The Obvious & Not So Obvious

The Obvious:


The Not-So-Obvious:

Whortleberry Pudding with Brandy Sauce
3 cupfuls of flour
1 cupful of molasses
1/2 cupful of milk
1 teaspoonful of salt
a little cloves and cinnamon
1 teaspoonful of soda dissolved in a little of the milk
1 quart of huckleberries or blueberries, floured Boil in a well-buttered mold two hours. Serve with brandy sauce.

Brandy or Wine Sauce
1 heaping teaspoonful of cornstarch, or 1 tablespoonful of sifted flour
1 cupful of sugar
piece of butter as large as an egg
1/2 cupful of brandy or wine Stir cornstarch in a little cold water to a smooth paste (or instead use sifted flour); add to it a cupful of boiling water, with sugar, butter, boil all together ten minutes. Remove from the fire and when cool stir into it brandy or wine. It should be about as thick as thin syrup.

Source: The White House Cookbook, 1887

*post-Thanksgiving meal update: I did indeed make the pudding for Thanksgiving, which seemed to go over fairly well considering that Americans don’t generally indulge in English-style pudding at the communal table. I made a few changes to the recipe, however. First of all, I don’t have a proper pudding bowl so I just used a mixing bowl with a plate on top for a lid. I had to use more milk than the recipe called for to get the right consistency — maybe a 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup? And for the berry I used blueberries instead of whortleberries. The whortleberry is an archaic name which refers to a few different kind of berries, most commonly a huckleberry, which I didn’t even try to track down. As far as the sauce goes, I made a rum sauce instead of the brandy sauce. The rum sauce version which was definitely richer as it used half a cup of butter instead of a “piece of butter as large as an egg”.

Rum Sauce

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
Rum to taste, about 3 tbsp.
Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Slowly stir in 1 egg, then add the rum. Heat and stir over low heat about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Thanksgiving in New England

From Historic Houses of Early America, published in 1924:

The first dinner given by the Plymouth Old Colony Club, in honor of the landing of the Pilgrims, was on December 22*, 1769, at 2:30 p.m.

The menu comprised:

A large baked Indian whortleberry pudding, served first of all.

A dish of sauquetash  (this is not the dish made of corn, beans and a bit of salt pork with which we are acquainted, but containing besides corned beef, potatoes and turnips, a meal in itself.)

A dish of clams

A dish of oysters

A dish of codfish

A haunch of venison

A dish of sea fowl

A dish of frost fish and eels

An apple pie, a course of cranberry tarts and cheese.

In the current rage for foraging for our food, this menu sounds just about right.  I, for one, plan to make the baked whortleberry pudding.  I’ll get back to you with the results.

Happy Thanksgiving!