Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network


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Cooking: Beverages

When the word of wisdom directed the pioneers to give up their cherished tea and coffee, they found several comforting substitutesùa cup of hot water with cream or milk and a little sugar or honey added. They called it Mormon Tea.

Sage Tea. Made by brewing the leaves of garden sage and seasoning with cream and sugar. Many mothers used catnip; the weed grew everywhere to make tea for supper or breakfast as well as to give to babies when they had colic.

Barley Coffee. Barley was browned in the oven, then ground to make a delicious coffee.

Mormon Postum. Parch seed peas; be careful not to burn; grind to a powder. Steep one heaping teaspoon to each cup of water. Serve with sugar and cream.

Brigham Tea. Mountain Rush, from which a tea, commonly known as Brigham Tea or Mormon Valley Tea, was widely used by the pioneers. It was steeped like tea and taken with or without milk and sugar according to taste.

The following recipes were extensively used by the pioneers to provide nourishment for their loved ones during and after an illness:

Currant Water. Stir a tablespoonful of currant jelly into a glass of water. Sweeten slightly, if desired. When currant juice is obtainable, use three tablespoons of the juice and enough water to dilute to the desired acidity. Acid drinks are most refreshing in fever.

Rice Water. Wash four tablespoons of rice, add to it three cups of cold water, place it on the fire, and cook for half an hour. Season with salt, strain and serve.

Barley Water. Wash five tablespoons of pearl barley, add four cups of cold water; place it on the fire, and boil slowly for two hours. Strain, and when cold, season with a little salt, or, if not hurtful, a little lemon and sugar.

Toast Water. Toast two or three slices of stale bread until brown all through, but not at all scorched. Break the toast in small pieces, and put a cupful of it into a pitcher, using only the toast which is thoroughly brown. Pour on the toast three cups of boiling water, let this stand for ten minutes, strain, and serve when cold.

Hot Lemonade. This should only be taken before retiring; it is excellent for colds, but care should be taken to avoid all exposure on the following day. Use one lemon, 3/4 cups boiling water, sugar to taste. Squeeze lemon juice into the water and add the sugar. Serve hot.

Egg Nog. One egg; milk; one tablespoonful brandy, rum, or wine; one tablespoonful sugar. Beat the white of the egg stiff; stir the sugar into it. Add the yolk of the egg, beat well and stir in the liquor. Place the mixture in a tumbler and gradually add enough milk to fill the glass, stirring all the time. Add a slight grating of nutmeg, and serve. Wines or liquors should never be given to a patient without the advice of the physician, as in fevers they are positively harmful. Cases of sudden prostration are an exception; a spoonful of liquor often quickly relieving the distress.

Spanish Gingerette, To each gallon of water put 1 lb. of white sugar; 1/2 oz. best ginger root; 1/4 oz. cream of tartar and 2 lemons sliced. In making 5 gals. boil the ginger and lemons 10 minutes in 2 gals. of the water; the sugar and cream of tartar to be dissolved in the cold water, and mix all, and add 1/2 pint of good yeast; let it ferment overnight, strain and bottle in the morning. This is a valuable recipe for a cooling and refreshing beverage; compounded of ingredients highly calculated to assist the stomach, and is recommended to persons suffering with dyspepsia or sick headache.

Grandma Tucker's Beef-Tea. In families where little time is given to preparing invalid dishes, the extract of beef is much to be preferred in the making of beef. In this way the tea can be made as strong or weak as may be desired, and may be got ready quickly, hot water and a little salt (generally half a teaspoonful to a cupful of water) being all that is necessary besides the extract. A physician of large practice has said that beef made in this way is much better than three of that prepared direct from the beef, and that only with exceptionally good nurses would he allow any other kind to be administered to his patients. In making tea from the beef, have the meat cut from the round and chopped very fine by the butcher. To a pound of meat allow a pint of cold water. Put the water on the meat in a covered saucepan, and let the latter stand for an hour on the back of the stove in a very moderate heat, stirring frequently, then place it on a stronger heat, letting the liquid heat up very slowly, and simmer for an hour longer. Add salt to taste, strain and set away to cool. When cold remove every particle of fat from the top and heat up only the quantity needed for immediate use. When the tea is required in a hurry, the grease may be taken off by laying a white paper on top of the warm liquid.

Mutton Broth. Take a pound of the scraggy part of the neck of mutton, cut off all the fat, and cut the lean into small cubes. Add to the meat four tablespoons of pearl barley, and three pints of cold water. Heat slowly to the boiling point, skim carefully, and set the broth back where it will simmer. Place the bones in a pint of cold water, and boil them gently for half an hour; then strain the liquor into the broth and cook the latter two hours longer. Season well with salt. The barley may be omitted if not cared for, but it adds much to the nutritiousness of the broth.

Panada. Sprinkle a teaspoonful of salt between two large Boston soda or graham crackers or hard pilot biscuits. Place the crackers in a bowl, and pour on just enough boiling water to soak them well. Set the bowl in a vessel of boiling water and let it remain twenty or thirty minutes, until the crackers are quite clear, but not at all broken; then lift them out carefully without breaking, and lay them on a hot saucer. Serve hot with sugar and cream.

Oatmeal Gruel. Sick persons almost invariably have a natural antipathy against all sick dishes and this repugnance is perhaps most decided against gruels of all kinds. When gruels are served to an invalid, they should be carefully selected, with the nature of the complaint in view. When much oatmeal gruel is to be required, it will prove an economy of time to cook the oatmeal into mush, making sure that it is very thoroughly done. Place it in a bowl, and cover tightly. When gruel is needed, place some of the mush in a frying pan, add milk sufficient to thin it to the desired consistency, and boil slowly for five minutes stirring all the time. Add salt and serve.

Oatmeal Gruel No. 2 One quart of boiling water, one tablespoonful of raw oatmeal. One half of salt. Place the water in a frying pan, add the oatmeal and cook for two hours over a slow heat. Season with the salt, and strain or not, as the physician may direct. To serve, fill a cup 2/3 full with the hot gruel and fill the balance with cream or milk, stirring both well together before taking to the patient.

Milk Toast. Cut the bread in thin slices, pare off the crust and toast carefully until of a golden hue. Butter it lightly while hot. Have ready a teacupful of milk that has been slightly thickened with a teaspoonful of flour and salted to taste; pour this hot over the toast, and serve at once.

Sops. The following recipe was sent in by Johanna N. Lindholm. It was used especially for feeding babies. Break up dried bread into a cup, pour scalding water over, then drain off all excess water, add sugar and cream to the bread and serve while warm.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.