Monday, September 29, 2014

Smelly beef steak pie by the Thatched House Tavern cook and his 1824 cookbook

Michael Willis, as the cook for many years at the Thatched House Tavern, prepared meals for members of the prestigious clubs which met there.  He wrote Cookery Made Easy in 1824.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sargent's The Dinner Party - Mystery object

Does anyone have a guess what the small object on the floor near the sideboard is and why is it at that location? (closeup below)  I would think a stool, heater (food, dish), brazier bottom or whatever would trip up the servers. The Dinner Party by Henry Sargent (1770-1845) was painted c1821 in Boston.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Woman Guard your Kitchen!

The dog - wish I could say 'hot dog' (dachshund) - is stealing Mrs. Weiser's sausages in this watercolor by Lewis Miller.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jefferson's handwritten list of the Vegetable Market in Washington City

Artichokes, Broccoli, Eggplants, Sprouts and Watermelon were just some of the 37 vegetables and fruits sold from 1801-1809 and written down by Thomas Jefferson.  An avid gardener and collector, Thomas Jefferson kept records of the wide variety of plants in his gardens, but as President he also kept track of the vegetable market in Washington, D.C., charting the first and last days the vegetables were available. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dutch Oven - Iron or Tin or ... Brick?

What's in a name...?  Several types of ovens have been called Dutch Ovens.  They were generally cast iron bake ovens, or metal (tin or copper) reflector ovens.  Some inventories specified – “2 iron dutch ovens with only one lid” or “tin dutch ovens” while others listed only “oven” or “dutch oven.” And then the brick...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Spiced Peaches and Pickled Peaches

TEN peach recipes are in Elizabeth Ellicott Lea’s Domestic Cookery (Baltimore, 1846) including Spiced Peaches and To Pickle Peaches.  The Spiced Peaches are delightful, but they cook down, so do halves or quarters (photo below).

Monday, August 18, 2014

They came, they ate, they burned the house down - the British burning the White House in 1814

On August 24, 1814, food was prepared for a 3:00 dinner for forty.  There were cut glass decanters of ale, cider and wine placed in coolers, plate warmers by the fire and a variety of meats on the spits.  The British troops sat down to a fine repast... then immediately set fire to the President's House.  A nice thank you for the meal. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Civil War salt works - 500 bushels a day - destroyed

Salt was important to preserve meat (like salt pork) in order to feed the soldiers.  Thus, the Union navy conducted raids on Confederate salt-works, as illustrated and described in Harper's Weekly, Nov. 15, 1862.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Food History Symposiums, Exhibits 2014 part 3

8 activities in Washington, D.C., Williamsburg VA, MS, NJ, Russia and Italy...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thomas Jefferson and Ice Cream

Balls of ice cream encased in warm pie crust made by Jefferson's French chef were novel enough to stir comment by TWO Congressmen attending a Presidential dinner.  Among Jefferson's few handwritten recipes is one for vanilla ice cream. A 1786 French book of ice creams, an early British cookbook with recipe - which he owned - ice cream freezer in his inventory, and more...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Madeira - a Pot and a Quern

Madeira, the island off the coast of Portugal, not the fortified wine made there, was the subject of the 1821 book A History of Madeira.  Porridge is in the iron pot and grinding "Indian corn" in a quern is depicted below.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ice Cream Man in 1845 New York City and 1815 London

Selling Ice Cream - or more likely Ice Milk - on the streets of NYC "during the hot sultry weather in July and August" while carrying glasses and a sorbetiere. From the book Cries of New York we learn that 'you scream' to rhyme with ice cream is nothing new and that cream was hard to obtain...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Roll out the barrel ...on a sled

Foodstuffs and other items were stored in sacks, boxes, crates, jars and barrels of all sizes.  Smaller barrels could easily be put in wagons, but how did they transport the larger barrels? The Madeira barrel on a sled (1821) is described below.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Saddle, griddle and oatmeal for oatcakes

Traveling with "a broad plate of metal" (a 'girdle' or griddle) "under the Haps [cover, wrap] of his saddle," the fourteenth century Scottish soldier could make thin oat cakes from water and oatmeal over a fire.  This would warm and strengthen their stomachs after eating too-freshly butchered cattle, which was scavenged.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Drunken Botanist

This entertaining and well researched book details how all alcoholic beverages are composed of plants.  Actually, it is the focus on each plant and how it is made into different drinks, instead of the usual writings on the composition of beer, wine, etc., which makes this an interesting read.  Beer is generally barley, wheat, and flavored with hops.  But going from plant to drink - barley is also for whiskey; wheat is in vodka, whiskey and Maker’s Mark bourbon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Midsummer Eve dining with newcomers

New residents in some parts of England held a dinner in front of their home on Midsummer Eve to meet their neighbors.  This custom was still observed in the Georgian and Regency periods as described in an 1814 book.

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen"...and Belvidere

The wealthy and socially prominent Jane Gilmor Howard, (left, painted by the famed Thomas Sully) as Mrs. B. C. Howard, wrote the immensely popular 1873 fundraising cookbook.  One of the recipes, “Belvidere Rice Pudding” was named for Belvidere, the large 18th century 'seat’ of the Howards, where she lived.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cherries on a stick

Cherries were tied with white thread to sticks in addition to being sold by weight.  Some sticks held up to eleven bunches (1825)  and 350 years earlier “Cheryes in the ryse…a twig.”  Numerous sketches of cherry 'kabobs' and info below...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A day at White Sulphur Springs... in 1869

Drinking the water, shooting, bowling, billiards, dancing, walking, talking, riding and eating...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Petticoat Tails

Scottish short bread in some 19th century recipes was baked in a "petticoat" shape.  A recipe from 1820 had carraway seeds, a mutchkin of water, butter, lots of flour and less sugar, mixed then rolled thin and pricked on top.