June  Wednesday Mended
Oakes Angiers coat put on new
buttons Then made the button holes in
the waist of Mrs Sarah Ames dress. Cooked
a calfs head for dinner This afternoon
about three Mrs Witherell, Mitchell & Miss
Eaton & self went to call on Mrs Whitwell.
Called at Mr Wm Reeds Mrs Reed was from
home. Called at Dr Swans. Bridget here.
A[u]ugustus gone to Boston.
Evelina’s activities today were quintessentially nineteenth-century. She mended her son’s coat, made button holes for her sister-in-law, rode out in the carriage with her other sisters-in-law to call on the parson’s wife, and served a calf’s head for dinner.
Perhaps there is a reader out there who has been served calf’s head, or cooked it. Most 19th century cook books carried a “receipt” for it, right next to recipes for calf’s feet, sheep’s head, and roasted sweetbreads. Calf’s head could be roasted or boiled; the recipe below from Mary Peabody Mann’s 1858 Christianity in the Kitchen opts for the latter. What follows is not for the squeamish:
To Dress a Calf’s Head
Soak the head for ten minutes in lukewarm water, powder it well with rosin, dip it into a large quantity of scalding water, and holding it by the ear, scrape off the hair with the back of a knife. When clean, take out the eyes, cut out the tongue, remove the jawbone with teeth, saw lengthwise through the skull without injuring the brains, which must be carefully taken out, and put for a few hours into lukewarm water, to disgorge, [that is, to rinse out the blood.]
Make a stock by putting into the brazing pan two or three carrots and onions, six cloves, a pint of cream, a bouquet of parsley, thyme, and bay-leaves, and after stirring this together for twenty minutes over the fire, add a pint of water. When this is warm, mix a quarter of a pound of flour with a gallon of water, slice a lemon, add a quarter of a pound of salt, and lay the calf’s head into the stock. Let it be entirely covered, else the uncovered part will have a dark look, and simmer it gently till it is tender.