There was snow in the air today so I’d hoped to make a soup. However, I couldn’t get one of the ingredients for the recipe in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I did find salt fish so I’m going to make Codfish Balls instead using Miss K. Fisher’s recipe. This is comfort food for a lot of people.
I wasn’t sure I would like codfish balls so I decided to make half the recipe. I soaked the 1/2 cup salt fish in cold water and got a lot of the salt off. Then I soaked it in warm water and pulled it into shreds. I put the shreds in a saucepan. I peeled and sliced a cup of potatoes and put them into the same saucepan with the fish. I poured boiling water over top, covered the pan, and left it to boil. I didn’t exactly have drippings but I had fried some onions in butter earlier so I used the same frying pan but added a bit of lard and melted them together. Once the potatoes were soft I drained the water and mashed everything together. I added 1 tablespoon of my drippings and several good shakes of pepper. I beat everything together and made the mixture into balls. I fried them in the rest of the dripping. I put a few on a plate to taste.
Miss K. Fisher was responsible for the Corn Chowder recipe last week and many others but unfortunately I knew little about her. However, I’ve just discovered that Miss K. A. Fisher was a Household Science teacher at the high school. A wing was added to the high school in 1903 for Manual Training and Domestic Science. She ended up working at Good Housekeeping Magazine in New York City! This information is from the History of Kitchener by Uttley. I suspect this is the Miss K. Fisher who contributed so many recipes to the Berlin Cook Book. I now wonder if some of the other young women were her former students.
I wasn’t sure if I would like these fried codfish balls. I am not fond of fish but wanted to try salt fish. I’ve used it once before for a historic recipe but salt fish was never part of my family’s meals growing up. I probably used a bit more potato in proportion to the fish out of fear of fish! But I really liked the end result. It wasn’t fishy and was soft inside and crisp on the outside. I like fried potatoes and this is even better. Give it a try if you can find some salt cod or salt fish. My grocery store carries it regularly. It keeps a long time — perfect for an inland town like Berlin in 1906.
Miss K. Fisher
1 cup salted codfish, 2 tablespoons good dripping, 2 cups potatoes, a little pepper; wash the codfish well in cold water then cover it with warm water, pick it apart, removing all bones and put in a saucepan; pare and slice the potatoes and put them in a sauce pan, cover with boiling water and boil until the potatoes are tender, cover closely, take from fire, drain and dry well over the heat, add dripping and pepper and mash and beat the mixture until very light, put 1/4 teaspoon dripping in a frying pan and let it brown; form mixture in round cakes on a teaspoon drop carefully on a greased pan, let it get brown on one side, turn and brown the other side. Serve on hot dish.