Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Okay, I realize this is simply a vegetable that we also eat today. Nothing major, right? Well, take a look at how they prepared asparagus in the 19th century from The Godey's Lady's Book Receipts and Household Hints © 1870

Asparagus.—Set a stewpan with plenty of water in it on the fire; sprinkle a handful of salt in it; let it boil, and skim it; then put in your asparagus, prepared thus: Scrape all the stalks till they are perfectly clean; throw them into a pan of-cold water as you scrape them; when they are all done, tie them up in little bundles, of about a quarter of a hundred each; cut off the stalks at the bottom that they may be all of a length, leaving only just enough to serve as a handle for the green part; when they are tender at the stalk, which will be from twenty to thirty minutes, they are done enough. Great care must be taken to watch the exact time of their becoming tender; take them up just at that instant, and they will have their true flavor and color; a minute or two more boiling destroys both. While the asparagus is boiling, toast some bread about half an inch thick; brown it delicately on both sides; dip it lightly in the liquor the asparagus was boiled in, and lay it in the middle of a dish; melt some butter, then lay in the asparagus upon the toast, which must project beyond the asparagus, that the company may see there is a toast. Pour no butter over them, but send some up in a deep dish.

Stewed Asparagus.—Use it as soon as possible after cutting; there are several ways of cooking this, each of which is good. Discard all not brittle enough to break easily, tie it in small bunches, and boil it in very little water, slightly salted, until tender; take off the strings, put it in a covered dish, add butter to the water sufficient to make a rich gravy, and thicken it with very little flour, and I>our the gravy over the asparagus; be careful to lay the heads all one way.

Asparagus Soup.—Cut the asparagus in pieces a half inch long, boil in water with a little salt, and add rich sweet cream to thicken the soup.

Asparagus Toast.—Tie the stalks in small bunches, boil them in very little salted water until tender; toast as many slices of bread as there are bunches of asparagus, butter them while hot, lay a bunch on each slice of toast, add a little butter to the water, and pour it over the whole.

Asparagus Omelette.—Boil some tender, freshly-cut asparagus in a very little water, slightly salted, or steam till tender. Chop up very fine; beat with it the yelks of six and the whites of three eggs, (which must be beaten separately till light;) add two tablespoonfuls of sweet cream. Fry in butter, and serve hot.

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