Good Things to Eat, as Suggested by Rufus: A Collection of Practical Recipes for Preparing Meats, Game, Fowl, Fish, Puddings, Pastries, Etc
By Rufus Estes
Introduction: I was born in Murray County, Tennessee, in 1857, a slave. I was given the name of my master, D. J. Estes, who owned my mother’s family, consisting of seven boys and two girls, I being the youngest of the family. After the war broke out all the male slaves in the neighborhood for miles around ran off and joined the “Yankees.” This left us little folks to bear the burdens. At the age of five I had to carry water from the spring about a quarter of a mile from the house, drive the cows to and from the pastures, mind the calves, gather chips, etc. In 1867 my mother moved to Nashville, Tennessee, my grandmother’s home, where I attended one term of school. Two of my brothers were lost in the war, a fact that wrecked my mother’s health somewhat and I thought I could be of better service to her and prolong her life by getting work. When summer came I got work milking cows for some neighbors, for which I got two dollars a month. I also carried hot dinners for the laborers in the fields, for which each one paid me twenty-five cents per month. All of this, of course, went to my mother. I worked at different places until I was sixteen years old, but long before that time I was taking care of my mother. At the age of sixteen I was employed in Nashville by a restaurant- keeper named Hemphill. I worked there until I was twenty-one years of age. In 1881 I came to Chicago and got a position at 77 Clark Street, where I remained for two years at a salary of ten dollars a week. In 1883 I entered the Pullman service, my first superintendent being J. P. Mehen. I remained in their service until 1897. During the time I was in their service some of the most prominent people in the world traveled in the car assigned to me, as I was selected to handle all special parties. Among the distinguished people who traveled in my care were Stanley, the African explorer; President Cleveland; President Harrison; Adelina Patti, the noted singer of the world at that time; Booth and Barrett- Modjeski and Paderewski. I also had charge of the car for Princess Eulalie of Spain, when she was the guest of Chicago during the World’s Fair. In 1894 I set sail from Vancouver on the Empress of China with Mr. and Mrs. Nathan A. Baldwin for Japan, visiting the Cherry Blossom Festival at Tokio. In 1897 Mr. Arthur Stillwell, at that time president of the Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gould Railroad, gave me charge of his magnificent $20,000 private car. I remained with him seventeen months when the road went into the hands of receivers, and the car was sold to John W. Gates syndicate. However, I had charge of the car under the new management until 1907, since which time I have been employed as chef of the subsidiary companies of the United States Steel Corporation in Chicago.”
He has many delicious looking recipes in his cookbook, and also some recipes for things odd to modern tastes. I’ve merely chosen a few examples. For instance:
BROILED PIG’S FEET— Thoroughly clean as many pig’s feet as are required, and split lengthwise in halves, tying them with a broad tape so they will not open in cooking. Put in a saucepan with a seasoning of parsley, thyme, bayleaf, allspice, carrots and onions, with sufficient water to cover. Boil slowly until tender, and let them cool in the liquor. Dip in the beaten yolks of eggs and warmed butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with bread crumbs seasoned with very finely chopped shallot and parsley. Put on a gridiron over a clear fire and broil until well and evenly browned. Unbind and arrange on a dish, garnish with fried parsley and serve.
BROILED SHEEP’S KIDNEYS— To broil sheep’s kidneys cut them open, put them on small skewers. Season with salt and pepper and broil. When done serve with shallot or maitre d’hotel sauce.
Brunswick Stew should please anybody:
BRUNSWICK STEW— Cut up one chicken, preferably a good fat hen, cover with cold water, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly until about half done. Add six ears of green corn, splitting through the kernels, one pint butter beans and six large tomatoes chopped fine. A little onion may be added if desired. Cook until the vegetables are thoroughly done, but very slowly, so as to avoid burning. Add strips of pastry for dumplings and cook five minutes. Fresh pork can be used in place of the chicken and canned vegetables instead of the fresh.
Well, perhaps not a vegetarian.=)
HAM CROQUETTES— Chop very fine one-fourth of a pound of ham; mix with it an equal quantity of boiled and mashed potatoes, two hard boiled eggs chopped, one tablespoon- ful chopped parsley. Season to taste. Then stir in the yolk of an egg. Flour the hands and shape the mixture into small balls. Fry in deep fat. Place on a dish, garnish with parsley and serve.
HASH WITH DROPPED EGGS— Mince or grind cold cooked meat and add two-thirds as much cold chopped vegetables. The best proportions of vegetables are half potato and one- quarter each of beets and carrots. Put a little gravy stock or hot water with butter melted in it, into a saucepan, turn in the meat and vegetables and heat, stirring all the time. Season with salt, pepper, and a little onion juice if liked. Turn into a buttered baking dish, smooth over, and set in the oven to brown. Take up and press little depressions in the top, and drop an egg into each. Set back into the oven until the egg is set, but not cooked hard. Serve in the same dish.
RICE AND BEEF CROQUETTES— To use up cold meat economically combine two cups of chopped beef or mutton with two cups of freshly boiled rice. Season well with salt, pepper, onion juice, a large teaspoon of minced parsley, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Pack on a large plate and set away to cool. Af ter the mixture is cold, shape into croquettes, dip into beaten egg, roll in fine crumbs and fry in smoking hot fat.
(combine raw hamburger meat with) finely chopped shallot, two eggs, salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Mix well and form into balls. Roll in bread crumbs and fry with a little clarified butter four or five minutes, turning frequently. Serve with Russian sauce.
STUFFING FOR GOOSE— Roast fifty chestnuts, using care not to let them burn, remove the inner and outer peels and chop them fine. Chop the goose’s liver, put it in a saucepan with one- half tablespoonful of chopped parsley, shallots, chives, and a lit tle garlic and about two ounces of butter, fry them for a few minutes, then put in the chopped chestnuts with one pound of sausage meat, and fry the whole for fifteen minutes longer. The stuffing is then ready for use.
STUFFING FOR RABBITS— Peel two onions and boil, when they are tender drain and mince them. Chop one-half pound pickled pork and few fine herbs, stir them in with the onions, then stir in the yolks of two eggs and add a sufficient quantity breadcrumbs to make it fairly consistent. Season to taste with pepper and salt, using a very little of the latter on account of the salt in the pork. Then stuffing is ready for use.
STUFFING FOR A SUCKLING PIG AND ‘POSSUM— Put two tablespoonfuls of finely chopped onions into a saucepan with one teaspoon of oil. Toss them over the fire for five or six minutes, add eight ounces of rice boil in stock, an equal quantity of sausage meat, four or five ounces of butter, a small quantity of mince parsley, and pepper and salt to taste. Turn the mixture into a basin and add three eggs to make the whole into a stiff paste. It is then ready for use.
CRESS SANDWICHES— Take thin slices of rare roast beef and cut into small pieces. Add an equal quantity of minced watercress dressed with a teaspoonful of grated horseradish, a little salt and paprika to season, and enough softened butter or thick cream to moisten. Blend the ingredients well, and spread between thin slices of buttered graham or whole wheat bread. Cut in neat triangles, but do not reject the crust.
BANANA SANDWICHES— Remove the skin and fibers from four bananas, cut them in quarters and force through a ricer. Mix with the pulp the juice of half a lemon, a dash of salt and nutmeg and set it away to become very cold while you prepare the bread. This should be cut in very thin slices, freed from crusts and trimmed into any preferred shape. Slightly sweeten some thick cream and add a speck of salt. Spread the bread with a thin layer of the cream, then with the banana pulp put together and wrap each in waxed paper, twist the ends, and keep very cold until serving time.
JAPANESE SANDWICHES— These are made of any kind of left-over fish, baked, broiled or boiled. Pick out every bit of skin and bone, and flake in small pieces. Put into a saucepan with just a little milk or cream to moisten, add a little butter and a dusting of salt and pepper. Work to a paste while heating, then cool and spread on thin slices of buttered bread.
KEDGEREE — For this take equal quantities of boiled fish and boiled rice. For a cupful each use two hard boiled eggs, a teaspoonful curry powder, two tablespoonfuls butter, a half tablespoonful cream, and salt, white pepper and cayenne to season. Take ail the skin and bone from the fish and put in a saucepan with the butter. Add the rice and whites of the boiled eggs cut fine, the cream, curry powder and cayenne. Toss over the fire until very hot, then take up and pile on a hot dish. Rub the yolks of the boiled eggs through a sieve on top of the curry, and serve.
LUNCHEON SURPRISE— Line buttered muffin cups with hot boiled rice about half an inch thick. Fill the centers with minced cooked chicken seasoned with salt and pepper and a little broth or gravy. Cover the tops with rice and bake in a moderate oven for fifteen minutes. Unmold on a warm platter and serve with a cream sauce seasoned with celery salt. If liked, two or three oysters may be added to the filling in each cup.
SARDINE RAREBIT— One level tablespoon butter, one- fourth level teaspoon salt, one-fourth level teaspoon paprika, one level teaspoon mustard, one cup thin cream or milk, one cup grated cheese, one-fourth pound can sardines, boned and minced, two eggs, toast or crackers. Melt the butter, add the salt, paprika, mustard, cream and cheese and cook over hot water, stirring until the cheese is melted. Then add the sardines and eggs slightly beaten. When thick and smooth serve on toast or crackers.
MOLDED CEREAL WITH BANANA SURPRISE— Turn any left-over breakfast cereal, while still hot, into cups rinsed in cold water, half filling the cups. When cold, scoop out the centers and fill the open spaces with sliced bananas, turn from the cups onto a buttered agate pan, fruit downward, and set into a hot oven to become very hot. Remove with a broad- bladed knife to cereal dishes. Serve at once with sugar and cream or milk.