Recipes From Old Books


FISH has been an important article of food in all ages in all countries. Although less nourishing and stimulating than meat, it has much nutritive value. Its abundance and cheapness commend it, and it should be used freely in the season when it is best and cheapest.

The flesh of fish when in season, i.e. before spawning, is solid and boils firm and curdy. It should be used as fresh as possible, as it soon spoils. White fleshed fish are the most easily digested, and oily varieties like mackerel, salmon and eels, are the most difficult of digestion. White fleshed fish is the most delicate, and the red fleshed and oily kinds the most nourishing. Fish is highly nitrogenous, and requires an abundant use of starchy food in combination with it, to supply a sufficient amount of meat-giving material; and owing to the lack of oil in the white fleshed varieties, they are best cooked in fat. Lemon juice or vinegar (being acid) are excellent as an accompaniment, or in the sauces, for fish and shell-fish, because of the alkaline nature of their juices. It is essential to the wholesomeness of fish that they should be thoroughly cleaned and cooked.

The popular idea that fish aid brain and nervous development because of the phosphorus they contain is wholly erroneous. There is no relation between the amount of phosphorus passing through the system and the intensity of thought. It is not because of the phosphorus they contain that fish, oysters and eggs, are suitable for students, but because they are easily digested, and those leading sedentary lives do not need the hearty food suited to a day-laborer, besides which they are adapted to those on whose nervous energies there are large drains because of the large amount of nitrogenous material which they contain. It should also be said that fish contains no larger per cent. (sic) of phosphorus than meat. *1


*1 NOTE: CatamountClyde reckons that about 99.9% of this page is purely outdated. DO NOT rely on its scientific accuracy because it has little or none. The passage is included for the sake of completeness, and for academic study or curiosity only.

All text information above the dashed line taken from page 48 of Smiley, ed. Smiley's CookBook and Universal Household Guide: The Toronto Daily Star Edition. Chicago: Smiley Publishing Company, 1901. The background image of fish is taken from a plate in Smileys facing page 48. The editor of this site claims no copyright for the image.

All italics in original.

This information is provided for your curiosity and viewing pleasure. Reading it provides insight about historical household management in 1901. Reliance upon the information presented here, or attempting to prepare any recipe on this site, shall be at your own risk. CatamountClyde Studio and Gallery, its heirs and assigns, shall not be held liable for any injury or damages resulting from preparation of this recipe or use of this information.

Copyright Notice and Warning: The recipe and/or cooking information, in plain text, and as taken directly from Smileys, as well as the background image taken from Smileys,, are not copyright and may be freely distributed, so long as credit is given to this website. If reproduced online, a link must be provided to this website. Any text or background image appearing above the dashed line may be used; However, any one using said text or images is responsible for any injury or damages resulting from that use, and shall hold CatamountClyde Studio and Gallery, its heirs and assigns, harmless therefrom. NO GRAPHIC LOGO IMAGES APPEARING ANYWHERE ON THIS PAGE AND NO TEXT APPEARING BELOW THE DASHED LINE MAY BE USED WITHOUT PRIOR EXPRESS, WRITTEN PERMISSION of CatamountClyde Studio and Gallery at catamountclyde at yahoo dot com. Copyright to all graphic images and all text appearing below the dashed line are held by CatamountClyde Studio and Gallery, 2007, in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada.