Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cooking Up History

In honor of Women's History Month this week's cookbook/history book is A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances by Laura Schenone

Federal Pan Cake
Take one quart boulted rye flour, one quart of boulted Indian meal, mix it well, and stir it with a little salt into three pints milk, to the proper consistence of pancakes; fry in lard, and serve up warm.
-Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, 1796 (second edition)

Modern tastes differ from those of the eighteenth century. Most of us are likely to find this a bit too dense and gritty, as well as too large in quantity. Here's an adaptation that brings in all the common luxuries of modern American life: white flour, eggs, sugar, and chemical leavening. These additions will make your pancakes sweeter and lighter, but you'll still get to taste the rye and cornmeal combination, once so essential in New England.

3/4 cup rye flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup white flour
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

Mix the dry ingredients well. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well and add milk. Stir this into your dry ingredients until smooth. Fry on a greased griddle until light brown. Serve with stewed apples, pears, or warm maple syrup. Makes about 12 small pancakes.

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