Saturday, January 29, 2011

29 January 1957 “Chicks, Chicken livers, and Mayonnaise…Oh My!”

chick1 The other day my first chicks began to hatch. If you may recall, I had ordered a dozen French Maran Eggs to hatch. I want to have a small flock of these hens as their eggs are much sought after by chefs and can command a higher price at our local Farmer’s markets and stores.
One of my hens had gone broody, so I gave her 4 of the eggs and put 8 in the incubator. I am no regretting that decision. As she has hatched out all four while only one in the incubator made it to a full chick.
To keep my hen broody while the eggs arrived by the post, I let her sit on eggs from my own hens. They were, most likely fertilized, as I have a wonderful Rooster (named Roostie).
Therefore the first picture you see is one of our eggs from my hens and rooster hatching. It hatched earlier, as the hen hat sat on them for three days before my Maran eggs arrived. So, I took those eggs and put them in the incubator. This allowed me to hold back the chicks until the eggs under my hen hatched.
A hen will often sit on her nest for three days while the eggs hatch. All eggs will not hatch at the same time, presumably as they would not all have been laid at the same time. So Mother Nature has put it into the Hen’s mind to ‘stay put’ for about three days. So, on the day her eggs were to hatch, I simply slipped the two chicks I had in the house under her. She clucked, felt them move and then accepted they had hatched under her.
Before they went to their new mother, they had two days with my little dog in the house. He LOVES anything tinyand living. He is the most gentle dog I have ever had. I have seen him sit completely still and walk very slow and cautiously around chicks ,so as not to disturb or hurt them.
Here he is with the first little guy. I am hoping she is a SHE as then she will join the ranks of my egg laying hens and not have to end up in the roasting pan.montychick1 montychick2
I have to say, since my voyage back to the 1950’s, my animal husbandry skills  have greatly improved. Though the 1950’s middle class homemaker was often the first to take on the modern plastic world of grocery at the big Super market and to leave the ‘farm’ back in the 1940’s, I don’t think I would have.
As I have said, being an older wife, and certainly a war bride, the thrift and make do of the war years would be such a part of me that I don’t think I would want to let it all go, as I rather enjoy it.
One advantage to having fresh eggs, literally still warm from the hen, is the ability to make my own mayonnaise. Now, really, if you buy your eggs fresh enough, this is still a safe procedure, I would just try to get them as fresh as possible.
The more I have learned to make my own not only do I see how cheaper it can be, but the taste and quality is amazing. I also think Mayonnaise today gets a rather bad rap. It is often portrayed as the ‘poor mans’ condiment, slathered on white Wonder bread and adorned with Spam. But, we must remember that egg mayonnaise is an old condiment/dressing. Well before the 1950’s saw it packaged and in the lunchbox of every working man and child, it was often a staple both in the farmers diet as well as on the tables of the well to do. Many think it is of Spanish origin and brought to France. Other’s also believe that wherever oil and eggs existed their mixture was inevitable.
The mass marketed mayo in the USA started in NYC at Richard Hellmann's delicatessen. It was bottled and sold in 1912 as “Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise”.
1916mayonaisserecipeHere is an interesting Mayonnaise recipe from 1916.
Yet, despite it being on grocery store shelves here in the 1950’s, many recipes existed as a normal part of cookbooks. mayonnaiserecipesHere is the page from Betty Crocker’s Picture cookbook. And it is of interest to note that mayo is being used in sweet as well as savory, as the ‘dainty pink dressing’ recipe shows us. Simply adding the juice of maraschino/glace’ cherries and whipping cream makes it suitable dressing for fruit.
 dionemayonaiserecipe  These are some of the recipes from my early 1950’s Cordon Bleu cook book by Dione Lucas, who was said to have influenced Julia child in her French Cookery.
The ingredients in any mayonnaise are easy enough: egg and oil with seasonings, usually mustard and an acid either or both lemon juice/vinegar. I have used combinations of all these and used various oils, as well.
The trick to mayonnaise is to emulsify. Emulsification is basically forcing two things that don’t want to blend, oil and water, to create a sort of bond. Certainly a mayonnaise can be made by hand with a whisk, but for me, I find it easy to use my blender. Many modern people would most likely use a food processor, but our version of ‘food processors’ here in 1957 are not the electrical versions of the modern kitchen. The blender, however, does a wonderful jobs at many things from dressings to soups.
mayonaise1This is my 1955 Osterizer. It is a beast. A heavy glass caraffe. Sturdy stainless steel base, this thing has lasted for years before I purchased it. To get a comparable version today would be hundreds of dollars, yet the vintage are easy enough to come by. As an aside, this little darling is wonderful to use at the bar and has seen many Grasshoppers blended in it!
For me the emulsification is easiest with the blender. Simply crack two eggs and put in one TBS lemon juice. I use fresh squeezed or sometimes in lieu of or in addition to I will also use vinegar. Turn it on low for about 3o seconds, just to blend.
Next take one cup of oil (Your choice, olive, sunflower, grape seed experiment with what you like) and this is the trick. While the blender is on low, very SLOWLY pour the liquid into the blender. I set the timer for 3 minutes and begin pouring the thinnest possible stream. If you do that and finish at about 3 minutes, you will have the PERFECT consistency. Then you can add the mustard, seasonings, garlic, what have you, and give a good mix.
mayonise2Then I simply decant it in a canning jar and it is good for up to a week in the icebox. I usually make this once a week, so you can see we use it fairly often. It is great on salads, as the base for dressings, I even brush it with other seasonings on chicken when I bake them. This is NOT Miracle whip. AND it has no preservatives, dies or what have you. mayonaise3Look how wonderful that sheen and swirl is, you really need to try it. You will never buy mayonnaise again. Or, if you think you hate mayonnaise, make this and mix a bit with cold fish or last nights chicken and toss in salad greens, mmmmm wonderful!
Now, for me making my own dressings and condiments is both frugal and good for you. I think this frugality and ‘coin-purse wisdom’ can carry over to everything we eat.
For example, the chicken. We eat a lot of chicken in this country. It is, currently, very cheap mainly due to its horrid mass productions. But, I won’t get into that right now. My point will simply be that here in 1957 what we pay for a chicken, even at the Super Market, would be very similar to what a modern person would pay for a ‘free range’ bird, around 8-10 dollars. So, we do not simply have them in everything and waste as we do in the 21st century. That roast chicken for Sunday’s big meal is not simply tossed away. The bones are made into stock for soup. The leftover meat gets mixed with mayonnaise for father and children’s lunch.
But, there is another element of that bird that many modern people are often not aware of: The Offal. The guts of the bird, the heart, liver and gizzard and even the neck. These are simply seen as garbage and tossed either by the family, or else the big stores as they sell pre cut meat and all the ‘guts’ are garbage. This to me seems so wasteful. And, when we realize how we can use so much of the bird, then the choice to try and support a better bird, (better treated as well as not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics) will be more realistic. An 8 dollar chicken suddenly doesn’t seem so expensive when it becomes a dinner, a soup and lunches.
Now, ever so often I am able, when I don’t have a full chicken with the giblets/offal, to buy chicken hearts or livers. The other day, at my local grocery store, they had little containers of chicken livers VERY cheap. I snatched it up.
I adore chicken livers. They are much milder than a cow or pig liver. They have a wonderful mellow taste as well as being full of iron and vitamins. They are very high in protein and for a very low fat calorie count give you a lot of vitamins. In the below serving of 1 oz, you get the following: Vitamin A 96%,Vitamin C 1%, and Iron 8 %

Chicken Liver:
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 oz
Calories % Daily Values
33 *
Calories from Fat 12
Total Fat 1.37g 2%
Saturated Fat 0.443g 2%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.232g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.354g
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 20mg 1%
Potassium 65mg
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 4.8g

My lunch the other day was chicken livers on toast, when of my favorite savories.liversontoastTo me, this looks lovely. But, even if you don’t like the look of it, they taste wonderful. Look at that wonderful texture.liversontoast2
I simply heated onions and garlic in oil and then lightly pan fried these with salt and pepper. Then tossed in salad greens and serve on toast. It is wonderful tasting. You can also add cream to a mixture such as this while it is in the pan, getting all the wonderful butter and onion drippings and it goes great on a large salad or as a Savory or appetizer before a larger meal.
You really should consider the ‘throwaway’ bits of the chicken and see how much good nutrition and good money value there is. My 1.50 container of livers gave me three lunches!
Happy Homemaking.

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