Monday, June 30, 2014

Historical Food Fortnightly #2 The Challenge That Wasn't

So without any brilliant inspiration for the Soups, Sauces and Gravies challenge, I settled on a recipe I was curious about: Tomato Mustard from Vaughan's Vegetable CookBook printed in 1919, which I found on the fabulous  I chose this recipe mostly because I couldn't figure out what the end product would be...  it sounded a lot like ketchup...  but then why was it called tomato mustard.  My curiosity was piqued and that was enough for me.

The ingredients were pretty straightforward..I thought.

1 peck of tripe tomatoes
1 teaspoonful of salt
2 dessertspoonfuls of onions chopped fine
1 dessertspoonful of whole pepper
1dessertspoonful of allspice
1 dessertspoonful of cloves
1/2 spoonful of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoonful of curry
1 teacupful of mustard

Googling I found out that 1 peck = 13 pounds and change.  That was a lot of tomatoes, so I decided to do a half recipe.

I chose Roma tomatoes because they were on sale. had a handy measures and weights section and I learned that a dessertspoon was 2 teaspoons and a teacupful was a scant 3/4 cup. There was no equivalent for spoonful, but, as it turns out, that would not turn out to be an issue.

The directions seemed pretty basic:

To the tomatoes add the salt; let it stew a half hour, and strain through a sieve.  Add the onions, whole peppers, allspice, cloves and cayenne pepper.  Let it simmer down one-third, adding the curry and mustard. Then simmer half an hour longer.

So I quartered the tomatoes, added the salt and some water, set the pot on low for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, the tomatoes looked like this.

Clearly, they needed some additional stewing time, so I put a lid on the pot, turned up the heat a little and let them stew for another 30 minutes.

They looked like they were beginning to break down, but they clearly weren't anywhere near stewed.  So I let them cook and kept checking every 30 minutes.  After three and a half hours they looked like this:

Unfortunately, at this point, we had an engagement with friends, so I gave up and called the recipe a fail.  I'm guessing the failure came from either not dicing the tomatoes a lot smaller or that low on my electric range is a lot lower than low on a 1919 stove.

Either way, it was at least an interesting experiment..  even if it didn't satisfy my curiosity.

The Challenge: #2 Soups, Sauces and Gravies
The Recipe: Tomato Mustard from Vaughan's Vegetable Cookbook
The Date/Region: 1919  Guessing Britain
Total time: 3.5 hours
Total cost: $10 in tomatoes
How successful was it?  Epic Fail


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