Tag Archives: food history

Picalilli from Grandma’s Garden

Way back at the end of 2015, I made some picalilli.  Somehow in the rush of Thanksgiving and Christmas that year, I did not share the recipe with you.  I apologize.  Of all the things that Grandma Vera Anderson preserved, I most yearn to have the recipe for picalilli. Alas, she probably just threw together whatever vegetables, in whatever amount she harvested, and no recipe remains.

And what is picalilli? It’s origin seems to be India via England. The inclusion of turmeric provides a big clue to Indian origina, as turmeric is a must in Indian cooking.  I have included some links to more information down below, including the puzzle of  the difference between picalilli and chow-chow.

Although I do not have Grandma’s recipe for picalilli, I think I came up with a pretty fair approximation, after scouring old cookbooks and the Internet. Just keep in mind, this is a pickle made at the end of the growing season, so she might well have included other “leftovers” from her garden.

Picallili vegetables

Chopped vegetables for picallili. Cabbage, bell peppers, green tomatoes.

Cabbage,green tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers ( which Grandma called “mangoes” in a 1943 letter), sugar and spices. Recipes call for onions, which I can’t eat. I thought the picalilli was fine without them, but feel free to add them if that is important to you.

This recipe comes from the Ball canning site.  I highly recommend this site if you are a novice at preserving and canning, as I am.  The Ball people have been providing the jars and lids and advice for generations, so you can find answers to your questions about what to do if you don’t have a canning kettle, how long you can keep things preserved for refrigerator rather than canned under pressure, and how to prepare your jars and lids.

A note on Ball canning jars.  Mason jars, invented in 1858 by John Mason, are the style of jar that Ball manufactured in Buffalo, New York, starting in 1884. Do you own some old Ball jars? Learn all about dating Ball jars at this website.

I deviated from the recipe by leaving out the onions, substituting ground giner for grated ginger root, and and I did not boil the filled cans for long shelf storage.  Instead, I sterilized the jars and kept the product in the refrigerator for not over two months.

If you do not have half pint glass canning jars, you will need six or seven of them.  Do not reuse the two-part canning lids.  You can find the lids and jars in most grocery stores, and in Walmart.

Another thing you may not have on hand is cheesecloth–needed to make a spice bag. That also should be available at your grocery store.

Picallili spice bag

Picallili spice bag

Pickling spices are available in the spice section of your grocery store. (That’s the pickling spices in the blue-lidded container.  The other round beads are the mustard seed. If you’re lucky, you’ll have access to a store that sells spices and herbs from bins, so you can get the small amount you need–only 1/4 cup.

Picallili spices

Dried spices for picallili

Everything else in the recipe should be easy to find.

Picallilli seasonings

Picallilli seasonings

Everyone who tried the picalilli on my Thanksgiving table–even the picky eaters–loved it.

By the way, Grandma also made something she called chow-chow, and I have no idea what was in it or how it was different.  I vaguely relate it to pickled corn, but I am not sure about that. Anyhow, here is more information about the varous pickles and chow-chow. Notice how close the Philadelphia Pickle is to my recollection of Grandma’s Picalilli. And a second article from the same site, has several Chow Chow recipes that sound suspiciously like Picalilli.

Picallili

Prep time 13 hours
Cook time 1 hour, 25 minutes
Total time 14 hours, 25 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Website Ball Preserving
The origins of picalilli are mysterious, but Grandma Vera Anderson made it from the last of the vegetables in her garden.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cabbage (finely chopped (About 1 1/2 medium heads))
  • 4 cups green tomatoes (unpeeled, cored and chopped (about 8 medium))
  • 1 1/2 cup onion (chopped (about 2 medium))
  • 1 cup red bell pepper (stem and seeds removed (1 large))
  • 1 cup green bell pepper (stem and seeds removed (1 large))
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup pickling spice
  • 4 tablespoons ginger root (coarsely chopped (or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger))
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric

Directions

1. Combine cabbage, green tomatoes, onions (opt.), red and green peppers and salt in large glass or stainless steel bowl. Cover (a towel is fine) and let stand in a cool place for twelve hours or overnight.
2. When the mixture has sat for twelve hours, transfer to a colander in the sink and drain. Rinse with cool water and drain thoroughly. Using your hands, squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside.
3. Heat jars in simmering water (not boiling), or in 250 degree oven until ready for use. Wash lids in warm sopay water and set lids and bands aside. (Or run through dishwasher with heated dry cycle.)
4. Prepare a spice bag by putting pickling spices, mustard seed and ginger in a square of cheesecloth. Tie two opposite corners tightly, then gather up and tie the other two opposite corners ro make the spice bag.
5. In a large stainless steel pot, combine the vegetable mixture with the vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric and the spice bag. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Uncover and boil for 5 minutes, stirring frquently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently for one hour, until thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial relish--about 20 minutes.
6. Discard spice bag.
7. Ladle hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot relish. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is "fingertip tight." (In other words as tight as you can fasten with just your fingers).
8. If you are preserving the picallili for long-term shelf storage, process jars in boiling water to cover for ten minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
9. If you are storing in the refrigerator rather than processing for shelf storage, let the jars cool for one hour, then store in refrigerator.

Note

Onions are optional. In fact all the vegetables are interchangeable in picalilli.  Tumeric gives the pickle a distinctive yellow hue, and a hint at its Indian origins.

Have you eaten or made picalilli or chow-chow?  What were the ingredients? I’d love to know if they differ in various parts of the country.

Dutch Hutspot: Smashed Potatoes Plus

It is time to follow my Dutch ancestors into the kitchen and make some Hutspot.

 

Dutch House

Dutch House, Newcastle Delaware

See the history of this charming house in Newcastle Delaware here.  While it has undergone many “updates” during its long history, the kitchen was restored with loving care to its early roots.

Dutch Kitchen

The kitchen of the Dutch House in Newcastle Delaware

As I browse the Internet looking for some typical Dutch food, I am reminded of the close connection between Holland and Indonesia.  Those sturdy Dutch burghers had some decidedly spicy foods in their repertoire.  But the Dutch American pioneers who settled Nieuw Amsterdam–some at the same time that my Puritan ancestors were populating New England–were up against the same constraints that the Puritans were when it came to exotic ingredients. So they probably stuck with mixing smashed vegetables with some cured meat.

Interestingly, one of the most popular group of dishes in the Netherlands today would not have existed in Europe prior to the settling of the Americas.  Potatoes made the trip from America to Europe in the 17th century, and the Dutch threw them into the pot to make a hearty supper that they had previously made with parsnips.

The one-dish meals, known as Stamppot, get their protein from cooking meat to make a broth, then cooking the vegetables (always including potatoes) in the broth. What makes it different than English stew is the fact that the vegetables are smashed–not left whole, and not finely mashed. The sliced meat is served on top or alongside the Stamppot.

According to Wikipedia (and numerous other sites), there is a legend that comes with the dish.

According to legend, the recipe came from the cooked bits of potato left behind by hastily departing Spanish soldiers during their Siege of Leiden in 1574 during the Eighty Years’ War, when the liberators breached the dikes of the lower lying polders surrounding the city. This flooded all the fields around the city with about a foot of water. As there were few, if any, high points, the Spanish soldiers camping in the fields were essentially flushed out.

So the Spanish soldiers fled, leaving a pot of parsnip (or potatoes) and carrots behind. The Dutch invaders unsheathed their forks and ate the “spoils of war”. The legend includes a holiday on October 3, when the victory over the Spanish is celebrated by eating a lot of hutspot.

The Dutch word Hutspot (shaken pot)  becomes Hotchpot in English, which leads to the word hodgepodge–an indiscriminate mixture of unrelated things.

Did you know that carrots used to be white or perhaps other colors, but when carrots arrived in Holland in 1740, they were bred to a bright orange color to honor the royal house of Orange
Hutspot

Colorful carrots in Hutspot

Hutspot is just one of an array of similar dishes that collectively are called Stampot–cooked potatoes smashed up with some other vegetables.

  • Hutspot: Potatoes and carrots and onions (with beef).
  • Boerenkool: potatoes and kale (with sausage).
  • Hete Bliksam: potatoes and apples (with salt pork).
  • Zoorkoolstamppot: potatoes and sauerkraut (with smoked sausage or bacon).
  • Andijviestampot: potatoes and endive (with bacon).

And on and on.

When I cooked Hutspot, I deviated from the traditional by leaving out the beef. Instead I served chicken with a Gouda cheese sauce, which allowed for dribbling some cheesy sauce over the Hutspot. Yum.

Gouda Cheese

Smoked Gouda shredded for cheese sauce

Dutch Hutspot

Serves 2-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 5 minutes
Allergy Milk
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Region European
Hutspot is one of many Dutch one-pot meals smashing vegetables with potatoes and flavoring with meat.

Ingredients

  • 1lb carrots (cut in small chunks)
  • 1lb potatoes (cut in quarters)
  • 1lb onions (diced)
  • 2 bunches butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Directions

1. In large pot, cover onions and carrots with water. (If using bacon or salt pork, place chunk on top). Cook about 35 minutes--until carrots are soft.
2. Remove bacon and vegetables and set aside. Cook potatoes in same liquid until falling apart.
3. Drain liquid and reserve. Add carrots and onions back to potatoes and mash just until chunky. Stir in butter and salt, adding some reserved liquid if mixture is too thick.
4. If using bacon, slice and serve on top or alongside vegetables.

Note

Because I cannot eat onions, I left them out of my Hutspot. It would definitely be a different dish with onions, but I thought my version was very tasty. Since the Dutch use many varieties of this dish, the only "must" being the potatoes, feel free to experiment. Hutspot with potatoes, carrots and onions is just one possibility.

I also diverged from the traditional Hutspot by not preparing this with beef. The Dutch use a cut of rib that is not generally available in the U.S., but you can substitute Chuck. If you want to use it, cook the meat in water until tender, set the beef aside,keeping it warm, and use the broth to cook the vegetables. Serve the beef alongside the vegetables.

Do you want to learn more about Dutch cooking? I can see that as I investigate the lives of my Dutch ancestors, I will be returning frequently to a website called The Dutch Table.

This post is dedicated to my grandfather “Daddy Guy” (to the far left in the picture at the head of this page) and his mother, the all-Dutch Mary Brink Anderson.

 

Cream Tea and Scones

I’m sure you have no trouble knowing what scones are, but there seems to be quite a bit of uncertainty about who first made them.  Was it the Scots in the 16th century? Was it the English? Is the name Gaelic, German or Dutch?

Whoever came up with the little cakes first, the British firmly embraced them for afternoon tea, perhaps as early as the 18th century , and then the British region of Devon came up with clotted cream from their Jersey cows, and although there’s no cream in the tea of a Cream Tea–the afternoon ritual generally includes scones, clotted (or Devon) cream. and strawberry jam.

I made AMERICAN scones.

tea and scones

Tea and Cranberry Scones and Lemon curd served on my wedding china.

Read how WRONG the scones are when made with dried cranberries (an American fruit, for one thing. Horrors!) and dusted with cinnamon sugar–the way I made them.  PLUS. I served lemon curd instead of clotted cream. And no strawberry jam. Heaven forbid.  The Guardian’s article about “How to eat a cream tea” had me laughing out loud. Perhaps I should be watching out for those “hounds of fury” that will be unleashed upon me by a afternoon tea purist!

However, the article writer at the Guardian is not a stickler for traditon. He does not like clotted cream, and much prefers double-whipped cream anyway.  I concur, having dumped a jar of clotted cream because it tasted “off.” Whoops–that’s how it is supposed to taste!

So make the scones or not–your choice.  But DO read the Guardian’s article on how to eat a cream tea. You’ll be glad you did.

And just a personal word of thanks to my daughter-in-law Rene for presenting me with a variety of teas and clotted cream, lemon curd and raspberry curd which inspired this article.

For more about my ancestors and tea, see this post.

Buttermilk Drop Scones

Serves 12-14
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Bread
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Region British
From book Joy of Cooking (1997 edition)
The history of Scones may be a bit fuzzy, and the toppings may be controversial, but this all-American version, drop scones using buttermilk and cranberries, is easy to make and palate pleasing.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or substitute raisins, currants or other dried fruit)
  • sugar and cinnamon (for topping)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Melt butter in microwave, or by putting it in an oven-proof ramekin in the oven as the oven heats.
3. Whisk together all dry ingredients (including sugar)
4. Beat egg, add and beat buttermilk and melted butter (cooled slightly)
5. Mix in the dried cranberries or other fruit
6. Mix together the moist ingredients and fruit into the dry ingredients. Mix just until no dry ingredients show. Do not overmix.
7. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place mounds of 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter at least one inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.
8. Sprinkle tops with sugar and cinnamon
9. Bake at 400 degrees until tops are golden brown about 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

Note

Unless you are a stickler for tradition, your scones do not have to rolled and cut in triangles, and scones do not have to be served with clotted cream.  In fact, the scones with dried fruit (of your choice) do not need anything on top--although Irish butter would never be amiss, and I enjoyed my scones with lemon curd.

 

Family Heirlooms

Heirloom china Forest Rose

Forest Rose pattern Inside of cup and on salad plate

The plate and teacup in the picture above are from my wedding china, purchased in 1960.  The china is Hutschenreuther Forest Rose pattern, made in Germany.  Little did I know when we picked it for our wedding registry that it was made in Bavaria, the home country of many  of my ancestors.

This pattern is no longer in production. As of 2000, the Hutschenreuther line as been part of Rosenthal.   There is a very similar one called Continental made by Rosenthal, but mine has the hallmark and the distinctive pattern of the Hutschenreuther Forest Rose, with its gold leaf stem and leaves.

Heirloom china Forest rose pattern

Forest Rose pattern on salad plate

Description: A single white rose shadowed in gray, with stem and leaves in brown with gold leaf.  The hallmark Is a CM in a shield with 18 on one side and 14 on the other. Hutschenreuther and Hoenberg are inside an oval surround all of this, with Germany below the oval. This would indicate it was made in the original Carl Magnus Hutschenreuther (later merged and expanded several times). A more detailed history here.

china hallmark

Hutschenreuther mark on bottom of salad plate

This has been another in my occasional posts on family heirlooms–in this case family collectibles rather than more valuable antiques.

Other bloggers doing Family Heirloom stories: