Thursday, April 28, 2011
To have a seaside retreat just minutes from the grinding business of a big city these "town-stayed" types considered a great boon, indeed. "How much more admirable, how almost blessed, Coney Island seems in the light of these facts!", Ralph enthuses. How absolutely fantastic to "get a new environment and have old ocean's pure tonic breath blow the cobwebs out of our brain -- and then, as the chronicler saith, 'get home at a reasonable time.'" Coney Island afforded industrious workers their splendor in the sand without making them late for work on Monday.
Perhaps after splashing in the dark blue water, walking barefoot on the sand, and while waiting for the city train to depart, waxen women and girls or the pink-faced businessmen enjoyed a quick bowl of Coney Island Clam Chowder, the recipe for which is reprinted in the 1929 cookbook, The Modernistic Recipe-Menu Book.
Coney Island Clam Chowder
1 tablespoon, chopped salt pork
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 doz. clams
1 cup cubed potato
1/2 cup cubed carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 qt. water
1/2 cup tomato
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/16 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon shortening
Brown salt pork and onions together, clean and pick over clams, reserving liquor; chop finely. Cook potatoes, carrots and celery in boiling salted water until almost done. Add clam liquor, salt pork and onions, clams and tomatoes. Season and stir in shortening just before serving. Serves six.
Friday, April 22, 2011
The correspondent opens the first letter with a stoical weather report. "The temperature at present is 35 below zero," he writes, "Last year's coldest was 85 below zero. You find pigeons and sparrows lying dead in the streets where they fell frozen." The relentless hyperborean cold struck down not only birds. "Human beings also have been found frozen to death in the streets," he continues. "The poor, on finding the bodies, remove the clothing and put it on themselves. The naked bodies have been devoured by dogs, and now present a terrible sight."
Though their less lucky comrades lie frozen in the streets, the younger inhabitants of Chita remain unfazed by the blustery, freezing winds. "Even when the thermometer shows 26 below zero, one may sometimes see a young girl and a young man sitting on a bench in the park, chatting pleasantly." Such amusements come cheap. "The admission to the park, in summer, costs three rubles," the correspondent reports, "on Sundays, seven rubles."
Other amusements abound in Chita for souls rugged enough to withstand the cold. The city attracts first-rate acting talent from across the Soviet Union. And those entertainers of hearty enough constitution to put down roots in the Siberian city enjoy the esteem of its most important officials. Actresses rank among the most influential people in Siberia, the correspondent continues. "Even great generals consider themselves honored when they have an opportunity to shake hands with an actress!"
Food is not as scarce or tasteless as inhabitants of warmer climes would believe. In Soviet Siberia, beef, chicken, milk, butter and bread all sell at prices lower than in Japan. Yet sweets come at a premium and are rationed. The correspondent in Siberia informs readers that "you cannot buy more than four pounds of sugar at one time per person, and even this only on Saturdays."
The three letters printed in Soviet Russia reveal that even in the dead of winter Siberia wants not for unique pleasures (sugar availability nothwithstanding). One such pleasure is this hearty, yet simple and economical, Russian soup from a 1901 issue of The Epicure, which with the townsfolk of Chita might well have warmed themselves after a chilly kibbutz in the park.
Barscz a la Polonaise
SHRED finely six beetroots, four leeks, four onions, a small head of Savoy cabbage, and four celery knobs; smother these vegetables in butter over a slow fire and moisten with five quarts of broth and one quart of strained fermented beetroot juice; add three pounds of brisket of beef (previously parboiled) and one duck partially roasted. Soak a handful of dried mushrooms in cold water, cut in shreds and add to the soup. Add also a faggot of herbs composed of parsley, a sprig of marjoram, two bayleaves and one clove.
Remove the duck as soon as tender, and let the soup simmer until the beef is cooked. Then remove the faggot of herbs and the fat.
Cut the beef and the duck into small pieces. Cook a dozen small sausages (chipolata) and remove the skin (when done). Add these and both meats to the soup.
Before serving, scrape twelve sour beets and press their liquid through a cloth; add this to the soup and heat well.
Serve with sour cream separate.
A pinch of chopped fennel should be added before serving. If no fresh fennel is at hand, a sprig of dried may be added to the faggot of herbs.
Note :—The characteristic feature of this soup is that it should be of a light acid taste and of a reddish tint. If, though, it is cooked in an ordinary saucepan or kept in a retinned Bainmarie, it is impossible to retain this peculiar tint. Some cooks recommend one to add claret to the broth, but this is not necessary if the above directions are carefully carried out, and if an earthen vessel is used.
Sour beets are prepared by peeling eighteen beetroots, putting into a jar, covering with lukewarm water, adding two handfuls of soft breadcrumbs, covering well, and keeping in a warm place for five or six days—by that time fermentation should have set in.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Poseurs, Edwords insists, are easily spotted. They frequent restaurants and attract notice by "pelting other diners with missiles of bread." Sadly, he admits, "San Francisco's highest form of Bohemianism is rarely in evidence in restaurants."
Edwords writes that "some of the most enjoyable meals we have eaten have been in the rooms and apartments of our Bohemian friends, and these meals were prepared generally by each one present doing his or her part in making it a success. One would make the salad, another the main dish, and others do various forms of scullery work, and in the end we would have a meal that would often put to blush the efforts of many of the renowned chefs."
Should you find yourself in San Francisco, you can dodge the multi-grain missiles launched by poseurs by falling in with a friendly gang of bohemians for an evening's beguilement. Perhaps they will serve you an Italian risotto, like this one from Edwords's book.
Soak two level teacups of rice. Mash two cloves of garlic and mix with a little minced parsley. Soak a dozen dried mushrooms in a little water until soft, then chop fine and drain. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil, place over the fire until quite hot, then put in the garlic, parsley, and mushrooms, add half a can of tomatoes and cook half an hour. Drain the rice and put in a saucepan, adding a little broth, half a cup at a time, to keep from burning, and add, stirring constantly, the other ingredients, cooking all together until the rice is done. Salt to taste; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Among this manly compendium of mouthwatering delights is an unusually named dish, Liederkranz á la Hoosier. Liederkranz is the American version of the odoriferous German cheese, Limburger, while "Hoosier" is the official demonyn for a resident of Indiana. Together they make a pungent snack fit for the keenest of masculine appetites.
Liederkranz á la Hoosier
Run around and find a real nice Liederkranz cheese and treat it as follows to get a serving for four people:
Mix the cheese with about a quarter of a pound of butter and work into a fine paste, adding salt, pepper, French mustard, paprika and Worcestershire sauce as you go along. Just add them to taste.
When the paste is smooth put in one finely chopped small green pepper; one small onion, or chives.
And serve on rye bread—spread thick. To be thoroughly technical, I suppose I should have said: spread to taste!
Editor's Note :—You can have a wonderful time and make quite a reputation for yourself by inventing cheese combinations. Ordinary cream cheese makes a splendid base for original mixtures. Try combinations of finely minced pimento, celery, olives, chives and peppers (green and red). And anything else that promises well.