Day 222 Cauliflower Cheese

I mentioned that the cauliflower I bought at the market was very large so it isn’t surprising I still have enough left to make Cauliflower Cheese. The particular recipe appears in the cheese section rather than the vegetable section of the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. Mrs. C. Everett Hoffman was the contributor along with eight other recipes.

Since this recipe is very flexible when it comes to amounts, I chose to use just part of a cauliflower. I boiled it and then put pieces in a casserole dish. I grated cheese and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and dry mustard. I sprinkled it onto the cauliflower and then dotted it with butter. I baked the cauliflower cheese in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. I’ve rarely used the oven in this stove so I’m not sure if it heats to the exact temperature.

Mrs.  C Everett Hoffman was Wilhelmine (Minnie) Pattison before marrying Charles Everett Hoffman in 1888. Minnie seems to have enjoyed cheese as this is one of four cheese recipes she contributed to the cook book. Like several other contributors, she became a widow at age 39, soon after the cook book was published. Mr. Hoffman a druggist and manufacturer died of diabetes  in 1910. The couple did not have children. The main treatment for diabetes at this time was various special diets. I imagine Mrs. Hoffman paid particular attention to the meals she prepared but someone with diabetes, prior to the use of insulin in the 1920s, died by wasting away and nothing could be done. She remained in their home at 117 Queen Street North living with an English-born housekeeper named Nellie.

I like cheese so I might have gone a little overboard with the amount I used for cauliflower cheese. It actually made it hard to tell if the cauliflower was light brown but no matter, it tasted good in the end. This is probably a familiar recipe to some of you. Versions of this still turn up today. I’d expected to get sick of cauliflower but I’m actually developing a new appreciation for this vegetable.

Take 1 large cauliflower and place it in a kettle of boiling water, with a little salt, cook until it can be removed from the kettle without breaking; take it from the stems and lay in a deep round dish in small pieces, cover well with cheese grated which has been seasoned with a little pepper, slat and mustard, put small pieces of butter, and then put in the oven and bake a light brown. To be served hot.

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