I'm in the process of selling some cookbooks, and this one in particular is so much fun that I thought I'd share some excerpts. It's called "The White House Cookbook," first published in 1887, one of the co-authors being Hugo Ziemann, who was steward of the White House, apparently during the McKinley administration. It's a big book, over 500 pages, and must have been very expensive.
The recipes are often startling for what they are, for their ingredients, for the methods, and for (by today's standards) the imprecise directions. This is their entirety - no list of ingredient amounts.
BOILED FRESH MACKEREL
Fresh mackerel are cooked in water salted, and a little vinegar added; with this exception they can be served in the same way as the salt mackerel. Broiled ones are vey nice with the same cream sauce, or you can substitute egg sauce.
Cut all the meat from cold roast duck; put the bones and stuffing into cold water; cover them and let boil; put the meat into a deep dish; pour in enough of the stock made from the bones to moisten; cover with pastry slit in the centre with a knife, and bake a light brown.
Pare them and cut lengthwise in very thick slices; wipe them dry with a cloth; sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge with flour, and fry in lard and butter, a tablespoonful of each, mixed. Brown both sides and serve warm.
Beat two eggs and one-fourth cup sugar together. Then add one cup sweet milk and one cup of sour milk in which you have dissolved one teaspoonful soda. Add a teaspoon of salt. Then mix one and two-thirds cups of granulated corn meal and one-third cup flour with this. Put a spider or skillet on the range and when it is hot melt in two tablespoonsful of butter. Turn the spider so that the butter can run up on het sides of the pan. Pour in the corn-cake mixture and add one more cup of sweet milk, but do not stir afterwards. Put this in the oven and bake from twenty to thirty-five minutes. When done, there should be a streak of custard through it.
Break off the end that grew to the vine, drawing off at the same time the string upon the edge; repeat the same process from the other end; cut them with a sharp knife into pieces half an inch long, and boil them in just enough water to cove them. They usually require one hour's boiling; but this depends on their age and freshness. After they have boiled until tender and the water boiled nearly out, add pepper and salt, ad tablespoonful of butter and a half a cup of cream; if you have not the cream add more butter.