I decided to make Tomato Cream tonight as today’s recipe from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. This recipe caught my eye more than a month ago when tomatoes were plentiful but I never seemed to have all the necessary ingredients and a stove at the same time. Tonight I realized I had one new apple, onions and quickly ripening tomatoes so I am making one twelfth of the recipe. i was also intrigued by Effie A. Schmidt, the contributor of this recipe as she does not have either Miss or Mrs before her name.
I chopped one apple, one onion and one tomato. I wasn’t sure if I was to peel everything or if that instruction only applied to one or two of the ingredients. Since it is to be sieved after cooking I opted to just peel the onion and leave the skins on the apple and tomato. I put chopped apple, onion and tomato in a sauce pan and poured some water over everything. I let it simmer on the stove for thirty minutes. I wasn’t sure if I was to drain and then sieve or if the cooking water was to be included. I chose to include the liquid since most was gone and the rest contained some of the very soft fruit. Next I put the sieved mixture back into the sauce pan and added 1/3 cup vinegar, two tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder, a dash of red pepper and salt. I left it to simmer for about 30 minutes until it was thick. It will probably take longer when making the full recipe.
According to the information on the Waterloo Generations website Effie Alexandra Schmidt was born in Perth County on Christmas day 1875 but her parents were from rural Waterloo County. Her mother was of Scots heritage and Methodist religion while her father was of German decent and Evangelical Lutheran religion. He was a book-keeper. By the 1901 census she is a 25-year-old librarian in Berlin Ontario, living with her parents, a younger sister who is a teacher, younger brother working as a dry goods clerk and another younger brother. Her father died the year before the cook book was published. The household in the 1911 census includes just Mrs. Schmidt and her two sons (Effie’s brothers) at 31 Weber Street. One son is a traveller for a button company and the other a book-keeper (like his father) for a rubber company. I imagine the young women are now married or have moved to another community — perhaps together.
The tomato cream smelled good at each stage of cooking. The colour is much paler than I expected. I really shouldn’t have been surprised since the proportion of white coloured ingredients are double that of the red tomato. Perhaps the name comes from the texture or maybe even the colour as it is a sort of pale pink colour.It is an interesting product — almost a chutney or chili sauce.
I suggest tasting when adding the sugar. The acidity of the tomatoes and sweetness of the apple are going to affect the taste. Even the variety of onion can change how much sugar is needed (plus personal taste). A modern cook could play with the amount of ground red pepper and mustard. I’m not sure how this sauce is to be used but I assume it is a condiment much like catsup/ketchup. It should keep well since it contains vinegar. I would refrigerate it unless you do the entire modern canning process.
12 large tomatoes, 12 onions, 12 apples. Peel and slice into small pieces,cover with water and boil until soft, then put through sieve and put back into kettle, add 1 quart of vinegar, 1/2 pound of brown sugar, 1/4 pound mustard, 1 teaspoon red pepper, 1 teaspoon salt. Boil until thick.