I spent part of the weekend reviewing previous entries and preparing a talk I’ll give tomorrow for a group of museum and gallery colleagues. I’ve been thinking about why I started this project and what I’ve learned from using the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. Tonight’s recipe reminded me why I like using historic recipes.
I had a veal loin chop available so I decided to make Fricassee of Veal from a recipe contributed by Mrs. D. Forsyth. The recipe does not specify the number of chops so I reduced the recipe slightly. I put the chop in a saucepan and covered it with water. I added half an onion chopped, some salt and pepper and part of a bay leaf. I left it to simmer and got distracted. I nearly burned the meat but rescued it in time to start the sauce. I set the slightly browned and very tender chop on a plate. I put a teaspoon of butter in a smaller saucepan on low heat. I stirred in a teaspoon of flour. Meanwhile I chopped the other half of the onion very finely and added it to the pan. I let it cook but it started to brown quickly. I poured in what little broth I still had from the veal and added some water. I added about a quarter cup of bread crumbs, pepper, salt and a dash of nutmeg. I chopped a bit of fresh parsley, added it and the sauce was ready to pour on the veal chop. I didn’t garnish with lemon but that would look nice and might change the flavour a little. I was eager to taste my fricassee of veal.
Mrs. D. Forsyth is Augusta Clothilde Mylius. She married David Forsyth in 1882 and they moved into a brand new home at 31 Margaret Avenue. Augusta’s father had emigrated from Germany but her mother was born in Waterloo County. David was born in Scotland and emigrated as a child. He became an innovative high school teacher developing practical laboratory work for his science students. The couple had two children Dora and Otto. David was Presbyterian while Augusta was Lutheran. The 1911 census adds an ‘e’ to the end of their surname but shows that the family still resides in the same house. Twenty-one year old Otto is now a traveller for a wholesaler.
Reading the recipe initially I expected a basic gravy but instead the sauce was surprisingly good. It reminded me that recipes from the past can still be inspiring for cooks today. Would you think to add nutmeg to a meat gravy? This recipe travelled from 1906 to 2012 very well and I will use it with beef, pork and perhaps veal again. I am still nibbling at my fricassee of veal even though it is cold.
FRICASSEE OF VEAL
Boil veal chops with onion, salt, pepper and bay leaf, till very tender, take butter the size of an egg, a spoonful of flour and a small onion, cut very fine and fry together until the onion is done, but not brown, then add enough of the broth the meat was cooked in to make enough sauce to cover the meat, add a cupful of bread crumbs, a little pepper and salt, some nutmeg and parsley, chopped fine. Lay the meat on a platter and pour the sauce over it; garnish with slices of lemon.