RECIPE CORNER: Early American recipes

By Ginger Isham

So many dishes prepared in the late 1700s are still being made today, but methods and ingredients have been adapted to modern kitchens. An example: Martha Washington beat her egg whites with a bundle of twigs instead of a mixer. Our cold temperatures call for hot soups such as these made in Colonial days. Serve with oyster crackers.


Fish Chowder

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 pound of fresh haddock or fish of choice

1 cup light cream (I have used all or part evaporated milk with whole milk)

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter




Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter until tender and add potatoes and enough water to cover all. Cover pan and simmer until potatoes are almost tender. Add fish and simmer for a few more minutes until fish is white and flaky. Remove from heat and add cream, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat and stir just until hot but do not boil. Sprinkle with paprika and serve. Optional: sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Onion Soup

1/2 cup butter

10-12 onions, chopped (try sweet onions or Vidalia onions)

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 end crust of loaf of stale bread

1 1/2 quarts hot beef stock

salt and pepper

grated cheese


Saute onions in melted butter, covered, for 15 minutes on low heat. Sprinkle sugar over onions, cover, cook another 15 minutes. Stir in flour and bread. Gradually add hot broth, cooking and stirring until smooth. Season to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes on low. Serve with grated cheese.


Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.