Miss McClary’s Candies and Such

By Muriel Bristol | April 25, 2019

Miss M. Emilie McClary taught French, mathematics, and science at Milton’s Nute High School in 1899-1902. She was one of Miss Benson’s successors. (She worked with Nute principals Arthur T. Smith and Arthur D. Wiggin). After her time here, she returned to her hometown of Malone, NY.

Her mother, Mrs. Martin E. McClary (Patience (Ford) McClary), belonged to the Women’s Aid Society of the First Congregational Church of Malone, NY. The Women’s Aid Society published The Malone Cookbook in 1908, likely as a fundraiser. Mrs. McClary was one of its editors.

The cookbook included five recipes submitted by her daughter, Emilie McClary, Milton’s quondam teacher. (Then teaching Latin at Wellesley College).

Cucumber Boats. Pare medium-sized cucumbers and cut through the center lengthwise and scoop out the seeds; place in a pan ice water until ready to serve. Prepare a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, cut in small cubes, with cream dressing No. 1 and fill boats with the salad just before serving and garnish with nasturtiums –  Emilie McClary

Dressing is very much a matter of taste. The Cream Dressing No. 1 mentioned may be found  on Page 99 of the Malone Cookbook (in the References below). Nasturtium flowers are edible. They might be used as an edible garnish, as Miss McClary suggests here, or even appear in the salad itself.

Panned Oysters. Place oysters in the dish with a tablespoon of butter and a little salt. Cover closely and light the lamp. Stir occasionally and when the oysters are plump and the gills curled they are ready to serve. One-half cup of thick sweet cream may be poured over them if desired before taking up. – Emilie McClary

The “dish” of which she spoke was a chafing dish and the lamp its heat source. (This may be compared with the Milton Mills Oyster Fritters Recipe of 1895).

Peppermint Drops. One cup of sugar, a very little water, boil until it hairs. Remove from the stove, add a pinch of cream [of] tartar and three drops of oil of peppermint, stir until the mixture begins to whiten. Drop with a spoon on buttered paper. Wintergreen oil may be used instead of the peppermint, and cochineal may be used to color them pink. – Emilie McClary

In the absence of a candy thermometer, the temperature might be tested by dropping a bit in cold water. At 235° F, it should form a soft ball; at 260° F, it should form a hard ball; at 300° F, it should form a brittle strand or “hair.” Therefore, it might be said that the mixture “hairs” at 300° F.

(Similar period recipes sometimes go on to dip the resulting drops in melted chocolate The results would be not unlike commercially available Junior Mint peppermint patties).

Miss McClary’s own alma mater was Wellesley College, from which she received her B.A. with the class of 1899. (She also taught there).

College Candy. Two cups of maple or brown sugar, one-third of a cup of sweet cream, one half pound of English walnuts. Boil the sugar and cream until it forms a ball when dropped in water, stirring constantly. Remove from the stove and add the walnuts chopped fine; stir until the mixture begins to whiten, turn into pans and when cold cut into squares. – Emilie McClary

As seen in the Peppermint Drops recipe just above, a soft ball temperature would be about 235° F (and a hard ball might be expected at about 260° F).

Salted Almonds. Shell the nuts and pour boiling water over them; let them stand in the water a minute or two, then throw them into cold water, and rub between the hands. To every cupful add one even tablespoon of melted butter and let stand a while. Sprinkle with a level teaspoon of salt. Place in a moderately hot oven and bake until brown, stirring occasionally, then place on brown paper. Peanuts may be salted in the same way. – Emilie McClary

Other spices or flavorings might be added (or substituted for some of the salt), in the same manner that baked pumpkin seeds are flavored. For example, Sriracha is popular these days.

These are not Milton recipes, as such, but they are recipes of one of Milton’s early high school teachers. For the most part, the Nute principals and teachers all lived within walking distance of the Nute High School, either on School Street or on “the Farmington road” (now Elm Street). It might be that she served some of these dishes at social gatherings there.

Just imagine if we had also some recipes of Miss Terrill, who taught home economics at the University of Chicago and the University of Vermont.


Wikipedia. (2019, April 20). Tropaeolum [Nasturtium]. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropaeolum

Women’s Aid Society. (1908). The Malone Cookbook. Retrieved from books.google.com/books?id=dTI2AQAAMAAJ

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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