Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All In...

I was looking for historical photos online and stumbled onto the blog for the Mount Pleasant Pioneer Relic Hall. I think I've mentioned this blog before here. It's like peeking through the scrapbook of your mother's cousin: interesting in unexpected ways. At any rate, the following recipe was posted there.

At the bottom is a note indicating the recipe came from "Wilhemina Henrietta Morrison Eriksen." With the recipe titled, "Finnan Haddie with Tomatoes (Fish)" and the attributed author having the Scandinavian last name of Eriksen, and the recipe coming from the heavily Danish area of Sanpete Valley in Utah, I thought this would likely be a Danish recipe.

Isn't it curious that nobody ever seems to collect the provenance for these things? It would seem to me that these things are important. When did Wilhemina come to Utah? Or was she born here? Was she a 20th century pioneer? Where were her parents from? How old is this recipe?

It turns out that both of her parents, William Morrison and Margaret Cruikshank, were from Scotland. They came to the Sanpete Valley in the 1850s and Wilhemina was born in 1859. Finnan haddie is a traditional Scottish dish made with smoked haddock. Here Wilhemina adapts the recipe for used with salted dried fish, similar to the salt cod that Brigham Young's wife might have used to make codfish gravy. Apparently, immigrants continued to insist on maintaining their maritime foodways even while living a thousand miles from an ocean.