Your Editors can hear your plaintive cries, “Enough with the dessert recipes! What I really need is an early 19th-century way to spruce up my holiday table!”
To the rescue is the Herald Century Cook Book, published by the editors of the Grand Traverse Herald, predecessor to the Traverse City Record-Eagle,in 1900. No need for expensive flower arrangements! Be carbon-friendly with these two salad garnishes: Radish Roses and Celery Daisies. We imagine these would be a lot of fun for a small party to make together, children too, with proper supervision. Send us a photo of your “edible decorations,” and we’ll publish it in the next issue of Grand Traverse Journal.
“Radish roses are made by taking small, round, red radishes and cutting through the surface with a sharp pen knife in sections, leaving enough uncut at the bottom to hold them together. Put them in cold water, and the cut portions will curl backward like the petals of a flower, the bright red contrasting with the white center.
Celery daisies are made by cutting the celery stalks into inch lengths, then with a sharp knife, cutting the stalk halfway down into slits, then again across these slits. Throw the pieces into cold water, when, in the course of a few hours, they will curl back to resemble the petals of a daisy, and the likeness may be further carried out by placing a tiny round piece of the hard-boiled yolk of an egg in the center of the celery.”
Care to make a classic Edwardian dessert for your holiday festivities this year? Mrs. H.G. Reynolds of Old Mission has just the recipe for you! Reynolds’ version of a Charlotte Russe was found in a local cook book compiled by “Grand Traverse Housekeepers” and from the Household Department of the Grand Traverse Herald, one of few newspapers published in the Grand Traverse Region around the turn of the previous century.
All subscribers to the Herald were presented with a copy of The Herald Cook Book, copyright 1884. The endeavor must have been popular, as two more cook books were published by the Herald before 1900. All three are available for your perusal at the Traverse Area District Library.
You can imagine a Russe was a popular dessert because of its versatility. You could flavor the dessert with whatever fruit was in season that moment. You could use up any cookies, sponge cake, or biscuit that had gone stale. And, you didn’t have to monitor the dessert in the oven! What a perfect dish for Thanksgiving, when that space is already occupied by whatever main dish you’re serving. Enjoy!
Line a pan with lady fingers, or light cake. Take a quart of cream, sweetened to taste and flavored with vanilla, then whip it. Pour half a cup of hot water on half an ounce of gelatine which has been soaking in a little cold water. After it is dissolved stir very hard into the whipped cream and then pour it into the mold being careful not to upset the cake. Set in a cold place to harden. -Mrs H.G. Reynolds, Old Mission.”