Learn about Life in the 1920s

Article on Creole Cookery including Recipes from 1923

JAMBALAYA is another unusual dish of New Orleans, an inheritance from the Spanish. To make it, buy a pound of lean pork and cut into minute pieces. Chop fine two onions, also a clove of garlic, a sprig of parsley and half a bay leaf. Melt a tablespoonful of butter or other fat in a kettle and add the pork and onions; let them brown well, stirring often, and add half a pound of ham cut into small pieces, a tiny pinch of ground cloves, and the garlic and other savories. Cook together, stirring all the time, for five to ten minutes; then add six small pork sausages, and cook again until they are brown, then pour in two quarts of boiling water or stock. Bring to the boiling point, and add seasoning to taste; then sift in slowly a cupful and a half of well-washed rice and a pinch of chili pepper. Cook quickly until the rice is well done, then serve at once.

POMPANO, WITH LEMON BUTTER. Split the fish down the back, if large; clean and season it well by rubbing it with salt and pepper. Brush the hot broiler with olive oil and broil the fish to a rich brown on both sides. Then place it on a hot dish, spread with soft butter and squeeze the juice of a lemon over it. Garnish with parsley and sliced lemon.

LA DAUBE - pronounced dobe - is the dish which means to New Orleans what the pot-roast means to the rest of the world. For its making one may use beef or veal or, on very festive occasions, turkey, goose or chicken; and one may serve the daube hot or cold, or for something very much out of the ordinary it may be cold daube glace or cold daube en gelee. For a dinner for six or seven persons five pounds of rump or round of beef will be required, with one-quarter of a pound of fat salt pork, two large onions, three carrots, a turnip, a clove of garlic, a bay leaf, a sprig of parsley and a pinch of thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Slice the fat salt pork very, very thin and chop one of the onions, the bay leaf, garlic and parsley very fine. Rub the pork slices with salt and pepper, then cut deep gashes in the beef and place the pork in them, cover it with the finely minced herbs and spices; then flour the meat all over. Cut the other onion into slices and brown in fat at the bottom of a heavy iron kettle, lay the meat neatly tied into shape over the onion and cover closely. Cook, turning the meat often until it is well browned on all sides. This is really the secret of a successful daube-every-thing must be well browned. Then lay the vegetables, peeled and sliced or cut in dice, about the meat; brown them well, and finally pour in just enough boiling water to prevent the contents of the kettle from sticking, cover closely and just simmer for three hours or longer. Serve hot or cold. The housewives of New Orleans take many liberties with the daube. For instance, they may omit the carrots and turnips and add a handful of raisins for variety, or they may use celery cut in small pieces, and sometimes the seasonings are changed, a clove, an all-spice berry or a few drops of some piquant sauce are added. In fact, as one housewife declared, "One just goes about the kitchen and gathers up whatever may be convenient or desirable to drop into the pot." But all are agreed that thorough browning of the meal and vegetables is essential.

VEAL DAUBE is most delicious for cold serving. It must have four pounds of rump or leg of veal, one-quarter of a pound of fat salt pork, two pig's or calf's feet, five large onions, a clove of garlic, a bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and such other vegetables and seasonings as one may prefer. Prepare like beef daube and simmer for four or five hours. Meantime place the pig's or calf's feet, which have been nicely cleaned, in another kettle, with two quarts of water, a teaspoonful of salt, a sliced onion and a sprig of parsley, and boil until the meat falls from the bones. Then remove the feet, cut the meat from them and chop it fine. Strain the liquid, return the meat to it and cook half an hour. When the daube is finished place it on a platter and pour the liquid over it. Set away in a very cold place for twenty- four hours, or until the meal is well chilled and incased in a delicious savory jelly. When serving, slice thin and garnish each plate with watercress, sliced pickle beet or halved tomatoes filled with mayonnaise.

POULET CREOLE, or Creole Chicken. Cut up a fine, tender chicken as for frying, season it well by rubbing it all over with salt and pepper; then melt two tablespoonfuls of butter in a frying pan and brown the chicken slowly in it. Next add one large onion minced fine, and cook until it, too, is brown; then stir in a large tablespoonful of flour, and loss with the butter and onion until it is deeply, brightly brown. Two or three large tomatoes peeled and cut in small pieces, a sprig of parsley chopped, a pinch of thyme, half a bay leaf and a clove of garlic, minced to a pulp, go into the pot next, then it is covered closely and the contents permitted to simmer for half an hour. At the end of this time add a cupful of boiling water and three green peppers freed of their seeds and cut in thin strips. Again cover the saucepan and simmer very slowly for three-quarters of an hour, or until the chicken is very tender. Season before serving.

Of course the logical accompaniment to this dish is nicely boiled rice, and perhaps a word as to the method used for cooking rice in Louisiana may be timely.

BOILED RICE in New Orleans is always snowy white, dry, smooth and delicate as one could wish a dish to be. The rice is boiled in plenty of water, two quarts to a cupful being considered none too much. While the water is reaching the boiling point the rice is thoroughly washed through several waters until it is milky white and all starchy particles have been rubbed away between the palms of the hands. A teaspoonful of salt is added to the boiling water and, when the latter is bubbling merrily, the rice is added. Naturally the rapid boiling tosses the grains about and prevents their slicking to the kettle, and no stirring is necessary. In tact it is considered fatal to touch the rice once it has begun to soften. In twenty minutes test a grain by pressing it between the fingers; if it is soft, drain the water from the rice, and set the kettle in a moderately hot oven to permit the grains to dry and become fluffy and delicate. By this method each grain stands out distinct and separate. Rice boiled in this fashion is served with every variety of daube or gumbo; it is, in fact, one of the dishes which one may always expect to find on every well-supplied Creole table.

FRIED CORN is a summer vegetable in high favor, especially in the lovely Teche country, the land made immortal by Longfellow, whose Evangeline is buried in St. Martinsville. It is prepared by scoring ears of the tender young vegetable down each row; then the pulp and juice are pressed from the cob with a blunt knife or fork and seasoned well with salt and pepper; for a real Creole dish a bit of cayenne is added; chop one medium-sized onion fine and mix with the pulp of six ears of the corn; then turn into a frying pan in which a tablespoonful of butter has been melted; stir continuously until well cooked and lightly browned and serve very hot.

GENUINE CREOLE SALAD DRESSING will transform a plain salad of lettuce or cucumbers into a dish for an epicure. First the bowl is rubbed with the ubiquitous bit of garlic; then a small piece of ice is impaled on a fork to be used tor stirring the dressing, and finally a tablespoonful of olive oil is poured into the garlic-scented bowl, with a saltspoonful of salt and one of black pepper, also a tiny dash of cayenne; then the oil is stirred to a paste with the seasonings, the ice acting as a blending implement, and gradually a tablespoonful of vinegar and two additional tablespoonfuls of oil are added. As the stirring proceeds, the ice chills the oil and a perfect emulsion is made. A teaspoonful of chopped parsley and one of onion are finally added, with any other touches the hostess may wish to include, such as the merest fragment of thyme, or fresh minced bay leaf, or a few drops of walnut catsup or tomato paste. This dressing is served with oyster, shrimp or crab salad, or with any green vegetable.

BEIGNETS (or fritters) of every kind are immensely popular in New Orleans. Fruits, either fresh or canned, rice, meat or poultry, corn or other vegetables, even omelet, may form the basis of some delicious fritter. The batter for the making of all these fritters is practically the same, except that when meat, fish or vegetables are to be used the sugar and flavoring are omitted.

CREOLE FRITTER BATTER requires one cupful of flour, two eggs, two tablespoonfuls of orange or lemon juice, halt a teaspoonful of salt, one tablespoonful of melted butter or olive oil, a tablespoonful of sugar, and cold water to make it of the proper consistency. Beat the egg yolks and add the flour gradually, beating well. Then add the other ingredients, with water to make about as thin as a pancake batter; finally fold in the whites of the eggs whipped to a stiff froth, then dip the fruit or whatever is to be used into the batter and fry in deep hot fat to a rich brown. Drain on paper and, if a fruit fritter, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

OMELET FRITTERS are made by cutting an omelet, prepared by the usual method, into small pieces, dipping these in the fritter batter, then frying as usual and sprinkling with powdered sugar.

MOCHA CAKE is the queen of desserts in New Orleans. Its base is made in quite a different manner from the usual cake. Eight eggs are required tor a large cake, with a heaping cupful of sugar, two scant cupfuls of flour and one-eighth of a pound of butter. Break the eggs in a bowl and add the sugar, then place the bowl in hot water over the fire and beat with a rotary beater until very light and foamy; this will require ten to fifteen minutes, but the mixture must not become hot, just moderately warm. Then remove from the fire and beat till cold; now add whatever flavoring is desired, and gradually beat in the flour, which should be sifted twice, before and after measuring. Finally fold in the melted butter, which should be hot, and turn into layer cake pans, or in one large loaf cake tin which has been well greased and floured. Bake in a moderate oven, 300 degrees; when finished turn out on a cake cooler and, when cold, put together, if layer cake is made, with Mocha filling. If the cake has been baked in a large tin it may be cut into layers when cold, but a very sharp knife will be required, and one must cut with care. For the filling, wash half a cupful of butter to remove all salt, then dry it carefully and cream well. Now begin adding confectioner's sugar, creaming in at least a pound and beating the mixture till like whipped cream. Dissolve three tablespoonfuls of cocoa in a few teaspoonfuls of hot coffee, and add gradually to the Mocha filling, flavor with a teaspoonful of vanilla, and if necessary stir in more sugar or, if too stiff to spread, a few drops of clear black coffee. Spread the filling between the layers of the cake and over the top; the filling should be almost as thick as the cake layers, and remember that it must not be put onto the cake while the latter is warm, or the butter will melt and become absorbed.

OMELETTE SOUFFLE ALASKA is another dessert much beloved in New Orleans, and one not often essayed outside of the restaurant, it is so elaborate. Take a flat piece of deliciously light cake, of the kind used in making the Mocha dessert; this is masked by a thick slice of vanilla ice cream, then mounded over both is a wonderful omelette souffle which has been arranged with the pastry tube and bag in the most remarkable manner; then the dish is popped into a very hot oven, where the omelet is baked and puffed up and fluffed so quickly that the ice cream has no opportunity to melt, so that one is served a solid block of ice cream on a piece of delicate cake, all hidden and incased in a piping-hot sweet omelet!

CAFE NOIR is always drip coffee in New Orleans, and so strong and rich that it stains the cup. Boiled or percolated coffee is taboo, and cream is regarded as very bourgeois. Hot milk for breakfast, it you like cafe au lait, but for dinner, perish the thought!

Source: Ladies Home Journal - April, 1923

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A prediction that food shortages would cause war and famine by 1960.

Creole Cookery of Old New Orleans ~1923
Old style Creole cooking the way it used to be done. Includes recipes from 1923.