Pot Roast (1913) ★★★★★

One of the ways I like to make historical recipes is by simply cooking them as part of a meal. We all have to eat, don't we? Mr. Man sometimes objects to me making "weird" things for dinner, but a pot roast is hard to complain about. On top of that, pot roast is still made in pretty much the same way as it was in the past - except now we have electric slow cookers. I could've done this recipe in a big pot on the stove, but I find the slow cooker is better and prevents burning. I guess in that respect I've not made this recipe exactly as called for, but simply by cooking in a modern kitchen I'm not authentic anyway. The point of Kitchen Historic is not to exactly recreate these historical recipes, but to adapt them for modern tastes in a modern kitchen. I think this is still a legitimate method of appreciating the past.
So, without further ado, a pot roast!

Original Recipe:
POT ROAST.—Take a nice piece of the round beef weighing about four pounds, season well with salt and pepper and dust over thoroughly with flour. In a flat bottomed kettle melt a piece of butter the size of an egg, when hot put in the meat, turning until well browned on every side. When roast is brown add a little onion, six cloves, six allspice and enough boiling water to come up half way to the top of the meat. Cook slowly for three hours. When done take out meat, add one tablespoon of flour to a little cold water to thicken gravy.

The Verdict:
Delicious! I accidentally used oil instead of butter to brown the roast, but it got this beautiful, brown crust so I was happy anyway. It tasted good too - I do enjoy the cloves/allspice with beef. It works well. And this recipe is ridiculously simple. It would be nice with potatoes and carrots added, just so that you don't have to cook vegetables separately. That's pretty much the only change I would make to this. Oh - and 1 tablespoon of flour is a joke - just save yourself the hassle and use cornstarch. It thickens so much better. I had to puree my gravy because the flour made lumps, but that's optional.

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from Civic League Cook Book)

The original recipe is easy to follow. I lightly fried my onions in the leftover fat before adding them to the crockpot. In a crock pot it will take quite a while - about 8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high, depending on how done you want your meat.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.