Thursday Sept 30th Have swept the parlour
and Catharine has swept the chambers
and we have baked squash and apple pies
in the brick oven. Hannah Welch came
last night and has done part of the ironing
to day. this evening she heard her sister
was sick and she has left and gone back
to Lynn. Mrs Lincoln called with Hannah
Life at the Ames house returned to normal after yesterday’s meeting of the Sewing Circle. Evelina and a servant, Catharine Middleton, swept and tidied up while a new servant, Hannah Welch, tended to the ironing. Hannah would leave abruptly however, never to return, making her one-day employment the shortest on Evelina’s growing list of departed servants.
The household carried on. Today was a baking day, back in the capacious brick oven that Evelina shared with her sister-in-law, Sarah Ames Witherell, in the other part of the house. Squash and apple pies were on the menu, naturally, both being part of the fall harvest. Squash pies were as routine as pumpkin pies; every contemporary cookbook offered a recipe. Sarah Josepha Hale, though critical of pies in general as being too rich, allowed that they were acceptable in the colder months “because then we can bear a rich concentrated diet, better than during hot weather.”** Her recipe:
Pare, take out the seeds and stew the squash until very soft and dry. Strain or rub it through a sieve or colander. Mix this with good milk till it is thick with batter: sweeten it with sugar. Allow three eggs to a quart of milk, beat the eggs well, add them to the squash, and season with rose water, cinnamon, nutmeg, or whatever spices you like. Line a pie-plate with crust, fill and bake about an hour.**
The rich pies probably hit the spot with the family. Certainly, the timing was perfect because on this night, “there was a pritty havy frost.”*** Fall had arrived.
*Image courtesy of www.lostrecipesfound.com
**Sarah Josepha Hale, The Good Housekeeper, 1841, pp. 81-82
***Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection