149 thoughts on “Friday fluff: Your best squirrel dish”

  1. Well, it’s not the strangest thing ever, but it is sort of retro inasmuch as it’s a savory molded gelatin/meat thing which I’m told Hearkens Back To Days Of Yore.

    My MIL makes this brunch dish: one layer of cranberry sauce, jellified, and on top of that, another layer of chopped chicken and mayonnaise, also jellified. It’s prepared in a gelatin mold and turned out atop a bed of mixed greens. You cut slices and have it on toast or crackers. It’s really pretty good.

    There are some crazy-ass recipes in The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. I’ll have to look some up when I get home.

  2. How thoughtful of you to ask this question when I am telecommuting and can rifle through my recipe cabinet. Here’s one from my great-grandmother that I’ve never seen elsewhere. No one else I’ve served it to has heard of it either. It is very delicious as a side dish or a dessert.

    Pineapple Crunch

    16 oz. pineapple tidbits (drained)
    3 T flour
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 c. sharp cheddar (grated)
    45 Ritz crackers (crushed)
    1 stick butter (melted)

    1. Drain pineapple and layer in bottom of casserole dish.

    2. Mix flour, sugar, cheese. Layer on top of pineapple.

    3. Mix crushed crackers and melted butter. Layer on top.

    4. Cook at 350F for 25 minutes.

  3. Gribenes. I had to call my mother to get the word, and then it took some googling to figure out how to spell it, but gribenes is heaven on earth.

    Gribenes is the crackling solid bits leftover when you render chicken fat (to make schmaltz). It’s served with onions on rye.

    Chicken fat solids! I love the Jews!

  4. Fried pork brains served on toast with scrambled eggs. My dad’s favorite breakfast, and I’m not even joking. Ah, farm living.

  5. My dad loved brains! (which I think of as braaaaiiiinnnns, zombie-style). Anyway, my mom had to leave the kitchen when they were cooked so it was one of the very first things I ever learned to prepare. He liked them with scrambled eggs too.

  6. I grabbed some of the pages from my old BH&G and brought them to work JUST FOR THIS! I’m off to a meeting in a moment, but here’s the first:

    Calcuttas (1940s)

    Select large prunes; cook tender; remove seeds. Stuff with mixture of 1 tablespoon minced gherkins, 3 tablespoons cooked rice, 1 tablespoon chutney, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon paprika. Dip into Worcestershire sauce; wrap each with a slice of bacon; fasten with a toothpick. Broil until bacon is crisp. Serve hot. Makes 6 to 8 Calcuttas

  7. Jellied Moose Nose

    1 Upper jawbone of a moose
    1 Onion; sliced
    1 Garlic clove
    1 tb Mixed pickling spice
    1 ts Salt
    1/2 ts Pepper
    1/4 c Vinegar

    Cut the upper jaw bone of the moose just below the eyes. Place in a large kettle of scalding water and boil for 45 minutes. Remove and chill in cold water. Pull out all the hairs – these will have been loosened by the boiling and should come out easily ( like plucking a duck). Wash thoroughly until no hairs remain. Place the nose in a kettle and cover with fresh water. Add onion, garlic, spices and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the meat is tender. Let cool overnight in the liquid.

    When cool, take the meat out of the broth, and remove and discard the bones and the cartilage. You will have two kinds of meat, white meat from the bulb of the nose, and thin strips of dark meat from along the bones and jowls. Slice the meat thinly and alternate layers of white and dark meat in a loaf pan. Reheat the broth to boiling, then pour the broth over the meat in the loaf pan. Let cool until jelly has set. Slice and serve cold.

    I don’t eat this, partly due to a lack of moose jaw in my area, and partly because it seems, well, less than appetizing, but I find it wildly entertaining and quite thrifty. Use up that whole moose! You know, my favorite part is the nose hair plucking step.

  8. I don’ t know the recipe (maybe he got it from the Joy of Cooking), but my dad used to stand on our back steps and shoot squirrels (note: we lived in a housing development) and then make squirrel gravy over rice, which was disGUSTing.

    I was looking for a recipe that I posted on another message board for “pig stomach” that was in a cookbook that my grandmother’s church put together a couple of years ago that went something like, “Take one clean pig stomach. Sprinkle with one teaspoon pepper,” but I can’t find it. I think it involved a chopped onion, too.

  9. Prep squirrel as previously discussed. Quarter and stick in a pot with one quartered onion, a can of diced tomatoes, some chopped carrots and celery, three diced potatoes and a whole bottle of red wine.

    Stick in coals of campfire and cover up with a huge mound of ash. Go to bed.

    Remove pot from ashes, put on one side of fire pit, build up fire, cook breakfast. Continue feeding fire (and drinking) until lunchtime.

    Om nom nom squirrel stew.

  10. Deborah Lipp: I can buy that in the supermarket here! Only, not the kosher kind, the German kind –which is (usually) from pork drippings instead of chicken. :D I hear they make it from goose fat, too, but I have yet to see that kind for sale. They call it Griebenschmalz. It’s usually eaten on bread (which defaults to a rye over here), but the first time I ever had it it was stirred into hot noodles. YUM!

  11. Didn’t Laura Ingalls Wilder talk about Gribenes in her books? I feel as though Almanzo snuck crackling bits when his mother wasn’t looking, even though they were too rich for little boys. They used them to flavor cornbread, right?

    Please tell me I’m not the only one who has those books memorized.

  12. I can’t be the only one who used to eat peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, right? I am? Not surprising. Since I’ve been vegetarian, I do vegetarian bacon and peanut butter sandwiches.

  13. My ex-bf’s mother was Hungarian, and one of his favorite dishes was pig’s feet (not pickled!) boiled down into a jelly with meat scraps in it, not unlike the Moose Jaw recipe. I refused to learn how to make it, but let me tell you, her whole house stunk like burning hair for days afterwards.

  14. Squirrel is really gamey, at least the way my dad made it. I was probably seven or eight the last time I ate any, so my recollection is not the best.

  15. pixiebelle, there was a period of months when I was little that my older brother and I ate nothing BUT PB & bacon sandwiches. For every meal. He refused to eat anything else, and of course whatever he was doing, I had to do too.

  16. pixiebelle, have you tried Bacon Salt? It is a must for vegetarian bacon lovers. It is vegetarian, kosher, and makes everything taste like bacon! Made by J&D. It’s available online or in some stores. I am a fan, as you can see.

  17. I don’t have a recipe, but my Dad always tells the story about how his mom (my grandmother) would always fry a cut up squirrel, like friend chicken, and send it to him when he was in the Navy. It’s not so much the squirrel part that bothers me as the cooked meat through the postal service…

  18. SavvyChristine: pork crackling (basically what’s left in the pan when you cook bacon –not at all dissimilar to Griebenschmalz) is used in many cornbread recipes. Sadly, I don’t actually own those books (I read my mother’s set almost to death growing up), and that isn’t one of the many food things from Farmer Boy that I remember.

    I might just have to try PB&B sandwiches now.

  19. I inherited my great grandmother’s recipe file. It included a number of jello-based dishes.

    The worst one was a savory dish of lemon jello mixed with sour cream, corned beef and horseraddish. Make 2 boxes of jello, add other incgedients, stir, poor into Bundt pan. Chill and serve in slices as a salad.


  20. The 1940s BH&G has ‘Coffee with Egg’ but by the 1960s it had become ‘Swedish Egg Coffee’ and served 40. (They also have sections on how to make coffee for 100).

    For 40 servings: Moisten 1 pound coffee (any grind) with 1 cup water; combine with 1 or 2 slightly beaten eggs. Place in wet muslin bag large enough to hold twice that amount; tie. (First boil muslin in clear water, then rinse.)

    Bring 2 gallons (8 quarts) fresh cold water to rolling boil, then reduce heat below boiling point. Add dash salt. Add bag of coffee, submerging it. Cover, brew over low heat (don’t boil) at least 30 minutes. Push coffee bag down several times while brewing. Remove bag and keep coffee hot.

  21. @ Coco:

    I would actually really like to try that.. BF and his Dad go hunting for moose in Newfoundland every fall, and they each got a huge one this year. Like, to the point that I haven’t bought beef since October, we’re giving it away and making moose for every potluck, and we still have a chest freezer full. You’re not allowed to bring any bone or bone marrow back into the US though, so I’d have to go along and make it at camp :P

    I was going to post a recipe for pork Kishka, but I can’t find it, and I can’t remember what all goes into it. It’s basically headcheese, but the way my parents’ neighbor makes it, you’d never know.

  22. It may not be too exotic, but it is totally ridiculous and aweosme: Cherry Delight!

    3 cups graham cracker crumbs
    1 stick butter (melted)
    1/2 cup sugar
    Mix & press 3/4 of the mixture in the bottom of pan. Set aside (save the rest for top)

    2 8-oz. pkgs. of cream cheese (soften to room temp.)
    1-1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
    1 large container of cool whip
    2 cans cherry pie filling

    Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar with mixer. Add 1/2 container of cool whip (the rest will be used for the topping) and fold into cream cheese mixture. Spread over graham cracker crust. Spoon pie filling over cream cheese. Top with remaining cool whip. (I usually chill for a few hours before adding the cool whip and the rest of the crumbs)

    Sprinkle with the rest of the graham cracker crumbs and refrigerate.

  23. My Nana’s mum had a recipe for lemon cookies that must have been from the late 1800s. Some ingredients are measured by cost, like 5 cents of Ammonia.

    Yes, ammonia. Now called Baker’s Ammonia, it’s a leavening agent, like baking soda. My mum says the cookies smelled like ammonia while cooking, but didn’t taste like it at all, and the cookies were wonderfully light and crisp. Also uses lemon oil.

    We don’t know how to replicate it, given the way the ingredients are measured, so if anyone here has a recipe like this, I’d love to know! My mum would be thrilled.

  24. 1940s BH&G:

    Hors d’Oeuvre Suggestions:
    4: Wrap a half slice of bacon around any of the following; fasten with cocktail pick and broil: stuffed olives, oysters, fresh shrimp, or prunes stuffed with peanut butter.

    Yes, prunes stuffed with peanut butter and wrapped in bacon.

  25. Okay, my mother insists that several things I ate growing up are … odd (idiosyncratic, to say the least). But they don’t seem odd to me! So I’m asking y’all –are these things weird?:

    popcorn with butter and brewers yeast (I still love this)
    dandelion greens from the yard as salad
    waffles with brewers yeast and spinach in the batter
    waffles with gravy
    pancake/waffle/etc. mix with wheat germ, soy flour, and powdered milk in addition to the whole wheat flour and baking powder and salt.

    the other thing was that when I was really little we were vegetarian and my mother made her own tofu. This was in upstate NY in the late 70s/early 80s. We also spent time with wood cookstoves and doing things like boston brown bread (steamed in a coffee can)

    Tiger’s Milk I’ll buy being odd, but I can’t remember the recipe. My mother says wheat germ, black strap molasses, brewers yeast, powdered milk, milk/soy milk and possibly powdered vitamins

    Did no-one else grow up with blackstrap molasses? I’ve been told (by ex boyfriends, mostly) that it takes getting used to. (same goes for brewers yeast.)

    As I said yesterday, we used to cook blackstrap molasses and then get to dribble it onto snow in cast iron frying pans to make candy.

  26. Deborah Lipp – Thank you for posting that. :-) One of my favorite childhood kitchen memories is of my grandmother crowding around to steal the gribenes when my mom was rendering chicken fat. They really are an insanely delicious treat!

  27. I have heard of using eggshells to clarify coffee, whatever that means, but actual egg in coffee – yech. I’ll have the coffee and egg separately, please – egg fried, over easy, and served on top of grilled corn bread slices with some fresh mango salsa on the side.

    Anybody else ever have peanut butter and bologna, either in sandwiches or just rolled up like a small oriental rug made of pig innards? In comparison to jellied moose nose, bologna is pretty tame.

  28. This sounds like a good place for an unusual cake frosting recipe I got from my grandmother, who got it at a cake decorating class, probably in the fifties or early sixties.

    I call it

    Vanilla Roux Frosting

    1 cup milk
    5 Tbsp. flour
    1 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla

    In a small saucepan, whisk the milk slowly into the flour. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until visibly thickened (it will thicken much more as it cools). Pour into a shallow bowl to cool and press some plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the mixture to keep a skin from forming. Let cool completely.

    Using an electric mixer or stand mixer (it’s much easier in the stand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture a tablespoon at a time until it’s all incorporated and the frosting is smooth and creamy/fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.

    Makes enough for a 2-layer cake.

    What’s so interesting about this frosting is that somehow beating the roux into the butter and sugar completely eliminates the graininess of the granulated sugar. I never much liked frostings made with confectioner’s sugar, so I was ecstatic to discover this one. I am also pretty sure this is the original frosting for a traditional Red Velvet Cake, not the cream cheese frosting you see nowadays (I’m not much of a fan of cream cheese frosting either).

    I most often use this to frost a two-layer deep chocolate cake, which is heavenly, but if none of my coconut-hating friends will be partaking, I put plenty of shredded coconut (the sweetened flaky kind) in the middle and press as much coconut as the frosting will hold on the top and sides. Extra heaven! Mounds Cake!

  29. How cool am I that I actually *have* baker’s ammonia in the house? I made springerle over the holidays and wanted to be authentic.

  30. A Sarah: those are the ones! I couldn’t remember which Christmas cookies needed hartshorn.

    MacNabb: I want to try that recipe, too, but first I need to find food coloring here and a red velvet cake recipe. :)

  31. A prune stuffed with peanut butter and wrapped in bacon – I bet that tastes pretty good actually. A sweet/salty/savory combo.

    The weirdest thing I can come up with from my family history is putting freshly popped popcorn into a glass of buttermilk and eating it with a spoon, like soup. It seems weird, but it’s quite delicious.

  32. TheBaldSoprano – I’m a huge fan of popcorn with butter and brewer’s yeast (they call it nutritional yeast now). Nobody outside my family that I know likes it, though – until you! All I need is a big glass if iced Red Zinger tea and popcorn and I’m set. :)

  33. Well I can see where I’m going to be wasting a lot of time today! This is a thread after my own, twisted heart.

    Okay, it’s not a strange ingredient, per se, but I was tickled to find this surprising recipe in an old cookbook I got over the summer. It’s the Household Searchlight Recipe Book compiled by the editors of Household Magazine in 1939:

    Lamb Souffle:

    1 Cup diced, cooked lamb
    1 Cup Milk, scalded
    3Tablespoons Flour
    2Tablespoons Butter
    2 Tablespoons grated cheese
    3 Eggs
    Paprika, salt, pepper

    Combine milk, butter and flour. Season to taste. Cook over hot water until thick and smooth. Add slightly beaten egg yolks and cheese. Heat thoroughly. Add lamb. Carefully fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour in well-oiled baking dish. Place in pan of warm water. Bake in moderate oven (375F) until and inserted knife comes out clean. Serves six.

    I’d never heard of adding minced meat to a souffle before, but I’d be more than willing to try it out.

    Note, too, how many instructions this recipe leaves out as opposed to how the same recipe would be presented today. It assumes you know before you start to make a souffle that the eggs must be separated, and roughly how long a basic souffle takes to bake.

    The same cookbook has recipes for scalloped pig’s feet, casserole of tongue, baked heart, creamed brains, and homemade head cheese within a couple pages of the lamb souffle, too.

    Oh, and in the vegetable section, there’s a turnip souffle.

    It seems that some seventy years ago, people souffled a lot of things they’d never think of souffleing today.

  34. I am pretty sure that brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are different. Brewer’s yeast is brighter yellow and quite bitter. Nutritional yeast is milder in flavor, with a nutty, slightly cheesy flavor. I LOVE nutritional yeast, but I find brewer’s yeast unpalatable. Brewer’s yeast was very popular in the early ‘70s hippie health-food days. My stepfather used to drink it in *orange juice*. Vile! Granted, nutritional yeast would also be disgusting in orange juice.

  35. I think it’s one of my old Good Housekeeping cookbooks that has an entire section on ‘Invalid Cooking’, including a recipe for Beef Tea. Which is made with beef.

    I grew up with BH&G, and feel like a bit of a traitor for now preferring Good Housekeeping.

    I’ve long held that there are three kinds of people: Better Homes and Gardens people, Good Housekeeping people, and Joy of Cooking people. From what you guys have said, I may have to add Betty Crocker people. Is it just me, or are the Betty Crocker cookbooks more of an American thing?

  36. MacNabb: I, on the other hand, find nutritional yeast to be very bland. The same flavor, just not nearly enough of it. :)

    Maggie: I’ve never known anyone outside my family who did it, either! That’s counting my husband as part of my family, since I introduced him to it. :) I have GOT to get this broken tooth fixed so I can eat popcorn again….

  37. Oh, I forgot to say, JPlum, if you’d like to give me the recipe for the lemon cookies (the(dot)bald(dot)soprano(at)gmail), I can see if I can redact it (figure out the proportions) for you.

    I love lemon cookies :D

  38. BS, my mom was a wheat germ fanatic for a while – sprinkled it on toast, english muffins, cereal, waffles, etc. It was a staple.

    Years later I discovered that we must have gone through it pretty quickly, since the jar “lived” under the cabinets rather than in the fridge. The first jar of wheat germ I bought myself went sour – very nasty!

  39. As a kid I learned to like applesauce cooked with raisins and a bit of brown sugar. Mmm on a cold morning. I also liked my pancakes with ham instead of syrup, maybe with an egg on top.

    I also like stewed prunes, not that they’re difficult to find; but whenever my family went to IHOP I was the only eight year old ordering them….

  40. Pegkitty: there are two types of wheat germ: fresh and roasted/toasted (not sure of the english word). Maybe your mother used the toasted kind, which doesn’t sour as quickly?

  41. MacNabb….my mom has always made that frosting to go with the Red Velvet Cake. SOOOOOO yummy! And I’ve never had it anywhere else! German thing??

  42. I think everybody in the 70s ate wheat germ — we weren’t vegetarians or anything, but I was born in the late 70s and we always had some in the fridge. I think we added it to yogurt, mostly.

    I still love butter on saltine crackers, which is apparently odd. *shrug* It was a pretty standard snack in my family when I was little. My mom also likes dipping hard pretzels in mayonnaise. When I’m home I remember that this is also quite tasty.

  43. MMMMMmmmmm… Buttered Saltines!! Never tried the pretzels though.

    I’ll be making that frosting next; and lemon cookies? Yes, please!

  44. I used to have elbow macaroni topped with cottage cheese and toasted wheat germ. It was one of my favorite dishes.

  45. shyvixen — again with the Laura Ingalls Wilder! They did that in Farmer Boy, except they used milk and not buttermilk. I’ve always wanted to try that.

    The one thing I have NOT wanted to try out of those books was fried apples and onions, but I think that’s an excellent contribution to this thread. And now that I think about it, fried apples and onions sounds like it could be tasty.

  46. Ugly In Pink, we’re almost monster twins (but despite that, I don’t think macaroni and wheat germ would work for me, alas).

  47. I don’t know the recipes off the top of my head, but I’ve got two – one from each side of the family. On my mom’s side, we have an old recipe for rattlesnake chili, which while we usually make with chicken, I’ve been uh, lucky enough to try it as it was intended and it’s actually not that much different. On my dad’s side we have a weird casserole made out of crushed canned pineapple, shredded cheese, and ritz crackers.

  48. The one thing I have NOT wanted to try out of those books was fried apples and onions, but I think that’s an excellent contribution to this thread. </I.

    Oh, these are my absolute favorite. I totally vouch for them. :-) And I make a mean sheperd’s pie with chicken sausage, apples, and onions, topped with mashed potatoes.

  49. Anybody else ever have peanut butter and bologna, either in sandwiches

    Oooh! Back when I still ate mammal meat, I loved peanut butter, bologna, cheese, and probably even mayonnaise (layer ’em correctly — keep the mayo away from the pb) sandwiches. My dad still eats them, if he ever can con my mom into buying bologna.

    I still eat peanut butter and cheese sandwiches sometimes.

    My mother swears that boudin (blood sausage) is awfully tasty, but I’ll leave it for her.

  50. I have a cookbook from the 70s that is entirely nutritional yeast recipes. It is almost exactly like any other cookbook of the era, except that every recipe has at least a tablespoon of nutritional yeast added to it. You could substitute the whole thing with a business card size thing that says “To cook with nutritional yeast, add yeast.”

  51. ‘Swedish Egg Coffee

    Hey, now, that’s not obscure – half the Lutheran churches in Minnesota serve that stuff! Rather, they did when I was a kid, but that was admittedly a while back… I still see it in midwest church cookbooks but I think it’s faded in popularity since the percolator era.

    what does the addition of egg do to or for the coffee?

    I have never tried it, but that’s because I’m not a coffee drinker. The egg is supposed to cut the bitterness, I think. People who like egg coffee describe it as “smooth” – people who don’t like it call it bland. :D

  52. Egg coffee just sounds… odd.

    But I only like my eggs in baked goods, and when I grow up and win the Powerball, I’m going to hire a cute barista I know who’s won a couple of national competitions to come to my house every morning and make me an Americano.

  53. I think it’s one of my old Good Housekeeping cookbooks that has an entire section on ‘Invalid Cooking’, including a recipe for Beef Tea. Which is made with beef.

    I read this as invalid, as in not valid…not invalid…as in not well. I was confused for a monent there. Not valid recipres?


  54. SavvyChristine said:
    Didn’t Laura Ingalls Wilder talk about Gribenes in her books? I feel as though Almanzo snuck crackling bits when his mother wasn’t looking, even though they were too rich for little boys. They used them to flavor cornbread, right?

    Cracklings made from pork, as someone mentioned, and too rich for little girls – it’s in Big Woods, a page or so after they roast the pig’s tail. And Ma let them “have only a taste.” Almanzo may have snitched cracklings as a kid, too, but if so I don’t remember it.

  55. Beef Tea. Which is made with beef.

    Cubed round steak, to be precise. Beef Tea is good stuff even for non-invalids, but definitely a winter recipe in my book.

  56. Rouladen and saltzkartoffel. It’s a German dish of thinly sliced beef/venison/pork/boar prepared with pepper and mustard (actual herb) with onion and bacon inside, wrapped up like a taquito, and then cooked. It’s usually served with dumplings or salted potatoes (saltzkartoffel).

    And there was this really rich potato soup with kielbasa in it. I haven’t had any of it in years since I don’t see my German relatives much any more, but it’s simply fantastic and amazing and now I am hungry. D:<

  57. Brewer’s yeast was very popular in the early ‘70s hippie health-food days. My stepfather used to drink it in *orange juice*. Vile!

    I tried brewer’s yeast stirred into water as a nausea preventive with my first pregnancy – if I held my breath and drank it before I got a whiff of it I was fine, but it smelled like the stagnant, scum-coated water in a vase of cut flowers that someone left sitting somewhere for a week or more (not that I ever did THAT).

    Nastiest smelling stuff I’ve ever consumed, but one of my cats would come RACING up to me the second she got a whiff of it and DEMAND I share, following me around and grabbing at my ankles until I gave her some, then she’d snarf it down and try to talk me out of a second batch. Normally she was laid back and generally an unusually undemanding feline, but she thought brewer’s yeast was ambrosia, I’m tellin’ ya.

  58. My mother tells me that when she was a kid during the Depression, her mother (from whom she inherited the Worst Cook In The World gene) once made chocolate cake with bacon grease, because that was the only fat they had.

    When I made a face, she looked surprised and said, “After the first couple of bites it didn’t taste so much like bacon.”

  59. Almanzo did indeed, and weirdly enough I just read it not 10 minutes ago – all the talk yesterday made me get Farmer Boy out again, and I was just there. :)

    “They cut up the pork fat and boiled it in big kettles on the stove. When it was done, Mother strained the clear hot lard through white cloths into big stone jars. Crumbling brown cracklings were left in the cloth after Mother squeezed it, and Almanzo sneaked a few and ate them whenever he could. Mother said they were too rich for him. She put them away for seasoning cornbread.”

    I am so glad I’m not the only one.

    Wouldn’t “beef tea” just be another way to say beef broth? Sounds way weirder, though.

  60. Medievalcookery.com also has recipes for squirrel.

    Squirrels are singed, gutted, trussed like rabbits, roasted or put in pastry: eat with cameline sauce or in pastry with wild duck sauce. –The Goodman of Paris, 1393.

    Squirrel meat is healthy. Know also that any meat is the healthier the younger it is. It should also be neither too fat nor too lean. –Das Kochbuch des Meisters Eberhard, 15th century.

  61. I’ve long held that there are three kinds of people: Better Homes and Gardens people, Good Housekeeping people, and Joy of Cooking people. From what you guys have said, I may have to add Betty Crocker people. Is it just me, or are the Betty Crocker cookbooks more of an American thing?

    I think not just American but possibly the American mid-west. Betty was invented by a precursort of General Mills that was based in Minneapolis. “She” (a bunch of different actresses played her) had the first radio cooking show, which ran nationally for over twenty years.

    I’ve known a lot of Joy and Betty Crocker people but no BH&G or Good Housekeeping. We had a couple of BH&G cookbooks but they were always specialized rather than general. And I have a ton of Good Housekeeping recipes in my notebooks I cut out of the magazine but have never actually owned one of the cookbooks. Mom does but I’m not sure she’s ever cooked anything from it.

  62. @Shiloh: yeah, our cats loved it too. I think there was a pet-formulated brewer’s yeast that also had garlic in it. The cats were so eager for it they’d love up my hand as I tried to spoon it over their kibble and as often as not I’d end up spilling it on the floor. That is, until I learned to move the dish up to the counter to add the yeast.

    @Thalia: desperate times called for desperate measures; bacon grease in chocolate cake. Oi. HowEVER, a not-too-sweet dark gingerbread made with bacon fat is fucking delicious. Which, by the way, I like to make with a mixture of blackstrap and regular molasses (ref upthread).

  63. I’m getting my sense of smell back, beef tea sounds excellent right now.

    I think a chocolate cake that tastes faintly of bacon would also be awesome. When my husband’s father cooked for us he’d use bacon drippings for everything. Waste not, want not, and it did awesome things for green veggies.

  64. Buttered saltines are perfectly normal, what are you talking about?

    My sister’s roommate’s favorite snack is saltines chewed up and spit out onto other saltines. Hand to god.

    Savagewoman, I have had salt licorice and it was the worst thing I EVER put in my mouth. Barring the guy who gave it to me, I guess.

  65. Oh man, Fillyjonk! My dad loved DOUBLE SALTED licorice! I’m quite fond of black licorice, but I took a bit of that shit and you would not have believed how fast it hit the carpet. I couldn’t help myself.

  66. mmm, bacon fat. my dad has always, for as far back as i can remember, kept a mug with leftover bacon fat in the fridge, and uses it to grease the pan when he cooks egg. my friends always looked at me funny when they discovered the mug of bacon fat just hanging out with the rest of the food.

    i’m a vegetarian, but i use the mug o’ bacon fat to cook my eggs whenever i’m at my dad’s house — yum!

  67. the last place I found proper brewers yeast for sale was actually a pet food store.

    Feeding cats (and dogs, I believe) brewers yeast is supposed to be a non-chemical flea repellant. The theory is that cats who’re vulnerable to fleas are definicient in some B vitamin the yeast is high in. I wonder if there isn’t something to that, because the cat who adored brewers yeast was also very prone to fleas, while the other two cats at the time were practically immune.

    We got the one from the pound and she was INFESTED, which I realized after she’d met the other two, but the other two never did get fleas to speak of. I’d flea comb her and get a dozen and flea comb them and get nothing. And while she was mad about brewers yeast, the other two wouldn’t touch it. So maybe so…

  68. Wouldn’t “beef tea” just be another way to say beef broth?

    Beef broth you make with bones and it’s pretty gelatinous, or at least mine is. All the beef tea recipes I’ve run across you make with a boneless cut cubed fairly fine, and you serve it with the meat in it unless your invalid can’t eat even boiled meats. So not quite the same, I don’t think.

    Consomme is made with a higher percentage of meat I think so maybe like a consomme but I’m pretty sure consomme is made with bones as well.

  69. This isn’t too weird, but it’s weird enough that people look at me like I have three heads when I mention white potato pie is a signature dessert in my family. Most have never heard of it. You use very little ingredients and while it sounds bland, it’s not.

    One of my aunts made it and didn’t share the recipe, so when my grandfather asked me to make it this past Thanksgiving, I had to find an alternative recipe. Thank God for http://www.allrecipes.com which had one that I believe is about as similar as my aunt’s. It turned out good and my grandfather and brother ate the heck out of it. So here’s how to make it:

    INGREDIENTS (this is for 2 pies, I scaled it down for 1)
    2 potatoes – peeled, boiled and mashed
    2/3 cup butter
    1 cup white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    1/2 cup milk
    2 teaspoons lemon zest
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    4 eggs, beaten
    2 (9 inch) pie shell

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    In a medium mixing bowl mix sugar, baking powder, and salt, then add potatoes and butter or margarine; mix well. Gradually add whipping cream and milk, stirring until well blended. Stir in lemon rind, juice, vanilla, and nutmeg. Add beaten eggs and mix well.
    Pour mixture into pie shells and put in preheated oven. Bake for 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Best when served cold.

    MacNabb: I’ll have to try the vanilla roux frosting. I have a similar recipe like that in my Good Housekeeping cookbook from the early 60’s, except you don’t cover the mixture with plastic. It’s called White Fudge Frosting, and it reminds me of a vanilla version of Coca-Cola Frosting (which is probably one of the yummiest cooked frostings I’ve ever made and eaten).

  70. There’s an old Australian outback recipe for Galah Soup. (A galah is a grey and pink parrot.)

    Boil a large pot of water.
    Put a medium sized rock in the pot, along with a galah.
    Boil for two hours, then throw away the galah and eat the rock. Alternately, hit yourself on the head with the rock to prevent eating the galah.

  71. Bree, I am intrigued. And I have a homemade pie crust that needs to be used. Can you use instant mashed potatoes, do you know?

  72. Squirrel is both gamier than rabbit and much tougher. Rabbit (very free-range, so somewhere between most commercial rabbit and wild hare) grilled over an open flame is delicious, and about as tough as real (very free-range) chickens are. I’m assuming there that they’re around the same age, as both get tougher with age.

    The one time I had squirrel, it was barbequed on a stick and it took prolonged gnawing to free any of the meat. And the sight of everyone turning his squirrel above the campfire like a hot-dog roast gone wrong wasn’t even the weirdest part of that evening.

  73. Shiloh, I grew up with Better Homes & Gardens, and its one of the three cookbooks I own. But my mother also had many, many other cookbooks, though the only other one I remember her cooking out of regularly was The Hoosier Cookbook. And I’m more of an “internet” cook myself. My most popular cookbook is a pile of recipe printouts on top of my microwave.

  74. I’m getting my sense of smell back, beef tea sounds excellent right now.

    Beef Tea

    1 lb top round steak
    2 cups cold water

    Cut the meat into small pieces, about 1/2 inch cubes, and let stand in cold water for 2 hours.

    Then bring to a boil, cut the heat down to very low and just barely simmer for 2 hours.

    Season to taste with salt.

    Serve in a cup with the bits of meat.

    (from The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook)

    Buttered saltines are perfectly normal, what are you talking about?

    Butter saltines do not sound nifty, but now I’m craving buttered graham crackers, which I dearly love.

  75. the only other one I remember her cooking out of regularly was The Hoosier Cookbook.

    Ooo, and I’m a Hoosier (well, a transplant, but the kids are all natives). Does it have a recipe for Hoosier Pie (aka Sugar Cream Pie, Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie, Indiana Cream Pie, Sugar Pie, or Finger Pie), the Official State Pie of Indiana? Because that stuff is deadly. Also yummy yum yum. The filling is essentially sugar, cream, and butter.


    If it has Kentucky Derby Pie (even if they call it something else), I’ll accept that as a reasonable substitute.

  76. I don’t have the recipe handy but my granny has this recipe that she calls mulligan. I call it “husband killer”. It’s ground beef and cubed potatoes in a brown gravy that’s made with worcestershire sauce, shortening, and gravy browning liquid. It’s served over cornbread with a side of peas. Sounds utterly horrific, but it’s pretty darn tasty.

  77. Food related though not exactly exotic-cooking related…

    Does anybody know why marshmallows aren’t made of marsh mallows anymore? Or why they’re still called marshmallows? Do they taste the same? Are there still recipes somewhere where you could make a homemade marshmallow out of a mallow and whatever else goes into a marshmallow?

    I just think marshmallows are a totally awesome food product. Plus they taste good and I can make them grow to amazing proportions by sticking them in the microwave.

    Once that cooking-show lady made a cake that she coated with a sheet of marshmallow made by some spiffy candy place and I was like “dear heavens I want a bite of that thing.”

    My culinary contribution for this thread: I have totally put marshmallow fluff in the middle of two layers of chocolate cake (from a box, I’m not amazing enough to make cake from scratch) and let me tell you, that’s awesome. Do that. You won’t be sorry.

  78. My grandmother used to clean bacon fat, that is, she’d melt it down in a pan, let it sit for a bit until the heavier components settled to the bottom, and then strain it through a scrap of cheesecloth into a clean tempered jar. It came out a bit less salty, milder in flavor, and a little less apt to spit in the pan.

    She used it whenever she needed a fat for pretty much any savory dish unless it specifically needed butter, but the only times I can recall her using it for baking were for soda biscuits and skillet cornbread. Which latter my grandfather ate by preference the next day, broken up in milk with a little honey.

    Her cookbook of preference, which I now have, was the edition of the Prudence Penny Cookbook published by the San Francisco Examiner in 1938 or 39. I’ll have to look, but tonight I’ve got a horrible cold, it’s two rooms away, and I’m too lazy.

    *goes back to hot toddy*

  79. Shiloh, I have cat treats made out of brewer’s yeast. Once when I was pregnant they smelled really good and I ate one. Confused the hell out of the cats, but it wasn’t bad.

  80. @La di Da: I think the recipe goes “Once the rock is soft, the galah is ready”, doesn’t it?

    My mum’s cooking is pretty legendary in my circle of friends (legendary in the “oh my GOD she cooked WHAT?” sense). The creme de la creme, so to speak, is her seafood sauce which is: tomato sauce, curry powder, worcestershire sauce, dash of soy sauce all mixed together in a base of vanilla icecream. Normal to me at the time to have avocado and prawns (shrimp) with a whiff of vanilla…

    Another goodie (ugh) is her diet orange jelly salad, with tinned pineapple and carrot set in it. To be served with ham; fortunately my dad loves it…

    And in Australia we do love our Vegemite, of course, which people tell me tastes vile… if you weren’t brought up eating it as a baby, that is. My mother also got creative and used to serve mine mashed up with pawpaw (papaya). Nice.

    Didn’t Elvis used to eat PB & B sandwiches, with a whole lotta other stuff on them, like jam? And prunes wrapped in bacon are called ‘devils-on-horseback’ here or sometimes ‘pigs-in-a-blanket’. Yum!

  81. Has anyone made porcupines?
    The recipe I have from my old (70s) JOC calls for ground beef mixed like meatloaf with chopped green peppers in it, and then rolled in raw rice, and cooked in tomato sauce. Sort of an inside-out stuffed pepper — I suppose the rice looks like porcupine quills.

    I love how that was supposed to be an appetizing, enticing name. If someone told me we were having porcupines for dinners, I would be worried about quills getting stuck in my cheek — ouch!

  82. I come from a long and illustrious line of Spam Suckin’ Trailer Trash, so yes, I know some truly foul recipes by heart.

    Like tomato aspic. Which is basically jello, made with plain gelatin and tomato juice. Serve this with homemade mayonnaise, crackers, bland canned black olives, and some celery stalks filled with pimiento cheese (minner cheese: Shredded cheddar or Velveeta, mayonnaise, and jarred pimientos) Classy.

    Minner Cheese can also be served on white bread, with the crusts cut off.

    Should you have some tomato juice left, there’s always tomato spice cake with cream cheese icing. Mmm!

    Oh, but that’s going straight from cocktail munchies to dessert. Let’s make a stop at an appetizer of Livers and Gizzards. Which I ate many of as a child. You basically take the organ meats of chickens, batter them and deep fry. Perhaps you would prefer Hog’s Head Cheese? It’s a luncheon meat of pig parts bound together by boiling the gelatin out of the hog’s head. My father actually makes a fine Head Cheese.

    For the Main Course, there are of course, many recipes for what I call “Cream of Crap Casserole.” Take some meat, usually chicken, canned tuna, or ham. Add some Cream of Crap soup (chicken, mushroom, celery, cheddar, whatever flavor, but it must be canned.) Then stir in some frozen vegetables, more salt, cheese, more salt (this time in the form of Worcestershire or soy sauce) slap it all in a casserole dish and top with crunchy carbs. Popular choices are canned breadcrumbs, crushed potato chips, (more salt), crushed Ritz crackers, and chow mein noodles. Make nothing from scratch, add as much salt as you can stand.

    Other Deep South Redneck favorites include pickled things (eggs, pig’s feet, jowls, etc.) Sausages made of organ meats (Boudain), stewed intestines (chitlins, or chitterlings if you’re a fancy ass.) and my favorite, Cracklins. Which are pretty much fried pork fat. Salty, crispy deep fried pork fat.

    There aren’t a whole lot of stereotypes of the deep South that really hold up under scrutiny. But one that is true is that we will eat pretty much anything that swims, flies, walks, or crawls. It’s likely that we will fry it, smother it with gravy, and find a way to make it good with tomatoes.

  83. Fillyjonk, ew ew ew on the saltines with masticated saltine topping. Does this person at least warn the unprepared before indulging for the first time in their presence? Or is it a private thing?

  84. My mom recently found an entire cookbook of traditional Ojibwe/Chippewa recipes, and some of them are priceless. I wish I had a copy; one of the best recipes (in terms of actual recipes, not the food item it yields) is the recipe for bear meat (or something that includes bear meat). It says “choose a young bear that has been eating blackberries from the top of the bush.” There are also recipes for fish livers, porcupine and skunk.

  85. wellroundedtype2: the porcupine recipe I learned was basically oval meatballs (with cinnamon, IIRC –it was a medieval recipe) with slivered almonds stuck in for the quills. yummy.

    SugarLeigh: I think one of my cookbooks has a from scratch marshmallow recipe, but I can’t find that one at the moment. (The JoC has one, but not using mallows.)

  86. wellroundedtype2, on February 21st, 2009 at 6:37 am Said:
    Has anyone made porcupines?

    Yes, and they are nummy. They’re probably best made on the stove, but I am lazy and often make them in the oven. They freeze well, memory serves, but now I’ve got kids there are never enough left to do so.

    Turkey Porcupines in Basil-Tomato Sauce

    2 lb ground turkey
    1 cup uncooked rice
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/4 cup oil
    4 tsps sugar
    2 tsp basil leaves
    2 cups water
    32 oz. can tomato sauce

    In large bowl, combine turkey, rice, onion, salt, and pepper; mix well. Shape into 32 balls. Brown them if so inclined (taste better browned a bit). Place the porcupine meatballs in an ungreased 2-quart shallow baking dish. (Or maybe 2 2-quart or 13-quart, aka, 9×13 – can’t remember if I wrote these directions before or after doubling the ingredients…)

    Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the porcupine meatballs. Cover and bake at 350° F. oven for about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake porcupine meatballs 15 to 20 minutes longer.

    SugarLeigh asked
    Does anybody know why marshmallows aren’t made of marsh mallows anymore? Or why they’re still called marshmallows? Do they taste the same? Are there still recipes somewhere where you could make a homemade marshmallow out of a mallow and whatever else goes into a marshmallow?

    Otd-timey marshmallows were made out of marshmallow stems boiled in sugar – the stems had that open, foamy kind of texture but I think they were a lot chewy-er (i.e., tougher). I dunno how much difference there is in taste but I think modern marshmallows were preferred because people liked the texture better.

    I have a recipe for marshmallows… somewhere. :p It’s a more modern recipe (probably from the thirtie) because it uses corn syrup instead of sugar. Personally, I only like marshmallows toasted over a campfire (I toast and eat them layer by layer) or in Rice Krispie bars, and you don’t actually need marshmallows for RK bars (I’ve got recipes that just call for corn syrup that work just fine), so I’ve never made any.

    emmy said
    we will eat pretty much anything that swims, flies, walks, or crawls.

    You forgot to mention mudbugs, aka crawfish, crayfish, crawdads, etc, which were sold EVERYWHERE in Louisiana, but I never tried them while we were there, because I couldn’t get the image of the critter out of my mind. No doubt, had I ever connected breaded, fried shrimp (which was my standard order on those rare occasions I got to go to a restaurant as a child) with the ocean crustacean, I never would have experienced that, either, but happily I’d been eating them for years before I clued in.

    Not much for lobster, though, and mudbugs look more like lobster than shrimp, so maybe that’s the real issue.

    One southen delicacy I do love is red beans and rice, which I make with smoked ham hocks (which are a pain to locate around here). But other areas have equally iffy local specialties – Menudo, which was big in Denver, is made with tripe (“edible offal from the stomachs of various farm animals”, to quote Wiki’s definition), as is Philadelphia’s Pepper Pot Soup. Never had Menudo (didn’t eat out that much and always wanted to try the green chili soup when I did), but I’ve made Pepper Pot and it’s pretty good. The kids will even eat it – as long as they don’t see me preparing the tripe….

  87. Emmy, I have a little container of pimiento cheese in my fridge as we speak. Sometimes, you just get a craving for the stuff. I never much cared for it in celery but think it’s fabulous on the cheapest, most nutritionally vacant white bread you can find.

  88. Linda said;
    My mom recently found an entire cookbook of traditional Ojibwe/Chippewa recipes, and some of them are priceless.

    The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American has some native American recipes that do not entice me. One is basically oil from “fermented” fish, which they mixed with raspberries for dessert. He suggests raspberries with honey instead, and confesses, “No, I have not tried it with [oolichan grease] either.” :D

    The Romans were big on fermented fish kind of sauces and flavorings as well – I think Worchestershire is the only one that’s in common use nowadays.

  89. Re: meat in souffles: I make a very good spam, green chile, and cheddar souffle. It’s really very good, especially if you cut the spam into small cubes first and brown them off.

    Re: disgusting family recipes: Grandma’s red jello salad, with canned fruit cocktail in it and served with a dollop of mayonnaise on top. Yuck. Just yuck yuck yuck. And we always had to have some because Grandma made it. (Her lime jello, cottage cheese, and canned pineapple salad wasn’t good, but wasn’t quite as bad.)

    My squirrel story: the college I went to had a state agriculture school. The Monday before Thanksgiving marked the start of deer season, so a lot of students took off early for the holiday go to hunting.

    One of the guys in my dorm never did get his deer, but one year got a squirrel, and brought it back, thank goodness already cleaned and dressed. He fried it up in the dorm kitchen and offered it around.

    We all refused politely. Not because it was squirrel, but because it was basically burned black. I could tell he was hurt that no one wanted to try his prize, but I don’t think he ever quite understood it wasn’t the squirrel that was the problem, it was the preparation.

    In the many years that have passed, I always wondered if I passed up a golden opportunity to try something wonderful. After reading the other squirrel stories here, I still think I made the right decision.

  90. In the many years that have passed, I always wondered if I passed up a golden opportunity to try something wonderful. After reading the other squirrel stories here, I still think I made the right decision.

    I feel the same way about passing up the chocolate covered ants in sixth grade. I did like the black caviar, however, but the red caviar might as well have been seawater in gelatin capsules for all of me…

  91. gully-girl, your story reminds me of one my mother used to tell.

    Back in the mid-fifties, a good friend of hers gave birth to her first child. There were some minor complications – she and the child were both going to be fine all along, but they had to stay in the hospital a bit longer than average. While the new mom was away, her mother came to stay with the husband and do his housekeeping.

    Several days into the situation, my mother dropped by to see how the new daddy was doing. He looked at her like a lifeline and whimpered: “Helen, please feed me.”

    It seems that morning his MIL had presented him with a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and Maraschino cherries.

    The really scary part is that the story always hinted that this was the least of the MIL’s culinary transgressions.

    @shiloh: Really? Menudo is big in Denver? I thought I knew about it because I’m a California girl and, well, it’s a very popular dish in Mexico and Central America. Will I eat it? No.

    My mother used to serve tripe for dinner several times a month until one day when I was six I pushed my plate away and announced there was no way in or out of hell that I was ever eating that revolting stuff again. My brother the medieval historian-to-be informed me that I was just refusing to eat it because of what part of the animal it was. Of course, I had no clue where it came from on the animal. I just knew I found it flavorless and the texture made me gag…so I asked what part of the animal it was.

    Yeah, good luck getting a six year old who already finds the meal so gross she’s willing to go to bed without supper to avoid eating it not to get further grossed out when she learns she’s been eating stomach lining. In the longrun, though, the thing I hated wasn’t where it came from but how it felt in my mouth.

    OTOH, I loved my mother’s beef heart stew with a passion. Yes, I knew what it was the first time I took a bite. Yes, I thought it was tasty. I honestly don’t have a problem with eating innards, so long as I think they taste good. In fact, I consider it respectful of the animal to waste as little as possible. But I’m sorry, I just can’t (bad pun warning) stomach tripe.

  92. The Bald Soprano, on February 20th, 2009 at 6:20 pm Said:
    are these things weird?:
    dandelion greens from the yard as salad
    waffles with gravy
    pancake/waffle/etc. mix with wheat germ, soy flour, and powdered milk in addition to the whole wheat flour and baking powder and salt.

    As I recall, dandelion greens salad is supposed to be popular in France. I have a couple of pancake recipes with wheat germ, soy flour and powdered milk that Iike muchly, one plain pancakes and the other oatmeal, IIRC. The oatmeal one is from Diet For a Small Planet I think, and was out staple pancake recipe for years. The other one was from The New York Times Vegetarian Cook Book IIRC. Also love ricotta pancakes with powdered sugar.

    Now I want to make pancakes, and we just had them Thursday…

    Haven’t had waffles with gravy, although I love them with cheddar cheese (I just sprinkle grated cheese on right before closing the waffle iron – bacon or mini chocolate chips are nom nom as well, although probably not so hot together), and I do like savory pancake recipes like this one (made with Velveeta or Chez Whiz, so you know it’s high class):

    Pecos Supper Flapjacks

    1 recipe cheese sauce (recipe below)
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped green pepper
    2 Tbs cooking oil
    1 (8-oz) can cream-style corn
    1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
    1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
    1 Tbs baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    2 beaten eggs
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

    Prepare Cheese sauce, set aside. In a medium saucepan, cook the onion and green pepper in hot oil for 5 to 7 minutes or till vegetables are tender. Stir in corn; set aside.

    In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small mixing bowl combine eggs and milk; add all at once to the flour mixture, stirring until combined. Fold in corn mixture and cheese.

    For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet; cook till deep golden brown, turning to cook other side when pancakes have a bubbly surface and slight dry edges (about 2 minutes). Serve immediately. Pass Cheese sauce.
    Makes 18 pancakes

    Cheese Sauce
    8 oz cheese whiz or cheese whiz with jalapeno
    peppers or velveeta
    1/2 cup tomato sauce or salsa

    In small saucepan cook and stir ingredients until cheese melts and mixture is heated through.
    Makes 1 1/4 cups

  93. Oopsie on the unclosed italics, there.

    Really? Menudo is big in Denver?

    Well, the more authentic Mexican restaurants all had it. I had a friend who tried it everywhere the way I tried green chili soup.

    I cut the tripe pretty fine for the pepper pot soup – I don’t think I’d like it if it were much bigger, either, because as you say, the texture is a little odd. Would definitely not want it more than once a year, though, let alone a couple of times a month, yikes!

    I loved my mother’s beef heart stew with a passion.

    I’d probably like that pretty well. I used to eat a lot of beef heart after I was hospitalized for severe anemia (hated my iron pills and would try anything short of liver – which I knew I couldn’t eat – in order to avoid them) and thought it was fine.

  94. Menudo is indeed big in Denver. I have coworkers who talk about it once a week. I haven’t tried it yet but I might eventually.

  95. The Romans were big on fermented fish kind of sauces and flavorings as well – I think Worchestershire is the only one that’s in common use nowadays.

    In Western cookery, this is true so far as I know. There are still many varieties of fermented fish sauce used in Asian cookery, though, and I’ve read that nuoc mam or nam pla can be used to substitute for the Roman garum/liquamen.

    I’ve made those mediaeval hedgehogs with the almond quills, I think — is that the recipe from Pleyn Delit? One of my favorite cookbooks to browse, even if I haven’t made many of the recipes. Another I made and liked from it, though, was the brie tart.

  96. I used to dread holiday meals at my father’s mother’s house when I was a kid, because dessert always featured her (in)famous “strawberry fluff.” It was an unbearably sweet pink substance with an indescribable texture, slippery yet . . . viscous? puffy? no, I really can’t find the words. It was a very, very poor substitute for strawberry shortcake. Gramom’s long gone, so I can’t ask her what was in it, but I’m thinking now it was probably some kind of meringue with pureed strawberries . . . and Crisco.

  97. I don’t have any personal family recipes that are especially strange, but someone mentioned Elvis upthread, and that reminded me of one of his favorite snacks, the Fool’s Gold Loaf:

    * One entire loaf of Italian bread is coated with two tablespoons of softened butter.
    * The bread is placed in a 350 degree (F) oven for approximately fifteen minutes or until loaf is browned.
    * The loaf is then halved along its length on one side.
    * The soft inside of the loaf is scraped away to allow room for the filling.
    * One whole jar of creamy peanut butter, one jar of grape jelly, and a pound of lean bacon, fried crispy and still warm, are layered inside the loaf.

  98. My childhood was pretty boring, food-wise. My dad was a hunter, though, so I’ve eaten just about every kind of duck you can imagine (blech, mallard is the worst), and pheasant and, yes, squirrel once (but I blocked out the taste as a defense mechanism).

    But the worst thing to me was always my mom’s ham hotdish. I don’t know what was in it, but you can guess the ingredients fairly easily. Noodles. Some kind of cream soup. Corn. Cubes of ham.

    Doesn’t sound terrible, but I hated that stuff. Then again, I haven’t voluntarily eaten ham or any pork product since I was pretty young, so my opinion is biased.

  99. my dad always said that hedgehogs needed to be rolled in clay before cooking as it made their spikes easier to handle; I don’t think he was speaking from experience though.

    You said squirrel recipes and I thought of Elvis and deep-fried squirrel straight away. Sadly, no odd family recipes but there was the English delicacy of bread and dripping… white sliced “Mother’s Pride” bread, spread with the cold fat from the cooked joint.

  100. A Sarah: You probably could use instant mashed potatoes, but my grandfather refuses to eat them, so I had to use the real thing.

  101. I think I may be the only USian who really likes–nay LOVES–salted black licorice. I used to live in the Netherlands and acquired the taste for them there.

    My grandmother was the world’s worst cook. She had a poor sense of smell (which I think disappeared completely as she got older), and so her food was always really salty. She used to store moth balls in the pantry, so any opened bag of food (like chips) would acquire that smell and possibly became toxic, as well. My brother and I would smuggle the tainted food out to throw out in a neighbor’s can because my grandmother would have a fit about wasting food.

    But the worst meal ever was some roasted Teriyaki chicken she served to me and my mom. It tasted like soap and it was really inedible. She used a standard teriyaki sauce and neither my mom nor I could figure out why it was so foul (my grandmother couldn’t taste anything unusual). We found out that she had put soapy water in the roasting pan before cooking to prevent the fat that dripped off the chicken from sticking to the pan. So, not only was the chicken steamed over soapy water…she was also basting the chicken with the liquid from the fat/sauce that dripped off the chicken into the soapy water. Ugh.

  102. Wait a minute, lunaray! Did we have the same grandmother? Mine committed hideous offences against innocent food on a regular basis.

    On the upside, she could make brilliant jam and the most delicious cobblers I’ve ever eaten…but that Teriyaki thing sounds exactly like something she would have done.

  103. shiloh, that porcupine recipe sounds great. Mr. Rounded has been doing most of the cooking of late but if I do pull dinner duty soon, I’ll make that. I think it would be enjoyed by all in my household. Mr. Rounded loves things cooked in tomato sauce but isn’t a huge fan of italian herbs (prefers Indian or middle eastern ones) but this sounds like a great way of making meatballs in sauce that aren’t overly oregano-y.
    Oh, and he insists on grounding his own beef/turkey/chicken. Probably not a bad idea, but not something I enjoy doing myself.

  104. I spent a summer in Alaska doing native language research and was fed porcupine. The recipe as far as I can tell, was roughly:

    Remove innards and quills (but not hair) from porcupine.
    Singe hair off of porcupine in campfire
    Cut porcupine into portion-sized pieces
    Boil porcupine

    There may have been some salt involved at some point. It is very gamy and very, very oily. I’m sure it’s welcome in January when it’s 50 below out and you want that kind of fat, but in July it was pretty hideous. It would probably be quite tasty grilled with a nice marinade. On the other hand, that day also featured The Best Salmon Ever, stewed with fresh berries. I am also eternally grateful that I was not offered the delicacy of pickled walrus blubber, which the professor I was staying had to endure at various points.

  105. You give cats brewers yeast to stop them getting fleas. It makes their blood taste and smell bad to the fleas so they’ll leave them alone.

    It works in a similar way for humans – if you eat it regularly, or have marmite regularly (like I do), then it stops the mosquitos/gnats from biting you. Or you can take vitamin B supplements.

    Marmite could probably be on here actually!

  106. @ A Sarah: Hurray! I’m so glad you liked it. One of these days I’m going to figure out a chocolate version.

  107. Angellore, I had an interesting run-in with marmite as a child. I was about four years old and staying with some friends of the family. The husband was an officer in the British Army, stationed in the U.S. for a few years as a liaison. His wife was of very posh gentry background who had never had to cook her own food until they were stationed in the U.S., which resulted in some very interesting menus, I’m sure. But what I remember was being given what looked like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich one day. Being very hungry, I ripped into it, only to discover that it was a marmite and jelly sandwich. Or rather, I had no idea it was marmite; I just thought it was horrifying. I claimed I wasn’t hungry and later asked my parents about it, and together we managed to work out what it had been. I still wonder–did she actually eat that at home, or was she making her own version of a classic American favorite, or did she think that’s what Americans actually ate?

    For their part, though, I’m sure they were put out by a lot of what we ate. My mother served them refried beans once and the husband told her in no uncertain terms that if she ever expected him to dine at her house again she would have to promise not to serve such an abomination.

  108. Menudo is a great hangover breakfast (something to eat the morning after, when your stomach feels all queasy). I think it’s the spices in the broth, personally. That’s dependent, of course, on your reaction to eating tripe.

    Also good for colds. Again, depending on your feelings about tripe.

  109. One of the weirdest foods I’ve ever eaten: crab, bone marrow, and cow brain soup. I don’t have the recipe, but it basically involved a beef stock base, some big beef bones with some meat still attached to the bones, smallish crabs (split in half, gutted, then thrown in legs, head and all), and cow brains, along with onion, bell pepper, and garlic. It was described as “bone marrow and crab” soup, which my husband loves and ordered for both of us – I had no idea what the little squiggly things in the soup were until afterwards. Thank Maude there’s no known incidence of mad cow disease in Nicaragua, where we ate this!

    Close second for weirdness: dried, reconstituted, jellyfish, marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic with some seaweed thrown in for good measure. Squishy.

  110. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the roasted ants, a Colombian and Central American delicacy. Last 4th of July a Colombian friend brought this favorite dish of his to a dinner. The ants used are the emergent queens of leaf-cutter ants (Atta sp.). They measure about 1-1.5″ long and maybe 1/4″ in diameter. You pull off the wings (but leave the legs and antennae on), throw them in a frying pan on high heat with a little bit of oil, roast them until toasty and brown, then toss with a little salt. They had surprisingly little flavor, and no formic acid taste at all – they were crunchy, with a slight burnt and salty flavor.

  111. I made porcupines (the kind with ground meat and rice)!
    I used ground turkey breast and brown rice, a good amount of olive oil to brown them in, and fresh tomatoes pureed in the food processer. I added sweet red pepper, a little fresh onion and garlic and cilantro to the meat and rice mixture. I used a little ground cumin and cinnamon, along with salt, pepper and paprika for the spices.It probably needed to simmer for a full hour because of how long the brown rice takes to cook. I added some cauliflower to steam on top near the end so I didn’t have to use another pot. (I love one-pot meals).
    It came out really well. Lots of fresh tomato flavor. Little one didn’t care for it (me: “I want you to try it, but you can spit it out if you don’t like it.” Little one puts a very small amount in mouth, gives it a go, and ejects it into Mr. Rounded’s hand, which then goes to our dog, who is thrilled).
    Mr. Rounded has been doing most of the cooking lately and asked me, “So, have you missed being in the kitchen?” Me: “Yeah, kind of. Are you sick of cooking.” Mr. Rounded, “Yes.” Me: “I look forward to making the things I like best.”
    After dinner, he said we could add this to our list of things to cook. Which makes me think he liked it. He also said it was like stuffed peppers — again, making me think he liked it well enough.

  112. “Menudo, which was big in Denver, is made with tripe (”edible offal from the stomachs of various farm animals”, to quote Wiki’s definition), as is Philadelphia’s Pepper Pot Soup. Never had Menudo (didn’t eat out that much and always wanted to try the green chili soup when I did), but I’ve made Pepper Pot and it’s pretty good. The kids will even eat it – as long as they don’t see me preparing the tripe….”

    Thanks for reminding me of this! My ex- Mexican bf told me about this once….(because we were talking about the band named Menudo) and he said, you have to take the meat, stretch it out, and really clean it, REALLY clean it. He said you have to use lemon, lots of lemon and SCRUB it. The expression on his face when he described the pain of scrubbing to make sure it was eligible was priceless.

  113. Not sure if anyone’s mentioned this already, but in the UK Walkers Crisps are running a competition at the moment where they sell 6 new flavours, and whichever sells most will become a permanent sale. One of the flavours is Cajun Squirrel! I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to!

  114. My dad made peanut butter, mayonnaise, and lettuce sandwiches for us when I was a kid. Iceberg lettuce only, with the condiments on opposite sides. They’re scarily good.

  115. Middle daughter thinks one of my favorites belongs here – cheese ramen, a recipe we picked in up Korea (from a fellow American, of course, since most Koreans view cheese with the enthusiasm the average American shows for kimchee…). Make a packet of ramen as usual, put the noodles in your bowl, lay a slice of American cheese over them, and then pour in the broth.

    I’m not usually much for American cheese (hey, they’re not even legally allowed to call it cheese – it’s technically cheese FOOD, whatever that means), but for some reason I really like this. Definitely not an every day food – few nutrients and fat on fat besides (Ramen noodles are way higher in fat than most people realize because they’re fried).

    Then again, I think half the reason I like it is nostalgia. I always think of the guy who introduced us to it and his wife when I have it. :)

  116. My Gramma and Mom made “porcupines” as described above, but because they were rolled into balls and baked in a casserole, we always referred to them as “Porcupine Balls”! Which I never thought of as anything other than meatballs until this thread with many organ meat shout outs, lol

  117. Hearing mention of Bovril and Marmite made me think of Fray Bentos, which was like a version of Marmite. A friend suggested I try it with grated carrots in a sandwich and it was delicious. I haven’t seen Fray Bentos on the shelves in years though. Pity.

  118. When I was a wee Chile, my Mom made this odd little salad that involved lettuce, sliced bananas, and a sort of sweet-tangy dressing that I think was probably Miracle Whip thinned out with milk. I … don’t even think there was anything else in it. It sounds rather horrific to me now, but boy, my brothers and I really liked it!

  119. Oh, and I’ve just made an LJ post beseeching my UK friends to send me Cajun Squirrel tater chips, because holy cow, how could I not want to try those?!?

  120. I think I may be the only USian who really likes–nay LOVES–salted black licorice. I used to live in the Netherlands and acquired the taste for them there.

    No, my coworker loves the stuff. I’ve loved almost every kind of licorice I’ve ever tasted, so I might like it, too. (The exception was licorice tea, which is WAY too sweet for me.)

  121. The exception was licorice tea, which is WAY too sweet for me.

    Oooo, I love licorice tea! Haven’t had any in forever. I don’t remember it being terrifically sweet – on par with cinnamon teas – but I would guess it tastes sweeter in some blends. I’d give salted licorice a shot if I ever ran across it but when it comes to my favorites I tend to like a purer flavor so I dunno if I’d like it.

  122. I’ve got one for you: Tater Tot Casserole. Ground beef, onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, cheese, and frozen tater tots.

    The ground beef goes on the bottom. Onion soup mix is sprinkled on top, followed by the cream of mushroom soup, tater tots, and cheese…in that order.

    Exact amounts can be found with a bit of Googling.

  123. My ex-10 year partner, who I broke up with 5 years ago, is super computer-guy. He spends a lot of time online (or at least he used to), but he must never use his real name, because the newest stuff that comes up on him is from a job he left in the late 1990s. I still think about him sometimes and google him to see if I can find out what he’s up to, even though nothing current ever surfaces. I could just e-mail him, but I don’t.

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