Southern Traditional Recipes from the 1800's

Southern Traditional Recipes from the 1800's
I love researching traditional recipes and how traditional can you get by going back to the 1800's? I found some very interesting menu's and recipes and wanted to share them with our readers here at

Many a southern table featured stewed duck, broiled pidgeons, venison, roasted pidgeons, roasted guinea, beef and of course, chicken. Red cabbage, Lima Beans, Butter Beans and Cucumbers were the vegetables that were found on many a southern table. The desserts were bountiful with ideas that have carried over to the 20th century. Squash or pumpkin pie, mince pie, brandied fruits, apple pie, almond sponge cake and a "Brides cake."

Here are some recipes from the 1800's. Maybe you have seen them before while reading about that era or maybe you have some of the recipes in your great grandmothers recipe box.

1 calf's brain
Vinegar or lemon juice, about 1 pint

After removing all the large fibers and skin, soak [the brains] for four or five hours in water. Lay them in boiling water with a little salt and vinegar in it, then put them in a strong white vinegar, solution of citric acid, or lemon-juice. Dry them well, dip them in nice butter, and fry slowly in butter until done and nicely browned. Serve with drawn butter, or a sour sauce. 

From The Housekeeper's Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell (1861).

1 young fowl 
Oysters (enough to fill the cavity of the fowl) 
White Sauce (if desired) 

Take a young fowl, fill the inside with oysters, put it into a jar, and plunge the jar in a kettle or saucepan of water. Boil it for one hour and a half. There will be a quantity of gravy from the juices of the fowl and oysters in the jar; make it into a white sauce, with the addition of egg, cream, or a little flour and butter; add oysters to it, or serve up plain with the fowl...the dish loses nothing of its delicacy and simplicity. 

From Godey’s Lady's Book magazine, reader- contributed recipe from the issue of  January, 1861.

1 old duck
Minced ham or salt pork
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs. catsup (type not specified)
Black pepper
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbs. browned flour

This is a good way to treat an old and tough fowl.

Clean and divide, as you would a chicken for fricassee. Put into a saucepan, with several (minced) slices of cold ham or salt pork which is not too fat, and stew slowly for at least an hour--keeping the lid on all the while. Then stir in a large chopped onion, a half-spoonful of powdered sage, or a whole spoonful of the green leaves cut fine, half as much parsley, a tablespoonful catsup, and black pepper. Stew another half-hour, or until the duck is tender, and add a teaspoonful brown sugar, and a tablespoonful of browned flour, previously wet with cold water. Boil up once, and serve in a deep covered dish, with green peas as an accompaniment.

Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871

2 small ("spring" or fryer sized) chickens, cut up
Lard or oil for frying
Egg, beaten
Cracker crumbs
Sprigs of parsley

Clean, wash and cut to pieces a couple of Spring chickens. Have ready in a frying-pan enough boiling lard or dripping to cover them well. Dip each piece in beaten egg when you have salted it, then in cracker-crumbs, and fry until brown. If the chicken is large, steam it before frying. When you have taken out the meat, throw into the hot fat a dozen sprigs of parsley, and let them remain a minute--just long enough to crisp, but not dry them. Garnish the chicken by strewing these over it.

From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871

1 tsp. butter
Beaten egg
Plain bread crumbs
Fried bread crumbs or slices (optional)

To be worth the trouble of picking [plucking], must be well grown, and well fed.
Clean them well, and pepper and salt them; broil them over a clear, slow fire; turn them often, and put a little butter on them.
Garnish with fried bread-crumbs, or sippets; or, when the pigeons are trussed as for boiling, flat them with a cleaver, taking care not to break the skin of the backs or breasts. Season them with pepper and salt, a little bit of butter, and a tea-spoonful of water, and tie them close at both ends; so that when they are brought to table, they bring their sauce with them. Egg and dredge them well with grated bread (mixed with spice and sweet herbs, if you please); then lay them on the gridiron, and turn them frequently; if your fire is not very clear, lay them on a sheet of paper well buttered, to keep them from getting smoked. They are much better broiled whole.

From The Cook's Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829

2 guinea fowl, young
Stuffing of choice
Shallot, chopped
Parsley or summer savory
Browned flour
Currant or other tart jelly

A pair of young Guinea fowls, stuffed and roasted, basting them with butter until they are half done, deserves an honorable place upon our bill of fare. Season the gravy with a chopped shallot, parsley or summer savory, not omitting the minced giblets, and thicken with browned flour. Send around currant, or other tart jelly, with the fowl. A little ham, minced fine, improves the dressing.

Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871

1 lb. butter (unsalted preferred)
1 lb. granulated sugar
3/4 c white wine
3/4 c rose brandy
1 -2 tbs. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
Grated rind and juice of half a lemon
1 lb. flour
20 eggs, separated, use whites only

Prepare a pound of fresh butter and a pound of powdered loaf sugar, as before directed, mix them together, and beat them to a cream. Add to it a wine glass of white wine, one of rose brandy, a grated nutmeg, a tea-spoonful of powdered cinnamon, or a few drops of the essence, and the juice and grated rind of half a lemon. Sift a pound of the finest flour, and beat to a very stiff froth the whites only of twenty fresh eggs; then stir into the other ingredients alternately and gradually the flour and eggs, giving it a hard stirring at the last. Put it in a deep buttered pan, of circular form, having a straight, upright rim, and not filling it more than half full; let it stand to rise, and bake it in a moderate oven, very little warm at first, and gradually heating it, and putting rather more fire underneath than on the top. When it is thoroughly done, withdraw the fire, let it remain in the oven till it gets cool, and ice it smoothly with white cake icing, and when it gets about half dry, ornament it in the most elegant manner with devices and borders in white sugar, which you may obtain at the confectioners. It should be considerably elevated upon the table, and stick firmly in the center of it, a handsome assemblage of real or artificial leaves and white flowers.

The Kentucky Housewife, by Mrs. Lettice Bryan, 1839.

3 lb. lean beef
2 lb. beef suet
1 tbs. salt
6 lb. apples
4 lb. raisins
2 lb. currants
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tbs. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 lb. brown sugar
1 qt. Madeira wine
1/2 lb. citron, cut up

Boil three pounds of lean beef till tender, and when cold chop it fine. Chop two pounds of clear beef suet and mix the meat, sprinkling in a tablespoonful of salt. Pare, core and chop fine six pounds of good
apples; stone four pounds of raisins and chop them; wash and dry two pounds of currants; and mix them all well with the meat. Season with powdered cinnamon one spoonful, a powdered nutmeg, a little mace and a few cloves pounded, and one pound of brown sugar--add a quart of Madeira wine and half a pound of citron cut into small bits. This mixture, put down in a stone jar and closely covered, will keep several weeks. It makes a rich pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

From The Good Housekeeper by Sarah Josepha Hale, 1841

4 lb. fruit
4 lb. sugar
1 pint best white brandy

Make a syrup of the sugar and enough water to dissolve it. Let this come to a boil; put the fruit in and boil five minutes. Having removed the fruit carefully, let the syrup boil fifteen minutes longer, or until it thickens well; add the brandy, and take the kettle at once from the fire; pour the hot syrup over the fruit, and seal.
If, after the fruit is taken from the fire, a reddish liquor oozes from it, drain this off before adding the clear syrup. Put up in glass jars.
Peaches and pears should be peeled for brandying. Plums should be pricked and watched carefully for fear of bursting.

Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871

6 egg whites, beaten
Juice of 1 orange or lemon
Fine granulated or powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
Butter for coating baking sheet

Beat the white of six eggs to a stiff froth, add the juice of an orange or lemon, and stir into it powdered loaf sugar, a little at a time, till it is of the consistence of thick dough, adding a very little starch. Have ready some small paper cases, about three quarters of an inch square, put some buttered paper on tin sheets, lay on them the cases, drop in each a large tea-spoonful of the sugar and egg, make them smooth, and bake them for a few minutes in a moderate oven; then take them out of the cases, wrap round each a slip of paper containing a single verse [poem] or pun [joke], and envelope [wrap] them separately in small pieces of fine white paper that is neatly fringed, giving each end a twist. 

From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839

4 lb. flour
3/4 lb. butter
4 eggs
1 lb. sugar
1 lb. currants or raisins
1 package yeast

Old fashioned election cake is made of four pounds of flour; three quarters of a pound of butter; four eggs, one pound of sugar; one pound of currants, or raisins as you choose; half a pint of good yeast; wet it with milk as soft as it can be and be moulded on a board. Set to rise over night in winter; in warm weather, three hours is usually enough for it to rise. A loaf, the size of common flour bread, should bake three quarters of an hour. 

From The American Frugal Housewife by Mrs. Lydia Child, 1833


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