Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Home cooking at Mallory's Castle

I've been looking at a well-used (and battered) copy of the St. Andrew's Guild Cook Book, now in the Lucas County Historical Society collection, and thought it might be fun during the holidays to feature a few of its recipes. 

Smith H. and Annie Mallory and their daughter, Jessie Mallory-Thayer, were among the most active members of the St. Andrew's Parish from the time it was organized in 1867. Smith Mallory died during 1903, but Annie and Jessie soldiered on until late 1907, when their bank --- First National --- was brought crashing down by a trusted associate and they ended up fleeing to Florida.

The cook book was published early in 1907, just as the Mallory era was ending. Frank Crocker's financial misadventures were discovered on Oct. 31, 1907, the morning after his suicide. Because the Crockers also were communicants, there are recipes from his wife, Minnie (Arnold) Crocker, in the cook book, too.

There seem to be two editions of the book, one with a brown cover and the other, with white. The church has better copies of both.


I thought I'd start with a few dishes that might have been served had you been invited to a social event at the legendary Mallory home, Ilion, aka Mallory's Castle.

I'll share other recipes in other posts --- including a few of the most interesting, submitted by Freda Oppenheimer. Mrs. Oppenheimer and her husband, Simon, were members of Congregation B'nai Jeshrun --- Des Moines' first Jewish congregation and Iowa's first Reform congregation --- but honorary affiliates of St. Andrew's. Freda was a member of the Guild --- the parish women's group --- and the St. Andrew rector officiated at Simon's funeral during 1930 because no rabbi was immediately available.

The recipes included in the cookbook are not especially elaborate --- and some of the dishes sound a trifle odd --- by 21st century standards. Instructions sometimes are mysterious, but keep in mind that 19th century cooks were just expected to know a variety of things --- including how to regulate a wood-fired cook stove --- that are beyond most of us today. I've not gone into the test kitchen to try any of these out, but feel free to do that yourself.

The first recipe, entitled "Ilion Cookies," might well have been served at the tea party in progress in the photo at the top of this post, taken in the southeast parlor of the Ilion with Annie Mallory front and center behind the pot. You were expected to know, by the way, how much flour to use. The amount is not specified in the recipe.


One cupful of butter, one cupful of sugar, four tablespoonfuls of sour milk, one teaspoonful of soda in milk, one egg, nutmeg, seeded raisins; put all but the raisins in the middle of the flour in the bowl; mix rather soft; do not beat egg; put in raisins last, roll medium thickness; bake rather quickly.


Here's Annie Mallory's recipe for cream pie. The instructions are a little bit more complete this time, but in some cases you're still on your own.

Mrs. S.H. Mallory

One pint cream, one cup sugar, three tablespoons flour, one tablespoon butter (if milk is used). Yolks of two eggs; mix sugar and flour, add yolks and a little cream; have the remaining cream warm. Mix in a double boiler and cook until thick, stirring all the while; take off and stir till cool; put into a crust already baked; merangue with two whites and two tablespoons sugar. Cover and bake.

Crust --- One cup flour on kneading board, three tablespoons butter (hard), pinch salt, three tablespoons ice water. Put the butter into the flour; take two knives and cut it into the flour; put over the ice water and mix. Roll in shape you wish and bake on outside of a pan.


Jessie Mallory-Thayer's Sunshine Cake is way beyond my capabilities, but the instructions are more complete --- including at what temperature and how long to bake it. But what kind of pan would you use?

Jessie Mallory-Thayer

Twelve ounces granulated sugar, sifted twice; six ounces sifted flour, with one level teaspoon cream of tartar; whites of ten eggs, beaten stiff; yolks of five eggs, well beaten. Grate half the rind of a small orange, squeeze all the juice upon the grated rind, and add four teaspoons of it to the yolks. Sift the sugar into the beaten whites of eggs, cutting it in with as little beating as possible, then cut yolks in and last sift and cut the flour in. Bake in a moderate oven thirty to thirty-five minutes.


Here is Annie Mallory's pear conserve, which I suppose might be served on the side with either the Ilion Cookies of Jessie's Sunshine Cake.

Mrs. Mallory

Eight pounds pears, eight pounds sugar, one pound crystalized ginger, juice and rind of four lemons. Cut pears in dice after peeling and coreing, cover with water and boil until tender. Boil lemons until soft, then cut in small pieces; put all in a preserving kettle and cook slowly until clear and rich looking. Seal in glass jars.


I'm quite taken by Annie Mallory's recipe for Black Bean Soup, but the preparation time seems a little intimidating and I'm not sure what "one small slice" of turnip and carrot means exactly.

Mrs. S.H. Mallory

A pint of black beans soaked over night in three quarts water. In the morning pour off this water and add three quarts of fresh. Boil gently six hours. When done there should be a quart. Add a quart of stock, six whole cloves, six whole allspice, a small piece of cinnamon, stalk of celery, also a good sized onion and one small slice each of turnip and carrot cut fine and fried in three spoonfuls of butter. Into the butter remaining in the pan put a spoonful of flour, and cook until brown; add to soup and simmer all together one hour; season with salt and pepper and rub through a fine sieve. Serve with slices of lemon and egg balls, the lemon to put in the tureen with the soup.


Today's cheese balls come in big bags and are looked upon as snacks. Back in the good old days, they were homemade, deep-fried in lard and served on the side with soup or savory dishes.

Jessie M. Thayer

One pound of grated cheese, whites of three eggs beaten to a stiff froth, into which stir the cheese until it is thick enough to mold. Roll in browned grated bread crumbs and fry in hot deep lard (lard must be very hot). To try for the required heat drop in a piece of white bread and if it browns quickly, it is right.


Anybody remember the rarebit burgers served at Younkers Tea Room? The savory cheese sauce poured over the top was based upon the far older Welsh Rarebit sauce, a version of which apparently was served now and then at the Ilion. If you haven't a chafing dish --- any old fondue pot will do.

Jessie M. Thayer

Half a pound fresh cheese cut in small pieces. Place two eggs in a bowl, beat well; add half a cup of cream, one tablespoon melted butter, one teaspoon mustard, half a teaspoon salt and cayenne pepper or paprika. Have the blazer hot, using hot water underneath; put in the cheese, pour mixture over it and stir and beat almost constantly until melted and cooked into a smooth paste. Have hot toast ready, and with a fork plunge each piece into the rarebit, covering well, and serve quickly on hot plates. Paprika is preferable to cayenne. Many a rarebit is ruined by not being well stirred.


The recipe for "Ilion Tidbit" is attributed to Jessie Mallory-Thayer's late husband, Deming J. Thayer. He grew up in the Boston area, famed of course for baked beans --- among other things.


Place a large tablespoon of butter in the chafing dish. When hot stir in a bowl full of cold baked beans which have been partially mashed. When the beans are heated through, add to them two eggs well beaten and seasoned very highly with salt and red pepper. Onion lovers will find the addition of finely chopped onion or the juice of same will improve the dish. Serve on hot wafers.


And finally, from Smith H. Mallory himself, a recipe for "Deviled Turkey Legs." You didn't buy prepared mustard in 1900; you mixed it up yourself with ground mustard as the base. That's what "made" mustard means.


Cut legs, including second joint, from a roasted turkey (better if not too well done) in evening; slash crosswise with a sharp knife and fill slashes with made mustard, using a large quantity. Next morning broil over a clear fire and serve on hot platter with melted butter poured over.

Bon appetit!


Anonymous said...

She probably used the same technique my grandmother did when she made pie crust.

She used a bowl with excess flour and put all the other ingredients in a depression in the middle. She mixed until it had the desired consistency and then took out the lump, and put the bowl with the excess flour back in the cupboard for next time.

This is the first time I've ever heard of anyone else doing that.

Bill H.

Brenda said...

I really enjoyed reading the recipes and look forward to future posts with more. My guess is that the sunshine cake would have been baked in an angel food cake pan.