Monday, March 20, 2017

Nott's Barley Gruel

John Nott's The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary went through four editions from 1723-1733.  His gruel is enriched with cream, wine, sugar, currants and egg yolks. A rather fine gruel!  Other barley recipes in Nott's book are broth, cream, pottage, posset, pudding, and barley sugar.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Melting snow with salt - in Victorian England

"Persons can do few more silly or injurious things than to sprinkle salt upon snow before their doors. The result is to change dry snow or ice at the temperature of 32°, to brine at 0°. So low a temperature affecting the feet of passengers is a prolific source of colds. If, then, any one does sprinkle salt upon snow in the street, he ought to feel it a matter of conscience to sweep it away immediately."

Monday, March 6, 2017

Geometry in food

In the 1841 book The Childs Pictorial Geometry a slice of cake is an equilateral triangle and a sugar loaf is a cone.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Those annoying cries of London

The following excerpt from 1827 describes "the incessant bawling of" street vendors to the annoyance of those "who have not the happiness to be deaf."  From the "muffin man's little bell," the bakers barking dogs, to a "stentorian bawler" for beer bottles until "the characters thicken, and tenfold cries distract the worried ear."

Monday, February 13, 2017

Baker's cart guard dogs

The little dogs under the cart to the left, did not pull the cart, but would protect the contents by wildly barking while the baker delivered his bread.  The image is by the British artist WH Pyne, 1827 and the write up below about terriers in New York is from an 1872  magazine.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Queen Victoria's chef Charles Elme Francatelli

A famed chef and cookbook author appears in the TV series "Victoria" - Francatelli (1805-1876).  Born in London, trained in France by Careme, he became "Chief cook and Maitre d'Hotel" from 1840-1842 for Queen Victoria (crowned 1838). After a "fracas" at Buckingham Palace in 1841, he was let go in and his first, highly popular, cookbook The Modern Cook was released in 1845.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Baron von Steuben's French chef at Valley Forge

Cooking beef on a string.  Steuben's "cook of celebrity" couldn't prepare their ration of beef and bread without utensils. He asked their 'wagoner" how to cook the meat and was told "by hanging it up by a string, and turning it before a good fire..."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cranberry Muffins

This 1908 recipe has a very rich, thick batter loaded with baking powder.  The berries were fresh and softened during the baking. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A hard life - gathering & carrying firewood in the winter; start early in the morning

Cooking and heating needed fuel... and it was very labor intensive for the poor.  "In the depth of snow" women and children dragged hacked up stumps, branches or anything the "wood police" allowed.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Richard Dolby's The Cook's Dictionary and the Thatched House Tavern

This extensive 1830 cooking dictionary is remarkable because it was touted as the first cookbook set in alphabetical order.  Also Dolby was the second cook-turned-author from the famed Thatched-House Tavern.  The frontispiece is left.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Food History Conferences, Symposiums, Exhibits and Writings 2017

This year there are conferences/symposiums in Leeds and Oxford, UK; Oxford, Miss; France; Amsterdam. A new exhibit using Getty Institute images "The Edible Monument" is being held in Detroit.  For food history in Pennsylvania, an upcoming special issue on food.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Hogmanay or Hog-ma-nay - A Scottish New Years Eve

Until recently, Christmas was not celebrated in Scotland. Hogmanay became the major holiday with its many traditions, including handing out bannock or oatcakes to needy children.  They wore a sheet or tartan folded in front, or a large pocket to hold their cakes on the last day of the year. Geese and turkies were sold in incredible displays on poulterer shops (image below).

Monday, December 19, 2016

German Christmas tree, sugar ornaments and garden board base

Gilded walnuts, apples, little cakes, and sugar figures adorned the trees in 1840s Germany. The 'sugar-baker' confectioners sold all kinds of sugar or chocolate characters "chiefly to hang upon the Christmas-tree:" grotesque figures, animals, students smoking, peasants, country women, child on rocking-horse, girls in various nations costumes, sausages, fruits, musical instruments...

Monday, December 12, 2016

1730 Christmas poem

This poem about Christmas coming contains flowing bowls, minced pies, capon, goose, brawn, sturgeon, a Christmas box of sweet plumb cakes and then, to the Christmas Ball.  The book has a delightfully long descriptive title with "fiddle faddle stuff" and pranks...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

North Platte Canteen

75 years ago today Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.  That Christmas day local Nebraskan ladies were at the railroad station to give food and drink to the men and women on their way to war.  They continued all day every day to meet each passing train and fed over 6 million until April 1, 1946.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Citron cake and other recipes for candied citrons

After processing the citron watermelon (previous post HERE) the pieces could be sliced thin and added to fruit cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, creams, puddings and ratafia.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Shaping citron while on the tree - 1806

When half grown, the citron (or pear, apple, pomegranate) was encased in a mould of gypsum or clay to form it into the shape of a bird, face or animal.  Now there are plastic boxes to make square watermelons and other creatively shaped fruits and vegetables.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Citron melon or citron watermelon - to make mock candied citron

The citron growing on a tree was imported as a sweetmeat.  Amelia Simmons had, in her 1796 cookbook, a mock citron recipe entitled 'The American Citron' - using watermelon.  The following recipe is Lea's candied citron recipe using a Citron Melon.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Quern in 1772 Scotland... and fulling wool by foot

In late 18th century Hebrides in areas without mills, grain ("corn" - wheat) was ground in a hand mill (quern). To the right ten women are depicted fulling wool by hand or feet on a ridged board (Luagh).  A bagpiper is near the tree.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Scottish Halloween spell - by Robert Burns

Robert Burn's poem Halloween had several 'spells' for young folks to do on All Saints eve to foretell their future.  The sketch of a Scottish peasant's cottage interior is from an 1812 book published in Edinburgh. The three dishes on the hearth contain clean, dirty, and no water.