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 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.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pumpkin waffles made with yeast

... then dipped in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar.  Once again it is time to dig into my hundreds of old recipes on pumpkins. For the past few years I've tried this 'newer' 1906 recipe, and not been successful so far. Does any one have ideas on historic pumpkin waffles with yeast? or without? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Smithsonian Food History live stream and Have-A-Cup interactive pages - water, tea, chocolate, whiskey

If you are unable to attend this year's Smithsonian Food History weekend in Washington, D.C., you can live stream the round tables on Friday October 28 (9:30-4). Long list of speakers, times HERE

Monday, October 3, 2016

The first floating mill in America

A flour mill on boats on the Ohio River was built in 1791 by early settlers in the "Northwest Territory" due to low water and fear of attacks by Native Americans.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hussey, the inventor who made bread cheap

Obed Hussey (1797-1860) created the first successful reaper in America, rather than the more well known Cyrus McCormick (1809-1884). Great films of harvesting 1904, 1938...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pickled bamboo or elder tree recipes

In 1756 Mrs. Bradley included a recipe to imitate pickled bamboo using the tender spring shoots of the elder tree with wine and beer vinegar in her The British Housewife.  Pickled bamboo had the "appearance [of] pickled yellow cucumbers cut in long slices."

Monday, September 5, 2016

People powered churns

We often think of the dairymaid charmingly churning butter in a picturesque setting (image below) - plunging the dasher into the churn or turning the handle of a barrel churn; but in 1850s Holland, other devices were created to churn 200 quarts of cream at a time. The Treadle Lever or standing see saw; and pulling down large levers...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dogs and sheep churning butter ... on a treadmill

Dogs were workers: sheep herding, turning spits, watch dogs, and on the treadmill to churn butter in a swing or dash churn. By 1832 dog churns were common along the Hudson River. Descriptions and images from 19th century NY and New England works...

Monday, August 22, 2016

The U.S. National Park Service is 100!

On August 25, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson created the US National Park Service - ranging from stellar landscapes to homes such as "Hampton".  And what a house... and kitchen!  When built in 1790 it supposedly was the largest private house in the United States.  The state-of-the-art kitchen included a stew stove and Reip metal wall oven.