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Vintage California Cuisine: 300 Recipes from the First Cookbooks Published in the Golden State

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You'll find vintage recipes for catsup made from plums, mushrooms, grapes, currants, cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as more than 290 other old recipes in Vintage California Cuisine:

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The Route 66 Cookbook: Comfort Food from the Mother Road Deluxe 75th Anniversary Edition

By Marian Clark
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Catsup Without Tomatoes

Catsup without tomatoes is almost unimaginable these days. But that was not always the case. A century ago, catsup cooks were dabbling with tomato-based recipes, but that was only one of a surprising array of vegetables and fruits that were being turned into the condiment.

In "Los Angeles Cookery," the first cookbook published in Los Angeles, which hit the streets in 1881, there are half a dozen variations on catsup and three of them call for tomatoes. Two others, reprinted below, utilize grapes and plums.

Los Angeles Cookery
(Los Angeles, 1881)

How to Keep a Husband or Culinary Tactics
(San Francisco, 1872)

The third recipe reprinted here is from "How to Keep a Husband or Culinary Tactics," published in San Francisco in 1872, making it the first cookbook published in California.

The catsup recipe, based on fermenting mushrooms, sounds like it would repel more husbands than it would attract. But then there’s no accounting for taste.

Grape Catsup

Five cupfuls of pulp or juice, one cupful of brown sugar, one cupful of vinegar, one teaspoonful of black pepper, one teaspoonful of cloves, one teaspoonful of cinnamon, and one teaspoonful of salt. Boil half away.

Plum Catsup

Boil together for two hours nine pounds of seeded plums, six pounds of sugar, and three pints of the best cider vinegar. Just before removing from the fire add one tablespoonful each of cloves and allspice.

Mushroom Catsup

Put mushrooms into a jar, squeeze them with your hand, strew with salt and let them lay two days. Strain through a coarse cloth, put them on the fire with allspice, cloves, mace and whole pepper. Boil well for an hour. Strain again. When cold, put into bottles.


Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef