An Every Day Adventure – February 12, 2014
Be sure to Check Back on Saturday for another Every Day Adventure when I’ll have some ideas to cheer you up, in case you don’t get the valentine you want. – I’m sure you will – but just in case.
•In the Kitchen With Abe!
I think Abraham Lincoln would have appreciated the meal I more or less cooked in his honor today. I was inspired by Rae Eighmey’s great blog, What Lincoln Enjoyed Eating. http://raekatherine.blogspot.com I picked two recipes from the blog. Starting out to cook the chicken, I realized that the first thing present in today’s kitchens, that the president and people in the kitchen did not have to worry about, was the salmonella and other food contaminants so present today. You have to take precautions. So, I choose to wear latex gloves when preparing fresh chicken.
I think Rae has done a great job of simplifying the recipes for today’s kitchen, while still giving us the feel for how food cooked in the 1860’s would have been different from today’s kitchen. This would be easier if I had spent more time in today’s kitchen in the last 20 years.
The recipe calls for the chicken to be rubbed with salt and pepper and coated with molasses and let it rest for a couple of hours or overnight. So while it was resting I took a nap. The recipe does not say how long to cook the chicken. It is cooked in a low oven – 300 degrees til it reaches 170 degrees internal temperature. I’m going to make that about two hours. I planned corn bread to go with the chicken but it will need a warmer oven.
After two hours, I wiped off the molasses and basted with salted water. I transferred the meat to rack on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil. I’m pretty sure the President’s kitchen didn’t have foil.
Next I was ready to tackle the corn bread, which called for sour milk, and I was able to create that, but it also called for an egg white whipped to soft points and folded carefully into the batter. I can’t tell you when I last whipped and folded. Recipes from the mid 1800’s are definitely not as sweet as what we’re used to. The recipes for Oven Cooked Slow Barbecue Chicken and Cornbread are on Rae’s blog at http://tinyurl.com/q8wv65x I planned to serve green salad with my dinner but remembered that wouldn’t have been possible at this time of the year in the 1800’s. I found an old apple that had been in my crisper since summer – so that was like the fruit and vegetables that were stored in the root cellar. And you know, it wasn’t bad. I remembered all of a sudden what it was like when you had only apples or oranges stored in the cellar for fruit. You got to be desperate for spring to come. The first berries and asparagus of spring were wonderful.
This is the story from Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen that goes with the barbecue. “The story goes, he (President Lincoln) looked around the area and saw a old woman standing not far away looking intently at him. He immediately recognized her as a waiter and dishwasher at the hotel in Urbana whom everybody knew as Granny. He said to her. “Why Granny, have you no place? You must have some dinner. Here, take my place.”
The old lady answered. “No’m, Mr. Lincoln, I just wanted to see you. I don’t want any dinner.” Lincoln rose from his seat at the head of the table and insisted she take his seat. He then took his turkey leg and biscuit and sat at the foot of a nearby tree while Granny Hutchinson filled the place at the head of the table and ate her dinner as he had insisted.”
Rae Aighme”s book is Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen. available in stores and at the usual online vendors.
You can see Rae giving a “Virtual Book Signing” talk this Saturday, February 15 at noon at the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop in Chicago. Interested readers should go to the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop website and go to the “Events and Links” section (http://www.alincolnbookshop.com/html/events.htm) The event will be webcast live on Saturday at noon and will be archived in a few weeks.
Be sure to Check Back on Saturday for another Every Day Adventure when I’ll have some ideas to cheer you up, in case you didn’t get the Valentine you want.