Monday, June 29, 2015

Red, white and blue boiled hams for the 4th of July

At Mercersburg, Pa., before the Civil War, the town folk and farmers would go out to President James Buchanan's birthplace and share a picnic.  One lady brought "boiled hams decorated with cloves and red, white and blue paper."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Esther Allen Howland - "The New England Economical Housekeeper," CPR, Valentines

The mother of the "Mother of the American Valentine," (both named) Esther Allen Howland, wrote the small cookbook in 1844 which sold 1500 copies in it's first 15 weeks! The next year it was expanded and later the regional cookbook, with a more national name The American Economical Housekeeper and Family Receipt Book, was reprinted many times until 1875.  Receipts economical (tainted beef), medicinal (early CPR), New England (chowder in dinner-pot)... 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Battle of Waterloo 200, Magna Carta 800

June 18 is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon. The Duke of Wellington celebrated his victory with an annual dinner.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Strawberries washed in milk

In the first recipe, berries were to be washed in skim milk (the milk which remained after the cream was skimmed off) "to take off any grit and sand."  Recipes for berries in cream and whipped cream Whips... 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Strawberries in Pottles and Punnets

What's a pottle? a punnet?  50 to 60 of the long conical baskets were placed in a HUGH basket, weighing 30-40 pounds! then carried on the head from the field to London... up to 10 miles.  The street vendor looks so charming in the painting. Women carriers caused less damage to the fruit than men carriers. A pottle was an old measure for 2 quarts, but by the Regency period, it held half that amount, and in Boston the baskets were pint sized and packed into square hampers.  A deposit fee of one cent was refunded if the basket was returned. Cries of London and other images...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day - Remember their sacrifice

Civil War soldiers cooking and dining "in the field."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Syllabub - Whisking for exercise

 "Whisking with all your might and main... is good exercise for young ladies" and, the author quipped, might be added to gym classes.  The recipe below called for osier twig whisks, but there were other ways to whip up a froth, such as chocolate mills, syllabub mills, milking cows, or tin-tube churns. And then, for cat lovers, store the tray of syllabubs in "the coolest nook you have, that is free from dust, draughts, and intrusive cats."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Syllabub under the Cow, without a Cow

As late as 1878, a book by Doctor Delamere, Wholesome Fare, used milk straight from a cow, or as a substitute for a cow: one could use a large syringe or stand on a table. Start milking a calm cow, then near the end when the milk is richest, milk "the strippings" into the bowl.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Syllabubs - Red and white wine

Pink and white syllabubs, just in time for Mother's Day.  Mrs. Raffald, 1769 pours some extra wine in the glass and topped with sweetened cream flavored with brandy or Madeira whipped in a chocolate mill. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Angel Food Cake

Made with beaten egg whites and no butter, Angel Food Cake is a sponge cake NOT a white butter cake (like Silver Cake, Lady Cake, Snow-drift Cake, or Cornstarch Cake).  And the first printed recipe was years before the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, 1884.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Pyramid of Cakes

Layer cakes became very popular in the 1870s and continued for a century. They featured different colors, flavors, and even a variety of fillings on each layer.  An early description from 1839 is for a special occasion cake - tiered like our wedding cakes.  In 1907 an entire book  One Hundred and One Layer Cakes by May Southworth was published.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eating Through Time: Food, Health and History

The New York Academy of Medicine Library in NYC has been collecting since it opened in 1847 and has over 10,000 food/health related items.  And what a collection! The library owns one - there are only two - Apicius’ De re culinarie, a Roman cookbook.  Also books by the greats: Scappi (man and cauldron image, left), Careme and others. Throughout this year there will be a series of lectures and an all day event on October 17.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shish ka bob or cubbub

Get out the grill!  An 1815 encounter with the dish was described by an American cookbook author who pondered "does he mean that the skewers run through the meat?"

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lolling and the "boarding house reach"

Reaching across 3 or 4 people for a dish "is not only vulgar, but inconvenient."  FOUR persons - what a loooong boarding house reach!  Before there was 'lolling about' there was lolling. The American edition of Chesterfield's contained several new rules written by a Philadelphia lawyer in 1828.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pasch or Easter Eggs - Scratched, Waxed, Gilded, Dyed and Onioned

Get out the Paas dyes or go natural.  Here are some 1830 decorating ideas for eggs to give, roll or throw. Past posts on Easter Monday Rolls HERE and onion skin eggs HERE

Monday, March 23, 2015

Food History Conferences, Symposiums, Exhibits. 2015 pt 2

7 conferences and exhibits in the US and Portugal, with 9 other 2015 food history conferences on a previous post.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Peat Mill - 80 tons of peat per day

Peat was cut into blocks and burned on kitchen hearths for centuries in Ireland, Scotland and other countries.  But in the mid 1800's large machines were designed to compress the peat into blocks for a wide variety of uses...to produce gas; use in steam engines; make gunpowder, paper, pavement and roofing tiles... A far cry from gathering peat near the home for cooking and heat.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rice Flour

Racahaut, blanc mange, snow-balls, flummery, breads, cakes, cookies, puddings, custard, waffles, journey cakes, slap jacks, fried bread and more could be made from rice flour.  Who knew??

Monday, March 2, 2015

Instant Cocoa -- Broma, Soluble Chocolate and Racahaut

By 1845 there were several 'mixes' to prepare hot chocolate.  Fry's Broma and Soluble Chocolate required no boiling or milling to keep dissolved.  Ads for Baker's cocoa stressed that it could be made in 1 minute at the table. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Frozen water pipes and clearing snow off the sky-light

Freezing temperatures and heavy snows are nothing new (and we've had enough for this year!!).  One idea for 19th century home owners to protect water pipes which went "up the outside of the house" was by twisting hay or straw around them.  Inside pipes used in steam kitchens, boilers in wood stoves, and kitchen sinks could also freeze and burst.  The following excepts tell how to handle frozen pipes and snow on the sky lights.