Tagged ‘suet’


September 22nd, 2013 by KM Wall

Ever since I asked a group if they knew how to make toast – and they all did – and then I asked if they had learned to make toast from a recipe – and none had – I felt I had made my point of how people learned to cook without cookbooks. Great example.
And then I started finding recipes for toast.
LOTS of toast recipes.

Which doesn’t even include the places where toast shows up as an ingredient – sometimes sops, sometimes sippets, sometimes toast….

A Marrow Toast

Mince colde parboiled Veale, and Suit very fine, and sweet Hearbes each by themselves, and then mingle them together with Sugar, Nutmeg, Sinamon, Rosewater, grated bread, the yolkes of two or three new layd Egges: open the minst meat, and cover it with the marrow. Then put your toast into a Pipkin with the uppermost of some strong broth: let it boyle with large Mace, a Fagot of sweer hearbs, scum them passing cleane, and let them boyle almost drye. Then take Potato-rootes boyld, or Chestnuts, Skirrootes, or Almonds, boyld in white Wine, and for want of Wine you may take Vergis and Sugar.

1615. John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press: 1989. p. 19.


marrow bones on toast - not quite the 17th century version

Marrow bones on toast – not quite the 17th century version of Marrow Toasts- it’s the centers of the bones that can be taken out and used in the recipe, that’s the marrow


Marrow the vegetable, which is a member of he squash family - also known as a pompion

Marrow the vegetable, which is a member of he squash family – also known as a pompion


Pipkins from Hamberg

Pipkins from Hamberg

“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……


February 25th, 2013 by KM Wall

My little pie maker - this is not an endorsement - doesn't it look like a muffin tin????

A chewet pie.
Take the brawns and the wings of capons and chickens after they have been roasted, and pull away the skin; then shred them with fine mutton suet very small; then season it with cloves, mace, cinnamon, sugar, and salt;then put to raisins of the sun and currants, and sliced dates, and orange peels, and, being well mixed together, put it into small coffins made for that purpose, and strew on top of them good store of caraway comfits: then cover them, and bake them with a gentle heat, and these chewets you may make also of roasted veal, seasoned as before shown and all parts of the loin is the best.
-Markham,G. The English Housewife, Best ed, p. 103

  1. Roasted chicken or capon – there’s no reason to avoid a store rotisserie bird  – pull off the skin and shred the meat. Or use roasted veal., should you have some of that around.
  2. Mutton suet is pretty hard to find these days, and we’d probably prefer less fat – a little butter would do, but out chicken are also pretty fat…
  3. Season the chicken with spices – it should smell good and taste great, and a little cloves goes a long, long, way
  4. Raisins of the sun, little tiny currents, (the Plymouth County girl in me wants to say ‘Crasin’. Just saying.)Sliced dates or chopped if you got ‘em
  5. Orange peels  – you might want to grate this.
  6. Mix it all together. Smell and taste.
  7. Make pastry for the coffins (it’s not hard, and these are little pies). If you don’t trust your pastry skills, use one of the several little pie makers on the market or the Texas size muffin tins to act as your forms.
  8. Roll, fill.
  9. Add caraway comfits, which are caraway seeds coated with sugar, or just use regular old caraway seeds. I know at least one of you is thinking, “Caraway in German is Kummel, in Yiddish…..” Yes, you are.
  10. Put on the lids, crimp.
  11. Bake – 350°ish  until the pastry is nice and done (the chicken is already cooked, no danger of raw chicken)
  12. Chewet. Chewet, Good.

another sort of little pie maker...also not an endorsement

Idolatry in a crust

December 20th, 2012 by KM Wall

A modern mince pie

Mincemeat, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, was in fact, minced meat. Usually beef, sometime mutton, occasionally veal. Not just the meaty bits we now buy – sometimes tongue as well. But meat alone isn’t mincemeat. It also had copious amounts of raisins (a/k/a ‘raisins of the sunne’) and currents and sometimes dates and prunes, as well as generous amounts of spices and sugar. The weight of the dried fruit might equal or exceed the weight of the meat, and in the 1620 the raisins were much more expensive per ounce then the meat was.
Suet isn’t something we cook much with any more, but fat is another component of the mince pie. The fat is what makes it rich. During the 1700′s butter starts to come in as the fat of choice, and by the 20th century seems to be more common.
If I were making this mincemeat at home (and I have) I would take three pounds of beef, one to one and a half pounds of butter, three pounds of dried fruit, all cut small and well mixed (and be grateful that I don’t have to pick stems off the raisins and take the stones out of them) with some orange peel (two or three oranges worth – well washed, preferably organically grown oranges). Salt, pepper, cloves (this can be strong – not too much) and mace (or nutmeg if you have that – they have a very similar flavor profile). Put it into pastry – you can use pie pans if you want, sprinkle more sugar on top and bake them in your oven.
If you want to risk idolatry, make little rectangle pies and have them symbolize the manger where the Christ child was born. If you don’t want to fall into idolatry, make little rectangle pies just because they’re fun. You could even use frozen puff pastry and ‘let your soul delight in fatness’. And if you want to be thoroughly superstitious, go out on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas to a different house and eat a mince pie in each one to have good luck for each of the twelve months in the year ahead.

EAT! Minc’t pie

December 19th, 2012 by KM Wall

Still Life Pie with Oysters Joris van Son

A minc’t pie.

Take a Leg of Mutton, and cut the best of the best flesh from the bone, and parboyle it well: then put to it three pound of the best Mutton suet, and shred it very small: then spred it abroad, and season it with pepper and salt, cloues and mace : then put in good store of currants, great raysons and prunes cleane washt and pickt, a few dates slic’t, and some orange pills slic’t: then being all well mixt together, put into a coffin, or into diuers coffins, and so bake them: and when they are serued vp open the liddes, and strow store of suger on the top of the meat, and upon the lid. And in this sort you may also bake Beefe or Veale; onely the Beefe would not be parboyled, and the Veale will aske a double quantitie of suet.

- Gervase Markham’s English Huswife (1623 ed, pp. 103-4)


A few quick notes -
orange pills are peels
coffins are stand alone pastry cases (but there is no reason not to use a pie plate),

diuers are diverse or several
liddes are the upper crust of the pie

Bit of the day: Lights

December 3rd, 2012 by KM Wall

Puddings of Swines Lights
Parboil the lights, mince them very small with suet, and mix them with grated bread, cream, curans, eggs, nutmeg, salt, and rose-water, and fill guts.
-1685. Robert May. The Accomplist Cook. p. 187.

  • The lights in the recipe aren’t candle lights…they’re the lungs of the pig. In this case, parboil means to partially cook them – but before you put them into the water, you’ll want to beat them, otherwise they float and don’t cook evenly. Experience…..
  • They don’t take very long to cook. Mince them very small, and the suet, too.
  • Use 1/3 to 1/2 as much for breadcrumbs, and enough cream to moisten.
  • Add currents from a small handful to half the weight. This is a case were if you use raisins instead of currents, you’ll want to chop them.
  • Add eggs to loosen up the mixture.
  • Nutmeg, salt and the rosewater is a very nice touch.
  • Fill you guts somewhat slackly – using a funnel makes it easier. Tie them off at about 3 inch intervals. They will swell while cooking.
  • Poke all the air-holes with a pin.
  • Seethe in water until firm, gently, gently. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.
  • Finish them off by frying or broiling.

Pig's Lungs


Humble Pie

December 1st, 2012 by KM Wall

To make a Pye of Humbles.
Take your humbles being perboiled, and choppe them verye small with a good quantitye of Mutton sewet, and halfe a handfull of hearbes folowing, time, margarom, borage, perseley, and a little rosemary, and season the same being choped, with pepper, cloves and mace, and so close your pye and bake him.
-Thomas Dawson . The good huswifes Iewell. p. 14

Perboiled is throughly boiled – it comes from a different root word then par, which is partial; sewet is suet – although why mutton and not some other….; thyme, marjoram, borage, parsley, and rosemary are the herbs; close your pie means you’ve made a bottom crust and now you’re putting on the lid.

Willem Clausz Heda 'Banquet Piece with Mince Pie

The National Gallery of Art is home to great collections. Humble pie is essentially a sort of mince pie.

But what exactly ARE humbles? This next recipe is a little more explicit.

Take ye humbles of a deere, or a calves heart, or pluck, or sheeps heart; perboyle it, & when it is colde, shred it small with beefe suet, & season it with cloves, mace nutmeg, & ginger beaten small; & mingle with it currans, verges & salt; put all into ye pie & set it in the oven an houre; then take it out, cut it up & put in some claret wine, melted butter & sugar beat together. then cover it a little & serve it.
-Hess, Karen, ed. Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery. Columbia University Press: New York. 1981. p. 93, # C64.

Humbles are a collective of the inward bits, sometimes called numbles or umbles. Pluck is also organ meat. There are several painting that have lungs and heart hanging together, so I’ve always thought of them as more pluck-ish then other combinations, but  I realize that might just be my emotional read on the situation, not a documented historical one.

And as for the phrase “to eat humble pie”  meaning to be apologetic coming from some sense that the peasants had be eating humbles because they were in humble circumstances….totally confusing the numble of the inward parts with humility….here’s Queen Elizabeth I retrieving some humbles for a little pie of her own. Nothing peasant or humble here.


November 6th, 2012 by KM Wall


Boiling puddings (or are those SAUSAGES?)

















275. Directions to prepare the guts for the puddings.

Scrape the litle guts when they are well scoured take them one by one and lay one end on the gut on a table and hold part of the gut in yr hand then scrape it with a knife that is not sharp there will come a great deal of filth from them you will imagine the gut were scraped away when they are don as they should be you will find them very cleere when they are all scraped drie them in a cloth and sprickle a litle rose water on them as you rub them in clothes they must be blown before you fill them to see where to cutt be sure to fill the guts very lank the scraped gutt will hold boiling better then any.

Lay a dish on the bottom of the Ketle make the water boyle before you put in the pudings let them boyle a pace take them up when they have boyled a litle while prick them and put them again never prick marrow pudings nor the liver ones.”

-         John Evelyn, Cook. Christopher Driver, ed. Prospect Books, 1997.

How to make Sausages.

Take the fillets[1] of a Hogge,[2] and halfe as much suet[3] of the Hogge: and chop them both very small, then take grated bred, two or three yolks of egges a spoonful of groce[4] pepper, as much salt, temper[5] them with a little creame, and so put them into skinnes[6] and broyle them on a gridirone.[7]

-                     1588. Good Hous-wiues Treasuire, p. 19.

[1] Fillet - 6. Cookery.    a. A fleshy portion of meat near the loins or ribs of an animal, easily detachable; the ‘undercut’ of a sirloin or rump of beef; a similar fleshy part in the body of a fowl.    b. One of the thick slices into which a fish is easily divided; also, a thick slice of meat, tongue, etc.
The fillet of beef is sometimes cooked like the fillet of veal (sense c): see quot. 1747. In the above senses sometimes with Fr. spelling: see FILET.

c1420 Liber Cocorum (1862) 31 Take filetes of porke and half hom rost. c1430 Two Cookery-bks. 49 Take lardes of Venysoun..or of a Bere, & kerue hem inne as Fylettes of Porke. 1658 SIR T. T. DE MAYERNE Archimag. Anglo-Gall. xiii. 7 The Phillets..of Beef.


[2] Hog - I. 1. a. A swine reared for slaughter; spec. a castrated male swine, a barrow-pig or barrow-hog (see BARROW2 1b); hence, a domestic swine generally.


[3] Suet - 1. a. The solid fat round the loins and kidneys of certain animals,


[4] groce – large, course


[5] temper11. a. To moisten (a substance, usually medicinal or culinary ingredients in a comminuted state) so as to form a paste or mixture; to mix to a paste.


[6] Skins – the guts, casing or puddings to put the meat mixture into

[7] gridiron 1. a. A cooking utensil formed of parallel bars of iron or other metal in a frame, usually supported on short legs, and used for broiling flesh or fish over a fire. Also formerly, a girdle or griddle.

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