Last night was another food experiment.
My mom kept my great-great-grandmother’s “recipe” book. It’s a loose leaf notebook containing shiny unlined paper. This notebook has obviously been passed down through a few generations of family as I can see handwriting start out fresh and new and then degrade into near illegibility. There is a note in there too where the writing suddenly changed, “Auntie died 8th of February 1902”. The new writing goes on, with the addition of typewritten notes taped into the book, and one can see the writing slowly degrade again as the new owner aged.
Also, the measurement system changed. It goes from egg measurements (robbin’s egg size lump of butter) to heaping spoon fulls to actual teaspoon/tablespoon/cup measurements.
I now have the notebook.
This was a short 1-1/2 line note in poor handwriting written in what seems to be fractured German.
1 salt, 3 pepper, 3 brown sugar, 3 rosemary chopped. Noon. Thickly coat pork. Dinner. Cook in medium oven.
That was it. Nothing else.
I took a pork roast and around noon coated it in a rub made up of 1 tablespoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of pepper, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and grabbed enough rosemary from the bush outside to make 3 tablespoons of chopped rosemary leaves.
My mom has been very instrumental in helping me translate things, both in terms of language and in meaning. The noon and dinner references she said were probably “give it a few hours time to let the flavors ‘soak’ into the meat”. She also confirmed my thoughts on medium temperature ovens as being around 350F degrees.
I have several cookbooks published before 1950 that also help in decoding some of the old terms.
The little recipe worked great. I’ll probably put it in my red notebook, with a few more notes. Like my great-great-grandmother, I too have a recipe book that I hope someday “speaks” to my great-great-grandchildren.