365 Foreign Dishes: Jewish Stewed Brains

We recently found this gem of a book, 365 Foreign Dishes: A Foreign Dish for every day in the year. It was published in 1908 in the USA by George W. Jacobs and Company, and it’s totally fascinating, not to mention hilarious. The author makes all sorts of assumptions about how knowledgeable his readers are and what kind of equipment they have. I thought it would be fun to share some of these recipes so you, too, could know what life was like in 1908.

March 6: Jewish Stewed Brains

“Clean and stew the brains with 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1 sliced onion, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoonful of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of raisins. Let stew until tender. Remove the brains to a platter; add a lump of butter and a tablespoonful of molasses to the sauce; boil up and pour over the brains. Serve cold; garnish with lemon slices.”

Fascinating assumptions the author makes:
– That I know what I’m supposed to be cleaning off the brains
– That brains are not already tender and that it takes stewing to get them there
– That raisins, brown sugar, vinegar, onion, and molasses are the foundation of a good sauce for brains (who knew?)
– That serving the brains cold is better than serving them hot
– And, of course, that I know where to get brains

Nate said, “Good thing it doesn’t say, ‘Stewed Jewish Brains.'” Oh dear. Good thing, indeed. And because I couldn’t really visualize how this recipe would look, I did an image search for Jewish Stewed Brains. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I didn’t see anything that looked like brains in a stew. So if you see any photos online (or if you have any yourself!), could you please share? I’d love to see them. I think.

Click to read more recipes:
Bavarian Pear Pudding
Chinese Chicken
English Gems
Austrian Goulasch

 

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