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.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hercules - George Washington's Presidential Celebrity Chef

As a commanding and respected figure in the kitchen and "on the town,"  Hercules (Uncle Harkless) made such an impression that years later Washington's step-grandson/adopted son wrote a long section about him.  The money ($100-200) from his perk of selling the kitchen "slops" was used for fashionable clothes of fine white linen, a gold watch, gold topped cane...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Puddings and Potatoes as Dripping pans

A pan was placed under meat roasting on a spit to catch the drippings. Some, such as the one at Windsor Castle, were quite large.  Below are three Georgian and Federal recipes.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Coal snowballs for fuel - Sir Hugh Plat's coal-balles from 1603

Coal balls or an early 'charcoal briquette' were made by pounding seacoal into a powder, combining with loam and then forming the mixture into balls..."according to the maner and making of snowballs..."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wine Devils, Biscuits for Drinkers and other tavern food

Superbowl Sunday means chicken wings and snacks. This year try some tasty tidbits from the past: Wine-devils (broiled gizzards and chicken legs), Anchovy Toast, Deviled Biscuit, Woodcocks underroasted, or the aptly named Biscuit for Drinkers, but not boiled mutton or stewed beef.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Selling sand in Regency London - for the kitchen, and more

"Sand O!" cried the street vendors in 1804.  Sand was used to clean kitchen utensils, store root vegetables and fruit, to clean floors or also form a layer like a rug to protect floors.  The red sand sold for "twopence halfpenny" while the white sand cost "five farthings per peck."  So next time you are driving behind that sand truck, think 'it could be worse' - you could be scrubbing the floor with sand...

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Dress Diet ... Georgian style

Perhaps this is the dress some of us should have worn over the holidays and to parties to eat less.  Or, from another viewpoint, the caption includes "Who'd not starve to lead the fashion?" Below is a 1786 fashion plate with only slightly less puff.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Auld Handsel Monday

In Scotland, the first Monday of the year or the Monday after Jan. 12th was a day for: presents (handsels); a breakfast of "roast and boiled, with ale, whiskey, and cake" for the farm hands and servants; visiting neighbors; Moving Day and even a day for hiring new workers.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Egg nog for Christmas, New Year's Eve, Twelfth Night

Eggnog was a southern tradition for Christmas and New Year's Eve.  In the following story, a tub of egg nog was set out on the porch for 12 days - from Christmas until Twelfth-night (January 6) - for visitors.  Mrs. B.C. Howard's recipe for Egg Nogg from her Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen is below.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cookbook carolers 1912

The three singers are from a delightful children's book - Mary Francis Cook Book; or Adventures among the Kitchen People by Jane Allen Boyer in 1912.    HERE

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cranberry Sauce vs. Preserves in the 1840s

What's the difference?  1/2 cup sugar.  1840s vs. modern sauce?  half the water and twice the sugar.  Elizabeth Ellicott Lea's recipe below, is compared with a nearby contemporary author, Eliza Leslie, and with a modern recipe.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dr. Johnson takes on Hannah Glasse and women cookbook authors

Women "... cannot make a good book of Cookery."  Johnson actually said that to a woman!! (she compared him to Hercules with a spinner's distaff)  In addition to discussing Mrs. Glasse's Art of Cookery, which he had "looked into," he proclaimed: "I could write a better book of cookery than has ever yet been written..."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Continental army's "sumptuous" Thanksgiving of 1777

After having no rations for 2-3 days, Congress "opened her sympathizing heart" and provided ..... 1/4 cup rice and 1T of vinegar.....to eat with "a leg of nothing and no turnips."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pumpkin candies made from pumpkin pickles or chips

Several past posts have dealt with pumpkin chip recipes from 1770 and 1840 and how to cut pumpkins into chips HERE.  Chips or sweet pickles can be made into candies by rolling them in sugar.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Soup makes the soldier

Leopold Beyer (1789-1877) sketched French soldiers cooking soup in a pot in 1813.  A contemporary wrote that the French soldiers were better cooks than the English.  "...six French troopers fling their messes into the same pot, and extract a delicious soup ten times more nutritious..." while the English soldiers toss their meat onto the coals and burn it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

When a Steam Kitchen is not a kitchen using steam

Well, actually it used steam and was in the kitchen but steam kitchens were apparatus (after 1790) which heated water and then used the resulting steam to cook food.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween - Cake Night, Soul Cake, Seed Cake

The history of Halloween involves many traditions.  Giving out cakes on All Hallows Eve (the night before All Saints Day, Nov 1) or on All Souls Day (Nov 2) was an old tradition by 1511.  On 'All halowen daye,' brade was given to all crysten [Christian] soules. [Brand, 1813]  The sketch shows a group a-souling for Soul or Soule cakes or other name variations: Soul mass cake, Somas-cake, Soul-mas-cake, Soul-masse-Cakes (1656) or Seed Cakes.   

Saturday, October 25, 2014

18th century earthen camp kitchen at Mount Harmon

If you are near northeast Maryland (Earleville) tomorrow (Sunday) you can still see the freshly dug camp kitchen and enjoy the Revolutionary War encampment and battle at Mt Harmon Plantation HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clarified Marrow

"Eating pork-marrow will make a person stupid" was an 1825 saying. Beef marrow from within the bones was clarified over very low heat to be used as a substitute for butter and to store for longer periods.