City of Dreams

The Dutch Larder,
page 8 of 13

Tea-cakes which were made both in New England and New York were what Mrs. Vanderbilt calls “izer-cookies.” They were so termed from the Dutch word izer, or yser, meaning iron; for they were baked in long-handled irons called wafer-irons, which often had the initials of the owners impressed in the metal, which impression of course rendered the letters in relief on the cakes. Often a date was also stamped on the irons. These wafer-irons sometimes formed part of a wedding outfit, having the initials of the bride and groom intertwined. The cakes were also called split-cakes because, thin as they were, often they were split and buttered before being eaten. Other wafer-cakes were called oblyen. Cinnamon-cakes resembled a delicate jumble with powdered cinnamon sprinkled on top. Puffards, or puffertjes, were eaten hot with powdered cinnamon and sugar, and were baked in a special pan, termed a pullet-pan. Wonders were flavored with orange peel and boiled in lard. Pork-cakes, made of chopped pork with spices, almonds, currants, raisins, and flavored with brandy, were a rich cake. The famous Schuyler wedding cake had among other ingredients, twelve dozen eggs, forty-eight pounds of raisins, twenty-four pounds of currants, four quarts of brandy, a quart of rum. This was mixed in a wash-tub.

Many of these cakes are now obsolete. In one of the old inventories of the Van Cortlandt family, in a list of kitchen utensils is the item, “1 Bolly-byssha Pan.” This is the Anglicized spelling of bollo-bacia, — bolle the old Dutch and Spanish word for a bun, or small loaf of flour and sugar; bacia the Spanish for a metal pan. In old receipts in the same family the word is called bollabouche and bolla-buysies. The receipt runs thus:—

“To a pound of flower a quarter of a pound of sugar, the same of butter, 4 egs, sum Nut-Meg and Senamond, milk & yeast, A pint of milk to 2 pound of flower.”

Domestic swine afforded the Dutch many varied and appetizing foods. Two purely Dutch dishes were rolliches and head cheese.


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