Monday, February 11, 2019

"America Eats Project" of the 1930's Great Depression

"What America Ate, Preserving America’s Culinary History from the Great Depression" - is an interactive website and digitized archive of cookbooks, letters, recipes written during the Depression. MSU (Michigan State University) and National Endowment for the Humanities gathered the scattered materials made for the government's “America Eats Project” during the Depression of the 1930s

HERE

Monday, February 4, 2019

Medieval Gyngerbrede

Honey - a lot of honey - is boiled, foam removed, spices and dried bread crumbs incorporated, then pressed or rolled flat. Cut into hard (firm) slices. It's not cake-like.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Francatelli's special dinner using Liebig's Extract of Meat 1869

Once the chef for Queen Victoria (from 1840 to 1842), the Reform Club, the Prince of Wales and others, Charles Elme Francatelli (1805-1876) became the manager of the St. James's hotel when it opened in 1863. Among his many banquets was one to introduce Liebig's extract as a substitute for beef stock.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Smoke jacks

So how did they work?  Leonardo da Vinci sketched one in the 1480s; the one on left is from the 1600s. The smoke jack was attached in the throat of a chimney so the rising smoke and hot air would move the fan on a shaft (like blowing a windmill spinner toy), causing the gear and plate to rotate, thus moving the wheel attached by chains to the wheel on each spit.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Federal-era kitchen apparatus in Gadsby's Indian Queen Hotel, Baltimore

By 1815, Gadsby's Indian Queen Hotel had state-of-the-art kitchen equipment: a "patent oven" (metal wall oven), "steam for boiling" (steam kitchens), "stoves set in brick" (stew stoves), and smoke jacks to turn meat on spits and a coffee roaster.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Food history symposiums, conferences 2019

Along with the symposiums, there is an opportunity to apply for a paid summer fellowship at the cookbook collection of Michigan State University, and an exhibit at the Folger in DC.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Baked Alaska - Alaska Bake, "Alaska, Florida," Baked ice-cream, Hot Ice Cream, Roasted ice, and Glace meringue au four

Alaska, a state for 60 years (Jan. 3) - only 60?! - was bought from Russia in 1867.  Soyer's may have been the first recipe in English, Delmonico's in NYC the first to use "Alaska" as it's name, "Alaska Bake" appeared in a Phila. cookbook in 1886, "Baked Alaska" 1896 and Thomas Jefferson...

Monday, December 24, 2018

Farmer Giles's Establishment - Christmas Day 1800, 1829

Printed in 1830, the image shows a well fed farmer, whose wife is slicing the plum pudding for dessert.  The children sit at a stool, while one is standing on a bellows with the dog waiting for a slice. The hearth mantle is decorated with greens.

Monday, December 17, 2018

18th & 19th century Christmas decorating with holly and mistletoe

Holly and other greens not only festooned homes, taverns, churches and "Christmas sports," they also decorated plum puddings, boar's heads and other food items. Hundreds of men gathered the greens - "a-Christmasing" - often trespassing.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Selling Oysters

Oysters were sold on the streets 'on the half shell' and served with vinegar, salt, pepper, and/or cracknels.  The following images are from Cries of London, New York and Philadelphia from the late 1500s and 1688 through the 18th and 19th centuries. Click to enlarge. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Jewish cookery books

"American Foodways: The Jewish Contribution" was an exhibit at the Longone Culinary Archive, University of Michigan Library.  This fine online exhibit contains images and information about each book and author; menus, markets, and food festivals.  It may be viewed HERE and HERE

Monday, November 26, 2018

Pickled Pumpkin using honey

Pumpkin chips using vinegar, sugar or honey, cinnamon, mace and cloves are pictured, left.   The darker chips on the left were made with honey, those on the right with sugar. The honey ones are more mellow, covering the vinegar tang found in the sugared ones.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Turkeys for Thanksgiving

In 1878, three farms in CT raised 10,000 turkeys each year!  The following article described how turkeys were raised on a farm in "Washington Hollow" NY then slaughtered to be sold in the famed Washington Market and Fulton Market in New York City for Thanksgiving. Turkeys fed on grasshoppers and cracked corn, laid fifteen eggs which hatched in May and roosted for the night on an apple tree, left. Other images from the same time are listed below.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Happy 300th New Orleans - 1800s beignets, coffee and the French Market

After her husband traveled to New Orleans in 1850 (he missed Cafe du Monde, 1861), Jane Gilmor Howard (Mrs. B.C. Howard) included a recipe for "beignets souffles" or "Balloon Fritters", deep fried in lard, in her Fifty years in a Maryland Kitchen cookbook, 1873. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

World War I - 100 years ago - rolling kitchen

This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War.  The photograph shows a World War I rolling kitchen from 1918.  Library of Congress: "Machine Gun Battalion, Company G, Second Brigade, rolling kitchen. Hermitage, France. March 11, 1918."

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Buckwheat Honey for Honey Gingerbread

Dijon, France produced 60,000 pounds of buckwheat honey - very dark and too strong for "table use" but perfect for gingerbread, according to The British Bee Journal of 1906.  Other types of honey would sink after the gingerbread had risen.  However, a British author in 1848 wrote that the "French, whose gingerbread is vile stuff, use honey instead of treacle."  Recipes for honey gingerbread - medieval to early 20th - near end of post.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Milk cellars in the 1840s

By the 1840s  "cellars under houses... are coming to be preferred for the purpose of keeping milk to either milk-houses, milk-vaults, or even spring-houses."  In Delaware "dairymen charged higher price for 'cellar butter.'"  The picture is from 1873 North Carolina.

Monday, October 8, 2018

English store-room

The storeroom described in the 1835 book The English Housekeeper was to be kept dry by a flue from the kitchen fire.  Open shelves for preserves, flour, rice, "jars with closely fitting lids, for tea, sugar, coffee, cocoa, mustard, pepper, spices", hanging shelf, linen press, candles and soap...

Curiously, peas, gooseberries and dried fruit filled bottles were placed "with their necks downwards" in holes cut into shelves to exclude air.  Anyone heard of this before?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Selling cook stoves was like selling... new and used cars


"Horse trading is not to be compared to it" was how an 1888 article in a trade journal described closing the deal on a new stove where dealers were forced to buy the old one.

Which to buy... each family member wants something different. Yearly new features and "the neighbors' stoves are brought up for comparison."

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Farm - plowing, sowing, reaping, thrashing, winnowing and milling

This interesting farm image with tools is from a book published in London by 1844. Closeup of the sketches (click to enlarge) and description follow...