I haven’t included a recipe in awhile and always wondered how to make sour dough bread – or Ranchman’s Bread. This was found in “Camp Cookery – A Cookery and Equipment Handbook for Boy Scouts and Other Campers” by Ava B. Milam, A. Grace Johnson and Ruth McNary Smith, 1918.
Ranchman’s or Sour Dough Bread
From “Camp Cookery” 1918
In a five-pound lard pail mix enough flour and water to make a medium thick batter. To this add one tablespoon of sugar. The pail should be only 2/3 full. Allow this to stand until the mixture has fermented and then become sour. Pour out about ½ cup of the sour dough to start the fermentation in a new mixture. To the dough in the pail add 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon melted lard, and enough flour to make a very soft dough. Mix well. Melt a teaspoon of lard in a pan and drop the dough in by the spoonful, turning it over in the fat. Allow to rise until double in bulk and then bake. The ½ cup of sour dough which has been reserved may be poured back into the lard pail and the original quantity of batter stirred up. This will be sour and ready for use in a very few hours. This procedure may be continued indefinitely. The exact amount of soda needed depends upon the sourness of the dough, and it must be determined by experience.
Even though I’m one of the people who the author of these recipes so aptly puts it “could not boil water without burning it,” I still take a keen interest in the camp recipes that I come across. I’ve found interesting recipes this summer, including those for slumgullion and snits and knepp, but these recipes for spider-cake, apple slump and pudding sauce come from “Camping and Camp Cooking” by Frank A. Bates (Matasiso), 1909
The author, Frank A. Bates, qualifies himself by saying his book “is the result of an experience of over twenty years, during which the writer has spent many months in the woods, and fitted out many other parties for their summer vacations. Over the camp fire, while discussing methods with other campers, or instructing the learner “how to do it,” he has been asked many times to put his ideas into shape for publication… it is his hope that everyone who takes this little book with him to camp, may enjoy himself to the limit.”
I found this quote from the introduction of Bates’ book amusing.
“We can live without Love – what is passion but pining? But where is the man who can live without dining?”
The following are interesting portions of the introduction to the book followed up by the recipes for spider-cake, apple slump and pudding sauce. Enjoy!
As promised, here are some more camp cooking recipes. I found recipes for Slumgullion and Snits and Knepp in “Camp Cookery” by Horace Kephart, 1910. On a sidenote, I thought it was interesting that this book was dedicated to “Mistress Bob – Who taught me some clever expedients of backwoods cookery that are lost arts wherever the old forest has been leveled.”
There was also an interesting foreward…
“The less a man carries in his pack, the more he must carry in his head. A camper cannot go by recipe alone. It is best for him to carry sound general principles in his head, and recipes in his pocket. The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more please one gets in his achievements.”
Read until the end of the story to find out how not to make your dough “sad.”
Due to the name alone, I had to take a look at this recipe for Slumgullion.
This recipe for Brunswick Stew comes from “Canoe and Camp Cookery: A Practical Cook Book for Canoeists, Corinthian Sailors and Outers” by “Seneca” 1885. It mentions that “This is a favorite Virginia dish, of which the compiler of this book has eaten, but which he has never cooked. The recipe here given is said by an old Virginian to be reliable.” I would imagine that chicken could be substituted for squirrel.
Hopefully I’ll come across more camp recipes this summer like these for fish chowder. The ingredients all seem to be portable without much hassle except for the milk. It seems like water can be substituted for milk when you don’t have access to refrigeration. These were found in “Camping and Camp Cooking” by Frank A. Bates, 1914
This entry is the first in a series about candy making. With summer and salt water taffy season around the corner I thought this would be a useful starting point to find out the vintage way of making some favorite candies. I found this overview in “Scammer’s Universal Treasure-House of Useful Knowledge. An Encyclopedia of Valuable Receipts in the Principal Arts of Life,” compiled and edited by Henry B. Scammell. Assisted by Experts in Every Department. 1889. Keep in mind that when referring to “bladders” I found that this means small air bubbles. I also tried in vain to find a definition of what “flirt” means in terms of cooking. If anyone knows what this was referencing, please comment in the section below the story.
In researching old-time potato recipes for Easter, I came across “The “Home Queen” Cook Book, Two Thousand Valuable Recipes on Cookery and Household Economy, Table Etiquette, Etc.” Contributed by over Two Hundred World’s Fair Lady Managers, Wives of Governors and Other Ladies of Position and Influence, edited by James Edson White (1893). The World’s Fair would be referring to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
I found the qualifications for submission interesting…
“In the preparation of the Recipe department of the “Home Queen” the plan has been to secure a few choice and well-tried recipes from each of hundreds of individuals scattered throughout every State and Territory in the Union… The recipes are not necessarily all original with the contributors, but are such as have become favorites by long use.
Nine large ripe tomatoes, 1 onion chopped fine, 4 hot peppers, 2 cups vinegar, 1 table-spoon salt, 1 table-spoon sugar, 1 tea-spoon ginger, 1 tea-spoon cloves, 1 tea-spoon allspice, 1 tea-spoon cinnamon, 1 tea-spoon nutmeg. Boil one hour.
Mary R. Kinder, Milford, Delaware
Chili Sauce (alternative recipe)
Boil 1/2 bushel tomatoes till soft, with 3 or 4 red peppers. Press all through a sieve, add 1 pt. cider vinegar, 1/2 pt. salt, 1 oz. whole cloves, 2 ozs. whole allspice, 1 dessert spoon ground black pepper, 1 cup sugar. Boil all together 3 hours. If ground spices are preferred they may be used.