Monday, November 11, 2019

Soyer’s Army Barrack Cooking Apparatus and obit 1858

Alexis Soyer (1810-1858) was born and trained in France, became a famous chef in London, designed the Reform Club kitchen and other cooking equipment.  He helped during the Irish famine, and the military during the Crimean War (which shortened his life).

Monday, November 4, 2019

Medieval acorns for pigs - from the Hours of Duc de Berry (1400s), Queen Mary Psalter (1310) and Henry VIII (c1500)

The "Labours of the Months" for November was a depiction of pigs routing under oak trees - with the bottom limbs removed - for acorns to eat before they were butchered.  The great Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry (left) was done in the 15th century, The Hours of Henry VIII from c1500 and Queen Mary Psalter c1310 all show swineherds with sticks to get more acorns. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Lambswool for Halloween night - Nov. 1 "Day of the apple fruit" lamasool

Like wassail, lambswool consisted of ale, roasted apples, sugar and spice and drunk to celebrate the apple.  The Celtic "la mas ubhal, that is, the day of the apple fruit; and being pronounced lamasool" was celebrated on November 1.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Storing apples in Federal America

The father/daughter authors William Cobbett (1763-1835) and Anne Cobbett (1795-1877) each wrote about how Americans stored and transported apples.

Monday, October 14, 2019

18th century immigrant ships - provisions, hardships, indentured servant process

In October, 1750 Gottlieb Mittelberger arrived at Philadelphia (1st image 1761) after a grueling 5 month voyage which involved drinking black water full of worms and ship's biscuits "full of red worms and spiders' nests."  The harsh conditions on the overcrowded ships resulted in illness, death and for many families, being sold separately as indentured servants, possibly never to see each other again.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Roasted apples street sellers

In winter a pan or container of burning charcoal roasted apples or chestnuts on a tin plate as shown in 1820 by Rowlandson and described in Craig's Cries of London 1804.  Sixty years later "Roasted apples used to be vended in the streets... but it is a trade which has now almost entirely disappeared."

Monday, September 30, 2019

Fire starters - fire pistons, fire syringes

Fire pistons, (or fire syringe, pneumatic syringe, instantaneous light-giving syringe) were ingenious devices created out of wood, horn, bamboo, ivory, bone or metal by the peoples of Southeast Asia. The plunger would force the air in the tube to compress and get very hot, thereby lighting the tinder in the base.  In Europe they were usually a "scientific curiosity."  The fire piston on left was from Borneo.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Fire starters - flint, steel and tinderbox ... and bamboo strick-a-light

It was hard work lighting and maintaining fires for cooking and heat.  A few coals could be saved from the previous day or coals borrowed from a neighbor's fire.  Flint and steel was tricky, especially if the "flint was dull, and the steel soft."  Then there were the more unknown methods such as the "Bamboo strike-a-light" (bamboo struck by a piece of porcelain). 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Blow pipes, Iron blowers, Fire-blowing tubes

Six 'iron blowers' were in the 1818 inventory of Virginia Gov. Preston taken in the Virginia Governor's Mansion, built in 1811. They were long thin tubes with a mouth piece, which were also called ‘fender blower,’ ‘blower,’ 'iron blow,’ ‘blow tube’ or ‘blow pipe.’  Bellows were also available to start or intensify the kitchen fire.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Selling matches on the street

Boys and women sold matches in cities for a modest fee.  They whittled pine or cedar sticks, dipped the pointed end in brimstone or bought the matches from match manufacturers from the "low parts of London."   By 1827 an author claimed "the itinerant Matchseller, will, of consequence, become obsolete."  Pictures from prints and books of "Cries" from London, New York City and Boston...

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

5 centuries of Picnics

Beautiful picnics in paintings from the 1530s to the 21st century.  A couple early ones involve "Halte de Chasse" or a break in the Hunt.

The image on the left is by the Frenchman James Tissot in 1870.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ruined Picnics

Robert Seymour (c1800-1836) drew a series of humorous sketches (including several on pic-nics) from 1834-1836.  Picnic problems included being "cow'd," a no trespassing type sign on the riverbank, and items in the picnic basket shifting and breaking.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Maryland Peaches: Baltimore Peach Cake & Ellizabeth Ellicott Lea's Peach Marmalade

The fluffy, yeast cake topped with peaches existed by 1910 when it was mentioned in a poem by a Baltimore Sun writer.  It was and is sold in Baltimore bakeries during peach season.  Recently, marmalade is spread over the cake as a glaze. Maryland cookbook author Elizabeth Ellicott Lea's 1846 marmalade recipe is easy and delicious.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Garlick flour

Wild garlic, grown among the wheat plants, caused problems in the mills by gumming up the mill stones and later, the rollers.  Although it was almost impossible to "destroy the garlick" in the fields, farmers shared their attempts such as using plaster of Paris.  One early author claimed that the Hessians during the Rev War introduced it.  As for grinding the grain with the garlic seeds - Oliver Evans wrote his method to "dress" the mill stones and several inventions were patented.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Niagara's International Hotel waiters marched and served to music in 1860

To feed the hundreds of guests, the waiters marched to the band's music: "Norma" to lay down the place settings; a march to enter; piscicato for fish, and removed the covers to "a crash of trombones, cymbals and gongs."

Monday, July 29, 2019

Ice cream bombs, plombieres, fromage moulds, iced souffles, Iced Charlotte and more in "Queen" Cookery Book of ices

Ending this Ice Cream Month with a late 19th century cookbook with wonderful descriptions of types of ice creams and molds.  Bombs, introduced by Francatelli (more HERE) were no longer round with a spun sugar flame, but longer shell shape (left).

Monday, July 22, 2019

'Gunter's Tea Shop' was Negri's 'Pot and Pineapple' founded in 1757 at Berkeley Sq., London ... ice cream recipes in 6 cookbooks

Incredibly, six confectioners who worked at the Berkeley Square shop wrote cookbooks - Nutt, Jarrin, and lesser known Jeanes, Abbott, Barnes and William Gunter (son of the owner James). 

In 1757, famed confectioner Domenico Negri opened the 'Pot and Pineapple' at 7 Berkeley Square.  By 1784 James Gunter (1731-1819) became a partner and by 1799, as sole owner renamed it 'Gunter's Tea Shop'. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Spongati, Spongada, Spumante - meringue in ice cream

The "very light form of whipped" ice cream was popular in Italy, but less known in the UK.    Francatelli, chef to Queen Victoria, included several recipes in one of his books The Modern Cook, and suggested "the rich variety" of flavors "for the second course."

Monday, July 8, 2019

Fuller's Freezing Machine, Manual with recipes & ice cream made with flowers

William Fuller of London invented his "Neopolitan Freezing Machine" (an early mechanized ice cream maker, replacing the sorbetiere) and wrote A Manual: containing original recipes for preparing ices, in 1851 before his patent.  Some interesting ice cream recipes included Spumoni, Spongati, Flowers, Candied eggs and many flavors. By 1847 he was the "ice pail maker" to Queen Victoria and other royals.

Monday, July 1, 2019

4th of July 1819 in Philadelphia

"Independence Day celebration in Centre Square" Philadelphia, 1819 by John Lewis Krimmel [Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia].