Read Soups, Salads, Relishes of Dishes & Beverages of the Old South , free online book, by Martha McCulloch Williams, on

Vegetable Soup: Cut into joints two fat chickens three parts grown, salt and pepper, and lay aside while you fry in a deep pot half a pound streaky bacon. Take out when crisp, put in the chicken, turning it so as to brown it all over. Put in a thick slice of ham, let it also brown a bit, do the same with four sliced onions mild ones then add two gallons cold water, half a teaspoonful salt, two pods red pepper, a dozen whole pepper corns, and two sprigs of parsley. Keep at a gentle boil for an hour, then put in two small heads of tender cabbage finely shredded, and six white potatoes, peeled and sliced a quarter-inch thick. Fifteen minutes later put in a quart of string beans, broken short, a pint of shelled lima beans, a stalk of celery cut fine lengthwise, and a dozen tomatoes, peeled and sliced. Follow them in ten minutes with a pint of tender okra sliced next add a little later the pulp from a dozen ears of green corn, slit lengthwise and scraped. Stir almost constantly with a long-handled skimmer, after the corn pulp is in. If the skimmer brings up chicken bones, throw them aside. Just before serving put in a large spoonful of butter, rolled in flour. Taste, add salt if required. Serve very hot with corn hoe cake and cider just beginning to sparkle. If there is soup enough for everybody, nothing else will be wanted.

Black Turtle Bean Soup: Pick and wash clean, one quart black turtle beans, soak overnight in three quarts cold water, and put on to boil next morning in the soaking water. When it boils add three onions sliced, one carrot scraped and cut up, a stalk or so of celery, three sprigs of parsley, and one tomato, fresh or canned. Boil slowly four to five hours, until the beans are tender, filling up with cold water as that in the kettle wastes. When the beans are very soft, strain all through a fine collander, mashing through beans and vegetables, add a quart of very good soup stock, also a bay leaf, and boil up hard half a minute before serving. Put into each soup plate a slice of lemon, a slice of hard-boiled egg, and a tablespoonful of sherry wine before adding the soup.

Gumbo: Cut a tender, fat chicken, nearly grown, into joints, season well with salt and pepper, and fry for ten minutes in the fat from half a pound of bacon, with two thick slices of ham. Then add two onions chopped fine, six large ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, adding with them their juice, half a large pod of mild red pepper, cut small, a teaspoonful of minced thyme and parsley mixed, a pint of tender sliced okra, stemmed and cut lengthwise. Cook altogether, watching all the time, and stirring constantly to prevent scorching until everything is well-browned. Then add three quarts fresh-boiled water, on the full boil, set the pot where it will barely simmer, and cook an hour longer, taking the same pains against scorching. Rice to eat with the gumbo it must never be cooked in the pot needs to be washed until the water runs clear from it, drained, then tossed into a wide kettle of water on the bubbling boil, and cooked for twenty minutes. The water must be salted to taste. Drain the rice in a collander, set it after draining in the oven for a minute. The grains should stand out separate, but be very tender. Rice thus cooked, and served with plenty of butter, is excellent as a vegetable.

Wedding Salad: Roast unstuffed, three young tender turkeys, or six full grown chickens. Take the white meat only, cut it fine with shears, cutting across the grain, while hot. Let cool, then mix it with ten hearts of crisp celery cut in bits, two heads of tender white cabbage, finely chopped, rejecting hard stalks use three heads if very small and set in a cool place. For the dressing boil thirty fresh eggs twenty minutes, throw in cold water, shell, take out the yolks, saving the white for garnishing, mash the yolks while hot very smooth with a pound and a half of best butter, season them well with salt, pepper, a little dry mustard, celery seed, and, if at hand, a dash of walnut catsup, but not enough to discolor. Add also a teaspoonful of sugar this to blend flavors only. Add a little at a time enough warm vinegar to make as thick as cream. Chill, and pour over the salad, mix well through, then heap it in a big glass bowl, lined with partly white lettuce leaves, make a wreath of leaves around the top, and in serving, lay a larger lettuce leaf on each plate, filling it with the yellow-white salad.

Fruit Salad: Wash well a very ripe juicy pineapple, let dry, then shred with a fork, holding the crown in the left hand firmly, while you pull away sections with the fork in the right. Thus you avoid taking any of the hard center. Peel the sections delicately after they are separated, and cut them in long thin slivers, with the grain. Arrange these slivers star-shape upon lettuce leaves in the plates, lay a very narrow slip of pimento sweet red pepper, between each two of them, then fill in the points of the stars with grape-fruit pulp, freed of skin and seed, and broken into convenient sized bits. Lay more pimento strips upon it. Set on ice till ready to serve, then drench with sweet French dressing.

Sweet French Dressing: Mix well a scant teaspoonful of granulated sugar, the same of dry mustard, half a teaspoonful salt, as much black pepper and paprika mixed, put in the bottom of a deep small bowl, and stir for two minutes. Wet with claret vinegar, adding it gradually, and stirring smooth. Make as thick as cream. Add twenty drops tabasco, twenty drops onion juice, the strained juice of half a lemon, and half a teaspoonful of brandy, rum or whiskey. Mix well, then add, tablespoonful at a time, a gill of salad oil, stirring hard between spoonfuls. Put in more vinegar, more oil the seasoning suffices for half a pint of dressing. Stir till it thickens it should be like an emulsion when poured upon the salad. Keep on ice. The oil and vinegar will separate, but the dressing can be brought back by stirring hard.

Banana and Celery Salad: Chill heart celery and very ripe bananas, slice thin crosswise, mingling the rounds well. Pile on lettuce leaves, and cover with French dressing, into which finely grated cheese has been scantly stirred. This dressing with cheese is fine for tender Romaine, also for almost any sort of cooked vegetable used as salad.

Red and White Salad: Make cups from lettuce hearts, fasten them to the plate, with a drop of melted butter, fill lightly with grape-fruit pulp, and set a tiny red beet, boiled tender, in the middle. Have a very sharp French dressing made with oil lemon juice and Tarragon vinegar. Pass with this cheese straws, or toasted cracker sprinkled lightly with Parmesan cheese.

Pineapple Salad: Pare and core a very ripe, sweet pineapple, cut in slices crosswise, lay the slices in a bowl, with a sprinkle of sugar, half a cup rum or sherry, all the juice shed in cutting up, and a grate of nutmeg. Let stand till morning, cool, but not on ice. Make rosettes of small lettuce leaves in the plates, lay a slice of pineapple on each, fill the hole in the center with pink pimento cheese. Make the cheese into a ball the size of a marble, and stick in it a tiny sprig of celery top. Put a little of the syrup from the bowl in each plate, then finish with very sharp French dressing. Make the pimento cheese by grinding fine half a can of pimento, and mixing it through two cakes of cream cheese, softening the cheese with French dressing, and seasoning it to taste.

Cold Slaw: (V. Moroso.) Shave very fine half a medium sized head of tender cabbage, put in a bowl, and cover with this dressing. Melt over hot water a heaping tablespoonful of butter, with two tablespoonfuls sugar, a saltspoon of pepper, a teaspoonful of salt, dash of red pepper, and scant teaspoonful dry mustard. Mix smooth, then add gradually four tablespoonfuls vinegar, mix well, then put in the yolk of a raw egg, beating it in hard. Cook till creamy, but not too thick. Take from fire, and add if you like, two tablespoonfuls cream, but it is not essential the dressing is good without it.

Tomato Soy: Take one gallon solid, ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced, or four canfuls put up in glass, put in a preserving kettle with a quart of sliced onions, two tablespoonfuls salt, as much moist sugar, teaspoonful black pepper, saltspoon paprika, four hearts of celery cut fine, a tablespoonful of pounded cloves, alspice, mace, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon mixed. Stir well together and cook slowly, taking care not to burn, until reduced one-half. Dry mustard or mustard seed can be added, but many palates do not relish them. After boiling down add a quart of very sharp vinegar, stir well through, skim if froth rises, bottle hot, and seal. This keeps a long time in a dark cool place.

Table Mustard: Mix well together two tablespoonfuls dry mustard, scant teaspoon sugar, half a teaspoon salt. Wet smooth, to a very stiff paste with boiling water, then add either a teaspoon of onion juice, or a clove of garlic mashed, stir well through, add little by little, a tablespoonful olive oil, then thin, with very sharp vinegar, added gradually so as not to lump nor curdle, to the consistency of thin cream. Put in a glass jar, seal tight and let stand a week. A month is better indeed, the mustard improves with age if not permitted to dry up.

Cabbage Pickle: Shred enough tender cabbage to make four quarts, put with it four large green tomatoes, sliced thin, six large onions, chopped fine, three green peppers also chopped, rejecting the seed, two ounces white mustard seed, half-ounce celery seed, quarter-ounce turmeric, three tablespoonfuls salt, two pounds white sugar, two quarts vinegar. Put all in a preserving kettle, set it upon an asbestos mat over a slow fire, and cook gently for several hours, stirring so it shall not scorch. It must be tender throughout but not mushy-soft.

Cauliflower Pickle: Drop two heads cauliflower in salted boiling water, cook fifteen minutes, take up, drop in cold water, separate into neat florets, and pack down in a clean crock. Pour upon the florets, hot, a quart of vinegar, seasoned with a mixture of two tablespoonfuls salad oil, teaspoonful dry mustard, tablespoonful sugar, teaspoonful salt, half-teaspoonful onion juice, half-teaspoonful black pepper, dash of paprika, ten drops tabasco. Bring all to a boil, and pour over the pickle, first strewing well through it blade mace, whole cloves, alspice and cinnamon, broken small but not powdered.

Pear Relish: Wash and stem a gallon of sound ripe, but not mellow Seckel pears, remove the blossoms with a very sharp narrow pen-knife, and stick a clove in each cut. Drain, and drop into a syrup, made of three pounds of sugar and a quart of vinegar. Bring to a quick boil, skim, and set back to simmer. Add after skimming, cloves, alspice, mace, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper, pounded small but not powdered. Cut up a large sweet red pepper, and drop in the shreds. Let cook till the pears are tender. If the syrup is thin, add more sugar some pears yield more juice than others. Sliced lemon gives a piquant tang, but is optional. Put in glass or stone jars, and cover tight, laying a brandy paper on top.

Cherries Piquant: Wash well, and stem but do not pit, half a gallon ripe Morello cherries. Drain well, strew spices well through them, lay thin sliced lemon on top, add a dozen whole pepper corns, and a tiny pod of Cayenne pepper, then pour over a pint of sharp vinegar, boiled with four pounds of sugar, and skimmed clean. Let stand all night, drain off syrup in the morning, boil up, skim, and pour again over the fruit. Next day, put all in a kettle, and cook for fifteen minutes, then put in glass jars, seal and keep dark. Especially good with game or any meat highly seasoned.

Gooseberry Jam Spiced: Wash, and nub half a gallon of green gooseberries, picked just before they ripen. Put them in a kettle with six large cups of sugar, a cup of water, half a teaspoonful each of cloves, alspice, mace, grated nutmeg, and cinnamon, the grated yellow peel of an orange and the strained juice. Cook slowly until thick it should jelly when dropped on a plate. Pack in small jars. One of the very finest accompaniments to any sort of fowl. By leaving out the spices, and merely cooking the berries thick enough to cut like cheese, it is as fine as bar lé duc for serving with salad.

Frozen Cranberry Sauce: (Mrs. R. Heim.) Gives a new tang to game, roast turkey, capon or duck. Cook a quart of cranberries until very soft in one pint water, strain through coarse sieve, getting all the pulp, add to it one and a half pints sugar, the juice strained of four lemons, one quart boiling water, bring to a boil, skim clean, let cool, and freeze rather soft.

“Apple Sauce Gone To Heaven”: Thus a poet names it, though I, the architect thereof, insist that it is wholly and beautifully mundane. To make it, pare eight firm apples, the higher-flavored the better, core, drop into cold water, as pared, let stand till you make the syrup. Take a cup of sugar to each two apples and a cup of water to each two cups of sugar. Bring to a boil, skim, clean twice, then throw in half a dozen blades of mace, bits of thin yellow peel from two lemons, a few bits of stick cinnamon, and one pepper corn no more. Stick four cloves in each apple, drop them in the syrup, which must be on the bubbling boil. After the apples are in they should just cover the pan, add the strained juice of two lemons. Boil hard for five minutes, turn over the apples, simmer till done they will look clear all through. Skim out with a perforated ladle, letting all syrup drain away from them, arrange in a deepish glass dish, or pile on a glass platter. Boil the syrup until it jellies when dropped on a plate, then dip it by spoonfuls over the apples, letting it harden as it is dipped.

Another way, and easier, is to wash and core the apples, without peeling, stick in the cloves, put in an earthen or agate baking dish, add the sugar, water, spices, cover close, and set in a hot oven. Cook until the apples are soft through, then uncover, and crisp a little on top. The peel will be edible, and the flavor richer than when boiled, but the dish is not so decorative.

Spiced Grapes: Wash and drain sound full-ripe grapes, pick from the stems, then pop out the grapes singly from the hulls. Save the hulls and juice. Put the pulp and seeds over the fire, cook until soft, strain through a colander to remove the seed, then add the pulp to the hulls and juice, put all over the fire, with equal weight of sugar, and spices to taste. I like cloves, alspice, mace and cinnamon, all pounded small, but not powdered. Cook until thick, take care not to burn, put into glasses like jelly, and serve with any sort of meat, or as a sweet.

Wild grapes washed, picked from stems, stewed and passed through a colander, furnish a pulp that is worth sugar, spices and so on. Cook as directed for vineyard grapes. By leaving out the most part of spices, and putting in vinegar, a cupful to the quart of syrup, the result is a very piquant jelly, or more properly, fruit cheese.

Sweet-Sour Pears: The pears must be ripe, but very firm. If large, pare and quarter, cutting out the core, stick a clove in each quarter, and drop as pared in cold ginger tea. If small or medium, wash instead of paring, take out cores, stick two cloves in each cavity, pack close in the kettle and cover when all are in with strained ginger tea. Boil in the tea fifteen minutes, until a fork will pierce without too much exertion. Skim out then, pack in jars, strewing spices liberally through, then cover with vinegar boiling hot, to which you had added a cupful of sugar for each quart. Let stand twenty-four hours, drain off, boil, and pour over again. Do this three times, then put all in the kettle, bring to a boil, cook five minutes, and put while hot in clean stone jars.

Spiced Plums: All manner of plums, even the red wild fruit, make the finest sort of relishes when cooked properly. Wash, pick, and weigh, take four pounds of sugar to five of fruit, with what spices you choose, never forgetting a tiny pod of Cayenne pepper, put all over the fire, let boil slowly, skimming off froth. Stir with a perforated skimmer it will take out the most part of stones. A few stones left in give a fine bitter almond flavor after the plums have stood a while. Take care not to scorch, cook until very thick, then add strong vinegar, a cupful to the half-gallon of fruit. Boil three minutes longer, put hot into well-scalded jars, lay brandy paper over, or seal with paraffin.

Baked Peaches: Especially fine with barbecued lamb or roast duck or smothered chicken. Peel one dozen large, ripe, juicy peaches, stick two cloves in each, set in an agate or earthen pan they will just fill, add two cups sugar, a tablespoonful butter, a very little water, and a good strewing of mace and lemon peel. Cover close, and bake until done. Serve hot. Instead of butter, a gill of whiskey may be used, putting it in just before the peaches are taken up, and letting them stand covered until the spirit goes through them. So prepared, they are better cold than warm. The pits flavor the fruit so delicately they should never be removed.