Day 41 Julien Potatoes

I stocked up on potatoes but now some are starting to sprout so it is time for another potato based recipe from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I decided to try Meda Oberlander’s recipe for Julien Potatoes (p. 67). I imagine that today that would be spelled Potatoes Julienne.

The 1911 census shows single Meda Oberlander age 36 living with her 43-year-old unmarried brother the Reverend F(rederick). E. Oberlander in Berlin at 49 Queen Street North. They were born in the USA and list their religion as Lutheran. They emigrated to Canada in 1905 which is probably how she ended up with recipes in this cook book. She had lived in Syracruse New York and her parents were born in Germany.  Meda became a naturalized Canadian in 1909. His occupation is listed as clergyman and I imagine Meda is keeping house for him. I don’t know which of the many Lutheran churches here in Kitchener had called Reverend Oberlander as their minister but I expect I’ll find out eventually.

The recipe is quite specific in many ways — except for the quantity of potatoes! I decided to use two large white potatoes. I’ve been using white or Russet potatoes from Ontario when possible but always Canadian. I don’t think Yukon Gold potatoes were around in the early 20th century so I’ve avoided them. Most of these potato recipes rely on a mealy texture so Yukon Golds aren’t suitable. I peeled the potatoes and first used my slicer and then a knife to create the julienne strips about 1/4 inch wide. I put them in a pot and poured in the boiling water along with the 1 teaspoon of salt. The potato strips boiled for 10 minutes. Next time I’ll watch the time even more carefully and have my strainer or colander handy for draining. My potatoes over cooked a little while waiting to be strained. I added the tablespoonful of parsley and tablespoonful of butter. I suggest having the butter in little pieces to aid the melting.

Julien Potatoes turned out well and was very good. It’s an interesting way to serve the usual potato side dish since it looks different and tastes good. A modern cook could really experiment with this recipe by trying a different type of potato, various herbs, and perhaps even using an oil instead of the butter.

Pare, wash and cut the potatoes in thin slices then in narrow strips, a cutter may be bought for the purpose; cover with boiling water, add 1 teaspoonful of salt, and cook until done which requires from 10 to 15 minutes, drain, sprinkle with 1 tablespoonful or [sic] chopped parsley, 1 tablespoonful of butter; shake the saucepan over the stove until the butter is melted, then serve at once. Do not stir with a spoon, as it will break the potatoes and cause an unsightly dish.

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7 Responses to Day 41 Julien Potatoes

  1. Tom Reitz says:

    The name Rev. Oberlander sounds familiar … aha! My great aunts’ scrapbook include his obituary and two snap shots of Rev. Oberlander. He was born at Mohawk Hill, NY in 1867; ordained in 1894. He was pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran in Berlin from 1905 to 1914 … and he founded the Freeport Sanitorium. The obit calls him “Dr. Fridolin E. Oberlander” … and at his death in 1937 he was survived by two sisters – Mrs. George E. Potter of Kitchener, and Miss Meta Oberlander who lived with him “during his service in the ministry”.

  2. Helen says:

    This is a neat recipe, Carolyn. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I think I will try this but will likely add a few herbs and spices when I do. Thanks for bringing the history of Berlin to life, or maybe I should say, to the table.

  3. Helen Lammers-Helps says:

    And you are right about the Yukon Gold potato. It was developed in 1966 by Dr. Johnson at the U of Guelph and came on the market in 1980. My husband had the privilege of meeting Dr. Johnson after he had retired from U of G.

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