I decided it was appropriate to make something with fish today so I selected Salmon Paddies. The recipe was contributed to the 1906 Berlin Cook Book by Elizabeth Wuest.
I was finally able to locate salmon in a can size more typical of 1906. I used a 418 gram can of wild Pacific pink salmon (it’s the no name yellow club pack can). Canned salmon was a staple in homes at the turn of the 20th century and fish/seafood canneries were all over the west and east coasts of Canada and the United States. The salmon in my 2012 can was in big chunks so I flaked it with a fork and then added one medium egg and stirred. I added a few shakes of pepper and of salt and mixed. Finally I took 9 modern size soda crackers and crushed them fine using a rolling-pin. This was mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.
I melted some butter in a frying pan and then formed patties from the salmon mixture. I used my hands to make patties from about a tablespoon of the mixture. I think larger patties would work too. Once the patty was crisp on one side, I turned it over. I removed the patties when they were crisp on both sides and warm through. I was dreading the taste, as I had memories of the previous salmon recipe.
It was a little challenging to find anything about Elizabeth Wuest. I think she might be the Sisabeth listed in the 1901 census. Her widowed mother Caroline is the head of household along with Sisabeth (21), Anne (20) and 15-year-old Henry. They are listed as German Luheran. The two girls work in a button factory and the boy does something in a factory. The fact that the census taker listed it as “buten” factory means I’m confident he also mispelled Elizabeth. Interestingly, mother Caroline has remarried by the 1911 census. She is now Mrs. William Scheifle and only Annie is living with them. She is now a tailoress in a tailor shop. Her step father is a street laborer (whatever that means). This blended family lives at 104 College street. I haven’t found Henry and the probably now married Elizabeth Wuest. It is likely that Elizabeth married sometime after contributing this recipe in 1905 or 06 but before the 1911 census. I’ll have to do some more research.
I like Miss Elizabeth Wuest’s Salmon Paddies. They taste much like the ones my family made when I was a child. Actually they taste better! This is a quick dish to make and a modern cook could add some chopped fresh herbs . . . but they are just fine the way Miss Wuest intended.
Take salmon put in a dish, add one egg,pepper and salt and rolled biscuits just enough so as not to make it too dry, make into paddies and fry in butter or lard.