In between role playing The Lady with the Lamp, and Mrs Mopp I have been out in the woodland working hard. Recently, the weather has been so wet that the annual tidy has been much delayed, brambles have run rampant in parts, branches have fallen and need to be gathered, sawn into logettes, or turned into woodchip for the pathways. Some jobs are still outstanding because we need to replace the wonderful machine which does all that munching and crunching.
Jobs done, as far as possible, I was at a loose end and somehow found myself sorting through my collection of old recipe books, trying to decide whether I could move any of them on to a new home. I tried, truly I tried.
|This was taken from my old blog and is
from quite a number of years ago.
As I flicked through I was surprised by the sheer number of bookmarks I had placed in a number of them and I found myself going back down a rabbit hole which I had abandoned a few years ago.
They marked pages of recipes for mock dishes, also known as camouflage cooking. The art of cooking something to either look like, or taste similar to, another dish.
I totally understand doing that during times of rationing, or through lack of funds, when resourceful cooks did their best to use what little was available and try to make it appealing/palatable. Yes, if I was that way inclined I would also enjoy doing it simply for the challenge, unfortunately I have to scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush instead...
I must admit that I am more perplexed by why anyone would want to disguise a good thick steak by soaking it in wine and vinegar for a couple of days before cooking and presenting it as venison. More cachet to being able to serve venison to your guests, perhaps?
Why would anyone make mock brains, tripe, or brawn? I suppose a hundred or so years ago these were eaten more broadly. I have never knowingly tried brains but I do remember trying tripe (disgusting) and also brawn (meaty bits in jelly and equally disgusting). When I was young I was quite unable to bring myself to eat mussels or cockles and wouldn't entertain the idea of those awful chewy whelks. These days I love both the cockles and mussels but still can't bring myself to try whelks. I have digressed. Sorry.
Boil a pair of neats feet very tender, take the meat off and have ready a piece of belly pork, salted. Boil, take out the bones and roll the feet and pork together. Roll very tight and tie, boil until very tender. Keep in a sousing liquid for half an hour. Strain and let it get cold.
Bone a few anchovies, chop them and pound them in a mortar with some dried parsley, a clove of garlic, a little cayenne, salt, lemon juice and a very little salad oil. Serve on toasted bread or biscuits.
or you may prefer it this way:
Cook one cod's roe in boiling salted water for three-quarters of an hour, drain well and when cold put in a bowl with lemon juice and olive oil. Beat to a creamy consistency. Add mustard and a dash of cayenne or a little paprika.
Plan ahead and pick green plums, before the stone has formed, brine them for three days, drain. Boil vinegar seasoned with allspice, mace, mustard seed, bay leaves, an onion, grated horse-radish and salt, for a few minutes. Strain, and when cold pour over the plums packed in jars. Cover well and keep in a dark, dry place for three months before using.
Search long enough and you can find a 'mock' recipe for almost anything: Scallops, Whitebait, Lobster, Rabbit, Sweetbreads, or Turkey. Mock Chop Suey, anyone? Mock Almonds, made from stale bread, Mock Mince Pies, even Mock Apple Pies.
Wash that lot down with Mock Port, Mock Champagne Punch or even a Mock Whisky.
The mind boggles.
Was anyone fooled by them? If the dishes were really delicious, surely it would be better to celebrate that and give them a name of their own? Ah, but then I wouldn't have had all this fun looking for recipes easily identifiable by the word 'Mock'.
Now, excuse me while I go and find some Mock Devonshire Cream to have with my Mock Lemon Pie.