by Rachel Hertzberg, Bryn Mawr student and Wyck’s Summer 2018 Collections Intern
Jane Bowne Haines is remembered today as a student of horticulture and the creator of Wyck’s rose garden. While the garden is the most prominent part of her legacy, Jane also impacted many other aspects of domestic life at Wyck. For example, her recipe book, which she kept from approximately 1810 to 1840, was passed down through the generations, a living document which other family members and descendants added to, amended, and copied. The compact, densely-filled little notebook is a treasure trove of culinary history.
None of Jane’s recipes could be called easy or simple. Even keeping in mind that the cooking was completed with the help of a team of servants, one can’t help but be impressed by the foresight that had to go into preparing a single meal. Many recipes require several days’ time, as well as physical exertion that must have been quite strenuous in the days before food processors and electric mixers. Reading Jane’s recipes reminds the modern history student that food has always been the result of significant labor. Although that labor tends to be invisible today, performed by total strangers in distant factory farms, processing plants, and orchards, we continue to depend on it for our sustenance.
Long before the start of DIY culture and the farm-to-table movement, ordinary people found ways to produce the things they needed, entirely from scratch. This recipe takes for granted that the reader will have cows’ intestines in the pantry to use as casing, and assumes a basic knowledge of pickling and charcuterie methods!
Chop very fine 10 lbs of the round of beef and cut into small pieces 2 ½ lbs of pork. Add ¼ oz cloves, ¼ oz mace, 1 oz pepper. Mix all well together and put them into Beef entrails. Then put them in ham–Pickle for 5 days. Smoke them + hang them in a dry place.
Calf’s Foot Jelly
When this recipe was written, a craving for jelly couldn’t be satisfied by a packet of dry mix from the jello packet. Jane’s recipe for “Calf’s Foot Jelly” describes the process of obtaining a gelatinous stock from boiled calves’ feet, which was then flavored and sweetened before cooling. This might make us feel a little squeamish nowadays, in our more sanitized culture. At the same time, we can admire Jane’s matter-of-factness and her commitment to using the entire animal.
Take 4 feet, split them open, and lay them in weak salt and water for 4 or 5 hours. Then wash them clean and boil them in 6 quarts of water down to 5 pints, pour it through a cullender and skim off all the fat. Set it away to cool and when the jelly is perfectly stiff, if any fat arises scrape it off with a knife & wipe it off with a dry cloth. Cut it in pieces from the bottom of the dish, and pare off all the discolored parts. Put it in your preserving kettle and add to it sugar, wine, lemon peel and juice, mace and cinnamon agreeably to your taste, then pour in the whites and shells of 4 eggs well beaten. Put it over the fire and give it a good boil, pour it [in] the jelly bag until it is very clear. Then wet your moulds and let it run in.
To Roast a Pig
Could you imagine roasting a pig on a spit in your kitchen, let alone mincing its brains to make a sauce? Jane wouldn’t have found this strange, judging by the breezy, casual way she wrote this recipe. It would probably take at least eight hours, if not 10 or 12 hours, to roast the pig. During this time, someone would have to tend to it at least once every half hour, washing it with butter and drippings to make sure the meat didn’t get dried out.
Let the pig be well washed in several waters, dry the inside with a coarse cloth. Then make a stuffing of bread, pepper, salt, sage, and cayenne, a large piece of butter, mix two yolks of eggs with it. Put it in the belly of the pig and sew it up very tight. Then spit it and wash it well with salt and water until it gets warm; for the sauce you must take the insides of the pig, and boil them. Mince them up very fine with the brains then add melted butter. And a little sage, salt, and pepper. Keep the pig covered with flour till the eyes drop out. Then baste it with butter to make the skin crisp.