[Ads-l] Swiss steak

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 16 02:50:50 UTC 2018

> finishes with a brown gravy, not tomato sauce

Maybe it's a black thing, but I have never before heard of any association
of Swiss steak with tomatoes in any form. Indeed, till now, it had been my
thought that it was the brown gravy that was the "Swiss" part of the dish.
Otherwise, it was just "cubed steak."

On Sun, Jul 15, 2018 at 2:35 AM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> There is suggestive evidence that there may be a connection to early Swiss
> immigrants to southern Indiana along the Ohio River.
> The earliest reference to "Swiss steak" I could find is from 1892 in
> southern Indiana.
> Mrs. Nuding's Cooking School. The school of hygienic cooking, under
> direction of Mrs. Nuding, yesterday considered the preparation of meats for
> the table.  Swiss steak, baked mutton chop, roast beaf and pan-broiled
> steak were prepared.
> The Indianapolis News, April 2, 1892, page 8.
> <https://www.newspapers.com/clip/21859420/the_indianapolis_news/>
> The second earliest reference, and earliest recipe, I could find is from
> 1895 in southern Indiana.
> Swiss Steak. Time, 1 1/4 hours.  Select the best cut of round steak one
> inch thick. Oil a skillet and heat hot enough to sear the meat, without
> scorching.  Rub the steak with flour, flatten as smooth as possible in the
> skillet, cook quickly, and turn until browned on both sided.  Set it back,
> cover closely, and simmer slowly but constantly for an hour, or until the
> meat is tender, adding a little hot water from time to time.  Salt when
> half done, and turn occasionally.  Place the steak upon a hot platter.  Add
> more water to the skillet for gravy, and thicken with flour made smooth in
> water.
> Rachel Swain, Swain Cookery, New York, Fowler & Wells, 1895, pages 177-178.
> In her preface, Dr. Swain dedicates the book to her "friends and patrons
> of my Sanitary Home in Indianapolis . . . ."
> A history of immigration to Indiana mentions that, "The first substantial
> group of overseas immigrants to enter Indiana  were Swiss, who settled in
> Switzerland County, along the Ohio River in  the extreme southeast part of
> the state. Swiss surveyors arrived in  1796, and a colony was founded at
> Vevay in 1803. Vevay still held a  Swiss wine festival as late as 2008."
> http://immigrationtounitedstates.org/606-indiana.html
> Consistent with the immigration data, nearly one quarter of the hits for
> searches of "swiss steak" on newspapers.com come from Indiana and Ohio -
> MANY more hits for each of those states than for any other individual
> state.  Limiting the search to before 1930 results in even higher
> percentages of hits being from Indiana and Ohio.  This suggests that the
> dish may be a regional favorite, perhaps influenced by the early Swiss
> settlers along the Ohio River.
> Curiously, the early recipe recommends the best cut of beef, does not
> mention pounding, and finishes with a brown gravy, not tomato sauce.
> Reading between the lines, the "Swiss" method of cooking appears to refer
> to the covering with flour and slow simmering in water.
> "Swiss steak" appears in a number of cookbooks in the early 1900s, and
> many of the early recipes do mention pounding and some of them use tomatoes.
> Pete Reitan
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Sent: Friday, July 13, 2018 11:35 PM
> Subject: Re: Swiss steak
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Swiss steak
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> (missent to Garson alone)
> > On Jul 13, 2018, at 11:19 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu>
> wrot=
> e:
> >=20
> > a puzzle in etymology, with a lot of food and cooking in it:
> >=20
> > 7/13/18: Swiss steak:
> >=20
> > https://arnoldzwicky.org/2018/07/13/swiss-steak/
> >=20
> >=20
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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