Foodie Friday: 18th Century Apple Fritters
Image credit to James Townsend and Son - Video for recipe can be found here!
-Peeled and cubed fresh apple
-Mild brown ale or hard cider
-Raisins or Currants
-Frying oil or clarified butter
-Confectioners’ Sugar (for garnish)
Note: This dish can be either pan fried or deep fried. Please take all necessary safety precautions, including tying back hair and not wearing dangling jewelry while cooking. If the oil catches flame, do not throw water over it under any circumstances! Simply cover the pan with a lid and allow the flame to choke out.
1) In a bowl, gradually mix flour with ale or cider until the mixture reaches a consistency of thick batter.
2) Mix in fruit and/or spices if desired, until well distributed.
3) Carefully drop small spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil/butter and fry, turning to cook evenly, until done (golden brown and crispy).
4) Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar, and serve hot!
Chef’s Note: Like many of these historical recipes, these fritters may be less sweet or more bland than suits today’s palate. Feel free to add spices and/or sugar to the batter to suit your tastes!
One of the most enjoyable parts of my career is learning new recipes and trying my hand at different cuisines. Easily one of the most fascinating ways of doing this is exploring historical recipes and getting as close a taste as we can to the culinary lifestyle of our past. In some ways, we will never be able to experience the food our ancestors enjoyed. But we can approximate it as much as possible.
Perhaps one of the most prolific forms of cooking available today is frying. Cooking a wide variety of foods in hot fat or oil tends to bring out flavors that can’t be unlocked in any other way, and sometimes can completely transform a food. Think of the difference between roasted potatoes and fries from the nearest fast food joint. This practice is fairly old, and many culinary professionals will clarify butter, save rendered fats, or keep a jug of oil on hand specifically for frying foods.
In witchcraft, oils are easily one of the most versatile and varied ingredients. From essential oils and fragrance oils to the olive, vegetable, and grapeseed oils that we keep in our kitchens, there seems to be a use for every type of oil under the moon. It sometimes surprises me that these oils on their own don’t get more attention in the community - often, it’s what we add to the oils that gets attention.
For many of us, infused oils are part and parcel to our craft - war water, fire oil, crystal oils, and herbal infusions. In most recipes, we focus on what we’re adding and make mention of using a “neutral” or “carrier” oil to suspend them in - usually something like soybean (vegetable) or grapeseed oil, which rarely has a scent or flavor.
It’s these carrier oils which we also tend to use in cooking. In magic, they are often considered energetically neutral - like their physical purpose, they merely carry or distribute energy throughout the dish to either mix or change the purpose or energy. But for me personally, the type of carrier oil may have a specific role to play in the magic that you’re using.
First, is olive oil. This is up there with vegetable oil in popularity and ease of acquisition. It has a very long history, being used for cooking, cosmetics, and fuel (olive oil can be used in making homemade oil candles - something I may cover in a future article!) and can be traced back to as early as 2400 BC. As its importance grew throughout the Mediterranean, olive oil began to take on a religious role in Minoan civilization. Like many staple crops, olives are associated with prosperity and wealth, as can be seen by the economic significance the oil had - ancient Egypt imported oil from Crete, and the oil was also traded by the Celts to Southern Gaul.
Today, olive oil is vaunted for its health benefits, as it may help lower the risk of heart disease, reducing harmful cholesterol, and potentially with lowering the risk of developing cancer.
It should come as no surprise, then, that olive oil can be used to encourage health, prosperity, and wealth in magic!
Soybean oil is another fairly common oil - in my experience, many bottles labeled as vegetable oil in the grocery store list soybean oil as the sole ingredient. Like olive oil, soybean oil has a long history - soy has varying uses, from oils to fermented foods like miso, tofu, and tempeh. It is frequently used in moisturizers and massage oils, and therefore can be attributed to beauty and wealth, as well as health.
We’ve covered coconuts before, in my article on pina coladas. The very same properties of the coconut can be carried over into the oil and incorporated into the spell or dish!
When creating an infused oil blend, or cooking your next magical meal, consider the different types of oil being used. What are their origins? What is the core ingredient that is used to make that oil? How can those properties be carried over and infused into the dish being made? Every ingredient has a role to play, has its own power and properties, making the process that much more enjoyable!
May all your meals be blessed! )O(