First off, I don't know where to find pc recipes, but I just joined a group on Yahoo groups (19th Century Foods) that might help me a little. I know there are some on Google books too but I seem to have lost my bookmarks for them & a few other websites after my mom's computer crashed.
Oh, okay, if you just need links to period recipes, try searching on google books for search strings like:http://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=intitle:receipt&tbs=,bkv:p,cdr:1,cd_min:Jan%201_2%201845,cd_max:Dec%2031_2%201865&num=10
Change the word "receipt" when it appears in the search bar as intitle:receipt
or "cookery," "cookbook," "receipts," "recipes" for lots more.
I don't have any receipts in mind right now but do remember a few being very confusing I had been thinking about. I just want something healthy that won't need refrigeration at an event but is still PC for 1855 and appropriate for what produce is in season right now in Missouri. It's hard to tell which receipts can stand no refrigeration.
How would you keep lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad cold? Or does it need refrigeration?
Think about the ingredients, rather than the recipes. If the separate ingredients keep, the recipe will too, generally speaking. So for example, look at all the aisles in the grocery where things aren't refrigerated and aren't canned or bottled or sealed. That means all the produce, everything in the baking aisle, and the dried things. Butter will keep for a short while unrefrigerated but will melt in the heat, but lard is just sitting there in a box on the shelf in the grocery, and it stands up to the heat well.
Baked goods are kept out on the shelf too, which inspires the idea that it's easier to make things requiring eggs and milk ahead of time and bring them. Fresh eggs and milk will keep a short while in the heat--I think there was just a discussion here recently about eggs--but the eggs generally should be farm-fresh unwashed, which aren't always available, and kept fairly cool, like in a cellar. Same for milk--needs to be un
pasteurized or inoculated with good bacteria and will keep in a coolish place for a day or so, but may be more trouble than it's worth. There's also canned milk, depending on the historic situation, and there are period labels to add to modern cans. The modern cans aren't quite right, but there's really no practical way to can milk in period cans. Don't know how common canned milk would be in 1855 though--never researched it that early.
Meat is trickier, since most modern products are just for taste and aren't really processed for preservation any more. If you can find "country ham" or "slab bacon," salted and smoked the old fashioned way, that'll keep in the heat, but is very salty, so needs parboiled to get the salt out before final cooking. Some people order it from places like Scott Hams, but some southern groceries or butcher shops carry it. I've never seen commercial salt pork or pickled beef done the old fashioned way, but if you get into this more, it's something you can make at home in the refrigerator a few weeks ahead of time. It's also more practical, since you can just make up a pound or two if necessary, and not need to buy a whole ham or slab or half-slab of bacon.
I'd skip the lettuce and just have the cukes and maters, and not worry about refrigeration
The lettuce could also be kept fresh separately soaking in water, and combined with the cukes and maters when the time comes. If it's very hot, just slice everything and assemble it at the last minute.
Don't make me tell the lettuce story.
At Westville, Georgia, we were given our food for the boarding house at the start of the event which somehow we thought was going to include collards (maybe somebody said so? I dunno). So we were sorting through all these bags and boxes of stuff, I saw something that looked like a head of collards, stuck it stem-down in a big kettle of water so just the top of the head was showing, and forgot about it. Visitors came through; one local lady spontaneously commented on the collards. A day or two passed, came time to boil the collards.
I pulled them out, and one of the other cooks said, "That's lettuce!" I looked. It sure looked like lettuce. But-- But--it had to be collards. A nice local Georgia black lady had even said so, and that's the ultimate expert! We all stared at it, felt it, argued about it. It was either very delicate collards, or was indeed lettuce. So the menu changed from ham and collard greens to ham and salad. I'm sure glad I didn't just throw it in the pot and boil it up--no idea how boiled lettuce would turn out!
But anyway, there's evidence that loose-head lettuce, in the head at least, will keep fresh for several warm days in water.