Aunt Lil is Back in her New Hampshire Kitchen!

At last the move is completed and Dan, the dogs Faith and Mac, and Mattie the one-eyed wonder cat are all under the same roof with me. Best of all I now have a real kitchen again. I haven’t been posting for many reasons. One being my galley kitchen had no stove. I was using a hot plate, microwave, and electric skillet which made cooking Aunt Lil’s recipes a challenge. But even more importantly, I didn’t really have internet access at the cottage so posting was out of the question.

But I have a lovely – if still messy – kitchen to work in and obviously have internet access despite our very rural setting. For those who might be interested we are living in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Its stunningly beautiful, especially this time of year with the leaves changing. And we live just down the road from a private lake on a dirt road. Very nice!

Dan and I took a break two weekends ago and went antique shopping. I came away with three cookbook jewels from truly the junkiest shop around. I’m sure the “dealer” (I use the term very loosely) was stunned when I appeared with three tattered cookbooks that reeked of mildew. Luckily I asked him to name a price. I was willing to got to $10. I got them for $5 and gleefully ran from the door.

Bertha Moltram's cookbook c. 1900 - 1940

Two are books containing handwritten recipes along with clipped ones from the newspaper. They seem to date from the 1920s – 1950s era. They both are from Maine, but don’t seem to be by the same woman. Thanks to Ancestry.com, I was able to trace one book to Bertha Moltram who lived in Sabattus, Maine from 1876-1940. Her husband Walter was a dairy farmer. It was from her extremely battered cookbook that I was inspired to create Spaghetti Rarebit. The recipe was clipped from a newspaper probably from the 20s or 30s. The dish was touted as a good one for the Lenten holidays and came from Marion Harris Nell, cookery editor of the Lades’ Home Journal.

Spaghetti Rarebit

Getting ready to cook

  • 1 pkg. spaghetti
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used American due to my allergies to aged cheese and because it was the most common cheese at the time)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk (I ended up using skim as that’s all I had on hand)
  • salt, dried mustard, red pepper to taste
  • toast (the one thing I didn’t use)

Boil spaghetti rapidly in one gallon of boiling salted water, until tender, which will generally be 10 minutes. (Note that this is probably longer than you’d normally cook pasta. Set your timer and get this right. They liked mushy food.). Stir the spaghetti every once and a while.

Drain spaghetti in colander and shake until thoroughly drained.

Then break spaghetti into 2 inch pieces (actually I just broke the spaghetti in half before boiling)

Put into a chafing dish (which I don’t have so I put it back in the pan) and add the cheese, butter and  seasoning and bring to a boil (it really didn’t boil but it melted).

Then add the well beaten eggs, cream or milk (yes, the eggs really didn’t cook enough so I was risking salmonella, but my eggs come from a co-worker and are very fresh.)

Mix everything together well and serve on toast (I just couldn’t stand the thought of this so just served the pasta).

Spaghetti Rarebit in my vintage Colonial Homestead ware. Looking good!

The result was delicious! Basically its a poor imitation of Spaghetti Carbonara – sort of a funky American version. But we both liked it and would have it again. One thing that made it really stand out was the little bit of dried mustard and red pepper that were added. It gave the meal just a hint of a zing.

Hurray for Lent! And thank you Bertha Moltram.

2 Responses to “Aunt Lil is Back in her New Hampshire Kitchen!”

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  1. Bev says:

    Welcome back Aunt5 Lil! I sure have missed you! This sounds good and looks easy to make. I’ll hav eto try it!

  2. Jeannine says:

    Comfort Food!! James is going to be sooooo happy with this. Great use of “Ancestry”. I can just see Bertha serving this in her warm farmhouse kitchen on a cold winter night.

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