(Directions for Cookery, 1851)
CAT-FISH that have been caught near the middle of the river are much nicer than those that are taken near the shore where they have access to impure food. The small white ones are the best.
Having cut off their heads, skin the fish, and clean them, and cut them in three.
To twelve small cat-fish allow a pound and a half of ham. Cut the ham into small pieces, or mouthfuls, and scald it two or three times in boiling water, lest it be too salt.
Chop together a bunch of parsley and some sweet marjoram stripped from the stalks. Put these ingredients into a soup kettle and season them with pepper: the ham will make it salt enough. Add a head of celery cut small, or a large table-spoonful of celery seed tied up in a bit of clear muslin to prevent its dispersing. Put in two quarts of water, cover the kettle, and let it boil slowly till every thing is sufficiently done, and the fish and ham quite tender. Skim it frequently.
Boil in another vessel a quart of rich milk, in which you have melted a quarter of a pound of butter divided into small bits and rolled in flour.
Pour it hot to the soup, and stir in at the last the beaten yolks of four eggs.
Give it another boil, just to take off the rawness of the eggs, and then put it into a tureen, taking out the bag of celery seed before you send the soup to table, and adding some toasted bread cut into small squares.
In making toast for soup, cut the bread thick, and pare off all the crust.
Before you send it to table, remove the back-bones of the cat-fish.
Eel soup may be made in the same manner: chicken soup also.