I decided to make something relatively easy and that could simply cook on its own for a while so that I could work on other things. Rather like women in 1906 would make meals that could be left to simmer, bake or cool while they got on with all the household duties. I am making Mrs. Nelson Boehmer’s Salmon Loaf from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. This is one of many salmon loaf recipes in the cook book. This one is a little different as it requires steaming.
I opened a large can of salmon, removed the icky bits and beat it well. I whipped up four medium eggs a little before mixing them with the salmon. I added the melted butter, bread crumbs and seasoned with salt, pepper and the suggested parsley. The mixture went into a buttered pudding mold and then into a large pot of water. I brought it to a boil and left it to steam for one hour.
Nelson W. Boehmer and Sarah E. Meyer had two little boys when the cook book was published. Nelson was a jeweller and they are Baptist which is a little more unusual among the contributors to the cookbook. The big surprise is in the 1911 census when Sarah is listed as married but also the head of household. Nelson isn’t listed with the family at 79 Church Street. In addition to Sarah and the boys, the household includes another couple Joseph and Pauline Janes and their little boy who are listed as boarders. Mr. Janes is a minister. Where is Nelson Boehmer? He’s still listed as a jeweller in the 1910 Vernon’s City Directory.
The salmon loaf was surprisingly good. I had expected it to taste eggy and fishy — two of my least favourite tastes. Instead it is balanced with the salmon and seasonings. I sampled it hot and will also try it cold later since I’m not sure how it was to be served. This could be nice as part of a lunch with salad. It lacks the crispness and browning of the salmon loaf from the summer so will need some dressing up to appeal visually to modern diners. Although this isn’t my favourite dish it does make fish a little more palatable for me.
1 can salmon, 4 eggs beaten lightly, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 cup fine bread or cracker crumbs, season with salt, pepper and parsley, beat salmon fine before adding ingredients, then steam in mould 1 hour.