May 20, 2016

"Cherish some flower, be it ever so lowly/Labor! All labor is noble and holy!"

From the recipe for macaroni pie — which contains "wild duck, birds, or squirrels" — in "Mrs. Elliott's Housewife: Containing Practical Receipts in Cookery" from 1870:

I traced the poem fragment to "Labor" by Frances Sargent Osgood. Osgood (1811-1850) was pals with Edgar Allan Poe:
Oddly, Poe's wife Virginia approved of the relationship and often invited Osgood to visit their home. Virginia believed their friendship had a "restraining" effect on her husband. Poe had given up alcohol to impress Osgood, for example. Virginia may also have been aware of her own impending death and was looking for someone who would take care of Poe. Osgood's husband Samuel also did not object, apparently used to his wife's impetuous behavior; he himself had a reputation as a philanderer. 


rhhardin said...

Read the amusing introduction to Poe in The Stuffed Owl..

Meade said...

Fry up some black bird, be it ever so bony
Stuff it! In pie paste of lard, macaroni!

Nichevo said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

Actually, that recipe sounds pretty good. Macaroni back in those days doesn't mean what we today think of as macaroni: those hollow elbow shaped pieces of pasta. It was a catch all term for pasta in general. Spaghetti, flat lasagna noodles, fettuccine etc. Plus while the meat sounds weird to us, you have to eat what is available. Hams were something you could keep without the mechanical refrigeration that we have today. Kept in a food storage building or root cellar. Squirrels were easily available and big pests as well. Win win. You can kill AND eat them.

The dish sounds like a combination between a lasagna or a pastisto dish. Maybe she used flat noodles or fettuccine type noodles. I would substitute pork or beef for the squirrel and ham. Who knows what the "gravy" is but I do know that the Italians still call some of their pasta sauces "gravy".

The pie crust does seem a bit much in the carb loading spectrum :-) It might be good though. Don't knock it until you try it.

Foose said...

Lynn Cullen's 2013 novel Mrs. Poe is narrated by Osgood, who is frank about the sentimental claptrap she produces to support her family. The chief focus is her tender relationship with the doomed Gothic writer and her growing suspicions about who, exactly, is the dreadful inspiration for Poe's dark fantasies of death and horror. Engrossing, although the effort to present Poe as irresistibly sexy is at odds with everyone's recollection of the iconic photograph, in which he looks like a particularly wet and miserable owl.