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mmescher
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« Reply #80 on: April 29, 2009, 08:11:06 PM »

Of course a problem with any bologna is the name says it all -- the original was from Italy.  And the same problem applies as with salami, i.e., there weren't many Italians in the United States in the 1860's.

Michael Mescher
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mmescher
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« Reply #81 on: April 29, 2009, 08:26:53 PM »


Totally agree. I'm guessing you've seen the info on jerked beef from around the Louisiana/Texas area and imported from South America? We went through that for Into the Piney Woods, held in Louisiana, one of the few events where jerked beef seemed a reasonable option.

It seemed a fairly regional thing, though. I'd also be curious for any references to it in other parts of the south or northeast, outside of hunters and Indians.

There was "dried beef," of course, but that was like the dried beef you get at the deli, prepared in a large piece like ham and finally sliced very thin for eating, but not sliced before drying like jerked beef.

Here's part of an email I sent to our group for ITPW on the topic:

There wasn't much jerked beef up where I live, except among hunters,
Indians, that kind of thing, but there was a lot in the LA/TX area. I don't
know how much was made locally and how much had been imported from South
America via New Orleans. Apparently it was a big thing in South America. For
that kind of jerked beef, the longer the strip, the better. Here's a
description of how it was made:

http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA309&lr=&id=cMkpAAAAYAAJ&output=html

(Article is in the lower right hand corner of the page.)

And here's a mention of Louisiana-style Texas jerked beef, also mentioning
it was dried in strips, length not specified:

http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA382&lr=&id=ezQHRHgCfccC&output=html

Note that they always seem to call it jerked beef, rather than jerky, though
I've seen a few sporadic references to "jerky."

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Thanks, Hank!

I was aware of jerked beef being prepared in other countries and among some of the Western Indian tribes but didn't know how much it was consumed by the general public in the United States.  I'm guessing the white population would generally look upon it as something eaten by savage tribes.  The article that describes its manufacture in South America does mention that it was exported to England for the poorer classes.  The description in Louisiana/Texas seemed to treat it as a novelty (in 1857) which would seem to indicate that its consumption was not widespread (a bit of reading between the lines, I'll admit). 

So we have here at least one period reference to it being found in the United States.  But the one reference would not support the abundance I've seen at reenactments when sometimes it seems you would conclude that jerky was a standard ration issue from its abundance. 

The search continues for a period source about its use outside of a small regional area.

Michael Mescher

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hanktrent
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« Reply #82 on: April 29, 2009, 08:37:01 PM »

Of course a problem with any bologna is the name says it all -- the original was from Italy.  And the same problem applies as with salami, i.e., there weren't many Italians in the United States in the 1860's.

Michael Mescher

There are recipes for "bologna sausage" in the Kentucky Housewife and the Virginia Housewife, and a search in the usual places turns up enough hits that it seems Americans would have been somewhat familiar with the food. The catch is, though, that modern bologna sausage probably resembles period bologna sausage the way modern bacon or ham resembles period bacon or ham.

Hank Trent
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hanktrent
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« Reply #83 on: April 29, 2009, 08:50:41 PM »

But the one reference would not support the abundance I've seen at reenactments when sometimes it seems you would conclude that jerky was a standard ration issue from its abundance.

I've not seen a whole lot eaten at reenactments, but I agree, I've not run across anything so far to indicate it was common among the general population in the east.

Hank Trent
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Vicki
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« Reply #84 on: April 29, 2009, 09:54:28 PM »

Keep it comin', people!!  Cheesy 

I still gotta picnic lunch to pack for Saturday, and I haven't baked/ cooked/ gone to Walmart YET!!!!  Grin

At least the kiddos know they can still count on a box of shortbread....... Wink
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anb717
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« Reply #85 on: April 29, 2009, 10:17:36 PM »

Cheese and bread, Vicki, cheese and bread! 

It always works;)

Jams and preserves for bread, too.  Since we're just heading into spring right now, our variety of fresh produce is much more limited, but give that another 3 or 4 weeks and that'll change and get REALLY fun.  Maybe some dried fruit?  Theoretically, some may be leftover from the winter months if we're trying to reproduce what the original cast had/did.  Anything pickled would probably be okay as well.

Unless this going to be a really long event, you won't need a ton of food, just enough for one meal.  Cheese, bread, jam, maybe a pickled veggie or two, hard boiled eggs, and some shortbread.  Just keep weather in mind--if it's nippy outside, some of those foods might not be as appatizing for the kiddos.

I applaud your efforts to do meals that would be correct to era and the season (when possible).  It's a step a lot of reeanctors ignore.  No one is perfect in getting that totally, 100% accurate meal (our growing patterns and seasons are just very different now), but your efforts to get a correct meal would be appreciated by event organizers every where.
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bevinmacrae
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« Reply #86 on: April 30, 2009, 11:17:11 AM »

To add one more thing into the dried meat mix, recent article in the Citizen's companion:

March 2009 issue

"Social Status in the American South" by Victoria Rumble

From the diary of Emily Burkes when she visited Georgia:

"Meat is not salted and barreled, but smoked and dried, and generally tainted during the process. I never saw any meat preserved in this way that I could eat; and it was more that I wished to do to sit at the table where it was. I was once passing a corn-house on a plantation with a servant woman, where I observed the smell of putrid flesh; and on making inquiry what it was, the woman informed me that is was beef drying upon the top of the house; for they dry all their meat in the summer when they can have the benefit of a good hot July or August sun."

She goes on about pork being consumed at most every meal, and pork also preserved by drying and smoking.

Emily was from New England and wrote in 1850.

I think this tells us that
a) not common in New England
b) common at least to poor whites in Georgia. At least in this person's experience.
c) it's not like the jerky we find today, but something less seasoned.

Sounds very unappetizing to me. In any case, one can pack a cold lunch without meat. Any vegetarian friends you have will thank you. I've also tried a few potted meat things, and those don't sound too bad for a day trip.
Bevin
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Bevin MacRae

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hanktrent
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« Reply #87 on: April 30, 2009, 12:55:20 PM »

To add one more thing into the dried meat mix, recent article in the Citizen's companion:

March 2009 issue

"Social Status in the American South" by Victoria Rumble

From the diary of Emily Burkes when she visited Georgia:

"Meat is not salted and barreled, but smoked and dried, and generally tainted during the process. I never saw any meat preserved in this way that I could eat; and it was more that I wished to do to sit at the table where it was. I was once passing a corn-house on a plantation with a servant woman, where I observed the smell of putrid flesh; and on making inquiry what it was, the woman informed me that is was beef drying upon the top of the house; for they dry all their meat in the summer when they can have the benefit of a good hot July or August sun."

She goes on about pork being consumed at most every meal, and pork also preserved by drying and smoking.

Emily was from New England and wrote in 1850.

I think this tells us that
a) not common in New England
b) common at least to poor whites in Georgia. At least in this person's experience.
c) it's not like the jerky we find today, but something less seasoned.

Well, pork preserved by drying and smoking is ham and bacon.  Huh

Though Emily says meat is not salted and barreled, I wonder if she literally means it's never salted, or whether she means it's not kept that way for the long term like corned beef or salt pork. Since we know that ham and bacon were used in the south, and southern recipes indicate they were salted before smoking, something does not compute.

The north-south difference may be due to the fact that beef, especially, is more difficult to preserve in a long hot summer unless it's dried. However, that doesn't mean it was cut into thin strips and dried in the style of jerked beef. Without further information, I'd suggest that the beef on the roof was what's described in the Virginia Housewife as "To Dry Beef for Summer Use," or the Kentucky Housewife as "To Cure Beef for Summer."

Is there anything to indicate that the meat Emily Burkes was talking about was definitely cut into thin strips like jerky? It certainly could have been, but there are well-documented southern recipes for "dried beef" that isn't.

The Kentucky Housewife specifies that you should "Take a round from the beef soon after it is killed, and divide it into four equal parts," and it's cut no smaller than that until after the drying process, when "It makes excellent chip for the tea-table, and is also very nice sliced thin, soaked for a few minutes in hot water, and slightly broiled and buttered."

The Virginia Housewife recipe is online here.

I wonder if Emily was seeing the initial drying (from butchering in July and August Huh) or whether she was seeing what the Virginia Housewife suggested, and why the meat might already be getting tainted: "It will be necessary, in the course of the summer, to look them over occasionally, and after a long wet season, to lay them in the sun a few hours."

Hank Trent
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« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 12:59:44 PM by hanktrent » Logged
hanktrent
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« Reply #88 on: April 30, 2009, 01:15:37 PM »

Thought I'd wander over to Vicki Betts' newspaper site and see what was there. Here's an article in a Georgia newspaper, explaining to the readers what jerked beef is, apparently indicating it wasn't well-known outside of the Mexico-Texas area:

Quote
WEEKLY COLUMBUS [GA] ENQUIRER, September 9, 1862, p. 1, c. 3
                Jerked Beef for the Army.—There is a process of curing beef known to Mexicans and old Texans, as "jerking."  The process is simple:  cut the meat into strips of eight to fourteen inches in length, salt it moderately, then string it upon ropes in the sun, taking it in at night; in three of four days it is ready to use.  The transportation would be much easier than of cattle, as it could be put in barrels, or bales made of "raw hide," or "hickory bark."  Beef cured in this manner is always juicy and palatable.  It is healthy.  A haversack of jerked beef will last a man for days without bread.  Cooking is unnecessary as it is as good raw.


If the army actually took that advice, information on that should show up later.

The other non-Texas/Louisiana hit was a parody 1861 Union recruiting poster in Tennessee, "Able-bodied Tennesseans can get employment at $8 a month, with jerked beef and crackers, in the ARMY of COERCION, to FORCE their Southern brethren into submission." That would seem to indicate that Tennesseeans would understand what jerked beef was, and that it was a very poor food, which fits with its connection to hunting and pioneer/primitive foods in the east.

Hank Trent
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Stephanie Brennan
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« Reply #89 on: April 30, 2009, 02:49:33 PM »

A reference for bologna in the early 18oo's can be found here: Historical Society of York County York PA. A folk art drawing of PA taverns includes a drawing of food served at the taverns kept in York. Smoking sausage and ballones ( bologna?) are shown hanging over a fire.  The sausage shown is in links and long tube form.       Stephanie
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bevinmacrae
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« Reply #90 on: April 30, 2009, 07:30:28 PM »

I know the diary entry isn't as complete with information as we'd like it. It just struck me as a new thing I didn't know or hear of before, so I thought I'd add it into the mix. Maybe Vicki knows more? I'm not arguing for or against the use of Jerky, but what of dried beef? Unseasoned, etc? The housewife articles support a salt brine (anything else added to the brine?) which makes sense from a preservation standpoint, and that it was certainly in bigger pieces. It also seems to me that to use it, it would be re-hydrated. Not eaten dried. I've done that before and it is quite nice!


I havn't done a whole lot on this subject. For one in the southern portrayal of a rural farmer, if one wanted to have beef at an event and could not safely use fresh beef, what would be the recommendation, based on the evidence at hand, for treating it? Would it be more likely to bring a preserved pork product? Evidence for how pork was dealt with seems to be more common. Unless you were in Texas, where cattle seems more abundant....

Sorry so many questions! I'm just being curious, and lazy. I guess I'm still in the "ask about everything you hear about" stage with material culture and food, etc. Now that I'm pretty grounded with clothing, I'm branching out to other things, and annoying more people of course....
Bevin
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Bevin MacRae

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hanktrent
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« Reply #91 on: May 01, 2009, 04:22:46 AM »

I havn't done a whole lot on this subject. For one in the southern portrayal of a rural farmer, if one wanted to have beef at an event and could not safely use fresh beef, what would be the recommendation, based on the evidence at hand, for treating it?

I'd say just what I posted. Dried beef. I haven't seen period dried beef commercially available that's designed to be kept without refrigeration. The deli dried beef that you make creamed dried beef out of is as close as modern products get, but like modern bacon, I think it's treated more for flavor than for preservation, so I'm not sure I'd trust it for several days unrefrigerated.

I've made corned beef, but haven't dried it, so can't speak from personal experience how to do the last step on a small, homemade scale. There are instructions in lots of period cookbooks though; just search for "dried beef."

The main challenge is dealing with the texture, because even period corned beef gets tough and needs a lot of cooking, and I'm sure it would only get more so after being dried. Period recipes suggest dealing with the problem by putting pressure on it while drying, and of course slicing it very thin at the end.

Quote
Would it be more likely to bring a preserved pork product

Well, the classic "hog and hominy" diet is always a good place to start, just like if I were portraying a New Englander, baked beans and a boiled dinner would be where to start. But of course both north and south ate a varied diet, so it wouldn't be inaccurate for a southerner to have baked beans or a northerner to have ham and mush.

It's the old thing about starting with what was common or typical and branching out. If a visitor gets to see only one period meal, I think it's better to have it be the most common, else they'll go away impressed by the fact that southerners ate canned lobster and sea kale, and miss learning the main points about a southern diet. Or if you suspect other reenactors won't be choosing typical foods, better to choose typical ones to bring things back into balance.

There are lots of period cookbooks online and lots of travelers' accounts about local foods in different areas, so it's usually possible to come up with a fair amount of information about what would be typical in a particular season, social class and area.

Hank Trent
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Megan Funk
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« Reply #92 on: June 21, 2009, 08:38:25 AM »

in an effort to save my sanity, we are looking for more cold meal options for this year.  The routine of building fire, cooking, and scrubbing dishes takes the whole day.  This might be accurate but in the end, this is the only vacation my family gets each year. 

I know that bread as we buy it is not right, and would like to bake a few loaves at home before we go.  The few places I have seen with recipes recommend baking it in a one-pound coffee can.  Since I typically buy coffee in MUCH larger quantities than that, are there other methods of making bread?  Is it strickly the pre-slicing that is wrong, or was the loaf pan as we know it not used yet? 

We are planning to take sausages and other meats with a variety of cheeses to serve with the bread, and toast it for jam in the mornings to go with some cold eggs.
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Marta Vincent
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« Reply #93 on: June 21, 2009, 01:38:03 PM »

You certainly make free form loaves - not baked in a form, but made like french bread on a flat sheet.  If your dough is quite firm, that will work well.  I would look up some bread recipes and I think you'll find some yummy whole grain types that can be baked free form too.  Take a knife and cutting board & slice it there.

That type of loaf will also stay nice and fresh longer too, since the center is surrounded by the crusty outside.  If the kids won't eatt the crust, trim it off for them onsite.

Google recipes, choose All Recipes, and search for bread.  You can choose ingredients you want and don't want, and other key words as well.
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hanktrent
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« Reply #94 on: June 21, 2009, 03:41:02 PM »

I'd highly suggest searching for period recipes for bread, and not modern ones. Unless you've already researched period bread-making techniques, there's no way to know what modern recipes are similar to period recipes. Even if you bake the bread at home in a modern oven, people may be interested in how you would have done it in the period.

You'll see bread pans mentioned often in period sources. I'm curious, actually--would someone who owned a stove with an oven in the period almost always use pans? Were there different demographics that were more apt to bake without or with pans, such as those with brick ovens, those with stoves with ovens, or those with only Dutch ovens?

Almost every period cookbook has a basic bread recipe in it and there are literally dozens, maybe a hundred or more, period cookbooks online, fully viewable and searchable. The Feeding America cookbook site can't be limited by date unfortunately, so for something general like bread, where you'll get hundreds of hits, it may be easier to pick a typical period cookbook and search on google books. Here are some search strings to start at google books:

Bread flour yeast inauthor:Beecher date:1800-1865

Bread flour yeast inauthor:haskell date:1800-1865

Bread flour yeast intitle:"virginia housewife"

As far as accuracy, it's just like anything else, you can take it as far as you want, incorporating differences in period flour and yeast, or just using modern all-purpose flour and fleischman's yeast. Just up to whatever you enjoy. At a certain point, the extra cost and time may not be worth the difference, and at a certain point also, it's virtually impossible to duplicate ingredients exactly. Mediterranean soft red wheat, stone ground? Not happening.  Smiley.

Hank Trent
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Vicki
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« Reply #95 on: June 27, 2009, 10:51:11 AM »

I have made wheat bread similar to some recipes in period cookbooks, and I often just bake them as individual rolls.  That way you don't have to bring a cutting board and knife (if you need to save space) and the kids can just grab one when they're hungry. I usually take them in a basket covered by a towel.  It makes  a quick and easy snack.
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Brian Smith
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« Reply #96 on: July 29, 2009, 06:53:00 PM »

I've seen fried chicken mentioned several times in this string and am curious how reenactors are keeping it until it is ready to be served.

Are you keeping it in a cooler? Or just leaving it at room temperature for several hours until you eat it? I'm not sure how safe this is.

Brian
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Megan Funk
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« Reply #97 on: July 29, 2009, 07:42:43 PM »

I can't speak for others, but we keep foods in a well-disguised cooler.  There is an event this weekend locally and it will be an interesting challenge; the fire marshall has declared a burn ban and will be inspecting the camp on friday evening.  Looks like cold food all weekend for us, bring the coffee pot in hopes of sharing the corner of a cookstove.
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hanktrent
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« Reply #98 on: July 29, 2009, 08:36:45 PM »

I've seen fried chicken mentioned several times in this string and am curious how reenactors are keeping it until it is ready to be served.

Are you keeping it in a cooler? Or just leaving it at room temperature for several hours until you eat it? I'm not sure how safe this is.

Brian

Personally, I wouldn't trust chicken kept unrefrigerated at summer temperatures for very long, though some folks do it. I was once served pre-cooked fried chicken, kept in a cooler and reheated over the fire on a modern camping trip, and it was the only time I've gotten food poisoning outdoors, so I kinda want to keep my streak of no food poisoning when eating period food intact.  Smiley

The only time I can recall having chicken at an event is when it was killed and cooked on site.

For an upscale period picnic or something, a block of ice and a period "cooler" might fit the situation. But I can think of very few historic situations that are so specific and so documented that fried chicken is an absolute necessity (and no live chickens are allowed) so that the blatant anachronism of a modern cooler would be worth it to me. Even if no one else sees it, I know it's there.

Most of the time, it's just easy to choose something else to eat with a similar connotation (tinned oysters for an upscale delicacy, for example), that the added accuracy doesn't seem worth the anachronism. But then there are people who bring modern coolers to most events regardless, so for them, I could see that it'd be a moot point.

Hank Trent
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #99 on: July 30, 2009, 08:46:00 AM »

Megan, if you have the time, consider doing everything possible to dump the cooler. As Hank has mentioned, it's an imperfect cool, so the chances of food poisoning go up quite a lot when relying on a cooler for food safety.

For cold meals this weekend, look at:

Bread (bake at home, loaves or rounds)
Butter (kept under water; it will be soft, but not spoil by Sunday)
Hard Cheese (cheddar--again, it will be soft, and oily, but still safe; wrap it in cloth and keep in the shade)
Summer sausage (small ones, so you're opening and eating without it sitting out for hours and hours--no fly exposure.)
Fruit in season
Raw vegetables in season
Nuts

You might be surprised how easy it is, and how full everyone gets! And, no cooler to haul, stock with ice, hide, or haul out. If something needs no refrigeration to store, it's often safe to eat without cooking, so there's a fire-safety bonus as well.
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Regards,
Elizabeth
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