Off topic: Old English recipes?
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:15
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Sep 7, 2014

Our book discussion club will meet next weekend and the reading is Tristram Shandy. My task would be to serve a dinner in the spirit of the book, so I'm looking for some old English recipes, of the pre-curry era. Also drinks would be needed, and a desert. The first that came to mind was roastbeef and Yorkshire pudding, but I would like something more surprising. So please feel free to post your suggestions! Kidneys are out of the question though.

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Sarah Lewis-Morgan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:15
Member (2014)
German to English
There are endless possibilities! Sep 7, 2014

How about:
Steak and ale pie
Lamb chops
Rack of lamb
Roast chicken/duck/goose
Toad in the hole

Potatoes and veg to accompany, of course
Potatoes can be roast, mashed or plain boiled

Lots of puddings as well:

Apple pie
Spotted dick
Apple turnover
Bread and butter pudding
Treacle tart

That's just off the top of my head.

I forgot drinks.

Beer
Wine
Mead if you want to be really old-fashioned
Lemonade - freshly squeezed lemons, not fizzy
Port

[Edited at 2014-09-07 18:53 GMT]


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 09:15
Spanish to English
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Older even... Sep 7, 2014

I would suggest anything by Jane Grigson in English Food, where you fill find a wonderful range of fascinating dishes, with historical information to keep you fascinated. (Her Fruit Book and her Vegetable Book are equally addictive).

Here's the Amazon blurb on it:

ENGLISH FOOD reveals the richness and surprising diversity of England's culinary heritage. Fully updated and revised by Jane Grigson before her death in 1990, this joyful celebration of our national cuisine is a pleasure to cook from and a delight to read. 'This is the perfect English companion' - Guardian 'ENGLISH FOOD is an anthology all who follow her recipes will want to buy for themselves...enticing from page to page' - Spectator 'She restored pride to the subject of English food' - Evening Standard

An idea which immediately comes to mind are the Sugar Thins (biscuits) which you could make in advance (and freeze some more of the dough for future use!). These would go well with coffee, or indeed with any custard based dessert, and are easy to make in large numbers. I'd be happy to send you the recipe.

Pause while I go downstairs and get the book...

All of this does of course depend on your cooking ability and access to ingredients - and we don't know how many you are cooking for.

A failsafe starter for me would be Watercress Soup. (And I've been thinking of it because I've just come back from Bere Regis in Dorset which claims to have been the watercress capital of Britain). We can't get English watercress easily here ;-(

You say dinner, which immediately sparks debate about which meal you're talking about. If it is an evening meal, I don't think a roast feels right. Something a little lighter perhaps? Plus you don't want to be in the kitchen while the meeting takes place, or too full to bursting if the meeting is after the meal at lunchtime.

So after a hot soup I would actually suggest a cold main course. A raised pie would be perfect, but that may be pushing you too far (it would be pushing me too far!), since it calls for the kind of pastry which is not available ready made. Same for pasties. But that dough is easier to make.

Ah, a hot dish which is can be finished off (in the oven) while you're doing something else: Shepherd's Pie. Simple but delicious, and maybe a side of parsnips. Not wildly elegant but very satisfying (if your guests eat meat, that is).

And to return to the dessert which seems to be where I started, I've just remembered her recipe for Gooseberry, Pear, Apple or Quince Cream - I've made it with quince but would love to try with gooseberries (also unavailable here). Fools would be nice too, and oh for a syllabub.

No more for now, but I will be happy as I said to pass on recipes, but I really recommend buying the book - a literary treat in its own right in my opinion!


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 09:15
Spanish to English
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Liquid Sep 7, 2014

Ah yes, forgot that:

I heartily second Sarah's suggestion of homemade lemonade unless you can get your hands on homemade elderflower cordial (I suppose bought would just about do). And perhaps a shot of sloe gin to round everything off?


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:15
French to English
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Some suggestions Sep 7, 2014

Depends how far you want to go back, but here are a few:
Stargazy pie
Tripe and onions
Baked ham
Spiced beef (cold)
Two desserts - syllabub and flummery


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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:15
French to English
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and... Sep 7, 2014

Sussex stewed steak

You might like to look here at Ivan Day's site too:

http://www.historicfood.com/portal.htm
http://www.historicfood.com/RecipesIndex.htm


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:15
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
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TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all very much for your help Sep 8, 2014

If I would restrict the era to the year 1719, when Sterne was born in Yorkshire. it seems potatoes were not much known in Britain. But coffee and tea were already popular, so no problem there. Ginger beer sounds very nice, as does gooseberry pie, though gooseberry is not sold anymore this late. I believe lamb was very common at the time, what do you think. Lamb would be more popular with the guests than pork or beef. Toad in the hole with onion gravy if I can find lamb sausages. I found a recipe for Yorkshire curd tart that looks easy.
I wonder what wine was drunken in that period in Britain. Rather sweet probably, Malaga?


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:15
Danish to English
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17th century recipes Sep 8, 2014

A quick google - and I know it's a century early - but how about this for inspiration:

http://www.godecookery.com/engrec/engrec.html


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:15
Italian to English
Is 1714 close enough? Sep 8, 2014

Mary Kettilby's "A Collection of above Three Hundred Receipts", first published in 1714:

https://archive.org/details/acollectionabov00kettgoog


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Barbara Carrara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:15
Member (2008)
English to Italian
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An idea for drinks Sep 8, 2014

Shandy!

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:15
Spanish to English
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Food for thought? Sep 8, 2014

The post brought this recent kerfuffle to mind...

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/us-ambassador-to-britain-gets-roasting-from-chefs-after-banning-lamb-and-potatoes-9704719.html

PS: I love the phrase "English recipes, of the pre-curry era"...

[Edited at 2014-09-08 09:54 GMT]

Here's a traditional recipe that certain posters on a certain FB translator group could be doing with:

http://www.foodsofengland.co.uk/umbleornumblepie.htm

[Edited at 2014-09-08 09:57 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-09-08 09:57 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:15
Member (2007)
English
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What a mouthwatering topic! Sep 9, 2014

The commonest pie for working class families in London until the Thames got polluted was steak and oyster pie. They used to get the oysters for free from the river. I don't know if it was popular in Yorkshire, though. How about eels? Or cockles? Faggots? Personally, I don't know what everyone has against the humble kidney - lovely stuff! Heart, too. If you're going to serve roast beef and Yorkie do make sure you serve it the tradional way: Yorkie and gravy for a filling starter, then a small amount of roast beef with a root veg.

Rachel: it's very unfair of you to make me think about baked ham and spiced beef, but I'll forgive you as the memories are such nice ones. I did get French charcutiers to help me put them on the table but I don't think there's any chance in Fuerteventura.

Fruit wines (as opposed to grape wines) were always popular in England - elderflower champagne (can't stand it myself), elderberry or mulberry for a a full-bodied red, apple for a lovely dry white, strawberry dessert wine, etc. But mead is the tipple all monks made, and still make, with the help of their bees and it's superb. Was sherry around then? It's weird that it's everywhere in the UK shops but not in Spain: even in Jerez it was difficult to find! Another perfect choice would be porter. This Wikipedia article dates it from 1721 so it would have been around by the time Sterne was old enough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_(beer). For non-alcoholic, I agree with ginger beer, lemonade, and maybe barley water - I think that goes way back.


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