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Calf’s Foot Jelly


Of all the things that have changed in North Dakota over the past 130 years, food belongs near the top of the list. Settlers had to rely on what food they could raise or trade for when they first moved here. Healthy alternatives such as vegetable oil or shortening were virtually unknown. Instead, animal fat was collected after frying bacon or other fatty meat, and this lard was a main staple in the kitchen.

Little, if anything, went to waste. For example, in 1880 the Bismarck Daily Tribune published this recipe for Calf's Foot Jelly. “Take two calf's feet, and add to them one gallon of water; boil down to one quart; strain, and, when cold, skim off the fat,” the recipe reads. “Add to this the whites of six or eight eggs, well beaten, a pint of wine, half a pound of loaf sugar, and the juice of four lemons, and let them be well mixed. Boil the whole for a few minutes, stirring constantly, and then strain through flannel.” Mmm, tempting!

By Merry Helm

Source: Bismarck Daily Tribune. 11 June, 1880: p2.