Thursday, October 04, 2007

Another internet travelogue

I love traditional recipes, and tricks for making things better. I have found a few books on Gutenberg that have some wonderful stuff.

A Treatise on Domestic Economy, by Catherine
Esther Beecher
published in 1845, we find everything from a basic discussion of health (including anatomical drawings) to good manners, economies of time, proper construction of houses, how to remove various laundry stains, modes of destroying insects and vermin, a large section on propagation and care of various plants (and the proper layout for a garden), care of livestock and various ways to dye cloth.

She also wrote (along with her sister Harriet Beecher Stowe) American Woman's Home

The list of authors in turn led me to The Dying of Woollen Fabrics by Franklin Beech (and his companion volume on dying cotton)

I wanted something on cooking, so I found Vaughns Vegetable Cookbook: How to Cook and Use Rarer Vegetables and Herbs

(of Vaughn's Feed Store.. some of the info in this old book is wrong, so use some of
the foods with caution (some of the mushrooms, and pennyroyal)

Here is a recipe:

Gather the pods when young and tender enough to thrust
a needle through them easily, later they become hard
and useless for pickles. Leave half an inch of stem on
each, and lay them in salt water a couple of days, then
cook in weak vinegar until tender, but not so long as to
break them. Drain well from this, place them in jars and
prepare vinegar for them in the proportion of an ounce
each of cloves, allspice and black pepper to a gallon of
vinegar; scald all these together with half a teaspoonful
of prepared mustard. Pour hot over the martynias, cover
closely and keep in a cool place. They will soon be
ready for use."

Naturally I wanted to know what a martynias was, and found this terrific
website of online books, and specifically this one:

By The Prophet Of The Earth: Ethnobotony of the Pima by L.S.M. Curtin
(the plants and their uses)

I also found this: "American Botany: A History of Useful Plants"
by Judith Sumner which told me martynias are also called
Ibicella Lutea.

A google search tells me they look like this:
(image from )

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