Today’s news:

Save the receipt

for The Brooklyn Paper

Historic cookery specialist Carolina Capehart, who will demonstrate the art of early 19th century cooking at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in East Flatbush in July and August, shared three “receipts” — or recipes, which she believes will be “fairly easy for readers to try” — two for corn bread from Catharine M. Rapelye Wyckoff’s 1855 manuscript — or, handwritten — cookbook as well one for “Indian Cakes” from an 1831 cookbook.

“Note that no specific ‘how-to’ instructions are given,” explained Capehart. “This was typical, even in published cookbooks, as it was expected you knew what to do. The purpose of the list was just to jog your memory. And in the first one, cornmeal isn’t even mentioned!”

Over time, the definition of corn bread has evolved, said Capehart.

“Sugar is included in the second [recipe]. By the mid- to late-1800s, this was becoming more common, particularly in northern states. Prior to that, corn bread was just that — bread. If the second ‘receipt’ had been written earlier, even just 20 years or so, there would be no sugar at all!”

Even the definition of the word “corn” has changed, said the actor-turned-chef.

“In Old World Europe, the word ‘corn’ referred to any grain, be it wheat, rye, etc.,” explained Capehart. “Therefore, the words ‘Indian meal’ [‘receipt’ 2] were used to denote corn, meaning the food native to the New World and grown and used by its original inhabitants.”

For all of the recipes, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After baking for 20 minutes, slide a knife in the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, check again in five minutes.

Corn bread (receipt 1)

1 pint sweet milk
1 pint buttermilk
2 eggs
half-cup butter
1 teaspoon of soda

Corn bread (receipt 2)

2 cups of Indian meal
1 cup of flour
2 eggs
half-cup sugar
1 spoonful of soda
2 [spoonfuls] of cream of tartar
Milk to make a good batter
A little salt

Indian Cakes, or pone

1 quart milk
3 large eggs
1 cup corn meal, add more as needed
1 tsp pearlash or baking soda

“For making Indian Cakes, to one quart of milk, add three eggs. Beat them well, then add as much meal as will make a batter of the same consistency as is used for buckwheat cakes. Pour it into a bake-kettle and bake as for other cakes. When sour milk can be had it is to be preferred, into which put some ‘pearlash’ as for making biscuit. [‘Pearlash,’ or potassium bicarbonate, is a leavening agent that was made from wood ashes. — CC]

“When cakes are made according to the above directions, most people prefer them to wheat bread, and no doubt they are more healthy. They should be eaten warm, and with a cup of coffee make an excellent breakfast. In addition to all other recommendations they are economical.”

— “The Genesee Farmer,”Rochester, New York,1831, adapted byCarolina Capehart

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links