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Looking Back to 1892: A Christmas table within the reach of everyone 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of the society’s Vice President Nancy Tweedie and Research Director Jan Cannon.

Excerpts from The Moon of Paso Robles, December 17, 1892:

A bill of fare for the epicurean

Buttered toast – Toast thin slices of bread a delicate brown, spread plentifully with butter and serve hot.

Hot cakes – Three cups full of flour, one teaspoon of salt, three teaspoons of baking powder sifter together beat three eggs and add to three cups full of sweet milk, also a tablespoonful of melted butter. Mix all into a smooth batter, as thick as will run in a stream from a ptcher. Bake on well-greased hot griddle and serve hot.

Fried oysters – Place large oysters in a thickly-folded napkin to dry them, have ready hot, in a skillet, an ounce each of butter and lard. Season the oysters with salt and pepper then dip each into egg and roll in cracker crumbs. Place them in the hot grease and fry a delicate brown. Serve crisp and hot.

Looking Back Paso Robles

Fried potatoes – Slice cold-boiled potatoes very fine; make hot a piece of butter the size of an egg, put in the potatoes, season with sale and pepper. Fry until golden brown.

Potato snow – Pare white, mealy potatoes; cook well, drain, mash, beating very hard to make them creamy. Season with salt, butter the size of an egg and a little milk. Run through a sieve and serve hot.

Christmas breakfast, dinner and supper that is within the reach of all classes

Looking Back 1889 Christmas menu

Roast turkey – If possible, choose a young hen turkey weighing about ten pounds; the flavor will be pleasanter and the meat more tender than a larger bird. Singe and draw it the day before it is cooked. The next day rinse out the inside and be sure all of the lungs and soft red matter adhering to the backbone are removed; wash thoroughly and dry inside and out. Place it breast down and cut out the oil bag. To stuff a fowl of this size use the following dressing: Cut the crust thinly from a large loaf of baker’s bread, and rub the inside into crumbs. Sift together one teaspoonful of salt, two teaspoonfuls of white pepper, a teaspoonful each of powdered sage and savory, and mix thoroughly with the crumbs, adding, also if liked, a tablespoonful  of parsley chopped fine, or two onions minced. Rub through this a cupful of melted butter. Fill the body and crop of the bird. If you have thin metal skewers fasten the openings together with them; if not sew them up with strong thread. Press the wings and legs close to the body of the fowl and fasten them firmly. Rub the fowl thoroughly with butter, sprinkle with sale and pepper and dredge with flour. Place in the roaster with a little hot water and bake until tender. If you have no roaster place in a dripping pan and bast every ten minutes. The juiciness of the turkey depends much on the frequency of basting. After the breast is nicely browned, turn and brown the back. The oven should be very hot at first and then moderated. In doing this a crust is formed over the outside and the juice or liquid will not run out. It takes about two hours to bake a ten-pound turkey. Serve with giblet gravy.

Gravy – Put the heart, liver and gizzard over the fire in a quart of cold water. Boil slowly until tender, then remove and mince fine; return them to the gravy and chicken with two spoonfuls of flower wet with cold water, and after the turkey is dished, turn all this into the dripping pan and stir until smooth and thickened.

Cold slaw – Shave very fine half a head of firm, white cabbage; pound gently a few minutes with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper and lastly add a cup of sweet cream.


Read previous Looking Back articles


Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back

Paso Robles Pioneer Museum – Come take a real look back into local Paso Robles history. Open Thursday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 2010 Riverside Ave., Paso Robles, CA 93446, www.pasoroblespioneermuseum.org (805) 239-4556.

Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446, ewarbirds.org, (805) 227-0440.

Creative Concrete & Design delivers the highest level of professional concrete work. Operating in San Luis Obispo County since 2002, Karl Rush brings 35 years of concrete experience to every job and will ensure that you receive the very best quality work. Over the years they have completed a great many works on residential homes. They are very creative and willing to explore options for your next project. Concrete projects have many factors to consider to bring your vision to life. creativeconcreteanddesign.com, (805) 896-1384.

Golden Anchor Financial Services is committed to helping you find the right mortgage product for your needs. They understand that every borrower is different, and offer a variety of products to meet individual requirements. They make the process of securing a mortgage simple and straightforward by offering you the latest in financial tools that enable you to make sound financial choices. Call them at (805) 473-7733 on the Central Coast or (559) 473-7733 in the Central Valley.

1800 El Pomar is the site of a historic Templeton ranch located just three miles east of town. The property features an iconic, aged redwood barn, 3 story tank house, original farmhouse with an outdoor garden, original water tank structures, and many other original ranch buildings. Set on 20+ acres of vineyards, the 360-degree views of rolling oak-studded hills and surrounding vines are a photographer’s dream. A prime ceremony location exists in the vineyards behind the barn between two beautiful oaks. The northwest-facing location creates plenty of shade for your guests in an early to late afternoon setting. A perfect venue with plenty of open space to customize your wedding or event. www.1800elpomar.com.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.