Housekeeping In Old Pittsylvania

By Patricia B. Mitchell

Housekeeping in Old Virginia

In 1879, John P. Morton and Company first published Housekeeping In Old Virginia, compiled by Marion Cabell Tyree. Mrs. Tyree, born Marion Fontaine Henry, of Lynchburg, Virginia, was “ …a frequent visitor, and often the intimate guest and kinswoman at many … homes.” (Mrs. Tyree also happened to be a granddaughter of Patrick Henry.) From these associations she solicited recipes which she put in a book, along with her own thoughts and advice.

Included in the volume are three recipes by a “Mrs. Col. S.” and one by “Col. S.” from my own native Pittsylvania County. (Mrs. Tyree protected the identity of her sources by giving only the initials of her contributors.) Using some clues and some speculation, it is surmised that these Smiths were Col. Francis Smith and his wife. The Colonel was son-in-law of Maj. William Sutherlin, owner of the “Last Capitol of the Confederacy” Victorian villa on “Millionaires' Row” in Danville, Virginia (now the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History).

Mrs. Col. Smith evidently was fond of precious lemons, for she contributed two lemon recipes — Lemon Pie and Lemon Meringue. The Colonel gave his formula for potent Apple Toddy, which he might have needed after dining on the wife's Pig's Head Pudding.

Lemon Pie.

Yolks of four eggs, white of one, beaten very light; grated rind and juice of one large lemon; five heaping tablespoonfuls sugar. Bake in an undercrust till the pastry is done. Froth the white of three eggs with five tablespoonfuls sugar. Spread over the pies and bake again till brown. — Mrs. Col. S.

Lemon Meringue.

Leave out the whites of two eggs, which must be mixed with sugar and put on top of the pudding just before it is done. Bake in a rich paste. — Mrs. H.

Apple Toddy.

One gallon of apple brandy or whiskey, one and a half gallon of hot water, well sweetened, one dozen large apples, well roasted, two grated nutmegs, one gill of allspice, one gill of cloves, a pinch of mace. Season with half a pint of good rum. Let it stand three or four days before using. — Col. S.

Pig's Head Pudding.

Boil head and liver until perfectly done, cut up as for hash. Put it on again in warm water and season highly with butter, pepper, salt, and a little chopped onion.

After well seasoned, put in a baking dish with one egg beaten light. Bake two hours, and lay over hard-boiled eggs sliced, and strips of pastry across the top.

Calf's Head Pudding can be made in the same way. — Mrs. Col. S.


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By Patricia B. Mitchell

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