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Historic Recipes

Cooking Witmer Roth Home


This root scraped, is always served with hot roast beef and is used for garnishing many kinds of boiled fish. Let the horseradish remain in cold water for an hour, wash it well, and with a sharp knife scrape it into very thin shreds, commencing from the thick end of the root. Seasonal from October to June.

Taken from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, originally published 1859

“It is quite easy to have a supply of horseradish all winter. Have a quantity grated, while the root is in perfection, put it in bottles, fill it with strong vinegar, and keep it corked tight.

Taken from American Frugal Housewife, first published 1833

Dandelion with Bacon Dressing

1 qt. young dandelion greens
4 slices bacon
3 T. flour
½ t. salt
1 ½ c. water
1 egg beaten
2 T. vinegar

Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp. Pour off fat except 2 T. Blend flour into fat and gradually add water. When mixed, add egg, salt, and vinegar. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until thickened. Pour over dandelion stems and serve at once.

(This dressing is very tasty over endive or lettuce.)

Molasses Bread

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ t. soda
1 t. salt
½ cup dark molasses
¼ cup melted butter
1 t. cream of tartar
1 cup sour milk
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients. Mix milk, molasses, egg and butter into dry mixture. Mixture will be wet – turn out and knead in flour until smooth. Shape into two round loaves and place in greased, floured round pans. Bake in a Dutch oven. If using modern oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until done. Remove from pans and cool before slicing.

Homemade Ice Cream (Recipe for 1 ½ gallon freezer)

1 gallon whole milk (approx)
3 c. sugar
¾ c. flour
½ t. salt
8 eggs, separated
3 T pure vanilla extract
1 Qt. Heavy Whipping Cream

Scald 1 ½ quarts (6 cups) of the milk in a large pan. Set aside. Separate egg yolks into one bowl and the egg whites into another bowl. Beat egg yolks. Refrigerate egg whites until ready to use. Mix sugar, salt, and flour in another bowl. Slowly add 2 cups cold milk to dry ingredients while stirring constantly. Return scalded milk to burner. Slowly add flour/sugar mixture, and then egg yolks while stirring constantly. Cook until thick. Cool. When ready to put freeze in ice cream freezer add vanilla, cream and beaten egg whites. Pour into metal freezer tub and add milk to fill line (about ¾ full). Put lid on freezer tub.

To Freeze place ice cream mix in metal container into wooden freezer. Put in a layer of ice and then sprinkle with ½ cup coarse ice cream salt. Repeat layering ice and salt until you have 3 or 4 layers. When you reach the top of the tub, place some ice on top of the lid. Pour water over ice until water runs out of the drain below. Start cranking immediately. You may need to add more ice and salt as you crank. (The more salt you add, the faster it will freeze). Keep cranking until you can barely crank. Open metal container and remove paddle. Replace lid and cover with ice and a clean towel or rug to keep ice cream frozen until ready to serve.

Pfeffernusse. Peppernuts – German Cookies

1 ½ c. sugar
egg, beaten
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
2 T white Karo syrup
1 c. oleo or butter
2 t. soda
1 t. cloves
½ t. anise OIL
3 ½ c. flour

Cream shortening and sugar ‘til fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Add other liquids. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Roll into thin ropes, chill and slice. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees (F.)

Braised German Cabbage

Cabbage has been a staple of the American diet for centuries and its popularity goes back to ancient times. It is thought that the Romans first introduced the cabbage to the ancient Germanic People. The cabbage has long been associated with healthy eating. Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, a popular home guide and recipe book first published in 1859 recommends caution when eating cabbage:“Cabbage is heavy and a long time digesting. It is only fit food for the robust and active persons: the sedentary or delicate should carefully avoid it.”

The following is a popular recipe from this area.
6 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup water
2 T. apple cider vinegar
½ t. Caraway seed or 1 Bay Leaf
¼ t. salt
1 T. sugar to taste (optional)

Combine cabbage, onion, water and first three seasonings in a large skillet. Cover and cook over low heat 20-25 minutes or until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally. Add sugar at the end and stir well. Remove Bay leaf before serving.

Homemade Noodles

Almost every farmwoman had her own recipe for making noodles. This is one often used at Sauder Village.

Put ¾ Cup flour and a pinch of salt (optional) in a container and make a well in the center of the mixture. Place 1 whole beaten egg OR 1 yolk beaten with ½ eggshell of water (about 1 T) in the well. Mix and add more flour as needed to form a dough ball that is not sticky.

Remove ball from bowl to floured surface. Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes adding flour as needed to keep from sticking to surface.

Cover with cloth and let dough rest for 20-30 minutes. Divide dough in half and roll each half into a circle as large and thin as possible. Let the two circles dry, but not too dry as to crack. You may cut the circles into quarters, stack them to make shorter noodles or roll like jellyrolls for longer ones. Using a sharp knife cut the noodles to the desired width.

Spread noodles on towel to dry. It may take one day or longer to be dry to touch. (Can be frozen after drying.) Makes approx. ½ lb of noodles.


2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
¼ c. lard (rounded)
1 t. salt
1 c. buttermilk or milk

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Cut in lard until mixture forms pea-sized crumbs. Add buttermilk. Stir lightly. Put on floured board. Knead. Roll ½ inch thick. Cut in biscuits. Put a sliver of butter on the top of each. Bake 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cream Dressing

Stir 1 T. sugar into ½ c. sweet cream. Stir in 3 T. of vinegar. It will thicken and curdle. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over fresh leaf lettuce and onion.

Schmearcase (Cottage Cheese)

Put 1 gallon of un-pasteurized milk in a pan or bowl. Leave the milk in a warm, but not hot place (maintain 75-85 degrees F.) The milk will curdle in a few hours or a few days, depending on the temperature and the bacteria count. When it is set, the solids will form a curd, which floats on the whey. Cut the curd using a clean knife. Make parallel cuts across one way and then perpendicular. Heat curd to 110 degrees F. while stirring slowly. To test the curd, pinch a little bit between thumb and finger. If a tiny bit remains on the ball of your thumb it is about ready. Drain the whey by putting it in a bag and hanging it on the clothesline. You can rinse the curd with cold water and drain again. You can add cream at this time or when you serve it.