Historic Foodways is always looking for new ways to bring the taste of the past to the present. To this end, we have teamed up with our products and restaurants to create a line of historically inspired condiments.
Let me introduce an old way to spice up your meal.
Some background on the products:
Many chocolate makers used their mills in the off season to grind mustard. The powder was often rolled into balls and sold to be mixed up with water, wine or in this case old stitch beer to form a paste.
- The term catsup seems to be an English corruption of the Malaysian word Khe chap.
The early recipes for catsup have nothing to do with tomatoes. The firss catsups where based on vinegar and fish.
The tomato is a New World plant but was not native to Virginia. It was being grown and was beginning to be eaten in 18th-century Williamsburg.
Their use grew slowly here in Virginia. By the time the first cook book was written in Virginia in 1824, they were becoming more common. This book — “The Virginia Housewife” by Mary Randolph, has a number of recipes for tomatoes including the first recipe for a tomato catsup and two tomato marmalades.
The tomato catsup recipe is very different from the modern condiment. It is a liquid and is pretty spicy.
We selected a slightly later version from “The Carolina Housewife.” It has thicker consistency and is well spiced, but it has very little sugar compared to modern catsup. The product we now think of as catsup was marketed by Mr. Heinz in 1876.
“The Virgina Housewife” also has two versions of tomato marmalades — a sweet and a savory. The Jane Vobe’s tomato conserve comes from the sweet one.
Our version of this recipe is actually from one of our chef’s grandmothers, but is quite similar to Mary’s.
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