Friday, January 6, 2017

Fannie Farmer Friday

Welcome to  my first installment of the Fannie Farmer Friday.  I received the 1896 cook book from my sister as a Christmas gift.  I have no idea who Fannie was, but the book was written by the Boston Cooking School.  It is truly eye-opening - along with mouth-gaping.  Lots of OMG moments.

So, it's the time of year when everyone is promising to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise.  At least for a week or so.  I love it when someone is telling me how they are on this great diet that replicates how our ancestors ate, because it is so much healthier.  As I recall, our ancestors didn't live as long as we do so I wonder how healthy it is.  Fad diets come and go.  Yes, you can lose weight by giving up carbs,  Your body will attack your fat stores, just like the body of a hibernating bear does, but eventually you will be craving a pizza - with everything on it.  So, just what were they eating over 100 years ago?

Chapter one is an introduction to food.  Food 'nourishes the body' and is 'necessary for growth, repair and energy'.  The book suggests that children should have only milk and milk products for the first 18 months.   Then breads can be introduced.  Fish and meat can be introduced in the third or fourth year.

While the major component of adult diets should be carbohydrates, we must not forget the one ounce of salt required - that's a whopping 1 and 1/2 tablespoons! - each day.  Today's dietary recommendation is less than a teaspoon of salt.  Of course, you must wash all that salt down with the recommended ten glasses of water.

If you are in 'old age' - life expectancy was 46 in 1896 - your diet should again be that of a child, mainly carbs and milk.  Hmmm.  Would cookies and milk qualify?  Well, no, Fannie frowned on sweets, opting instead for something called Dr. Johnson's Educators, a cracker made from whole wheat which apparently was quite hard to chew.  Johnson was a dentist and was concerned with the care of the teeth.

It was interesting to see the Eagle Brand condensed milk was around way back when.  Also, our most popular cheese varieties we eat today were available also.  Fannie highly recommends fresh fruit instead of dessert.  I already told you how bad ice cream was for dessert, so from now on I will serve it as an appetizer 😀.

There is a lot of technical info on the composition of foods in the first chapter.  I'll spare you that. There is an interesting mention of necessary fuel for work performed by men, women and even children.  Obviously, this is long before child labor laws existed.  It's really sad to read how having children work just seems to be the natural course of things.

Hey, I am not longing for any 'good old days'.  I'll visit Chapter 2 in a future post.

9 comments:

  1. Oh, Fannie Farmer is quite well-known around here, Denise! I'm in Rhode Island, she was born in Boston. Every young woman learned how to cook via her cookbook! And is funny that she didn't care for sweets, as I recall a line of FF chocolates. There even used to be FF shops, carrying boxed chocolates and sweets!
    Great post.

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    1. I guess you have to sell what folks want. I had forgotten about those chocolate shops, but we had them here in Detroit.

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  2. Looking forward to more Fannie Farmer wisdom. I'm actually curious about those Educator crackers - although maybe the recommendation was simply to drum up more business for dentists (cynical, aren't I?) Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I found out what I posted online by googling. I did not dig too deeply.

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  3. My monther had a Fannie Farmer cookbook. To her a meal was not a meal if it didn't have meat, gravy, potatoes, and bread. She told me that in my grandmother's day doctors told pregnant women to drink lots of beer to keep them "loose".

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    1. Sounds like my mother-in-law. That's the first I heard about drinking beer when pregnant. Interesting how recommendations change.

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  4. I absolutely love anything vintage and the Fannie Farmer cookbook would be right up my alley. Happy New Year!

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  5. I am not surprised by the salt intake at all. My Dad, who was born in 1913, doused all his food with tons of salt.

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