Croquettes as Catch of the Day, back in the day
I’ll be honest–I wasn’t exactly sure what croquett (modern spelling: croquette) even meant. Was it a fancy word for a meat patty? Salmon patties, sausage balls, crab cakes, and the like?
Not precisely. Dictionary.com defines croquette as: “a small cake or ball of minced meat, poultry, or fish, or of rice, potato, or other food, often coated with beaten egg and bread crumbs, and fried in deep fat.” The word origin traces to 1700-1710 French, from the verb to crunch. Not fish sticks, mind you. The real, homemade deal– hearty, savory meat inside a hot, golden breaded pocket of satisfying crunchy goodness!
Please remember to use 2014 food handling safety practices when attempting to make 1909 recipes!
Jump to . . .
Twenty-five large oysters, as much veal or sweetbreads as oysters, ¼ pint of oyster liquor, ¼ pint of sweet cream, 1 large tablespoonful of butter, 2 tablespoonsful of flour, yolks of 2 eggs, 1 tablespoonful of chopped parsley, ¼ of a nutmeg. Wash oysters and careful remove all piece of shell; throw in boiling water or milk to set them. When they ruffle remove and drain and cut into small pieces. If using veal, boil until tender, and dice, using salt and pepper to taste. When using sweetbreads soak in cold water for two hours and boil in salted water one-half hour; skin and cut into bits. When all is ready put butter into frying pan where it will melt but not scorch; blend with flour, adding the oyster liquor and cream. If more liquor is required to make it the consistency of thick molasses, add more cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the fire and add beaten yellow of eggs, nutmeg and parsley. Mix this into the oysters, veal or sweetbreads. When cool, form into croquetts and dip into bread crumbs, thin the egg, allowing a tablespoonful of water to each egg; again dip into bread crumbs. Use frying basket and fry in deep fat.
–Mary P. Barlow.
Take a lobster weighing from 2½ to 3 pounds, 3 tablespoonsful of butter, ½ cupful of stock cream, 1 heaping tablespoonful of flour, a speck of cayenne, 2 eggs, salt 1 pint of bread crumbs, a little parsley. Cut lobster into fine dice and season with salt and pepper. Put butter on to heat; add flour, and when smooth add stock of cream and one well-beaten egg. Boil up once, add lobster and take off fire; now add one tablespoonful of lemon juice. Butter platter and pour mixure on it to the thickness of one inch; make perfectly smooth with a knife and set away to cool. When cool cut into chops, dip in beaten egg, and then bread crumbs. Place in frying basket and plunge in boiling lard. It will take about two minutes to brown. Canned lobsters may be used in same proportion.
FILLED OR STUFFED FISH.
Take any large fish, such as shad or fresh salmon. After it is dressed, cut in about six or eight pieces, take the meat out without breaking the skin or removing the bones; then chop the meat with two large onions, one egg, two tablespoons of flour or meal; season with salt and pepper very highly, then stuff back into the skin; have a large vessel with about one quart of boiling water, with an onion cut in, and a little salt and pepper; let boil very slowly for about three hours.
–Mrs. S. M. Abel.
To be served in individual dishes.
One pint of pieces of cold cooked fish, yolks of 2 eggs, 1 pint of milk, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of parsley, 1 small onion, 1 tablespoonful of butter, 2 tablespoonsful of flour. Put the milk on to a boil in a farina boiler; add to the onion, parsley and bay leaf; rub the butter and flour together and stir into the milk when boiling; cook two minutes; add the well-beaten yolks of the eggs; take from the fire and strain; add salt and pepper to taste. Put a layer of this sauce in the bottom of a dish, then a layer of the fish, and so on, having the last layer sauce. Sprinkle the top lightly with bread crumbs and place in the oven until a nice brown.
Why the index card?
Simple. Because that’s where I found it.
It’s a bookmark, which means one of these recipes was either worth bookmarking, or was on Cousin Alice‘s list to try out.
Who were they?
Mary P. Barlow: Mary Poundstone Barlow was a prolific contributor to this cookbook–in fact, my suspicion is that she could have been the organizer of the whole effort. Read all contributions and notes on her so far here.
Frances Hart-Ritzinger: Born either October 1879 (1) or December 1, 1879 (2) and christened Fannie Hart (1, 2), Frances first left me with the impression that the Hart family must not have been much for recordkeeping. Her parents were C. W. Hart and Victory V. Mooney (2, 3). In 1880, her family lived on Kanawha Street in Buckhannon, a few doors down from a twenty-two year old Mary Poundstone (1), who would later become the Mary P. Barlow listed in these pages!
In 1902, “Frances Mabel Hart” was the organizing regent of the Elizabeth Zane Chapter of the Daughters of the America Revolution in Buckhannon WV (4). Furthermore, a write-up from The History of Upshur County West Virginia From its Earliest Exploration and Settlement to the Present Time, by W. B. Cutright, gives a detailed history of the Hart family, and settles her birthdate as October 25, 1879. She also studied music in Florence, Italy and Dresden, Germany, completing her education in 1904 (5). Looks like I was wrong about the family being poor recordkeepers. (I looked for a passport application on Ancestry, but sadly, I didn’t find one.)
On November 29, 1906, Frances married John Ramsay Ritzinger at Buckhannon WV (6). In 1910, she (and her mother Victoria) lived with her husband’s family in St Paul MN (7), but by 1920, Frances and John struck off to El Centro CA to make their home with their two children, Augustus and Virginia (8).
In 1927, her son Augustus W. Ritzinger attended West Virginia Wesleyan College and was the president of a newly organized Sigma Eta Delta Fraternity, which had its fraternity house at 20 College Avenue (9, 10). Small wonder then, as a widow in 1930, Frances would be found a sorority chaperone–but in Madison WI this time (11).
Meanwhile (in 1930), Augustus worked as an accountant in Cleveland OH (12), but twelve-year-old Virginia is nowhere to be found. By 1940, she’s living with her brother and sister-in-law in Shorewood WI (13).
Frances Ritzinger passed in 1936 and is buried with her husband at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, IN (14).
Mrs. S. M. Abel: The Samuel M. Abel living Buckhannon WV in 1910 (1) is the top candidate to be the “Mister” attached to Mrs. S. M. Abel. If she’s our contributor, then her name was Lydia Schiff (2). She was born about July 1879 in Ohio, a daughter of Theodore Schiff of Russia (3). In 1900, the Schiff household included Theodore as its head, sisters Celia and Lydia, and a two-year-old grandson named Charles E Schiff (3). In 1910, Celia still lived with her father, but this time, the twelve-year-old grandson was called Ural Blustein (4). Both records for a grandson indicate a father from Russia and a mother from Ohio (3, 4), but there the trail goes cold. I suspect, since he stayed in the household with Celia, that he belonged to her.
I could not identify Lydia and Celia’s mother. I found a record for a “Theodora Schiff” born July 2, 1879 to Theodore Schiff and Rosa Wolf in Dayton OH, but since I already made one assumption with Samuel, I’ll leave this record to other researchers to evaluate.
In any case, Lydia Schiff married Samuel Morris Abel, also of Russia, on September 3, 1902 at Charleston WV (2). They lived in Buckhannon WV in 1910 (1), and all four of their children (Albert N., Julia R., Charles E., and Dorothy C.) were born in West Virginia between 1904 and 1916, but by 1920 they had relocated to Baltimore MD (5). I don’t find them in 1930, but Samuel, Lydia, and Julia Abel were still in Baltimore in 1940 (6).
Lydia and her family posed quite a challenge; many expected records did not appear in the databases where I thought I would find them. I hope to see her name turn up in the cookbook again, to allot space and time for a deeper look.
(Numbered sources are cited and linked in the index.)
More fresh fish from 1909 (ew?) coming up next week!
Forgive me for getting this one out a little late. I hope you’re all enjoying this as much as I am.
If you are researching one of the ladies credited here, email me! I’d love to hear your story!