Random notes from a book I discovered in an old suitcase

January 7, 2010

This is what Jewish housekeepers knew in Philadelphia, 1871. Well, Mrs. Esther Levy anyway. Picked at random for epicness. Italics mine.

How to fatten poultry in four or five days

Boil some rice with skimmed milk, only as much as will serve one day; let it boil, with a teaspoonful of sugar, until the rice is swelled out. Feed them three times a day, in common pans, giving them as much as will quite fill them at one time. Before putting fresh food into the pans wash them clean, so that no sour food may be given to the poultry, as it will prevent them getting fat. Give them clean water, or the milk off the rice to drink, but the less water the better; by this method the flesh will have a clear whiteness, which no other food gives it. The pen should always be kept clean and no food given them for sixteen hours before killing.

To boil calf’s head

Clean it very nicely and soak it in water, that it may look very white. Boil the head extremely tender then strew it over with some bread crumbs and chopped parsley, and brown them or if preferred, leave one side plain. Serve with smoked meat. The brains must be boiled, and then mixed with some chopped fat, marjoram, parsley, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and eggs.

German puffs

Boil sixteen tablespoonfuls of flour in a quart of milk, and a little salt, then add to it six eggs; stir until fine; then butter twelve baking cups, and bake in a heated oven. To be eaten with clarified sugar, made in the following manner: take half a pint of water, half a pound of loaf sugar, and the rind of a lemon. Boil it for twenty minutes. I would recommend less salt in all sweet things (preach, Esther, preach!)

To keep away house vermin

To keep away mosquitoes, attach a piece of flannel, wetted with camphorated spirits and alum, on the top of the bedstead.
Put spearmint around places that are infested with mice; they have a great aversion to it.
Wash the shelves with salt and water, and sprinkle salt wherever they may be seen. Set the legs of the safe in tin cups filled with salt water.

How to extinguish fire on a person

For bleeding at the lungs (why this would be necessary information for Jewish housekeepers in Philly in the 1800s I have no clue)

Drink freely of strong salt and water every two or three minutes


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