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Not to be Forgotten

Not to be Forgotten


Not to be Forgotten

Ramps from the Forest

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West Virginia Ramps

Ramps, cut in 1 inch pieces
Bacon pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Hard-cooked egg slices

Parboil clean, cut ramps in plain water.  While ramps are boing, fry bacon in large iron frying pan to the point of becoming crisp.  Cut bacon into small pieces.  Drain parboiled ramps and place in hot bacon fat with bacon pieces.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and fry util done.  Serve garnished with egg slices. 

Mrs. Carl B. Hall, Jr.
Mountain Measures, A Collection of West Virginia Recipes
Compiled and Tested by The Junior League of Charleston, West Virginia, 1974


Ramps

To clean them, pull off the outer skin around the bulb.  Chop a good bit of ramps with about five eggs into a frying pan, and fry them with about three heaped tablespoons of grease.  Fry them hot and fast because of smell. Add a little salt, pepper, eggs, or potatoes in with them for flavor to your own fancy.  Most important go into solitary in the woods somewheres and stay for two or three weeks because nobody can stand your breath after you eat them.”

Clifford Conner
The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery, Regional Memorabilia and Recipes, Edited by Linda Garland Page and Eliot Wigginton, 1984.



This spring, a friend brought me a bunch of ramps she’d gathered in the woods near her house in upstate New York.  She handed them to me in a plastic bag standing on the walk in front of my house.

Now, it’s not too often someone hands you a bag of some wild food she personally collected from the forest floor. Naturally, the gesture thrilled me.  The oniony smell was intoxicating, and the green leaves were so smooth and gorgeous with their red stems that I immediately picked up the phone and called Nancy and told her to get right over to my house so she could collect some.  I had a strong feeling that she’d want to paint them.  I was right.

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For those of you who may not know—ramps (allium tricoccum) are a special kind wild leek that is famous in the Appalachian mountains.  And, listen to me now, they are also a national treasure.

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Not to be Forgotten

Rothe Ruben (Red Beets) from Lancaster

Rothe Ruben (Red Beets) from Lancaster

Red beets are preserved.  One boils them and peels off the course peel, and cuts them in slices.  Then one takes honey or sugar, adds a little wine to it, and boils it.  The foam is skimmed off; the syrup is boiled until it thickens somewhat, and then poured over the previously mentioned slices.  Then one may season it with the spices which one deems most desirable.  It may be kept for daily use.  These red beets serve as a salad in the winter.  One boils, peels, and slices them as above and then pours over them oil, vinegar, salt, and spices.

--Christopher Sauer, Jr. 1774
as found in The Landis Valley Cookbook, Pennsylvania German Foods & Traditions, The Landis Valley Cookbook, 1999



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Not long after I first met my husband, he took me home to meet his family in South Central Pennsylvania.  He still wasn’t sure about whether I was the one.  While he was thinking on the matter, he took me on a trial run home to meet his family. 

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Not to be Forgotten

A Fish Stew from Italy, 1891

Recipe 455.  Cacciucco I

Or Fish Stew

For 700 grams of fish, finely chop an onion and sauté it with oil, parsley, and two whole cloves of garlic.  The moment the onion starts to brown, add 300 grams of chopped fresh tomatoes or tomato paste, and season with salt and pepper.  When the tomatoes are cooked, pour in one finger of strong vinegar or two fingers of weak vinegar, diluted in large glass of water.  Let boil a few more minutes, then discard the garlic and strain the rest of the ingredients, pressing hard against the mesh.  Put the strained sauce back on the fire along with wherever fish you may have on hand, including sole, red mullet, gunard, dogfish, gudgeon, mantis shrimp, and other types of fish in season, leaving the small fish whole and cutting the big ones into large pieces.  Taste for seasoning but in any case it is not a bad idea to add a little olive oil, since the amount of soffritto was quite small.  When the fish is cooked the cacciucco is usually brought to the table on two separate platters:  on one you place the fish strained from the broth and on the other you arrange enough finger-thick slices of bread to soak soup all the broth. The bread slices should be warmed over the fire but not toasted.

--Pellegrino Artusi, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, 1891



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Don’t think you need much interpretation here, do you?  Basically, this is a delicious zuppa di pesce that begins with a sofritto (onion, parsley, and garlic sautéed in oil), plus tomatoes, plus vinegary water.  And then you add your fish.

It comes from the era when people didn’t like to have large chunks of garlic and vegetables in their sauce. Hence you’re asked to strain this sauce. 

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Not to be Forgotten

Quince

To make paste of quinces

To make paste of quinces: first boil your quinces whole, and when they are soft pare them and cut the quince from the core; then take the finest sugar you can get finely beaten and searced, and put in a little rosewater and boil it together till it be thick; then put in the cut quinces and so boil hem together till it be stiff enough to mould, and when it is cold then roll it and print it. A pound of quinces will take a pound of sugar or near thereabouts.

The English Housewife, 1615
Gervase Markham



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Nancy wanted to paint quinces. Of course she did. Just look at them so beautiful and sexy and weird, cousin of the apple, odd woody fruit, inedible raw, transformed utterly by cooking to become fragrant, rose colored, and sweet.

Quince is hardly used anymore in the U.S., but we think it is primo territory for “€œnot to be forgotten.” I hope more farmers will grow them and bring them back.

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Jellypress is about Nancy and Laura having fun with what they love: old recipes, art, and ideas--as we find them in our modern lives.  We met...read more »

Quince
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