Eggs with Dried Beef – Recipes from the The Cumberland Valley Cook and General Recipe Book

Eggs with Dried Beef – Recipes from the The Cumberland Valley Cook and General Recipe Book

Please allow me to introduce you to The Cumberland Valley Cook and General Recipe Book. I came across this wonderful little pamphlet while doing research for our upcoming 1870s exhibit. I love history and I love food – so let’s try some of these recipes! There’s a similar cookbook published in the 1880s readily available on Google Books. It seems to be the same thing, just published in Kansas. Perhaps some folks migrated from this area and were nostalgic for Pennsylvania home cooking. Regardless, I’ll be using the online version for my experiments, since I think our librarian would frown (at the very least) on me taking a historical document home for use in my kitchen.

Now this cookbook has “over 700 recipes” but I swear at least 600 of those are for cakes, pies and other desserts. In other words, a cookbook after my own heart, to be sure! Not only that, but you might get a dozen recipes for the same kind of cake. So I’m going to give myself more of a challenge and do savory recipes as well as sweets. I love a weird-sounding name or something that looks like I’ve never tried before so expect most of my selections to fall under that criteria. I’ll try to be faithful to the recipe, just using my ambient cooking knowledge, though if I have to research something I’ll tell you all about it. I’m not a purist, so I’ll use my modern equipment and I’ll freely substitute items if I can’t find the original.

Let’s start with an easy one, especially since I’ve still got too many Christmas cookies around. This is something I’ve never made, but sounds like it will be good. As written:

Omelet with Dried Beef. Chip your beef fine, and break into it 3 or 4 eggs, and a little salt. When the beef is heated, put in your eggs, and stir a few minutes.

Here we’ve got dried beef and eggs. Let’s cut that beef up a little bit more, heat it, egg it, and eat it. This beef’s already salty –very salty– so I’m going to skip the “little salt.”

And we get this nice scrambled egg. It reminds me of eggs and bacon, if the bacon were extra salty and not smoky at all. It’s nice as something a little different than the usual breakfast, but not something I think I’ll get a craving for. I had a family member try it and their review was: “I wouldn’t make it again – and I like chipped beef.” Still, I’d rate this one 4/5 stars: not good enough to put in my recipe box but turned out like it should and tasted good to me.

-Rachael Zuch of Zuch Design

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