Monday, May 2, 2016

Kentucky Derby Benedictines

The Kentucky Derby is run this Saturday.  Benedictines - green cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese and onions - were created in the 1890s by Jennie C. Benedict, a caterer in Louisville.  Although she wrote two cookbooks, neither contained her famous recipe.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mint Juleps for the Kentucky Derby

The drink of the Kentucky Derby is the sweet refreshing Mint Julep.  If you go to Churchill Downs, the Mint Juleps are served in yearly glass glasses.  More Derby dishes HERE. A British visitor in 1839 described the drink. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fire at Edwards' Ham Company

I just learned about the devastating fire so I'm reposting a 2009 article on curing hams at Colonial Williamsburg, Edwards' and in period books.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Flowers on the table - in Jelly

Jelly made from boiled flowers - violets, roses, orange flowers -  are a step beyond grapes or strawberries.  And also recipes to suspend flowers in jelly...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Thomas Jefferson's charming invitation to Richard Peters of Belmont Mansion

"Call on me whenever you come to town [Philadelphia], and if it should be about the hour of three, I shall rejoice the more. You will find a bad dinner, a good glass of wine, and a host thankful for your favour and desirous of encouraging repetitions of it, without number, form, or ceremony.”  More on Belmont and its elaborate gardens and woods...

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sesquicentennial of Jane Gilmor Howard's HUGE million dollar relief fair

150 years ago on April 2, 1866 the ten day fair of the Ladies’ Southern Relief Association began in Baltimore. The President "Mrs. B. C. Howard" and her hardworking crew raised and distributed over $160,000 (that's $2.3 million! 2016) for starving Southerners.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jellies whipped or with whipped cream or ice cream

Three recipes to beat jelly to a froth, like the old Jell-O dessert - except from two centuries ago, and the jelly is made from isinglass, hartshorn, or calves' feet. Or just fill with whipped cream or ICE cream...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Chopping onions in a wooden tub, 1646

Chopping a TON of onions and nary a tear.  The shallow wooden tub makes a marvelous cutting board with retaining sides.  George IV purchased the painting "Girl Chopping Onions" by Gerrit Dou (from the Dutch city of Leiden) which is now at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Day of Dining at Doughoregan with Charles Carroll of Carrolton

Charles Carroll (1737-1832) walked to his bath house every morning at 4 AM (more here) and at 8:00 had a breakfast of coffee, tea and chocolate, 2 inch thick johnnycakes, cornmeal pancakes the British visitor called 'cookies', ham shavings and herring.  Then dinner at 3:00 and tea at 7:00... 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Food history conferences, symposiums 2016

8 conferences or symposiums (so far) with half in the UK; Brussels, Melbourne; NYC and Williamsburg-

Monday, February 22, 2016

A 17th century home with brick oven for beans

Considered the oldest wood frame home in America, the Jonathan Fairbank's kitchen was described in 1876 when the home was still lived in by descendants of the owner.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

President Monroe's Waverly Jumbles ... or not

A few books and blogs have included President Monroe's favorite cookie - Waverly Jumbles.  Trouble is... the recipe first appeared 40 years after he died. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kinklings, Fastnachts, Donuts

'Fat Tuesday' (Mardi Gras) or 'Shrove Tuesday' was when all the excess fat was to be consumed before Lent started on Wednesday. Thus cooks in the German (Pa. Dutch) areas made doughnuts called faschnauts, fast nachts and numerous other spellings.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Frozen pump pipes

What to do if your water pump is frozen and the pump handle is 'immovable' when temps are 15 below zero?  A Massachusetts author should know...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Robert Burns' birthday and birthplace kitchen

On January 25, 1759 the great Robert Burns was born in the bed on the right side of the kitchen which became an ale-house and is now a museum.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mustard and a redhot poker

So why did the following two mustard recipes (one by the famed Alexis Soyer), use a hot fireplace poker?  The poker's heat was supposed to remove some of the 'acrimony' and water, thus making room in the mustard pot to top with a little vinegar.  Mustard made in this fashion kept well and "improves with age."

Monday, January 11, 2016

Black Monday - return to school after 12 days of Christmas holidays

What to send on the journey back to school? In this image from Georgian England it is a whole cake and apples. The days from Christmas through Twelfth Night were full of food and celebration, and no work.  Followed by Distaff Day, when women began spinning (with its distaff) flax, and the men start working until they stopped to burn the flax so the women threw water on them (image below). Now, back to crying students and Black Monday...

Monday, January 4, 2016

Twelfth Night characters on paper

Instead of a bean or coin in a cake, picking a paper from a hat to decide the king, and the women selected from a reticule (or bag) for queen and other roles was a 'role playing' game for Twelfth Night celebrations.  The rules as described in Revel's Winter Evening Pastimes, 1825 and examples from the 'sheets' are shown below. Figure on left is probably a cook, from the sheet, also below. Past posts on 12th Night HERE

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year's Eve party... just for the guys

Celebrating the New Year are a group of men solemnly watching the clock, then at 12:00, the bells in the neighborhood ring out and a cheer is raised among them.  No kissing at midnight...

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Christmas dinner in antebellum Virginia

Bowls of calves foot jelly - like Saint Nicholas's belly.  Weeks spent preparing, such as the fruits for the "big fruit cake" and other treats.  On the table were a variety of traditional dishes: flaming plum pudding, egg shaped blanc mange on a nest of "thinly shaved lemon peel," turkey and pork or venison, calf's head or turtle soup, apple toddy and wines.