Tagged ‘apples’

Pompion Bread

September 12th, 2013 by KM Wall

in the 17th century is not your granny’s pumpkin bread .

This is  modern pumpkin bread - this is not a 17th century style bread.

This is modern pumpkin bread – this is not a 17th century style bread.

First, you need your pompion.

Great Green (as in un-ripe) pompion, Hopkins garden late august 2013

Great Green (as in un-ripe) pompion, Hopkins garden late august 2013

Great riper pompion, same garden, same day

Great riper pompion, same garden, same day

Acorn squash, a/k/a 'vine apple OR yet another sort of pompion, same day, different garden bed

Acorn squash, a/k/a ‘vine apple OR yet another sort of pompion, same day, different garden bed

Great green pompion,  a little bashful behind that leaf, but "ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille"

Great green pompion, a little bashful behind that leaf, but ” ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”

Then you need a reference or a recipe.

Sometimes you can’t tell what’s going on in a recipe by the title…Otherways, a fairly common title only makes sense if you read the recipe before. And in the back of Robert May’s The Accomplist Cook there is a section, Section XX (that’s 20 to you non-roman numeral readers) To make all manner of Pottages for Fish Days, which also include caudles (an egg dish, not a pottage) and buttered beer (an egg and beer dish, actually BOWL, and much better tasting then it sounds, but also not a pottage) as well as sops, soops and butter things.

For long years, having not read this closely, I assumed the ‘soops‘ were early soups, hence the pottage section.

In my defense, for long years I was young and stupid, and not focused on only the  foodways end of things.

My first revelation was that soop was another variation of sop.

Yes, our old friend sop, the big brother to the sippet, perhaps even the supersize version of the sippet.

In other words, toast plus.

Untoast and Toast  - lacking topping to make the sop

Untoast and Toast – lacking topping to make the sop

Sometimes the sop isn’t apparent from the title. Buttered gourds are served on sippets…..and that’s the story of 17th century Pompion Bread.

To butter Gourds, Pumpions, Cucumbers or Muskmelons.

Cut them into pieces, and pare and cleanse them; then have a boiling pan of water, and when it boils put in the pumpions, &c. with some salt, being boil’d, drain them well from the water, butter them, and serve them on sippets with pepper.


Bake them in an oven, and take out the seed at the top, fill them with onions, slic’t apples, butter, and salt, butter them, and serve them on sippets.

(Note – this would work very nicely with little punkins, juicy apples and onions sliced thin, baked and when all schlumpy, scooped up and served on toasted bread )


Fry them in slices, being cleans’d & peel’d, either floured or in batter; being fried, serve them with beaten butter, and vinegar, or beaten butter and juyce of orange, or butter beaten with a little water, and served in a clean dish with fryed parsley, elliksanders, apples, slic’t onions fryed, or sweet herbs.

For this last  Otherways, let us review the ways:

  1. Sliced and fried, either floured or battered (this sounds like pumkin fritters – why aren’t they serving this at Fairgrounds with the all the other fried things?)
  2. fried, served with beaten butter and a litle vinegar
  3. fried, served with beaten butter and orange juice
  4. fried with beaten butter
  5. fried, with fried parsley
  6. fried with fried alexanders
  7. fried with fried apples
  8. fried with fried onions
  9. fried with sweet herbs sage, or rosemary thyme….
alexanders, Smyrnium olustrum

alexanders, Smyrnium olustrum


Staff of Life

September 6th, 2013 by KM Wall

Bread – four ingredients, infinite variations.

Bread – it should be easy, because it’s so common. It should be basic, because it is a basic fact of 17th century life.

It should be.

Maybe the problem is the closer you look at something the larger it appears.

Or maybe the problem is the more common something is, the more it’s taken for granted, and not spoken of – much less written about.

Or maybe it really is HUGE.

Bread - 1971

Bread – 1971

Bread – and it’s a great name for a rock band.


Bread - Taccuino Sanitatis

Bread – Taccuino Sanitatis


According to Gervase Markham in The English Housewife in the baking section, there are three basic Englsih breads:

  • Manchet, or white bread for the well to do or special occasions
  • Cheate, or ordinary or household bread for ordinary people on ordinary days
  • and Brown Bread, which is not the tasty cornmeal, rye and molasses bread that comes in a can
    Brown Bread in a can

    Brown Bread in a can

    but a course, throw every cheap grain/grain substitute in to bulk it up bread for the poor and hard working.

But even in these categories there are divisions and sub categories.

And then there is cake….which is a sort of bread.

And then there are the ways in which bread is used.

Sops and sippets.

Bread crumbs for thickening, for puddings, for dredging.

To make a Pudding in a Frying-panne.

Take foure Egges, two spoonefuls of Rosewater, Nutmeg grated, Sugar, grated Bread, the quantities of a penny Loafe , halfe a pound of Beefe Suit minst fine: worke them as stiffe as a Pudding with your hand, and put it in a Frying-pan with sweet Butter, frye it browne, cut it in quarters, and serve it hot, either at Dinner or Supper. If it be on a fasting day leave out the Suit, and the Currens, and put in two or three Pomewaters minst small, or any other soft Apples that hath a good relish.

1615. John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press: p. 21.


  • pennyloafe could be a whole wheat ‘householde’ loaf that weighs about 2 pounds; a pound of breadcrumbs to 1/2 pound of suet is one rich pudding
  • Leaving out the Currens came as a little surprise to me, too, because their inclusion isn’t actually written in. So by all means add some (and thank you Anna Mo for pointing out that in a modern kitchen, mini chocolate chips  are a nifty sub for currents) or use apples – a soft apple with good relish  – maybe a Macintosh or Macoun  or a Paula Red ….


small Dutch frying pan - see the ALMA site for more, more, more!

small Dutch frying pan – see the ALMA site for more, more, more!



“I’ll make mincemeat out of that mouse!”

August 26th, 2013 by KM Wall

is the famous cry of Klondike Kat, referring to his arch-enemy Savoir Fare.

Klndike Kat with a wanted poster of Savoir Fare

Klondike Kat with a wanted poster of Savoir Fare

Mouse is something I haven’t found in 17th century mincemeat. Beef, mutton, veale, neat’s tongue…but no mouse.

Thank goodness.

Mince pie has also become  associated with Christmas  by the early 17th century, so some of the other aliases are

Shred or Shrid Pie or

Christmas Pie (or allegedly by some Puritans – Superstition Pies – I just have this one on say so)

and then all the variations of mince/minced/minst/minc’d/mincemeat pies.

To make minst Pyes.

Take your Veale and perboyle it a little, or mutton, then set it a cooling: and when it is colde, take three pound of suit to a legge of mutton, or fower pound to a fillet of Veale, and then mince them small by them selves, or together wheather you will, then take to season them halfe an unce of Nutmegs, half an unce of cloues and Mace, halfe an unce of Sinamon, a little Pepper, as much Salt as you think will season them, either to the mutton or to the Veale, take viij (8) yolkes of Egges when they be hard, halfe a pinte of rosewater full measure, halfe a pound of Suger, then straine the Yolkes with the Rosewater and the Suger and mingle it with your meate, if ye haue any Orenges or Lemmans you must take two of them, and take the pilles very thin and mince them very smalle,   and put them in a pound of currans, six dates, half a pound of prunes laye Currans and Dates upon the top of your meate, you must take two or three Pomewaters or Wardens and mince with your meate, you maye make them ****** if you will, if you will  make good crust put in three or foure yolkes of egges, a litle  Rosewater, & a good deale of suger.

1588. The Good Houswiues treasurie. pp.7-8.


  1. This call for a leg of mutton or a fillet of veal. A Leg is quick a lot of mutton; I’m not sure how much a fillet of veal was, but pounds and pounds of meat. Mutton is  meat from sheep. Baa Ram Ewe. Lamb is fine.

    a ram from Edward Topsell History of Four-footed Beasts

    a ram from Edward Topsell History of Four-footed Beasts

  2. Suit is suet – that the fat you’ll be adding. Don’t cut too far back or it will be as dry as sawdust and tasteless to boot.
  3. Mincing would be done by hand, with a sharp knife, and it is easier to mince the meat and the fat separately because they cut differently. Then run though a second time to incorporate them. You might want to incite your friends and family and neighbors and maybe some total strangers to make a quicker go of it….. If you use a meat grinder, just don’t turn it all into mush. A little texture makes a world of difference.
  4. Unce  = ounce – this is a fairly conservative amount of spice. This recipe alone should put to rest the old “spice covered up the taste of rotten meat”, as if fresh meat were more expensive then the spicing….
  5. Hardboiled egg yolks (and why do they forever say yolkes of eggs as if they ever call for yolkes of anything else?? ) are a good medium to get the rosewater mixed into everything and not drip out the bottom while the pie bakes.
  6. Orange or lemon peel  – VERY GOOD.
  7. Pomewater is a kind of apple, warden is a sort of pear.
  8. ****** is a word I can’t for the life of me make out, between 16th century spelling and typeface, and photocopy  fuzzyness.
  9. ‘a good deal of suger’  – hard to go wrong.

Sorry for the earlier recipe re-call – so many buttons……

Fryday Pye

August 16th, 2013 by KM Wall


and what’s not to like about a FRY- day?

Bits will keep, it’s Fridbetter thing to make then a FRIDAY PIE?

A Frydays Pye, without eyther Flesh or Fish.

Wash greene Beetes cleane, picke out the middle string, and chop them with two or three well relisht ripe Apples. Season with Pepper, Salt, and Ginger: then take a good handful of Razins of the Sunne, and put all in a Coffin of fine Paste, with a piece of sweet Butter, and so bake it: but before you serve it, cut it up, and wring in the juice of an Orenge, and Sugar.
- 1615. John Murrell.  A Newe Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press. p. 7.

As for beets, if you’re thinking

This is beet-root

This is beet-root

thinks instead of

Beets - the leafy greens now known as Swiss Chard.

Beets – the leafy greens now known as Swiss Chard.


Take some leafy greens, wash,  cut away the stem (which is actually the chard part – cook’s note – toss them with some olive oil and Parmesan cheese and put them in the oven next to the pie for a tasty little side dish to serve either hot  or room temp); Chop a couple of tasty apples, season with pepper. salt and ginger. Add some raisins.  Enclose in a pastry coffin -  don’t forget the butter – Bake.

Open the top, wring in the juice of an orange (since it’s probably a sweet orange you’re wringing, use a little orange juice mixed with an equal amount of lemon juice). Sugar if you need it.


The other, OTHER Beets

The other, OTHER Beets – it IS a great name for a rock band

English Butter

English Butter



Apple of thine (p)eye

August 12th, 2013 by KM Wall

Proverbs 7:2   Keep my commandments, and thou shalt live, and mine instruction, as the apple of thine eyes.

Apples. Apple pies. Pippin Pies. Codling pies. Tarts likewise. Hard to talk about English pies without apples.

Hard to imagine New England without them. And yet, that is exactly the landscape the Pilgrims entered in 1620. Within 20 years English colonist changed that landscapes. Consider that apples grow on trees which don’t quite  grow as easily as radishes…..

Apple trees so plentiful that a few generations down the road, a local born lad puts a mushpot on his head and goes west to plant more apples.

Johnny Appleseed 1862

Johnny Appleseed 1862

And has a song about apples and apple trees…

Jesus Christ and the Apple Tree

Jesus Christ and the Apple Tree

Back in England, a couple of generations later, Four Fab lads from Myles Standish’s old stomping grounds get together, sing a little, shake it up, baby,  all together now with Apple….

Apple Corps logo

Apple Corps logo


And yet, didn’t all the trouble in the world start because of an apple?

Duer (1507) Adam and Eve

Duer (1507) Adam and Eve


To fry Applepies.

Take Apples and pare them, and chop them very small, beat in a little Cinnamon, a little Ginger, and some Sugar, a little Rosewater, take your paste, roul it thin, and make them up as big Pasties as you please, to hold a spoonful or a little lesse of your Apples; and so stir them with Butter not to hastily least they be burned.

- 1653. W. I. A True Gentlewomans Delight.

Fried apple pies from North Carolina -the more things change.....

Fried apple pies from North Carolina -the more things change…..

A Apple Pie

November 4th, 2012 by KM Wall

Clara Peters - Apples, Pears, Squirrel


“…yn take a quart of fine flower, & put ye rest of ye butter to it in little bits, with 4 or 5 spoonfulls of faire water, make ye paste of it & when it is well mingled beat it on a table & soe roule (2) it out.”
- Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery. Karen Hess, ed. pp130-1

Take pippins of the fairest, and pare them, and then divide them just in the halves, and take out the cores clean: then, having rolled out the coffin (4) flat, and raised up a small verge of an inch or more high, lay in the pippins with the hollow side downward, as close to one another as may be: then lay here and there a clove, and here and there a whole stick of cinnamon, and a little bit of butter; then cover all clean over with sugar, and so cover the coffin, and bake it according to the manner of tarts; and, when it is baked, then draw it out, and, having boiled butter and rose-water together, anoint all the lid over therewith, and then scrape or strew on it a good store of sugar, and so set it in the oven again, and after serve it up.

[1] pastry; [2] roll; [3] A little apple; [4] the pastry case of the pie
- Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife.(1615/1623) Michael Best, ed. McGill-Queen’s Press: Montreal. 1986.


2 cups all purpose FLOUR
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) BUTTER
½ teaspoon SALT
1 teaspoons SUGAR
6 tablespoon cold WATER

The high butter content in this pastry is going to make it rich and flavorful, and lets you handle it a much more then 21st century  pie crust. This is fearless pie pastry! You really can’t handle it too much. It will be so meltingly tender instead of merely flaky.

Mix flour with salt and sugar. Work butter in until it’s crumbly. Add water and mix and mash until it holds together. Add a little more it it’s not holding together, but not too much. When it forms into a great big ball, divide into two parts, one larger then the other – one one-third and the other two-thirds.

Shape into 2 disks, cover with plastic wrap or put into a plastic bag so it doesn’t dry out and let it sit in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to overnight.

Meanwhile, make up the filling:


1 POUND APPLES (about 3 medium size one)
1 tablespoon SUGAR
½ – 1 ½ teaspoon CINNAMON
1 teaspoon BUTTER
1 teaspoon butter, melted and 1 teaspoon sugar for the topping
Cut the apples into quarter, peel and core.

Sprinkle a dusting of flour on your work surface. Take the pastry out of the fridge and remove the larger disk from it’s wrapping. This is going to be the bottom of your pie. Put some flour on your hands  and dust your rolling pin. Swack the pastry disk with your rolling pin a few times. Roll it out to be and inch or two larger then your pie plate. Roll the pastry unto your rolling pin and transfer it to the pie plate. The high butter content in this pastry is going to make it rich and flavorful; it will be so meltingly tender

Put your cut apples in, round bumpy sided up. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and dot with the butter. This is a flattest tart style pie, not one of the sky high variety.

Remove the smaller pastry disk from it’s plastic, put on your floured surface and swack and roll some more for the upper crust, or lid. Remember, the flour keeps things from sticking, so you should only need a dusting! Cut slits in the pastry, roll around your pin and transfer to the top of the apples.

Roll the edges of the bottom crust to meet the top crust and crimp and seal all around. The edges can be resting inside the pan, right on top of the apples.

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes – it’ll smell great and be a lovely golden color. Take out of the oven, brush on the melted butter, sprinkle with rest of the sugar and put back into the oven. SHUT THE OVEN OFF. Leave the pie in the warm oven for at least 10 minutes or through supper so you can eat it warm for dessert.

OR make the pie up, pastry and apples and spice and wrap tightly in a foil and then plastic. Freeze for up two months.

Heat your oven to 475.
Unwrap the pie. Put the frozen pie in the hot oven. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower the heat to 350 for another thirty minutes. Again, don’t the timer rule you – use your senses! Does it smell done, is the pastry golden brown, not pale? (Of course, if your oven’s hotter, take it out sooner) Then brush the top with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and put back into the shut off but still warm oven…

Apple Pie is good alone (Apple Pie is GREAT alone) and good for breakfast but also good with ice cream or whipped cream or sharp cheddar or…what do you like with apple pie?


Pieter de Hooch - A Woman Peeling Apples

Wonderworking Providence

November 3rd, 2012 by KM Wall


Fede Galiza Apples in a Dish - 1593

Edward Johnson  writes in The Wonderworking Providence of Sion’s Savior in New England in 1654.

“…so that in this poor Wilderness hath not onely equalized England in food, but goes beyond it in some places for the great plenty of wine and sugar, which is ordinarily spent, apples, pears, and quince tarts instead of their former Pumpkin Pies.” (p. 210, 1910 ed.)


Pears in John Gerard The Herbal

Still Life with a dish of Quince - 1664 -






























But where are their former Pumpkin Pies?

Postcard of Pumpkin Pie



The Vse of Pompion

November 1st, 2012 by KM Wall

Giuseppe Archibaldo - Autumn, 1574 - What a punkin' head!


The Vse of Pompions,
They are boyled in faire water and salt, or powdered beefe broth, or sometimes in milke, and so eaten, or else buttered. They vse likewise to take out the inner watery substance with the seedes, and fill vp the place with Pippins, and hauing laid on the couer which they cut off from the toppe, to take out the pulpe, they bake them together, and the poore of the Cities, as well as the Country people, doe eate thereof, as of a dainty dish.”

-   John Parkinson. Paradisi in Sole : Park in the Sun. 1629. Dover edition. 1976. p. 526.

Notice these English uses for pumpkins….

  • boiled in salted water
  • boiled with powdered beef, which is salt beef – we also call it corned beef….interesting…
  • boiled in milk
  • or buttered, that is cooked in butter
  • OR the seeds removed, and the insides filled with apples (I’d butter the insides, and chop the apples and maybe add a little cinnamon and ginger, you know to counter act the effects of eating something somewhat cold and wet and keep my humours better balanced) and then bake the thing with the lid back on and bake it until it was done, the smaller the pumpkin the faster it will cook) and that combination of apple and pumpkin – or pompion if you will, is indeed a dainty dish.

Notice that John Parkinson doesn’t say PIE.Who says pumpkin without saying pie?

A slice of Table Talk Pumpkin Pie - the pumpkin pie I was raised on.

DUH DUN DAH. Our story continues…….

Eat Like A Pilgrim: Stewed Pompion

April 17th, 2012 by KM Wall

Stewed Pompion
The Ancient New England standing dish
But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh:…

- Jossyln, John.New Englands Rareties.1672.
To make this at home:
4 cups of cooked squash, roughly mashed
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 or 2 teaspoons ground ginger (or nutmeg, cloves, or pepper, to taste, if preferred)
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir and heat all the ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve hot.

Cooks with a bumper crop of pumpkins and a large pot may want to try the housewives’ technique described by Josselyn. For the rest of us, it is practical to begin with pared, seeded, and steamed or baked squash.
Pompion is a pumpkin. Squashes can also be used.
An ancient is another way to say banner, or standard.
A standing dish is one that is very common, seen on table perhaps daily.
An ancient standing dish would be the food that all but shouts out, “Hello! We’re in NEW England; we’re not in England anymore.”
Baked apples are a good visual clue as to what the final dish should look like, and the little bit of vinegar is a taste clue.
Serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh means it’s good with everything.


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