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Organic Milk Lifespan

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nancy
  Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2008 8:12 PM
  Subject: (no subject)


  Can you tell me why organic milk seems to last much longer after it's opened than regular milk? 
I've had a carton of 1% last for a month!! 


Hi Nancy,

Many brands of organic milk are processed using Ultra High Temperature pasteurization (AKA "Ultra Pasteurization"), which involves superheating and cooling milk at extreme speeds. This process extends the milk's shelf life from 17 to 45 days and would also extend refrigerator life after it's opened.

This brings up the question of why all milk producers don't use Ultra Pasteurization if it works so well?

There are some studies that claim that ultra pasteurization alters the chemical make up of the milk, making it less nutritious and that in some cases it can have negative effects on the flavor and consistency of the product.

In one study, blind taste tests by children rated the ultra-pasteurized product below milk pasteurized the ordinary way. One test is not particularly significant, though. The process has been improved since then, and organic milk producers claim that their product has no taste difference from regular milk.

Any nutritional differences could probably be verified scientifically, so I expect we'll hear more about that soon.


Boiled Ham

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ken 
  To: 'Phaedrus' 
  Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2008 1:44 PM
  Subject: boiled ham

Hello. I wonder if you have the definitive recipe for a boiled ham?

Hope so.

Thanks, Ken

Hello Ken,

I don't know about 'definitive', but below are some interesting recipes.


  New England Boiled Ham Dinner 

  Ingredients 2 1/2 - 3 lb. picnic ham 
  3-4 garlic cloves 
  4-5 bay leaves 
  12 peppercorns 
  4-5 onions 

  Place ham in large Dutch oven. Cover with hot tap water. 
  Add spices, simmer 1 1/2 hours. Drain some water to add remaining ingredients.
  Simmer another 1 hour.
British Traditional Boiled Ham Recipe

  1 salt-cured ham on the bone (about 8kg)
  3 whole onions, peeled
  4 carrots, peeled
  4 celery sticks, halved
  3 leeks
  3 bay leaves
  4 cloves
  1 cinnamon stick
  5 whole allspice berries
  2 juniper berries
  24 black peppercorns
  1 small sprig of thyme 

The main requirement is the soaking of the meat to remove excess curing salt. You will either 
need a large, clean, bucket, or you will need to scrupulously clean your sink before filling 
with water. Add the ham and allow to soak over night. 

The following day remove the ham from its water bath then place in a very large pot. Add all 
the remaining ingredients and add just enough cold water to cover the ham. If the ham has a 
tendency to float to the top use a heavy plate to weigh it down. 

Bring the water to a boil, skimming off any foam as it raises to the surface, then reduce 
the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and allow to cook until the meat is done (allow 40 minutes 
per kg and cook for between 4 and 5 hours). 

Once the ham is cooked, remove the entire pot from the heat and allow to cool naturally in 
the water. The ham can be eaten as is, or it can be glazed with a mixture of honey and English 
mustard before being roasted in an oven until the glaze is golden. 
Serve with braised vegetables or pickled red cabbage. 
Cider Boiled Ham

  1.5kg (3lb) Ham or Gammon 
  1.1lt (2 pints) Cider 
  1 Carrot, halved 
  1 Onion, halved 
  4 tbsp Toasted Breadcrumbs 

  Place the ham, carrot, onion and cider into a large saucepan. 
  Bring to the boil, skim the surface as needed. 
  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 11/4 hours (or 25 minutes per 450g (1lb)). 
  Remove from the heat and allow the ham to cool in the liquid. 
  When the liquid is cold, remove the ham. 
  Skin the ham, press the breadcrumbs into the skinned side. 
  Boiled  Ham

  1 lg. ham
  5 qts. ginger ale or cider
  2 bay leaves
  10 pepper corns
  6 allspice
  1 c. Ballpark mustard
  2 c. brown sugar

In a large kettle, add enough cider or ginger ale to completely cover a large ham.  Add bay leaf,
pepper corns and all spice.  Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes a pound.  Allow ham to cool in cooking 
liquid.  Drain and skin ham.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Score ham fat into diamonds and insert 
cloves into line intersections.  Mix mustard and brown sugar.  Cover top of ham with brown sugar 
mixture and put in oven.  Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.  Baste ham 
with sugar mixture and bake an additional 45 minutes. Yield: 10 servings. 

Hickory Bark Syrup

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Dara 
  Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 11:20 PM
  Subject: hickory syrup

  Do you know how to make hickory syrup?


Hello Dara,

There is a popular commercial product called "Shagbark Hickory Syrup" whose recipe is a closely kept secret by the people who make and sell it, but after researching it a bit, making hickory syrup looks to be a fairly simple process. Note that the only kind of hickory that I've found to be used for this is shagbark hickory I've no idea if there are other kinds of hickory that can be used.

First, make an extract from the bark by breaking up several pieces of the bark into a saucepan of water. Be sure the bark is under the water, not just dryly floating on top. Boil this for 20-25 minutes. Strain out the bark and then return the amber colored water to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium and then gradually add ordinary sugar, stirring continuously to dissolve the sugar, until it reaches the desired syrupy consistency.

If you have an old coffee percolator that you don't plan to use for making coffee (you might never get the hickory taste out after this), then you might use it for extracting the hickory flavor from the bark. Be sure it's very clean so you don't end up with coffee flavored hickory syrup. Fill the basket with the bark strips - cut them into small pieces if you have to - and then let it run through the percolate cycle. Pour the result into a saucepan, bring to medium heat, and proceed to add the sugar.

This recipe is not very specific. You'll have to vary the amount of bark used vs the amount of water and the length of boiling time to suit your taste.


Tabasco Barbecue Sauce

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Kay 
  Sent: Saturday, November 08, 2008 2:47 AM
  Subject: locate cookbook

Hello Uncle,

I'm trying to locate a recipe I found in a cookbook years ago, in fact I can only remember part of the 
title of the book.  I believe it was by a Verta Mae.. not sure of that either.
And it was something to the effect of "Diary of Geechee Girl"
It was an old book then, had an assortment of strange recipes in it from gator tails, to coons.
This was a bar-b-que sauce recipe and called for a whole bottle of Tabasco Sauce, and that is about all
I can remember of this recipe.  Other than it was GREAT!.
Happy Hunting, I have had no luck.  And thanks,

Sumbawa Indonesia

Hello Kay,

The cookbook is:

"Vibration Cooking, or The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl" by Verta Mae(AKA Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor) (Paperback - 1970)

There are several used copies for sale at It's also available at other sources on the web. You might also find a copy on E-Bay.

As for finding the recipe itself, it's easy to find bbq sauce recipes that have a whole bottle of tabasco - see below for several. However, I could find no bbq sauce recipes on the web that mention Verta Mae or that cookbook.


Update 2013: I now have a copy of that cookbook. Kay was mistaken. The recipe calls for a whole bottle of "Louisiana Hot Sauce" - similar, but not exactly the same as Tabasco. The sauce is called "Lawnside Barbecue Sauce."

  Tangy  Bbq  Sauce

  2 qt. mustard
  2 (15 oz.) Heinz 57 sauce
  1/2 of 15 oz. bottle vinegar
  2 c. sugar
  1 bottle Tabasco sauce

   Place all ingredients in gallon jar and add ketchup to fill to top.  Keep refrigerated.  
  Barbecue  Sauce  

  3 cloves garlic, chopped
  Juice of 1 lemon
  2 tsp. Hickory smoked salt
  1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  1 tbsp. sugar
  1 (2 oz.) bottle; McIlhenny's Tabasco sauce
  1 (26 oz.) bottle Heinz catsup
  1 (9 oz.) bottle French's prepared mustard
  10 oz. Lea & Perrin Worcestershire sauce
  8 oz. Wesson oil

    Mix all ingredients well.  Store in tightly capped jars in refrigerator. 
  Barbecue  Sauce  For  Chicken

   1 pt. cider vinegar
  1/4 c. salt
  1 1/2 c. corn oil
  1 bottle Tabasco sauce
  1/2 bottle Worcestershire sauce 
  1/2 tsp. garlic powder (if desired)

For 12 chicken halves cooked on grill.  Stir all ingredients together.  Heat until almost boiling.
Brush on chicken halves or quarters.  Grill turning every 15 minutes and brushing on more sauce.
Takes about 1 1/2 hours to do this right. 
  Barbecue  Sauce  For  Chicken

  1 pt. white vinegar
  2/4 pt. Wesson oil
  1 (12 oz.) tomato juice
  4 tbsp. salt
  3 tbsp. pepper
  3 tbsp. poultry seasoning
  1 bottle Tabasco sauce
  1 tbsp. onion powder
  1 tbsp. garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl.  Cook chicken slowly and baste every 5 to 10 minutes 
until done.  Store unused sauce in jar in refrigerator. Keeps a long time. 

Five Roses Fruitcake?

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jane 
  Sent: Friday, November 07, 2008 10:05 AM
  Subject: fruitcake recipe


Back in the late '60's my mother acquired a cookbook from a flour company - Five Roses - to be precise.
It had a recipe for Dark Fruitcake that we used every year at Christmas.  I didn't make fruitcake for 
a few years, so didn't need the recipe.  My Mom passed away four years ago, and now that I would like 
to make up the fruitcake again, I can't find the recipe book.  We never found it when we emptied her 
house.  I have e-mailed to Five Roses via their web site to see if they would have it archived somewhere,
but have received no reply from them.  I wonder if you would know where to find this great recipe?



Hello Jane,

Sorry, that recipe doesn't seem to be on the Internet. However "The Five Roses Cookbook" by Elizabeth Driver is available at several sites, including It might be in there.


A reader sent this:


Subject: For Jane - Dark Fruitcake
From: Christine
Date: 11/19/2020, 12:15 PM

I have the same Five Roses cook book from 60's.      


Four Roses Dark Fruit Cake

3 cups seedless raisins
3 cups sultana raisins
1/2 cup chopped glace cherries
1/2 cup chopped candied pineapple
1/2 cup chopped citron peel
1/2 cup chopped lemon peel
1/2 cup chopped orange peel
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups Five Roses all- purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
6 eggs
1/2 cup molasses

Line two 9" x 5" x 3" loaf pans or two 8" tube pans with heavy waxed or brown paper.
Prepare fruits and nuts; dust with 1/4 cup of the Five Roses flour. Stir remaining 
Five Roses flour, salt, baking soda and spices together. Cream shortening and brown 
sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs one, at a time, beating well after each. Add 
molasses; mix well. Blend in dry ingredients; fold in fruit and nut mixture. Fill 
prepared pans 2/3 full. Bake in slow oven(350 degrees F.) 2 hours or until done. 
Place a shallow pan of hot water on bottom rack of oven during baking; remove during 
last hour. Cool before removing paper; re-wrap well and store in an airtight container
in a cool place.
Yield: 4 1/4 lbs.
From: "Caroline" 
Subject: Five Roses Fruit Cake
Date: Thursday, December 18, 2008 1:29 PM

Hi Uncle Phaedrus,

First off I want to thank you for your website.  I appreciate the hard work
that goes into granting requests.  I am sending this email to you today in
response to Jane’s request for Five Roses Fruitcake

I have the original cookbook printed in the 50’s-60 not sure because the
book is well used and covered/glued a protective paper around the book.  I
found clippings in the book form a newspaper from 1955.  I can tell this
book was well used and loved I acquired it at an antiques store.

There are quite a few Fruit Cake recipes in this book;  Plain Fruit Cake,
White Fruit Cake,   Fruit Cake (without Eggs or Butter),  Oatmeal Fruit Cake
(Eggless),  Ribbon Fruit Cake (Also called Checkerboard Cake),   Ribbon
Fruit Cake #2  Steamed Fruit Cake.

Copied from the Five Roses Cookbook (word for word) pg. 100 and 101

Plain Fruit Cake

1/2 pound currants (well washed)
1/2 pound raisins
1 cup butter (beaten to a cream)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup milk
3 cups Five Roses flour
3 eggs (beaten separately)
3 teaspoons baking powder

Paper a dish and bake 1 hour

Notes On Fruit Cakes

1.Heavy cakes are often the result of using damp fruit.   After
washing, currants and raisins should be left in colander in a slightly
warmed place for some time.  Should also be dredged with flour before mixing
with other ingredients.
2.Fruit cakes, generally speaking, should bake in from 2 to 4 hours
3.It is well to remember that dried fruits added to dough’s make them
stiffer, as they absorb the moisture in the dough, while with fresh fruits
the contrary is the case.
4.Pan should not be more than two-thirds full.
5.To enrich the colour, housewives sometimes brown the flour before
making a spice or fruit cake.
White Fruit Cake

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups Five Roses flour (more or less)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pound dates
1/4 pound shelled almonds
1/4 pound citron peel
Juice and rind of 1 orange
2 tablespoons brandy
Whites of 7 eggs 
1 pound of raisins

Mix butter and sugar together.  Add milk and flavourings.  Dredge the fruit
with flour, mix all together, and add the whites of the 7 eggs beaten stiff.
Bake in slow oven 2 hours.
Fruit Cake

(Without Eggs of Butter)

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon soda (put in cream when dissolved
1 tablespoon boiling water (to dissolve soda)
3 1/2 cups Five Roses flour
2 pounds of raisins 
1/2 pound of currents
1 cup preserves
Pinch of salt
Almond flavour

If made 1 month before using, this will be found a very moist cake and may
be kept any length of time.
Oatmeal Fruit Cake

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup sour milk
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1 3/4 cups Five Roses flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chopped raisins
Ribbon Fruit Cake
(Also Called ‘Checkerboard Cake’)

 No 1

Dark Part

1 1/2 cups sugar (white or brown)
1 cup butter
2 cups browned Rive Roses Flour
Yolks of 6 eggs
1 1/2 pound raisins
1/2 pound currants
1/2 pound citron peel
1 pound dates
1/4 pound nuts
1 teaspoon soda (dissolved)
1/2 teaspoon cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice

Light Part

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sweet cream
2 1/2 cups Five Roses flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (heaping)
1 pound almonds (chopped fine)
1/2 pound citron peel
1/2 pound grated cocoanut
1 teaspoon rose water
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 small slice orange peel
Whites of 6 eggs
Ribbon Fruit Cake
No 2

Light Part

1/2 cups white sugar 
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sweet milk
2 cups Five Roses Flour
Whites of 4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Dark Part

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup sweet milk
Yolks of 4 eggs
1 square grated chocolate
Flavour with cinnamon
Cloves and nutmeg
2 cups Five Roses flour

Mix and bake in two layers.  Put lemon cheese between.
Steamed Fruit Cake

4 eggs
1 cup butter
1cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/ (worn out?) strong coffee (or tea)
1 pound raisins
1 pound currents
1/2 pound walnuts
1/4 pound citron
1 teaspoon each kind of spice
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 pound dates (optional)
Five Roses flour to make rather stiff dough.

Steam 2 1/2 hours.
I copied them all for you.  I hope this helps

Take care,



Copyright (c) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Phaedrus