Squirrel Pot Pie and the Art of Gelatin
Like Jaymie Leighton, of my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, I adore old cookbooks. They are such a fascinating view of days gone by. I have a small collection.
However… sometimes it’s a view seen from a crazy angle. For instance, you may think that a smothered grouse is the complaining husband murdered in a mystery, but if you’re examining The New American Cookbook, (my edition was published in 1943) you’re looking at a recipe.
On another page you are advised to ‘plunge animal into very hot, but not boiling water 2 minutes’. Sounds like a pet being bathed? Not exactly; you are then advised to ‘Pull out or scrape off hair without damaging skin’, and all of this in reference to a possum. Yum… roasted possum! Try telling your kids ‘possum’ when you’re asked what’s for dinner, and you may never get another complaint about fishsticks and lima beans.
For the uninitiated, perusing old cookbooks is a fascinating look into the past, and the lengths cooks were likely to go to, to come up with something unusual. Imagine this dish; shrimps on bananas. I kid you not… it really is a recipe in the New American Cookbook. And gelatin! People would, it seems from the cookbook, put anything in gelatin and call it a salad, or make it into an aspic.
But it made me wonder… what was it about cooking in the years the cookbook was produced that made such odd delights palatable? Was it because in that time there were still folk living off the land and eating what they found? I suppose some folks still are, today, so it could be a valuable resource, in that case. Or maybe people were then, as we do today, trying to find something different than the usual to put on the table.
If that is the case, they certainly succeeded with Squirrel Pot Pie.
So, I have a fun idea. Tell your fussy family that you’re going to start writing out the menu for the week and putting it on the fridge. Start with normal stuff: Monday; Chili. Tuesday: Chicken. But then… then… go off the rails. Wednesday can be the Smothered Grouse. Thursday: Squirrel Pot Pie. Friday: Kidney Pie. Saturday… oh, Saturday! Make it Boiled Lamb’s Tongues, or Marinated Brains. Tripe in Batter. Those are all recipes in The New American Cook Book.
I think hot dogs and spaghetti will start sounding real good. It’s up to you if you want to follow through on the menu, but don’t ask me to smother the grouse.
In the new Vintage Kitchen Mystery from the author of No Mallets Intended, the Heritage Society is re-creating a perfect Victorian Christmas—until good tidings go bad…
Queensville has great expectations for their Dickens Days festival. A tourist-trade boon boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies. At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter.
Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries—and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie’s beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering the entire Fretter family had its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie’s not convinced by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she’s going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas—especially with the real killer ready to kill again.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of White Colander Crime to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on November 26th
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Winner will have 48 hours, from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.
Victoria Hamilton is the author of three nationally bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.
Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!
Vintage Kitchen Mysteries