Did yesterday's recipe for Oytser Stew really call for catsup? Surely not something like Heinz Ketchup! Not in 1861!
(f you like odd tidbits of history, you might enjoy knowing that the Heinz company went bankrupt making horseradish in 1875, and did not start manufacturing bottled ketchup until 1876. There is a Pennsylvania connection, however, as their first plant was in Sharpesburg.)
During the earlier part of the nineteenth century, there was an all-purpose sauce called catsup that was used to add flavor to many New England suppers. Instead of coming out of a bottle, cooks stirred up a supply at the end of summer to tide them through the long tasteless winters.
• 2 onions
• ½ teaspoon ginger
• 2 teaspoon powdered clove
• 2 teaspoon allspice
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt. If you intend to let them stand until you have gathered several parcels, put in plenty of salt.
After you have gathered all you intend to use, boil them gently an hour, strain them through a coarse sieve; slice two good-sized onions very thin for every gallon; add half a spoonful of ginger, two spoonfuls of powdered clove, two of allspice, and a teaspoon of black pepper.
Boil it twenty minutes after the spices are added. Keep it in a covered jar. This kind of catsup is specially designed to be used in soups, and stewed meats.
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Addendum: Yes, I'm still on jury duty, with the end not in sight, thanks to one long-winded lawyer, who is also given to long thoughtful pauses, during which he raises his eyebrows, wrinkles his brow, rolls his eyes, tries to catch the eyes of every juror, and cocks his head inquisitively in the direction of the judge before jutting his chin defiantly in the direction of the other lawyer. What fun! Still, I'm trying to make the most of the experience. I'm spending hours penned into a tiny room with 13 other jurors, each one of whom represents a character type. We're a very mixed bunch. I wonder what they would think to know that they may someday appear in a novel? It's certainly fertile ground for a vivid imagination to run rampant.