Family Recipes From Rosedown & Catalpa Plantations

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Family Recipesfrom Rosedown & CatalpaPlantations

Family Recipesfrom Rosedown & CatalpaPlantationsBYRICHARD SCOTTSTELLA PITTSMARY THOMPSONPELICAN PUBLISHING COMPANYGretna 2005

Copyright 2005by Richard Scott, Stella Pitts, and Mary ThompsonAll rights reservedThe word “Pelican” and the depiction of a pelican are trademarksof Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., and are registered in theU.S. Patent and Trademark Office.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataScott, Richard, 1944Family recipes from Rosedown and Catalpa plantations / by Richard Scott,Stella Pitts, Mary Thompson.p. cm.ISBN 978-1-58980-211-7 (alk. paper)1. Cookery, American--Louisiana style. I. Pitts, Stella, 1937- II.Thompson, Mary, 1946- III. Title.TX715.2.L68S36 2005641.59763--dc222004023768Printed in the United States of AmericaPublished by Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, Louisiana 70053

Table of ContentsIntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Rosedown and Catalpa: The Story of Two Plantations . . . . . . . . . 17Plantation Cooking in the Antebellum South:Its Origins and Traditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25Memories of Rosedown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35A Note on the Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Conversion Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43Soups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45Salads, Relishes, and Dressings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51Bread and Yeast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61Fritters, Etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77Vegetables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83Fish, Etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89Fowl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97Meats and Meat Sauces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103Eggs, Etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1115

6FAMILY RECIPESPunches, Etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117Doughnuts, Waffles, Etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121Cakes and Confections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127Puddings, Pies, Etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153Ice Creams and Ices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173Candies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177Syrups, Preserves, and Jellies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185Pickles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193Menus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201For Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213

AcknowledgmentsThe authors of this cookbook express gratitude to the following individuals for their generous assistance in the creation of this cookbook:Paul C. Kiene, historical cooking consultant, former proprietor of theOrange Grove Plantation Store, and generous donor to the RosedownKitchen; Thomas W. Klein, antiquarian, St. Francisville, Louisiana;Charlen Simmons Moore, researcher and former interpretive ranger,Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site; W. Parke Moore III, sitemanager, Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site; Jill Larsen, artistand photographer, New Orleans, Louisiana; Polly Luttrull, curator,Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site.7

IntroductionAfter nearly half a century of emptiness and silence, the old plantation kitchen at Rosedown has come to life again.Today, the fire blazes again in the ancient fireplace; iron kettleshang from the old crane, filled with boiling vegetables and meats;close to the fire, two chickens roast slowly in the old “tin kitchen”utensil; and down on the brick hearth, on top of a bed of hot coals,Martha Turnbull’s white cake rises slowly in an iron kettle beneath acover piled with more hot coals.The once-a-week cooking demonstrations at Rosedown provideRosedown Plantation House.9

10FAMILY RECIPESvisitors to the state-owned historic site with a tantalizing glimpse ofthe nineteenth century cooking procedures followed for many yearson this historic Louisiana plantation. Visitors also can see for themselves—and sometimes even taste—the quaint, old-fashioned, andsometimes all-but-forgotten dishes enjoyed by Martha and DanielTurnbull and their family and friends so long ago.Historians and preservationists have long known that the past cannever be recreated exactly as it really was, but the cooking demonstrations at Rosedown come very close, providing a fascinating—anddelicious—glimpse of an era that is gone.This cookbook is an outgrowth of these cooking demonstrations andalso is a means of recording and preserving a selection of severalhundred Turnbull family recipes, or receipts as they were called,recently discovered in the attic of nearby Catalpa Plantation, a siteclosely connected with the family and history of Rosedown. TheseCatalpa Plantation House.

Introduction11receipts, along with many other hand-written Turnbull familyreceipts, are used in the Rosedown kitchen demonstrations and aretypical of plantation cookery practiced throughout the antebellumand post-bellum South.The names of these early Southern concoctions are intriguing anddelightful: jumbles and puffs, tomatoe soy and monkey pudding,lightning cake and foolish pie.And where did the Turnbull family find these receipts? Manyprobably came from their relatives—Martha’s family was originallyfrom England, Daniel’s came from Scotland. Like all early Southernfamilies, they also exchanged receipts with friends and nearby neighbors in West Feliciana Parish. They often copied receipts they especially liked in nineteenth century cookbooks, such as Miss Leslie’sSeventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, published in1827, and Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery, published in 1851.Martha Turnbull owned both of these early American cookbookspenned by the famous Eliza Leslie of Philadelphia.Some Turnbull family receipts may even have originated at MountRosedown Kitchen.

12FAMILY RECIPESVernon, home of America’s first president, George Washington. TheTurnbull’s oldest son, William, married Caroline Butler, whose grandmother was Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, the famous “Nellie,” andwhose great-grandmother was Martha Washington herself. Both Nellieand Martha were famous cooks, and many of their original receiptshave been preserved, including one of the most famous Americanreceipts, Martha’s receipt for “Great Cake,” which begins with thewords, “Take forty eggs and divide the whites from the yolks . . . ”Hand-written receipts were common in many Southern homes,shared among family and friends and eventually passed down to subsequent generations. Sadly, far too many of these irreplaceable bits ofSouthern culinary history were lost through the years—forgotten inattic trunks, damaged in fires and storms, left behind when familiesmoved away, or simply discarded by later generations. It is thereforetruly remarkable that so many of the Turnbull family’s receipts havesurvived to provide a valuable record of this Louisiana plantationfamily’s dining habits.Food prepared in the Rosedown kitchen.

Introduction13Established shortly after the state of Louisiana acquired RosedownPlantation in late 2000, the cooking program was begun by formerinterpretive park ranger Richard Scott and has been continued bystaff members and volunteers, who keep the fires going, cook thedishes, and give visitors an oral history of plantation cooking—itsorigins, its traditions, and the lasting influence it has had on moderncooking methods and cuisine, not only in the South but throughoutthe entire country.The Rosedown Plantation kitchen, like all plantation kitchens,was always separate from the main house, primarily because of thedanger of fire but also to keep the heat and smells of cooking far fromthe house. The meals were cooked here, then carried on covered platters into the service room at the rear of mansion, where they werearranged on serving pieces and carried into the dining room.Many of the old iron and tin utensils used at Rosedown are originalnineteenth century cooking items—kettles and skillets, gridironsand toasters, trivets and graters and corn shellers, long-handledspoons and forks. There are wooden “beadles” (today known as potato mashers) and a “tin kitchen” that is a forerunner of a modern rotisserie oven. Simple and primitive as they all are, they really work, tothe amazement and delight of visitors.Of course, missing from this living portrait of a vital part of nineteenth century plantation life are the people who actually worked inthe kitchen and produced the daily meals for the family so long ago—the slave cooks. Ranked at the very top of the plantation’s slave hierarchy, the slave cooks were highly valued and skillful members of theplantation community. Working under the direction of their mistresses, they provided astonishingly diverse and delicious meals underdifficult and often uncomfortable circumstances that modern-daycooks can scarcely imagine.In 1862, an inventory of slaves at Rosedown Plantation listed twocooks—a forty-year-old man named Wilkinson and a woman namedGrace, who was fifty. Nothing more is known of them, nor do we know

14FAMILY RECIPESall the names or the histories of their predecessors or of those whofollowed after them.But names can make people from the past seem very real, and it issomehow easy to imagine Wilkinson and Grace as they might havebeen at Rosedown in 1862: building up the fire, piling up the hot coals,peeling vegetables and mixing puddings, and stirring cake and breadbatters. They worked from early morning until late in the evening, dayafter day, summer and winter. They prepared early morning breakfasts,main meals that were served at three o’clock in the afternoon, and lightevening suppers that closed out the long plantation day.In the hope that Grace and Wilkinson, and all of their fellow slavecooks throughout the plantation South, will always be rememberedfor their skills and their lasting contributions to Southern cooking, wededicate this volume to them: to Grace and Wilkinson of RosedownPlantation and to all the slave cooks who lived and labored in theplantation kitchens of the antebellum South.Richard Scott, Stella Pitts, and Mary ThompsonMartha Turnbull’s copy of Miss Leslie’s Seventy-Five Receiptscookbook.

New Orleans bill of sale for DanielTurnbull’s purchase of books and libraryequipment in 1831-32. It included copiesof The Virginia Housewife and SeventyFive Receipts cookbooks for MarthaTurnbull.An original Rosedown nineteenth-centurygridiron and grater in the kitchen.

A cook in the kitchen at an unknown Louisiana plantation. Image taken from a glassplate negative, second half of the nineteenth century.

Rosedown and Catalpa:The Story of Two PlantationsRosedown and Catalpa—two legendary names in West FelicianaParish, two very different plantation houses that share a common heritage as well as a fascinating history that reaches back to the earliestdays of the nineteenth century.Both houses have close connections with two of the most prominent early plantation families in the region—the Barrows and theForts. Both were originally surrounded by plantations comprisingthousands of acres of cotton and sugar cane. Both were renowned inthe region for the wealth, culture, and hospitality of the families whoowned them. And both, in different ways, are survivors—remindersof a vanished way of life that have emerged beautiful and vibrant inthe twenty-first century.It was at the very beginning of the nineteenth century—in 1800—thattwo North Carolina families, the Barrows and the Forts, arrived in“Neuva Feliciana,” a stronghold of the English in a predominantlyFrench and Spanish territory. The Barrows became one of the wealthiestand most prominent families of the Old South, as influential in Louisianaas were the Byrds, the Carters, and the Lees in Virginia. The Forts,cousins to the Barrows, became some of the most prominent planters inLouisiana, owning numerous plantations and hundreds of slaves.Leading the Barrow family to Louisiana was the widowed OliviaRuffin Barrow, with her two sons, Robert and William, and herdaughter, Mary.17

18FAMILY RECIPESOlivia Barrow is buried in the family cemetery at Highland, theearliest Barrow house still standing in the region and still occupiedby descendents of the original builder, Olivia’s son, William BarrowIII. The house was known in the beginning as Locust Grove and isbelieved to be the first example of Federal-style architecture built inthe Feliciana region.The gardens at Highland were once extensive and spectacular, andthe plantation included an enormous sugarhouse, a racetrack, adance hall for the slaves, a slave hospital, and numerous other outbuildings.Martha was the oldest child of William Barrow III and his wife,Pheraby. Born in 1809, it was she, with her husband Daniel Turnbull,who built Rosedown in 1834, six years after their marriage in 1828.The house at Rosedown, with its wide, two-storied front galleries, isbelieved to have been patterned on Martha’s birthplace and earlyhome, Highland.Like her mother before her, Martha created her own lavish gardensas the setting for her new home, importing plants and statuary fromEurope, laying out winding walkways, building quaint summerhouses, and planting an avenue of live oak trees leading to the house.Martha so loved her gardens that it is said she was working in themtwo weeks before her death in 1896, when she was eighty-seven.It is interesting to note the wide-spread influence that Martha’simmediate family had on the plantation culture of the region duringthese years. Martha’s brother, William Ruffin Barrow, builtGreenwood, one of the most spectacular Greek Revival mansions inthe South. Located only a few miles from Highland and Rosedown,the house burned in 1960. Martha’s uncle, Bartholomew Barrow,established the plantation at Afton Villa, still noted for its magnificent gardens. Other Barrow relatives lived at Live Oak, Solitaire,Rosale, Rosebank, Ellerslie, and Wyoming.Martha and Daniel had three children: James, who died of yellow fever when he was seven; William, who drowned at the age of

Rosedown and Catalpa19Four generations of the Rosedown family are shown in this remarkable photographtaken sometime in the early 1890s. Front row left to right: Rosina Bowman, MarthaBowman Fort holding her young son William Fort III, Martha Turnbull and CorrieBowman. Back row left to right: George K. Shotwell (husband of Eliza Bowman),Isabel Bowman, Sarah Bowman, Sarah Turnbull Bowman, and James PirrieBowman. Martha Turnbull, the matriarch of the family, died in 1896. Her daughterSarah and son-in-law James P. Bowman eventually inherited Rosedown; theirdaughter Martha was the first wife of William J. Fort Jr. of nearby Catalpa. The fourunmarried Bowman daughters—Isabel, Sarah, Rosina, and Corrie—became the legendary “Bowman Ladies” who held on to their family home during the lean years ofthe Depression and saved Rosedown for the future.

20FAMILY RECIPEStwenty-seven, leaving a widow and two young sons; and Sarah, whobecame the eventual heir and mistress of Rosedown. Sarah and herhusband, James Bowman of nearby Oakley Plantation, produced tenchildren. Two of these children were destined to marry into the Fortfamily of Catalpa Plantation, a mile or so north of Rosedown.Catalpa was established by the Fort family, who tradition sayscame to Louisiana in 1800 with their cousins, the Barrows. It wasWilliam Fort who built the first house at Catalpa, and his son,William Johnston Fort, who developed the plantation in the 1840swith his wife, Sallie. Together, they turned their home into a showplace set in the midst of a magnificent park. The original house,which reportedly dated from 1800, was a raised cottage with frontand back galleries. The gardens contained a picturesque, windingdriveway leading to the house, lined with live oak trees and borderedwith conch shells. There was an artificial lake, an iron fountaindepicting plunging horses, two pigeon houses, a huge deer park, anda magnificent greenhouse. Later a new bride joined the Fort family.She was twenty-two-year-old Martha Bowman, daughter of Sarah andJames Bowman of Rosedown. She married William Johnston Fort Jr.in 1880 and lived at Beechwood, another Fort family residence, withhim for the next eighteen years. They had two children, Martha andWilliam. Martha Bowman Fort died in 1898 at the age of forty.Two years later, her widower married his sister-in-law, MaryBowman of Rosedown, who was thirty-three. This was not an unusual occurrence among plantation families, who often married cousinsas well as sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law. Mary Bowman moved toCatalpa and, like her sister Martha, produced two children, Sadieand Mamie. Also like her sister, she was married to William J. FortJr. for eighteen years, until his death in 1918.The original house at Catalpa was destroyed by fire in 1898 or1899. It was replaced soon thereafter by the present house. It is nowa comfortable, high-ceilinged house with a wide center hallway anda deep front gallery. The house is built on the site of the original

Rosedown and Catalpa21house, and two cast-iron English greyhounds flank the front stepsjust as they did when the original house stood.The Civil War brought hard times to Rosedown and Catalpa, justas it did to other plantations throughout the South. Rosedown wasinvaded by federal troops, who camped in Martha’s gardens, lootedthe house, stole all the livestock, and burned the crops and numerousoutbuildings. At Catalpa, soldiers tore down gates and fences, allowingthe cattle to roam freely and destroy much of the old garden. Thegreenhouse was ruined as well. Although the old driveway and lake arestill there, the pigeon houses are gone, as well as the elegant fountain.By the 1920s and 1930s, the Depression brought more hard timesand near-poverty to many formerly-wealthy families in the region. AtRosedown, three of the unmarried Bowman daughters—Miss Sarah,Miss Rosina, and Miss Isabel—became legendary in the region fordevoting their lives to the maintenance and preservation of their family home, holding on in spite of seemingly impossible odds. When thelast sister, Rosina, died in 1955, she left Rosedown to her nieces andnephews debt-free.It was in 1956, after 120 years of unbroken family occupancy, thatRosedown was sold. The new owners, Catherine and MiltonUnderwood of Houston, Texas, undertook an eight-year, 11-millionrestoration of the property, opening it to the public full-time in 1964.The Underwood’s thirty-eight-year tenure at Rosedown was a gloryperiod for the property. Thousands of visitors from all over the worldflocked through its gates to visit the mansion and stroll through itslush gardens. After his parents’ deaths, the Underwood’s son Davidheld on to Rosedown until 1994, when he sold the property to a private individual. In the next seven years much of the original acreage,along with some prized furniture, was sold. At one point, the housewas closed to visitors, allowing them access only to the gardens.Before the property was sold to the State of Louisiana in Novemberof 2000,

and most prominent families of the Old South, as influential in Louisiana as were the Byrds, the Carters, and the Lees in Virginia. The Forts, cousins to the Barrows, became some of the most prominent planters in Louisiana, owning numerous plantations and hundreds of slaves. Leading the Barrow family to Louisiana was the widowed Olivia