The Boston Cooking-School cook book, 879pp.
by Fannie Merritt Farmer (revised by Wilma Lord Perkins)
Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1948 (8th edn)
Cooking on page 232
Fannie Farmer was America’s original goddess of cooking. This book, her most famous, came out in 1896. It introduced homemakers to the concept of using standardised measuring cups and spoons, as well as level measurement.
I was interested to read that Miss Farmer suffered a paralytic stroke at the age of 16. She was unable to walk for several years and her plans to attend university were set aside. She took up cooking to fill her days and eventually turned her parent’s home into a boarding house that was known for its top quality meals.
I feel especially lucky to own this old, battered copy of The Boston Cooking-School cook book. It belonged to my mother-in-law and she gave it to me many years ago when she learned of my interest in cooking. And all those years ago, she bookmarked cake recipes on pages 684–85. The many splatters of cake mixtures are proof it was a popular set of pages.
Pages 32 and 132 have suggested menus, so I moved on to page 232. I was well rewarded with a collection of sauce recipes—three using horseradish and two using cucumber. I made one using a favourite ingredient.
Horseradish sauce II
4 tablespoons grated horseradish, fresh or bottled
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
few grains cayenne
1/2 cup heavy cream
Mix first 4 ingredients and add cream beaten stiff. For beef.
How it played out
I adore horseradish and the bottled stuff is very hard to find in Canberra. Fresh is tricky too, so I spent way more time hunting for horseradish than I did making the dish as written.
After no success at three supermarkets and three green grocers, I found some fresh root at Majestic Fresh for $49.99 a kilo. That hefty price reminded me why I used to grow horseradish in my backyard. I bought $3.50 worth and made the recipe as written.
It took less than 10 minutes to bring it all together. There was some leftover grated horseradish that I ‘pickled’ with vinegar and salt. It won’t be around for long.
Oh yum, oh yum, oh yum! This is complete perfection. I inhaled a few spoonfuls before setting the rest aside for dinner.
Served with steak and Spanish-roasted vegetables, another page-32 recipe. By the way, I sprinkled a bit more cayenne over the sauce when serving.
As for my horseradish supply, I’m heading to the garden centre tomorrow to buy a seedling.