Comments on: Friday fun foodfest: Mock Apple Pie! History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 15:26:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: What I Saw and How I Lied « YABG Sat, 17 Jan 2009 21:31:56 +0000 [...] 97 [Mock apple pie] “you could make apple pie from Ritz crackers” – (The Worldly, Historian Blog)249 Sno-Caps – 90 Yankee Bean Soup72 “dollop of potato”23 – “mashed [...]

By: Historiann Wed, 29 Oct 2008 18:07:22 +0000 Ha! I love it. But I wonder if the Ritz Mock Apple Pie has an indescribeable richness that stale biscuits just couldn’t impart to its 19th C ancestor…

Thanks for stopping by to comment, LMC–I hope you’ll be back again.

By: Little Midwestern College Wed, 29 Oct 2008 17:33:40 +0000 What a delightful diversion from my giant pile of midterms! I’ll add this to the discussion, a snarky aside in a longer work by Mrs. Isaac Atwater about 1850s Minneapolis: “It is amusing now to think of the various devices resorted to in the struggle to supply the deficiencies of the market. Preserves were made of almost everything. . . and equal ingenuity went into the manufacture of pies, even to the substitution of cracker moistened with tartaric acid for apple, which, made into a pie, ‘could hardly be told from real apple.’ I am happy to say that this invention was not extensively adopted, and that such pies did not find their way into ‘the best society.’”

By: Indyanna Sat, 25 Oct 2008 01:50:20 +0000 One good account of early American butter-making (for commercial as well as domestic purposes) is Joan M. Jensen, _Loosening the Bonds: Mid-Atlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850_, a study set in the Philadelphia near-hinterland. This post led me to scratch an old itch and look up to find out how much a “firkin” of butter was.
It was a large, quarter-barrel type of a coopered tub holding 112 English pounds!

I wonder if the origins of the various “mock” apple pies maps places where Johnny Appleseed didn’t get to, but where grindable grains would have been plentiful–which pretty much points to the great American prairie?

By: Historiann Fri, 24 Oct 2008 21:29:25 +0000 Wow, thanks Other Sarah for the insider info on milk and butter! I don’t know if colonial cows would have been as prolific producers of milk–you probably had your cows on a regular feed as well as pasture grazing, whereas I think early American milk production was more unpredictable. Nevertheless, your comment helps me conceptualize the amount of milk, cream, and time butter production took.

I wonder if colonial women (especially in the South) would have had the option of churning only once every 3 days–they had butteries and cellars, but nothing like a refrigerator for storing up their cream. That might also have worked to make for smaller but more frequent batches of butter, at least in the warm months.

By: The Other Sarah Fri, 24 Oct 2008 21:05:10 +0000 Six pounds of butter?
As a child in the 1960s in the Ozarks, I lived on a farm with 2 dairy cows.
We regularly churned every third day, and one churning regularly provided us with 3 pounds of butter.
The cows were Jerseys.
Milking was done by hand. Twice a day, even while feeding their calves too, the cows regularly produced a little more than a gallon and a half of milk.
From a day’s milking we regularly skimmed a pint of cream. Most of the time this went into the churn.
The churn was a Dazey gallon-size glass churn with a crank and a paddle.
Churning in warm weather occurred more often, sometimes daily.
Spring and summer butter was yellower than winter butter.

The cost of the butter on a farm is, essentially, the labor to, and knowledge of, completing the process.

Note: ultra-pasteurized dairy products such as are commercially available in most grocery stores are VERY difficult to make butter from.

By: Erica Fri, 24 Oct 2008 19:01:11 +0000 Good lord, that would be my butter budget for two months! WWII rationing housewives are screaming in horror.

By: Historiann Fri, 24 Oct 2008 18:30:57 +0000 I’m trying to imagine how many cakepans that 6 pounds of butter recipe would fill. I wonder if you could fit them all in a standard-size kitchen range. That’s an awesome amount of cake, Sis–be careful what you wish for!

By: Sisyphus Fri, 24 Oct 2008 18:17:51 +0000 Hells yeah 6 pounds of butter! You tell Erica to get on that recipe and post some pictures of the results.

And she can mail me a slice of the cake, too. Mmm.

By: Historiann Fri, 24 Oct 2008 15:54:59 +0000 Good question–I think that both “biscuits” in the British style and cookies, whatever you call them, are a modern thing. (That is, a 19th century invention.) I went to Mrs. Carter’s cookbook to see what her “biscuits” look like, and she offers zero recipes in her cookbook for either quick breads or yeast breads of any kind, and of course nothing that looks like a cookie today. I wonder if the absence of bread recipes is because she (rightly) assumed that everybody had their own preferred kinds of bread, so recording different recipes was pointless.

As for American biscuits, as in hot quick breads leavened with baking power or baking soda, I think they’ve been around since the 18th C. But, I don’t know for sure. I think they were and have remained mostly a Southern thing, too.