Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Updating Old Classics

Yesterday I had written about Ida Bailey Allen's wonderful cookbook Delicious Meals At Low Cost. This is a time capsule of great recipes however it is sixty years old. Luckily with any old recipe you can update it and fit it into modern cookery and baking.

Sometimes older recipe s or receipts call for ingredients that were easy to get in the 18 and 1900's but are hard to acquire now. Let's face it we can't easily go out and shoot a brace of partridge. We can substitute them with turkey or even Cornish hen. As far as with different cuts of beef we can more or less replace one cut with another. We can also update prep methods thanks to food processors and portable grills.

Cakes are another matter . Some older recipes call for a pinch of this and a cup of that . Unfortunately there is always some debate about what constitutes a pinch or a cup. Usually housewives added just s few grains of some thing as a pinch. A cup was usually a demitasse cup also used for measuring flour and sugar. A few scratch cakes call for duck eggs which produce a richer taste and a yellower batter. The problem is how many markets still sell them. Another dilemma with older recipes are the tastes. years ago people were quite used to spicier cakes or less sweeter ones. You have to experiment with recipes a few times and adjust the amounts to get the desired taste.

Updating old recipes takes a lot pf thought and consideration. It can be done however. Just work on them and experiment until you get the desired taste.

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