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  #41  
Old 18 July 2017, 03:11 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
A friend's mother once showed me a recipe for a chocolate cake with a secret ingredient: sauerkraut. It was supposed to impart a coconut-like texture.
Actually, I can see that working. I'd think you'd need to use high-cocoa content chocolate (70% or above), and mild sauerkraut. It would add both texture and moisture, and probably a tang.

And let me be the nth person to state that aspic is disgusting. It was served at my BIL's mother's funeral (apparently she was very fond of tomato aspic, and had served canned tomato aspic frequently when her children were little). I only tasted it because I'd never seen it before. I hope I never see it again.

As for the chopped liver salad, calves' or lamb's liver would probably also be good, Thorny. When I was a small child, my parents served lamb's liver, and I must have liked it because I was a very stubborn child and I would remember if I had hated it and been forced to eat it.

Seaboe
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  #42  
Old 18 July 2017, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
The thing is this is a recipe that doesn't have much other liquid in it. Basically just a small amount of broth to deglaze the pan after sautéing the meat and vegetables. So there isn't really any sauce for the cheese to melt in with. So you either end up with melted cheese stuck to the meat and veggies, or like I experienced the other day, a lump of melted cheese. It would be different if this was making something like an alfredo sauce.
Thank you for clarifying! Yeah, that definitely fits with the kidn of recipes I mentioned in the OP, where you wonder if the recipe writer actually tested the recipe out before publishing it...
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  #43  
Old 21 September 2017, 03:57 PM
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Resurrecting the thread to throw this story in:

At Duke University, A Bizarre Tour Through American History And Palates


-- not all the recipes are actually bizarre; but nevertheless it seems to fit here.
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  #44  
Old 21 September 2017, 04:44 PM
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Test kitchen volunteers are still trying to figure out what a "meatbox" from the 1911 Kitchen Encyclopedia should literally look like.
That reminds me, I've got an old copy of The Bohemian-American Cookbook from 1915. It's full of recipes that would seem bizarre to us now. Among other things, it includes recipes for game meats including things like songbirds (At least that's how I remembered it, but the closest I can find is "small birds". I might have interpreted that as songbirds at the time but now that I think about it that might mean small game birds like pigeons, although there is a separate recipe for pigeon):

Quote:
SMALL BIRDS.

Mali ytáčJiOvé.

Clean, cut off the heads, and salt. Put a piece of but-
ter in a roasting pan, a sliced onion, and add the birds,
breasts down. Bake in a quick oven about 15 minutes,
and when they are beginning to brown, sprinkle with
grated bread crumbs. When done, add several table-
spoons of soup, and serve.
The actual preparation isn't all that strange, really, albeit perhaps a little simple by current tastes. It's just that the recipe includes instructions like "cut off the heads", whereas a modern cookbook would assume you purchased the bird already butchered.

Also interesting is that few of the recipes include any specific measurements, instead simple listing some seasonings and leaving it up to the cook to decide how much to use, presumably based on taste.

Last edited by WildaBeast; 21 September 2017 at 04:51 PM.
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  #45  
Old 21 September 2017, 06:47 PM
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"Small birds" probably does mean migratory songbirds. They would have netted them and eaten them - still happens (mostly illegally) in some places in Europe. Ortolan buntings are a delicacy in France. Malta is infamous for still allowing people to "traditionally" shoot small birds with shotguns as they migrate across the island.

I once collected snails from my garden and followed a recipe in Larousse to purge and cook them. I do like escargots in restaurants, but while preparing them I realised that any recipe which includes the line "rinse thoroughly to remove all mucus" is really one that you want somebody else to cook for you.

(The recipe went wrong, and turned into a bit of a waste, when after a week purging them in a box with herbs and clean water, I came to cook them up with garlic butter and realised half way through that I was out of garlic, which is generally one of those things that I take for granted I have in. And my local supermarket had already shut. I used shallots instead, which really weren't the same. They would probably have been better with actual garlic.)

Similarly with cleaning and preparing fresh whole squid, which I've tried a couple of times recently... calamari is great, and my first attempt even turned out quite well, but from now on I'm buying it ready made!

Last edited by Richard W; 21 September 2017 at 06:54 PM.
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  #46  
Old 21 September 2017, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
-- not all the recipes are actually bizarre; but nevertheless it seems to fit here.
Some of the test cooks seem to have an oddly limited perspective, though. Why could they not work out what to do with the flaming cherry dish? Assuming that it was burning because it had been flambéed in brandy or a similar spirit, rather than by actually setting fire to the cherries, it's not a particularly rare or unusual thing to do to a pudding, and it will go out of its own accord once most of the alcohol has burned off.
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  #47  
Old 21 September 2017, 07:16 PM
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Richard W, I was puzzled by that too; though part of my puzzlement was due to the fact that they'd apparently consulted about making the dish with someone who did it often, but hadn't thought to consult about whether to just let it burn out and, if not, what else to do about it.

-- it's not something I know much about, but I always thought it was just the alcohol that would burn, and that it did so fairly quickly and then the fire went out for lack of fuel, so that all you needed to do was just not have anything extremely flammable too close. I suppose if you used way too much booze eventually the cherries might burn too; but they're fairly wet to start with, aren't they? so they wouldn't catch all that easily.
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  #48  
Old 21 September 2017, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
"Small birds" probably does mean migratory songbirds. They would have netted them and eaten them - still happens (mostly illegally) in some places in Europe. Ortolan buntings are a delicacy in France. Malta is infamous for still allowing people to "traditionally" shoot small birds with shotguns as they migrate across the island.
Interesting. I honestly have no idea if that was ever a common practice in America, but it makes perfect sense that it would be included in a book of traditional "Bohemian" recipes translated from Czech (As a personal note my great-grandparents emigrated from the Bohemian region of what would now be the Czech Republic circa 1910 I think, which I'm guessing is why this book is in my family.)

Anyway, I will now leave you with this recipe for calf's brains:

Quote:
SOUP WITH CALF'S BRAIN QUENELLES.

Polévka s knedlicky z mozku.
Wash thoroughly a calf or hog brain and parboil
in salted water. Skin it and mince fine with parsley,
add salt and pepper and fry all together in butter.
Then put this into a mortar, add a slice of stale white
bread that has been soaked in milk, and pound all to
a paste. Or else you may cream together thoroughly with
a spoon. Cream a tablespoon of butter, add to it the
prepared brain, one whole egg and one yolk, some dry
bread crumbs and mix together. Make balls the size
of a walnut. Boil one to test it. If it is too soft, add
a little more of the bread crumbs. The quenelles are
boiled in the soup. Before serving add a pinch of saf-
fron and mace.
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  #49  
Old 21 September 2017, 11:33 PM
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Serves four, I assume? Four quenelles.

I had a brain sandwich once in Lebanon, but the menu didn't specify what kind of brain it was (at least, not in the English translation). I assume it was a sheep's brain. It wasn't that great but wasn't horrible either - it had the texture of slightly warm scrambled egg with a fairly subtle meaty flavour.

I was with my brother at the time, and he told his students about this, and according to him, even the Lebanese students thought it was revolting and couldn't understand why anybody would eat it. I'm not sure I believe him, though.
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