July 22, 2014

Why is it Called an Egg Roll if There is No Egg in it? Chinese Egg Roll 1917: Historical Food Fortnightly, Challenge 4

If you are like me, you might have sat in your favorite Chinese restaurant and ate an egg roll only to ponder why it has such an unusual name. After all, there is no egg in it. I had always assumed they used egg to make the dough and that's why it was called an egg roll. It turns out some recipes use eggs for the wrapper but plenty don't. For those of you new to egg rolls, egg rolls are cabbage and meat filled pockets wrapped in dough and fried. 

Egg Rolls are a strictly Chinese- American meal and no one knows who invented them but two Chinese- Americans have taken credit for popularizing them. There isn't an equivalent dish back in china but modern egg rolls are very much like spring rolls which are meat and vegetables wrapped in a thin rice paper wrapper.

Another possible origin for the misnomer could be a dish called "Dan Gun" or Egg Roll. In 1917, a Chinese American Cookbook was published with a dish that was vegetables and meat literally wrapped up in an egg and sliced. This type of an egg roll was also mentioned in a 1921 issue of Good Health. In 1943 in a pamphlet entitled Two Bells, the 1917 recipe was reprinted as an example of a dish that could be made from produce from a victory garden. Was it possible that the name stuck even though the wrapper didn't? We will probably never know. What we do know is that the dough wrapped version popped up sometime in the 1930s.

So for this Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge, I've made the traditional Dan Gun.

Historic Foodways

The Challenge: Foreign Foods

The Recipe: 

Historic Foodways

The Date/Year and Region:
1917, New York

How Did You Make It:


- 3 Eggs
-  Dried reconstituted Mushrooms
- Bean Sprouts
- Thick Slice of Ham
- Piece of Chicken
-Sesame Oil


Slice mushrooms, ham and chicken in long slices. Add sesame seed oil to skillet on medium heat. Fry the bean sprouts, ham, chicken and mushrooms for around 5 minutes. Add enough water to cover the food and cook until the water is gone, make sure to stir once the water is low to prevent burning. Once cooked, set aside to let cool.  Scramble the eggs. Grease a small skillet with the sesame oil and place on low heat. Add a few tablespoons of egg and tilt the pan around until you have a thin layer of egg. Cook until done, remove and let cool. Once cool put a thin layer of bean sprouts and meat on the entire egg and roll up. Cut into slices and add sauce. I used the sauce as a glue for the roll instead of raw egg.  

Time to Complete:
30 Minutes

Total Cost:

Historic Foodways

How Successful Was It?:
It tasted good but I didn't have any knives sharp enough to cut the rolls perfectly straight. I would eat something similar to this again. I would probably add nappa cabbage and bamboo shoots.

How Accurate Is It?: I don't eat meat, I used a meat substitute. I also used a store bought sauce as I had it on hand. There is a sauce recipe in another part the book.

July 18, 2014

Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party: Post 24

 “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James

June and July are always tough months to post in because everyone is busy. With my computer acting up and numerous storms and power outages, this post is extremely late. Although this post is very late, I'll be breaking it up so there aren't 30 photos in one post. I've been keeping busy.  



Going through an intense cleaning and purging month.


Learning basket weaving. It's a lot of fun.


In the market for some huge light bulbs.


Went for a walk and saw this snake on the road. Maybe an Eastern  Milksnake?


Finally saw the new calf.




Cream from the cow at the farm, being graciously held by Caldecott Honor winning author, Anne Isaacs who flew from California to do research for a new book. She took on the full Colonial experience, wearing the clothing, doing the chores and sleeping in an outbuilding.   


Tiny feast for the work campers.


Went to the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival with Barrel of Makers. 



Geese have good PR. In real life, they are scary, scary birds.


Made this cute little change purse out of Forbes magazine pages.


Crazy, windy storm.


Storm and power outage all night. Sat outside in the rain under the tent in the back yard with my dad and sister. We listened to the Cold Mountain soundtrack and watched the lightning bugs in the rain. It was the best night I've had in a long time.


Took some photos for my sister to showcase the new cosplay costume she is making.

July 5, 2014

Farina Pudding: Civil War Recipe, Served to the Wounded after the Battle of Gettysburg

Farina Pudding Civil War Recipe, Served to the Wounded after the Battle of Gettysburg | Click for the recipe: http://worldturndupsidedown.blogspot.com/2014/07/historical-food-fortnightly-challenge-3.html  | World Turn'd Upside Down
Civil War Recipe Gettysburg

This was a hard challenge to do. I had a feeling everyone was going to pick a Gettysburg food or an Independence Day food so I wanted to do something a little different. I thought of doing something from Vicksburg as it was falling around the same time as the Battle of Gettysburg was occurring in the north. However, as the meals were extremely meager in Vicksburg, I didn't think that a rat or bit of mule would be appetizing in the least or fun to cook.

I was incredibly moved from reading accounts about the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg. Many are familiar with the 3 days of battle but what happened next is truly at the heart of the event. Women poured in from different parts of the country to administer aid and what they recorded was horrific. They noted the smell of rotting horses. The screams and cries of the wounded and family members wandering the fields in an attempt to find the bodies or graves of missing loved ones. They wrote of the many men that they met and the ones they cared for one day who were gone the next. There were over 27,000 wounded men after the battle, more than 7,000 killed and 10,000 missing. The magnitude of the battle is hard to fathom, it is harder still to imagine what remained after the armies left.   

Farina was mentioned in many accounts from nurses and ladies of the Sanitary Commission. They were most likely just adding water or milk to the farina and heating it to make a gruel that would feed many, be nourishing and easy to eat and digest for the wounded. I chose to make a farina pudding as plain farina is so simple it doesn't require a recipe. The recipe I used a farina pudding recipe that I found in a hospital manual.

Civil War Recipe Gettysburg
Civil War Recipe Gettysburg

The Challenge: 

Today in History June 29 - July 12
Make a dish based on or inspired by a momentous occasion that took place on the day you made it. Get creative - you would be surprised by all the interesting things that happened every single day!

The Recipe:  

The Date/Year and Region:
1861-1863 Pennsylvania

How Did You Make It:


-1/4 cup Farina (Cream of Wheat)
-3 cups Milk
-Sugar to Taste

Instructions:  Add milk and farina to double boiler. Boil until it clumps together and pour it into a greased mold being careful as it is very hot. Cool the mold off in a large bowl full of ice. Once cool, turn over the mold to release the pudding and top with sugar.   

Time to Complete:
15 Minutes

Total Cost:
About $4.00

How Successful Was It?:The pudding did not turn out as smooth as I thought it would. It might have had a smoother appearance if I boiled it in the mold. It tasted good but a little bland as hospital food is known.

How Accurate Is It?: I forgot to use a double boiler so it only took a few minutes to cook instead of having to boil it for 45 minutes. Even using a double boiler, I don't think it would take 45 minutes to cook.

An Excerpt from a letter to J. Huelings in Moorestown, New Jersey from a Nurse in Gettysburg on July 16, 1863:

"The atmosphere is truly horrible, and camphor and cologne or smelling salts are prime necessaries for most persons, certainly for the ladies. We think that diminutive bags of camphor, say an inch square, would be a great comfort to the soldiers, relieving them in some measure from the ever-present odors.

 We rode in an ambulance to the hospital of the Second Corps. The sights and the sounds beggar description. There is great need of bandages. Almost every man has lost either an arm or a leg. The groans, the cries, the shrieks of anguish, are awful indeed to hear. We heard them all day in the field, and last night I buried my head in my pillow to shut out the sounds which reached us, from a church quite near, where the wounded are lying. 

We could only try to hear as though we heard not, for it requires strong effort to be able to attend to the various calls for aid. The condensed milk is invaluable. The corn-starch, farina, and milk punch are eagerly partaken of, and a cup of chocolate is greatly relished. A poor fellow with a broken jaw seemed to appeal, though mutely, for special attention. I beat up quickly two or three eggs, adding a spoonful of brandy and a cup of scalding hot milk, which he managed to draw through his scarcely opened lips, and at once seemed revived. The Union soldiers and the rebels, so long at variance, are here quite friendly. They have fought their last battle, and vast numbers are going daily to meet the King of Terrors."

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