Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Next to a Good Disposition"

Continued from last week

“I would rather have a good frying pan to live with in camp than anything else except a good disposition, a good stove, and a good water container.  The iron frying pan does not burn so easily as thin steel, and food stays hot longer, for often in camp meals, one thing must wait for another to cook.  Provide a tight-fitting granite cover, for a tin one will rust, and take flat covers for two stew pans.  Cover carry best standing on edge in the box.  Pot roasts and New England boiled dinners are just as possible as steaks, pork chops, and corn-mealed fish if you provide deep kettles with tight covers.  I have made even dumplings.

Shallow light gray granite pie tins make inexpensive but satisfactory plates.  Gray does not rub marks upon being packed together as white will do.  Be sure, however, to get big white enamel cups without handles.  They are often to be purchased among hospital supplies as well as sports supplies.

Carry knives, forks, spoons, the all-important can-opener, butcher knife, short pancake turner or spatula, and scissors in a heavy muslin or dug bag, made wide enough to lay, not shove, the articles in.  The loose end is wrapped around the whole, making rattling impossible, and forming a protective pad.  A bag of this kind eliminates the bugbear of camp life – hunting this or that in a ‘don’t-know-where-I-put-it-place.’ Silver for table use does not need the care that steel does, and is more homelike.  Get an aluminum salt shaker, as this does not corrode; a size to carry at least a cupful of salt is best, the same shaker being used for table and cooking.  A paper circle laid inside shaker cover will prevent salt from spilling en route.  For butter, get a glass jar which will hold a pound, because some small-town grocers will not divide a pound.  A jar wider and shorter than a Mason jar and with as little shoulder as possible, is best.  An oilcloth-lined pocket is essential for carrying a damp dishrag.

You will need to watch to find square-shaped tin containers for coffee, sugar, rice, etc.  A tin cracker box makes a good-fitting bread and cake box for the average cabinet box.”

If Mother figures out a way to haul along an ice-cream freezer, this 1911 recipe (from the Boston Cooking School’s magazine American Cookery) would be a big hit with the whole family after a long drive on hot days.  Except, perhaps, for Father, who has to turn the crank.


1 quart of rich cream
1 cup of sugar
1 pint of strawberry juice
1 ½ cups of sugar
Juice of ½ a lemon

Mix the cream and cup of sugar and turn the crank of the freezer until the mixture is partly frozen; add the fruit juice, mixed with the cup and a half of sugar, and finish freezing.  Let stand an hour or two before serving, to ripen.*

*I personally have never been present at a hand-made ice cream churning where this would have been even remotely possible.


Lady Anne said...

We used to fix home made ice cream at my grandparents farm when I was a kid. My sister and I would start off cranking our little hearts out, then my grandmother would crank for a while, and my grandfather would finish it off. I can't imagine sitting around a camp fire for two hours waiting for the stuff. Perhaps make it when they stop for lunch and then stash it in the "travel box" until supper time?

Last week I left before the conversation about steaming brown bread. In the 1930s, nearly every household would have had a blancher, which was used for hot water canning - as opposed to a pressure cooker. The basket in my blancher is 6 inches deep and about 7-1/2 in diameter. I used to make brown bread a LOT; I used one pound coffee cans, and tied greased tin foil over the tops. Good luck finding a real coffee can today! Plastic doesn't take well to being boiled.

Shay said...

I wonder if the 16 ounce cans of fruit or beans would work? although I'm not even urea if they come in cans that size anymore...

Shay said...

"sure." not urea. Curse you, auto-complete.

Lady Anne said...

Either I worked in the medical field too long, or I need a nap. I actually *read* that as urea, and just kept right on going. But, yes, a 16 ounce can of whatever would work, and probably be better suited. Coffee cans make large loaves - OK for what I'll call table bread, but brown bread is more of a dessert thing to me, and a smaller can would be better. I haven't seen baking powder in cans in a while, come to think if it, although that doesn't mean much.

I used coffee cans to bake table bread, too. They hold just about as much as a small bread pan; grease the lid, and the rim, and when the lid pops off, the bread has risen enough to bake. You can get more upright cans in the oven than you can regular flat pans. (Which is important when you are baking for six, not two.)

Bunnykins said...

Up here in Canada, busily looking for large sizes of tinned fruit and awaiting delivery of new can opener that promises dull lids and can bodies. The other half sent my old metal Melita coffee cans and lids (full of nuts/bolts/screws)to the Sally when he cleaned out the basement before we moved. You keep something for 40 years, and then it's gone just before you need it.

Shay said...

That ought to be a corollary to Murphy's law -- you never need something until it's been given away.

Anonymous said...

@ Lady Anne: MJB and Maxwell House still pack their coffee in cans . . . in some stores. I'd suggest a baked-bean can as a substitute.

Actually this article is still pretty good advice for setting up a camping kit! The "silver for eating" threw me for a minute, until I remembered that a) stainless steel is an invention of the '20's or '30's, and b) camping was a rich (or at least upper-middle-class) family's activity, when that picture was taken.