon juice, and “sugar to make as thick as fondant.” The icing is then colored orange.
There are a couple more references to these recipes that could add clarity to the situation, or perhaps just muddy it further.
The Boston Cooking-School Magazine October 1905, p.174, has this recipe:
Prepare the goldenrod cake mixture given on page 91 of August-September, 1904, issue of the magazine. Bake this in goldenrod pans (it will take two pans, each holding six triangles). When the cakes are baked, cover the sides with confectioner’s frosting or with fondant, then sprinkle with blanched pistachio nuts, chopped fine.
The implication here is that Golden Rod cakes become Waldorf Triangles by the addition of frosting and chopped pistachios.
Then there is What To Cook and How To Cook It 1899, by Mrs. W. A. Johnson of Paris, Kentucky. In the appendix, on page 282-283, we find:
Waldorf Triangles or Golden Rod Cake.
One-fourth cup of butter, one cup of confectioner’s sugar, one-half cup of milk, two cups of flour, one level teaspoon of baking powder, two eggs, the grated rind and juice of one orange. Bake in orange quarter baking pans. Put a small quantity in each section and spread evenly. Spread orange icing over each triangle, made by mixing confectioner’s sugar with enough orange
juice to spread evenly.
Well, there’s the orange icing. No pistachios this time. And the title calls these either Waldorf Triangles or Golden Rod Cake, implying that they are alternate names for the same thing.
And then I found this photograph in the 1906 Table Talk Illustrated Cook Book:
The text reads: “Two new cake forms are on the market. Orange slices and Golden Rod pans. The former cakes are covered after baking with orange flavored icing. The Golden Rod cakes are iced in white and decorated with fancy candies and citron.” Here the Golden Rod cakes aren’t the orange ones, but they don’t have pistachios, either. No reference is made to Waldorf Triangles.
(I could go on. There are the German-American versions from Praktischer Ratgeber für Conditoren, Cakebäcker und Brotbäcker und Candy-Macher/Practical Manual for Confectioners, Pastrycooks and Bakers and Candy Makers, 1912, that parallel the 1890s versions I found in my previous post, and one of which specifically calls for “three-cornered, long pans” [“long” is left out of the English translation on that page, but it’s there in the German].)
My thought, after all of this, is that Golden Rod/Goldenrod Cakes are probably the basic triangular cakes, usually iced with orange icing (and perhaps frequently conflated with the Orange Slice cakes which had a slightly different pan, but could also be made in the Golden Rod pan), and that Waldorf Triangles were a variation (presumably originating at the Waldorf Hotel?) that had pistachios and were not orange. This is really only speculation, subject to change as I find more information. I look forward to finding more versions of these recipes and researching this further, and to possibly trying the recipe one of these days.
I’m also looking forward to finding one of the darn pans! No luck so far.
Such a terrible blogger I am. In May, I ended my last post with “We had some leftover chili sauce and onions, and used that to resurrect another recipe on the next day. Stay tuned for a post about that one.” And you are still waiting. I apologize.
I didn’t waste all the time in the meantime, though. I spent part of it doing two more Master’s thesis drafts as well as a couple of research projects (one food-related, yes indeed). The thesis is now done (done! really!), so I hope I can get back to the business of recipe resurrecting.
I’ll start with a brief one I promised back in May. The last recipe I posted about was “Enchiladas, Mexican Style” from Gebhardt’s 1936 cookbook, Mexican Cookery for American Homes. This book, however, was not Gebhardt’s first cookbook for the American kitchen—that would be Mexican Cooking, published in about 1908. (Unfortunately, Google Books doesn’t have it freely available online even though it is in the public domain. It has been reprinted, though, and you can buy it here.)
This book is probably the first ever Mexican-American cookbook, and includes recipes such as “Tostadas de Queso—Cheese Toast (A Sunday-Night Supper)” and “Quesadilla Mexicana—Mexican Rarebit,” all featuring Gebhardt’s Eagle Chili Powder. It also has Enchiladas, but they are different from the flat stacked enchiladas in the 1937 cookbook. They are rolled, include homemade tortillas (called only “thin cakes” in this recipe, not tortillas), and it is suggested that “sardines cut into fine pieces are sometimes added.”
In the introduction, “To the American Housekeeper,” the book promises that:
“…We have spared neither labor nor expense in our efforts to give dishes that are pleasing, novel, and easily prepared.
While of the most simple nature, these recipes are those used by some of the most famous chefs of Old Mexico, and a careful reading of the following pages will enable you to surprise and please your friends and family with dishes that have graced the table of President Diaz and have made Mexican cooks as famous as those of France.”
Well, then. Let’s try some presidential cuisine. Page 31 features this recipe:
Huevos Con Queso—Eggs with Cheese
To six eggs use three tablespoonsful of grated mild cheese, one large tablespoonful of butter, one teaspoonful of onion juice or a small chopped onion; one half-teaspoonful of Gebhardt’s Eagle Chili Powder and salt to taste. Mix the cheese, butter, onion, chili powder and salt in a hot pan and stir until cheese is melted. Break the eggs into a bowl, adding the cheese and cook slowly, stirring until done, and then stir in chopped parsley and serve hot.
This is pretty straightforward despite being 102 years old. We had almost every ingredient available either from leftovers from the previous night’s enchilada experiment (such as the onions, cheese, chili powder, etc.) or because we had it on hand anyway (the eggs). The only ingredient we didn’t have was the chopped parsley, and I decided I could easily live without it.
Following the directions, I mixed the cheese, butter, leftover onion, Penzey’s chili powder, and salt in the pan. I beat the eggs and then stirred them into the cheese mixture. (I think the recipe may be missing a word when it says “Break the eggs into a bowl, adding the cheese and cook slowly.” Perhaps “adding to the cheese” is what was meant. But that part could certainly be phrased more clearly.)
The recipe just says “serve hot.” When looking at modern versions, though, I saw that the dish is often served on tortilla strips. I cheated and used tortilla chips I had on hand. I piled huevos on the chips, then put a dollop of chili sauce (made for the previous night’s enchiladas) and a smaller dollop of sour cream on the top, and a tiny sprinkle of grated cheese. I ate it with a side of beans and spicy sauce.
It was good. It was not as spicy as I would have liked it, so if I make it again, I may experiment with more spice. Considering that the recipe is from 1908 and was written for an audience that may not have been as comfortable with hot and spicy foods as we are, I’m not surprised that it was a little mild. It was still tasty and I would certainly cook it again.
It was not, however, as good as the enchiladas from the previous night, which were tremendous.
I was looking through a 1914 issue of The Boston Cooking School Magazine when this ad caught my eye:
A couple of interesting gadgets, there. That Roberts Lightning Mixer looks useful, and the mayonnaise mixer… well, you’d have to make a lot of mayonnaise to make that one worth taking up space in the kitchen, but if you do make a lot of mayo, I can see that it could be helpful.
But the one that mainly caught my attention is the one at the bottom of the page: “Golden Rod Cake Pan,” an oddly-shaped pan that appears to make triangular cakes. Since the inspiration for this blog, a year ago, was the similarly-named “Gold-n-Sno Cake,” I was particularly curious. What was the Golden Rod Cake?
A quick Google search turned up this post by the Old Foodie, who looked into the topic last year, complete with three interesting recipes.
Here are a couple more recipes for the Golden Rod Cake.
First, a very sparse recipe from A Collection of Delectable Recipes: Tried and True, 1898:
GOLDEN ROD CAKE.
Eighteen ounces powdered sugar, nine ounces butter, sixteen ounces eggs, one tablespoonful vanilla, one pennyweight soda, two pennyweights cream tartar, eighteen ounces pastry flour.
MRS F.C. CHANDLER.
No instructions whatsoever. No reference to the icing that many of the other recipes have. And no orange. Is this a related cake or something different?
Here’s a pair of recipes from Perfection in Baking, 1899. The first recipe is very close to Mrs. Chandler’s recipe, above. Perhaps we can assume that Mrs. Chandler just didn’t mention the orange icing because it was assumed that any reader would know that Golden Rod cakes would have orange icing.
Golden Rod Cake.
TO SELL AT 15 CENTS EACH.
Cream together one pound of fine sugar with ten ounces of butter and one and a half pints eggs, one pennyweight of soda, one teaspoonful of vanilla, twenty ounces of cake flour, two pennyweights of cream of tartar. When baked, ice the sides with orange water icing.
Golden Rod Cake.
TO SELL AT TEN CENTS A PIECE.
With one pound of butter and lard cream one and one half pounds of sugar, ten eggs, two thirds of a pint of milk, juice and grating of two oranges, two pounds of cake flour, one ounce of baking powder. Mix and bake like above. Ice some with orange, some strawberry, some chocolate. On one side ornament the name “Golden Rod” in different colors; that is, if cakes are frosted chocolate, ornament in yellow; if iced yellow, ornament in pink or white, etc.
(Further down on the same page, there is a recipe for Orange Slices cakes baked in a particular mold, and Orange Slice Cake is mentioned in the ad for the Golden Rod Cake Pan. Is this Orange Slices recipe what was meant?)
The Boston Cooking School offered the Golden Rod Cake Pan in the pages of their magazine, so it is no surprise that they had a recipe or two for it themselves. In 1904-1905, they gave us these two slightly different variations:
Beat the yolks of six eggs very light. Gradually beat into these half a cup of sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of milk or orange juice, and, lastly, half a cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and a few grains of salt. Fill the moulds or pans with a teaspoon, tapping the moulds on the table, to cause the mixture to settle to the bottom of the moulds. Bake in an oven a little hotter than for ordinary sponge cake, and turn the cake from the tins as soon as it is removed from the oven. Flavor with a grating of orange rind, or half a teaspoonful of vanilla extract. The recipe will make twelve triangles or charlotte russe cases. The mixture is finer-grained and more tender than the usual sponge cake. Cover the triangles with boiled frosting, and sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.
Beat the yolks of six eggs very light. Gradually beat in half a cup of fine granulated sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of milk or orange juice (lemon juice will not do) and, lastly, half a cup and one tablespoonful (for difference in flour) of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and a few grains of salt. Bake in an oven a little hotter than for ordinary sponge cake. Flavor with half a teaspoonful of vanilla extract or a grating of yellow orange rind.
Putting all this together, what we have is a fairly fine sponge cake, frequently with orange flavoring, shaped something like triangular ladyfingers, and sometimes used the same way (which might explain the lack of icing in Mrs. Chandler’s recipe—if you were making these for a Charlotte Russe, you wouldn’t need the icing).
I still don’t know the origin of the name, and I would really like to see how the Golden Rod cake was supposed to look. It would be fun to try to make them in the proper shape — does anyone know if pans like that still exist? I haven’t been able to find one.
I have a new recipe resurrection to post soon, but in the meantime, I want to link to a relevant post at The Ugly Woman’s Guide to Internet Dating (which, despite the title, has some lovely posts about old houses and kitchen topics, including one on the Monitor Top fridge, a topic of particular interest to me).
The blog author, Rose Thornton, recently posted a great 1903 ad for Dunham’s Cocoanut, with swoopy Art Nouveau lines surrounding a picture of “Cocoanut Cream Bars,” and the “Candy Receipt” that would produce the delectable desserts.
Browsing around Google Books for some more Dunham’s ads, I came across the same recipe from 1901, in a much less exuberant design—not a hint of Art Nouveau in it. This one has more text and so the instructions are fleshed out a bit more. It’s also credited to the (then) very famous Mrs. Rorer, who compiled a recipe booklet or two for Dunham’s. (Unfortunately, the ad is a bit blurry, but at least it’s still readable.)
Interestingly, while the 1903 ad uses the old-fashioned term “receipt,” the 1901 ad just says “recipe.” (Speaking of language/spelling changes, I wonder why “cocoanut” became “coconut” sometime during the 20th century.)
The recipe itself is pretty straightforward; boil a sugar syrup until it “will form into a ball when dropped in cold water”—soft ball stage, 235° F–240° F. Then remove it from the heat, let it stand briefly, and then stir it against the side of the pan with a spoon, which should give you some crystallization. Then stir it all together and mix in the coconut quickly. (Judging from some of my previous experiences making a very similar old-fashioned fudge recipe, they aren’t kidding when they tell you to work quickly here. The stuff can thicken up fast.) It should be tasty, if tooth-achingly sweet.
Christmas might be a good time to try this one. If you do, please share how it went.
You can still find sweet orange omelets here and there, but they are decidedly old-fashioned. None of my modern cookbooks contain one, but they are frequently found in classic late 19th/early 20th century cookbooks such as Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, The Settlement Cook Book, and Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book.
The orange omelet, however, goes back a lot further than that — at least to the 1430s, when Johannes Bockenheim, cook to Pope Martin V, published this recipe in his cookbook:
Take eggs and break them, with oranges, as many as you like; squeeze their juice and add to it the eggs with sugar; then take olive oil or fat, and heat it in the pan and add the eggs. This was for ruffians and brazen harlots. (“Et erit pro ruffianis et lecceatrichus.”)
Ruffians and brazen harlots? Well, call me a brazen harlot, then.
Bockenheim’s recipe is not terribly different from those that followed about 100 years ago.
Good Housekeeping, February 1898:
An American Omelet.
Make an omelet of four eggs, the yolks and whites beaten separately, four tablespoonfuls of sugar, a pinch of salt, grated rind of one orange and three tablespoonfuls of orange juice, fry. The instant the omelet is cooked, spread the sliced oranges on it and fold or roll the omelet. Serve very hot.
Parisian Orange Omelet.
Take the whites and the yolks of four eggs beaten separately, very thoroughly. To the yolks add three tablespoonfuls of sugar, not more than a pinch of baking powder, two tablespoonfuls of flour, four of milk, one tablespoonful of orange juice. Pour into a heated saucepan, then the whites, fry rapidly, fold, serve very hot with raspberry jam. A delightful luncheon dish.
Good Housekeeping, March 1898:
Four eggs, five tablespoonfuls of sugar, a little salt, two oranges, two tablespoonfuls of butter. Grate the rind of one orange on one tablespoonful of sugar. Pare and cut the orange in thin slices and sprinkle with two tablespoonfuls of sugar. Beat the whites of the eggs stiff, add the sugar and orange rind, salt, beaten yolks, and two tablespoonfuls of orange juice. Put butter in a hot omelet pan and pour in the mixture. When it begins to thicken well, spread over the sliced oranges (no juice). Fold omelet from the side of the pan over the sliced oranges, turn on a hot dish; put in the oven two minutes, and serve immediately.
Then, about 20 years later in The Way to a Man’s Heart: The Settlement Cook Book (about which I will be posting more soon):
Rind of 1/3 orange,
1 tablespoon orange juice,
2 tablespoons powdered sugar.
Beat the yolk of the egg and add the orange rind and juice. Add the sugar. Fold in the beaten white and turn on heated buttered pan and cook until set. Serve with powdered sugar.
I tried the last recipe yesterday — it’s simple, and serves one, which is nice when I’m experimenting. Watch this space tomorrow for the results.
In the comments for the last Welsh rabbit post, reader Lynn wrote:
Do try the rarebit again…it is delicious. I serve it over a bowl of nice bread, cut as for fondue, with steamed broccoli and some nice red bell pepper strips. Quick, pretty inexpensive and really good on a winter night.
Here are my notes: Use a double boiler and cook out the roux first, beat the egg into the beer and thin the roux with this, then melt in the cheese. Foolproof.
We took her advice, using our recipe but her directions. The ingredients were the same, except that we used Buzzsaw Brown Ale instead of Newcastle. We used a metal bowl as a double boiler, and this time the rabbit sauce was dead easy to make and no trouble whatsoever. Lynn was right!
Although we now have a working oven again, I was taking no chances — I just toasted the bread in the toaster this time, playing it safe.
For a side dish, I served a salad with a sweeter balsamic vinaigrette dressing to balance out the salty savoriness of the Welsh rabbit. It worked perfectly.
Kristen wasn’t here that night, and is skeptical that the Welsh rabbit can be good after all, so I’ll be making this again for her to try. The men in the house loved it, though.
The lighting wasn’t great by this time of night (do all the other food bloggers do their cooking in the daytime or something?), but I did get a picture of the finished product:
Compare this with the picture here, and it’s obvious this was a much more successful experiment. Thanks, Lynn!
- Wendi is a history geek and loves to bake, particularly recipes from her grandmother's collection. Kristen has been cooking her whole life. She has a BS in Family & Consumer Science and enjoys comfort foods and creating new recipes.