The Father of Farm-Fresh Cooking
Thus not just any tripe would suffice in his recipes. Clayton called for John Bayles pickled tripe. He also recommended Whittakers ham, Davidsons cheese from Gilroy and Jersey Dairy milk from San Bruno.
Claytons motives for urging consumers to buy their food directly from farmers werent always particularly enlightened. He advised his readers to buy their pigs directly from farmers, for example, because, he complained, hog butchering in San Francisco was "monopolized" by the "Heathen Chinee," whose butchering skills were somehow called into question by their reputed "devoted affection for the hog."
Clayton was raised on a farm -- the book doesnt say where. But he wasnt a typical farm boy, the introduction discloses. In his youth, he had a "delicate constitution." So "instead of joining in the rugged work of the field, he remained at home to aid and assist his mother in the culinary labors of the household."
After Clayton became established in his catering career, he set out to write a cookbook in the "plainest style" that would be "fully comprehended by all classes," he wrote.
According to Dan Strehl, curator of the culinary collection at the Los Angeles Public Library, Claytons Quaker Cookbook is the first cookbook published in California to do something that is practically de rigueur these days -- openly paying homage to locally grown, farm fresh ingredients.
The cookbook, typically for the time, is top-heavy with meat dishes, with recipes for everything from beef and turkey to canvas back ducks and terrapins. Clayton also liked his oysters, serving them in omelets, patties, soups, stews and fried in batter.
He had a few signature vegetables dishes, including "Claytons Beets": Boil the beets, slip off their skin, slice and arrange them on a platter. Douse the slices with butter and lemon juice, then place them in a hot oven for a few minutes.
Heres another recipe whose title seems to indicate that it was all the rage in San Francisco circa 1883. (No word on how many of Claytons catering clients came down with salmonella.)
Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef