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A favorite vegetable during the colonial period, cauliflower was grown in the gardens of many gentlemen, including those of George Washington. This recipe was adapted by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump from Maria Rundell's A New System of Domestic Cookery.


  • 11/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, cored, outer leaves discarded, and quartered
  • 11/2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 11/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 11/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the milk and water to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, and add the cauliflower. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is just tender. Drain the cauliflower thoroughly, discarding the cooking liquid.
  2. Return the cauliflower t the saucepan, and add the broth, mace, white pepper, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes, occasionally turning the cauliflower in the broth, until it is nearly tender but still firm.
  3. Add the butter, stirring until it melts and is combined with the broth.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, and continue to stir until it is ell combined with the broth.
  5. Stir in the cream until well blended, and then simmer for about 3 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender and heated through.
  6. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve warm.

Serves 6 to 8