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CHoWLine - Back Issues





November 2003

Program:"The World On A Plate"

Joel Denker is the author of a recently published book by the same title. He will discuss his book, subtitled "A Tour Through The History of America's Ethnic Cuisines," and his research. Joel, a CHoW member, teaches history at The George Washington University and is a free-lance travel and food writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe.

Future Meetings

December 14: Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall - Korean Food Traditions
January 11: Cooperative dinner - theme to be announced. Any Suggestions?
February 8: Helen Tangires - Public Markets and Civic Culture in 19th-Century America
March 14: TBA
April 4: TBA
May 2: Annual Meeting
May 23: Excursion to Sally and John Waltz's farm near Smithsburg, MD

It's Membership Renewal Time!

Our membership year runs from October 1 through September 30. The new membership directory will be mailed right after January 1, 2004.

Report: October 19 Meeting

CHoW members were joined by members of the local chapter of SlowFood for a visit to Gunston Hall. We had a fascinating guided tour, by farm manager Buck Jarusek of the heritage breeds of hogs, sheep, geese, chickens and turkeys being raised on the estate, and an introduction to the young ox currently being trained for work. Those who had not toured the house and outbuildings before had an opportunity to do that, too, and everyone had a chance to talk with the hearth cooks (CHoW members Sophie Frederickson, Lori Trolan, and Bob Magee) and to taste the delicious foods they had prepared. In response to requests, recipes appear at the end of this issue.

News of Our Members

Kay Shaw Nelson's article, "In Praise of the Pumpkin," appeared in the October issue of Washington Woman.

Julia Child Opera and Bach's Coffee Contata

Lee Hoiby's rarely performed, short (20 minutes) opera, with libretto by Julia Child, taken from an episode of "The French Chef" cooking lesson for Gateau au Chocolat L'Eminence Brune, will be conducted by Kenneth Slowik and performed by a chamber ensemble with mezzo-soprano D'Anna Fortunato on Saturday and Sunday, November 8 and 9, at 7:30 pm at the National Museum of American History, in conjunction with the exhibition, "Bon Appetit: Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian." The opera performance will be preceded by Bach's Coffee Cantata and just possibly followed by coffee and gateau au chocolat (L'Eminence Brune???). LIMITED SEATING. Free, reservations required. Call 202 633-3602 beginning October 20. The National Museum of American History, Hall of Musical Instruments, 14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW. Use Federal Triangle or Smithsonian Metro stop, and Constitution Ave. entrance to the museum. ALLOW SUFFICIENT TIME FOR SECURITY SCREENING.

News From Other Organizations

February 21, 2004: "The Archeology of Culinary History," presented by the Culinary Historians of Ontario, will bring together historical archeologists and culinary historians to discuss how material culture research can inform culinary history. 10 am to 4:30 pm at Montgomery's Inn, Toronto. For information: Eva MacDonald, (416) 534-9384. Pre-registration required: (416) 394-8113; or rwagner@toronto.ca. $30 registration fee.

The Culinary Historians of Ontario also report that there is a new journal, Food & History, being published by the Institut Europeen d'Histoire de l'Alimentation (IEHA). It is the first journal in Europe, both in its purpose and concept, devoted to the specific field of food history, and includes its social, economic, religious, political and cultural aspects. For more information: info@brepols.net.

Food on Exhibit

"Dining Through the Decades" on display at Mcculloch Hall in Morristown, NJ, through February 16, reveals the social significance of both elaborate and everyday dining in the period between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Whether prepared for a gala ball or a farmer's family, food was a focus of social interaction, and a measure of a family's wealth and social position. Mcculloch Hall's extensive collection of furniture, china, glassware, and silver will be on view. The museum, at 45 Mcculloch Avenue in Morristown is open to the public Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Admission is $4.

Culinary History is Where You Find It

As a prelude to our program this month, Katherine Livingston has sent along this obituary from the New York Times of 9/23/03:

"Bernard Manischewitz, Last in Family Firm, Dies at 89
Bernard Manischewitz, the last member of his family to preside over the worldwide kosher food empire that began when his grandfather opened a small matzo bakery in Cincinnati, died on Saturday at his home in Verona, NJ. He was president of the B. Maneschewitz Company for 26 years, until he supervised its sale to a group led by Kohlberg & Company in 1990. At the time, it had $1.5 billion in annual sales and exported its products, from gefilte fish to borscht, around the world. It then controlled 80 percent of the United States market for matzo, the unleavened bread eaten year-round but especially at Passover.

Mr. Manischewitz's father, Jacob, gave him his first job with the company when he assigned him to inspect the production line to make sure the flat, cracker-like matzo did not break. He eventually became one of the three first cousins who ran the company in its third generation, continuing alone after the others died. The cousins followed the five sons of Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, who began the bakery in 1888.

In the company's early stages the rabbi installed certain innovations that were challenged by rabbinical authorities as violating Jewish dietary laws. Rabbi Manischewitz, however, argued strongly that his methods were more sanitary and led to standardized quality. Rabbi Manischewitz also began insisting in advertisements that customers ask for his matzos by the name Manischewitz in order to counter imitators who copied his original name, Cincinnati matzos. In 1932, the company built a second factory, in Jersey City, which quickly became the center of operations. By 1949, Bernard Manischewitz's generation had taken over. He was president, D. Beryl Manischewitz was chairman, and William Manischewitz was treasurer.

An article in The New York Times in 1951 told how Bernard Manischewitz was leading the company into preparing more than 70 different kosher foods in addition, including frozen fish and poultry, canned borscht, and chicken soup, and the TamTam cracker. Wines with the name Manischewitz were sold throughout the country under a licencing arrangement. In an interview with The Times in 1956, Mr. Manischewitz suggested that those products signified the biggest change in Jewish domestic life since biblical times. He said all but the most strictly Orthodox homemakers had been released from "the compulsory obsession with the problems of cooking." He also noted that American processed kosher foods were selling well in Europe and even in Israel.

All this expansion called for snappy -- or at least memorable -- advertising. One tongue-in-cheek radio ad advised listeners not to eat Manischewitz matzos in bed because they were crispier and so might cause a "crummy night's sleep."

Bernard Manischewitz was born in Cincinnati on Dec. 24, 1913. He attended Syracuse University for a year and graduated from New York University with a business degree. He later took night courses in factory management, his wife, Beatrice, said in an interview yesterday ....

One of the last battles of his career came in 1990, when the company faced charges of conspiring to fix the price of Passover matzos. It ended in 1991 with the company pleading no contest to a single criminal indictment and paying a $1 million fine.

[His stepson said] Mr. Manischewitz was an intensely private man who avoided using his own name to register in hotels and make restaurant reservations. ... He also believed that not dropping his name made good businss sense. When he was in Alaska bargaining over the price of whitefish for making gefilte fish, he feared that if people knew he was Mr. Manischewitz, they might expect a higher price."

And Another Source

For a similarly interesting account of the origin of Klondike Bars and the multi-generational family of Swiss immigrants in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania who were responsible, see Brian Butko's book, Klondikes, Chipped Ham & Skyscraper Cones: The Story of Isaly's. (In paperback, 2001)

On the Bookshelf

We have received a review copy of Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People by Linda Civitello who has an MA in history from UCLA and has taught food history in California. If you would like to review the book for a future issue of CHoWLine, please call Shirley at 703 684-5861.

On The Reading Table (Nov. Meeting)

Meeting e-notices, Culinary Enthusiasts of Wisconsin, October, November 2003.
Newsletter, Culinary Historians of Ontario, Summer & Autumn 2003, Nos. 37 & 38.
Gravy, Newsletter of the Southern Foodways Alliance, No. 12, Fall 2003.
Newsletter, Culinary Historians of Boston, Vol. XXIV, No. 1, September 2003.
Meeting e-notice, Culinary Historians of Chicago, November 2003.

Gunston Hall Recipes

Source of recipes below: Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1747), London: Prospect Books, Ltd. (Fascimile edition, 1983)

A Leg of Mutton ala Hautgout
Let it hang a fortnight in an airy place then have ready some cloves of garlic and stuff it all over, rub it with pepper and salt, roast it, have some gravy and Red wine in the dish, and send it to the table.

To make Oyster-Loaves
Fry the French Roles, take half a Pint of Oysters, stew them in their own Liquor, then take out the Oysters with a Fork, strain the Loquor to them, put them in a Sauce-pan again, with a Glass of White WIne, a litle beaten Mace, a little grated Nutmeg, a quarter of a Pound of Butter rolled in Flour, shake them well together, then put them into the Roles, and these make a pretty Side-Dish for a first Course. You may rub in the Crumbs of two Roles, and toss them up with the Oysters.

Source of reciped below: Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1805), Alexandria, VA. Applewood Books, Bedford, MA (Fascimile edition, 1983)

To dress potatoes
You must boil them in as little water as you can, without burning the sauce-pan. Cover the sauce-pan close, and when the skin begins to crack they are enough. Drain the water out, and let them stand covered for a minute or two; then peel them, lay them in your plate, and pour some melted butter over them. The best way to do them is, when they are peeled to lay them on a gridiron till they are of a fine brown, and send them to table. Another way is to put them into a sauce-pan with some good beef dripping, cover them close, and shake the sauce-pan often for fear of burning to the bottom. When they are of a fine brown, and crisp, take them up in a plate, then put them into another for fear of the fat, and put butter in a cup.

To make an Apple-Pudding
Take twelve large pippins, pare them, and take out the cores, put them into a sauce-pan, with four or five spoonfuls of water: boil them till they are soft and thick; then beat them well, stir in a pound of loaf sugar, the juice of three lemons, the peel of two lemons, cut thin and beat fine in a mortar, the yolks of eight eggs beat; mix all well together, bake it in a slack oven; when it is near done, throw over a little fine sugar. You may bake it in a puff-paste, as you do the other puddings.

Source of recipes below: Mary Randolph, The Virginia House-Wife (1824), Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1984

A Frikando of Beef
Cut a few slices of beef six inches long, two or three wide, and one thick, lard them with bacon, dredge them well, and make them a nice brown before a brisk fire; stew them half an hour in a well seasoned gravy, put some stewed sorrel or spinage in the dish, lay on the beef, and pour over a sufficient quantity of gravy; garnish with fried balls.

Forcemeat Balls
Take half a pound of veal, and half a pound of suet cut fine, and beat in a marble mortar or wooden bowl; add a few sweet herbs shred fine, a little mace pounded fine, a small nutmeg grated, a little lemon peel, some pepper and salt, and the yelks of two eggs; mix them well together, and make them into balls and long pieces -- then roll them in flour, and fry them brown. If they are for the use of white sauce, do not fry them, but put them in a sauce-pan of hot water and let them boil a few minutes.

Great care must be used in washing and picking it clean; drain it and throw into boiling water -- a few minutes will boil it sufficiently; press out all the water, put it in a stew pan with a piece of butter, some pepper and salt -- chop it continually with a spoon until it is quite dry; serve it with poached eggs or without, as you please.

Ragout of Turnips
Peel as many small turnips as will fill a dish; put them into a stew pan with some butter and a little sugar, set them over a hot stove, shake them about, and turn them until they are a good brown; pour in half a pint of rich high seasoned gravy; stew the turnips till tender, and serve them with the gravy poured over them.

To Dress Salad
To have this delicate dish in perfection, the lettuce, pepper grass, chervil, cress &c. should be gathered early in the morning, nicely picked, washed, and laid in cold water, which will be improved by adding ice; just before dinner is ready to be served, drain the water from your salad, cut it into a bowl, giving the proper proportions of each plant; prepare the foloowing mixture to pour over it: boil two fresh eggs ten minutes, put them in water to cook, then take the yelks in a soup plate, pour on them a table spoonful of cold water, rub them with a wooden spoon until they are perfectly dissolved; then add two spoonsful of oil: when well mixed, put in a teaspoonful of salt, one of powdered sugar, and one of made mustard; when all these are united and quite smooth, stir in two table spoonsful of common, and two of tarragon vinegar; but it over the salad, and garnish the top with the whites of the eggs cut into rings, and lay around the edge of the bowl young scallions, they being the most delicate of the onion tribe.