Known as “Queen Molly” the woman who set the finest table in early 19th century Richmond, Mary Randolph and the unnamed enslaved cooks in her kitchens produced food that set the standard for excellence in Southern cookery. Cook and explore along with me through the wonderful recipes in her classic book The Virginia House-Wife, first published in 1826. – – An Indigo House Digital project

Recipe

I Served an Historic Farmstead Dinner at Indigo House

I Served an Historic Farmstead Dinner at Indigo House

On Saturday evening one hundred and ninety-one years after the first publication of Mary Randolph’s The Virginia House-Wife my eight dinner guests partook of a menu directly taken from its pages. Our opening course was her wonderful ‘gaspacha’!     John volunteered to work the […]

To Dress Salad – The Virginia House-Wife /  pg. 115 / Mary Randolph

To Dress Salad – The Virginia House-Wife / pg. 115 / Mary Randolph

To Dress Salad To have this delicate dish in perfection, the lettuce, pepper grass, chervil, cress, &c. should be gathered early in the morning, nicely picked, washed, and laid in cold water, which will be improved by adding ice ; just before dinner is ready […]

To Fry Sliced Potatoes – The Virginia House-Wife | p.118 | Mary Randolph

To Fry Sliced Potatoes – The Virginia House-Wife | p.118 | Mary Randolph

  Peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peal a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping. Take care that your […]

Winter Squash – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 135 | Mary Randolph

Winter Squash – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 135 | Mary Randolph

The crooked neck of this squash is the best part. Cut it in slices an inch thick, take off the rind and boil them with salt in the water; drain them well before they are dished, and pour melted butter over – serve them up […]

Okra and Tomatoes – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 95. | Mary Randolph

Okra and Tomatoes – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 95. | Mary Randolph

Take an equal quantity of each, let the okra be young, slice it, and skin the tomatas, put them in a pan without water, add a lump of butter, and onion chopped fine, some pepper and salt, and stew them one hour.   Gumbs – […]

Eggplant – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 131-132 | Mary Randolph

Eggplant – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 131-132 | Mary Randolph

The purple ones are best, get them young and fresh, pull out the stem, and parboil them to take off the bitter taste; cut them in slices an inch thick, but do not peel them, dip them in the yelk of an egg and cover […]

Scalloped Oysters – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 203-204 | Mary Randolph

Scalloped Oysters – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 203-204 | Mary Randolph

When the oysters are opened, put them in a bowl and wash them out of their own liquor, put some in the scallop shells, strew over them a few bread crumbs, and lay a slice of butter on them, then more oysters, bread crumbs, and […]

Peas – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 127-128 |  Mary Randolph

Peas – The Virginia House-Wife | pg. 127-128 | Mary Randolph

To have them in perfection, they must be quite young, gathered early in the morning, kept in a cool place , and not shelled until they are to be dressed; put salt in the water, and when it boils, put in the peas; boil them […]

Parsnips – The Virginia House-Wife, pg. 124 |  Mary Randolph

Parsnips – The Virginia House-Wife, pg. 124 | Mary Randolph

Are to be cooked just in the same manner as carrots; they require more or less time, according to their size, therefore match them in size, and you must try them by thrusting a fork into them as they are in the water; when this […]

Curried Chicken and Rice – The Virginia House-Wife / Mary Randolph

Curried Chicken and Rice – The Virginia House-Wife / Mary Randolph

TO MAKE A DISH OF CURRY AFTER THE EAST-INDIAN MANNER – page 93 Cut two chickens as for fricassee, wash them clean, and put them in a stew pan with as much water as will cover them, sprinkle them with a large spoonful of salt, […]