Monday, June 26, 2017

Artificial crab, lobster and even anchovies

Richard Bradley's 1727 cookbook had several fake/mock crabs using liver or chicken & potatoes, anchovy liquor, lemon and placed in cleaned crab shells.  In the 1870s cheese became a primary ingredient for mock crabs.

Since I was served too many chicken and calves livers when young, I skipped those recipes and tried the chicken and mashed potatoes.  It did come together, but not really crabby.  It should be mentioned that here in Maryland, crab is a staple, so the artificial crabs didn't stand a chance.  An interesting concept though...

1727 -
To make an artificial Crab or Lobster From Mr. F. of Buckingham.

I Suppose you have by you the large Shells of Sea-Crabs clean'd; then take part of a Calf's Liver, boil it and mince it very small, and a little Anchovy Liquor, and but very little, to give it the Fish-taste. Mix it well with a little Lemon Juice, some Pepper, and some Salt, with a little Oil, if you like it, and fill the Shells with it; and then the outside Parts of the Liver, being a little hard, will feel to the Mouth like the Claws of the Crab broken and pickd, and the inner Parts will be soft and tender, like the Body of a Crab. One may serve this cold, and it will deceive a good judge, if you do not put too much of the Anchovy Liquor into it. It is very good cold; but if you would have it hot, take the following Receipt.

To make artificial hot butter'd Sea-Crabs.

HAVE the great Shells of Crabs clean, and prepare some Liver, as before; or if you cannot get Calf's Liver, get a Lamb's Liver, or a young Sheep's Liver will do tolerably well. Boil these, and shred them as directed before, and put a little Anchovy Liquor to them; then add a little White Wine, some Pepper and Salt at pleasure, and some other Spice at discretion, with Butter necessary to make it mellow, over a gentle Fire, or a little Sallet Oil, if you like Oil. Then add a little Lemon Juice in the Shells, stirring the Mixture together. Then serve them up hot with Lemon sliced.

To make artificial Crabs. From M. De la Port of Lyons in France.

TAKE some of the White of a roasted or boil'd Chicken's Breast, and shred it very small; then add some Roots of Potatoes boil'd and beat into Pulp. Mix these together, and grate a little Lemon-Peel upon it, and add a little Anchovy Liquor to it, with some Oil; and put a little Lemon Juice to it, or Vinegar, with some Pepper and Salt, serve it upon Sippits, garnished with sliced Lemon. These may be butter'd in Shells as the Former, but the first is rather the best.

To make artificial Lobsters. From the same.

PRACTISE the same Method with either of the former; and to imitate the Tail of the Lobster, put in the Tails of Shrimps, Buntings, Prawns or Cray-fish; the last cut in pieces, and serve them either upon Sippets in a Plate, or in the large Shell of the Lobster.

N.B. This is a fort of Salmy, or Salmy-Gundy, as they call it in England but is very much like the Thing we want: and I think, if the Shrimps, or others, were put into the first, it would make it better than putting in the Anchovy Liquor; but if they are to imitate a Crab, they must, (i. e. the Shrimps or Prawns) be chopt very small.


To make artificial Anchovies. From Mr. James Randolph of Richmond.


ABOUT February you will find, in the River of Thames, a large quantity of Bleak, or in August a much larger parcel in Shoals. These Fish are soft, tender, and oily, and much better than Sprats to make any imitation of Anchovies from. Take these, and clean them, and cut off their Heads, and lay them in an earthen glazed Pan, with a Layer of Bay-Salt under them, and another over, a single Row of them; then lay a fresh row of Fish, and Bay-Salt over that; and so continue the same Stratum super Stratum, till the Vessel is full, and in a Month you may use them, and afterwards put Vinegar to them. But they will be like Anchovies without Vinegar, only the Vinegar. will keep them. Turn them often the first Fortnight.

Richard Bradley's Country Housewife and Lady's Director.  London: 1727


1879
Mock Crab.

2382. Three-quarters of a pound of pickled shrimps; a quarter of a pound of good mellow cheese; a spoonful of made mustard; a little salad oil; two spoonfuls of vinegar; a little salt and Cayenne pepper.

Take about a quarter of a pound or more of good made mellow cheese, mix with jt a spoonful of made mustard, a little salad oil, two spoonfuls of vinegar, a little salt, and Cayenne pepper. Pound it well in a mortar until it is of the consistency of cream. Stir into it the pickled shrimps, and serve it in a crabshell garnished with lemon and parsley. Keep a crabshell for this purpose.

Mock Crab—Sailor Fashion.

2383. A large slice of Gloucester cheese; a teaspoonful of mustard; the same of vinegar; pepper and salt to taste.

Cut a slice of Gloucester cheese rather thin, but of good size round. Mash it up with a fork to a paste, mix it with vinegar, mustard, and pepper. It has a great flavour of crab.

Warne's model cookery and house-keeping book, by Mary Jewry.  London: 1879.  & sketch

©2017 Patricia Bixler Reber
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