Monday, November 12, 2018

Happy 300th New Orleans - 1800s beignets, coffee and the French Market

After her husband traveled to New Orleans in 1850 (he missed Cafe du Monde, 1861), Jane Gilmor Howard (Mrs. B.C. Howard) included a recipe for beignets deep fried in lard in her Fifty years in a Maryland Kitchen cookbook, 1873. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

World War I - 100 years ago - rolling kitchen

This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War.  The photograph shows a World War I rolling kitchen from 1918.  Library of Congress: "Machine Gun Battalion, Company G, Second Brigade, rolling kitchen. Hermitage, France. March 11, 1918."

Monday, October 29, 2018

All-Hallow Eve games in Scotland: Snap-apple and bobbing for apples

Over the years I have written about various Halloween games, but my favorite is Snap-apple HERE - not that I would try it... The following 1871 excerpt described "the simple Halloween amusement commenced in the kitchen," snap-apple and diving for apples.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Buckwheat Honey for Honey Gingerbread

Dijon, France produced 60,000 pounds of buckwheat honey - very dark and too strong for "table use" but perfect for gingerbread, according to The British Bee Journal of 1906.  Other types of honey would sink after the gingerbread had risen.  However, a British author in 1848 wrote that the "French, whose gingerbread is vile stuff, use honey instead of treacle."  Recipes for honey gingerbread - medieval to early 20th - near end of post.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Milk cellars in the 1840s

By the 1840s  "cellars under houses... are coming to be preferred for the purpose of keeping milk to either milk-houses, milk-vaults, or even spring-houses."  In Delaware "dairymen charged higher price for 'cellar butter.'"  The picture is from 1873 North Carolina.

Monday, October 8, 2018

English store-room

The storeroom described in the 1835 book The English Housekeeper was to be kept dry by a flue from the kitchen fire.  Open shelves for preserves, flour, rice, "jars with closely fitting lids, for tea, sugar, coffee, cocoa, mustard, pepper, spices", hanging shelf, linen press, candles and soap...

Curiously, peas, gooseberries and dried fruit filled bottles were placed "with their necks downwards" in holes cut into shelves to exclude air.  Anyone heard of this before?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Selling cook stoves was like selling... new and used cars


"Horse trading is not to be compared to it" was how an 1888 article in a trade journal described closing the deal on a new stove where dealers were forced to buy the old one.

Which to buy... each family member wants something different. Yearly new features and "the neighbors' stoves are brought up for comparison."

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Farm - plowing, sowing, reaping, thrashing, winnowing and milling

This interesting farm image with tools is from a book published in London by 1844. Closeup of the sketches (click to enlarge) and description follow...

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wafers, Gaufres, Cornets, Cones & wafer irons on a stove

1630s thin "wafer biscuits" (left), "Fine French Wafers", "gaufres Cigarettes,"  Cornet (cone) or Horn Gaufres were baked in thin wafer irons and eaten flat or rolled. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fortune Cookies and Eliza Leslie's 'Secrets' with hidden messages

Kata irons made a 19th century Japanese cookie, a precursor to the Fortune Cookie.  More information - including a nice slide show -  available at the links below.  Thin wafers rolled into cylinders or cones.

And the Secrets?  Wrap nuts or sweets with a verse on a paper in colorful glazed paper.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Cheese Toaster for Welsh Rarebit ... or Rabbit

"Cheese Toaster with double bottom for hot water" image from Bishop, 1852. 

A Toasted Cheese or Scotch sandwich, when mustard was added, became a Welsh-rabbit (described in 1827 book). 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Shoo fly! Protecting food on the table - Punkhas, fly covers, meat safes

Flies were a nuisance and a danger, such as "fly blown" - flies leaving eggs on meat which turned into maggots.  Punkas - large fans suspended from the ceiling moved by a cord - were popular in India and the American South.  Other methods described below included meat safes, dish (fly) covers, cloth over milk, meat or windows; spices or chemicals.  Painting from 1637 depicts a fly on the bread.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cavendish bananas, the Duke of Devonshire & Sir Joseph Paxton

Sir Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) was the gardener at Chatsworth House for 30+ years, built it’s Great Conservatory (left, 1830s) and later built the famed Crystal Palace in 1851. He named this variety of banana after his employer, William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1790-1858). Queen Victoria visited...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Neapolitan Cakes

While people may know about the tri-colored Neapolitan ice cream (past post HERE) there once was a notable layer cake.  Neapolitan Cakes were showy multilayer cakes of bright colors, different flavors and icings for each layer. Same name, but an 1846 cake of 12 thin layers with whipped cream up the center was created by Queen Victoria's chef Francatelli, left.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Neapolitan or Harlequin ice cream

The tri-colored Neapolitan ice cream was/is generally white, pink/red and chocolate like the 1806 Naples flag or other colors.  Add pistachio ice cream to make Harlequin ice cream.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Selling Ice Cream in 1850s Philadelphia - Street criers, Saloons, Parkinson, and Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton - not the Sir Isaac one - was a farmer, owned an ice cream saloon, and later became the first Commissioner (Director) of the Dept. of Agriculture in DC, created by Lincoln in 1862. He was a competitor of the more famous Parkinson family: Eleanor wrote a cookbook in 1844 and opened a saloon in 1818, and her son James a famed restaurateur, created a $1000 dinner, and for 20 years wrote in the Confectioners' Journal.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Moravian meals... "the piece" in the morning

Moravians started a community in Bethlehem, Pa. in 1741.   The members gathered several times a day to eat: breakfast at 6, "the piece" or mid-morning lunch/snack at 9, dinner at noon, vespers at 2, and supper at 6.  In 1906 Pennsylvania "the piece" was still kept and reluctantly allowed in the coal mines.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Nesselrode Pudding (ice cream) created by Careme... or was it Mony?

The story goes that the renowned French chef Careme created this ice cream for Russian statesman Nesselrode in 1814 after Napoleon's defeat.  In 1828 Careme tried to gain credit saying his boiled chestnut pudding inspired a Parisian chef Mr. Mony (or Monni, Nesselrode's cook).  It worked and Mony was forgotten for 30 years until his recipe was in Gouffe's cookbook; and now is mostly forgotten.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Maryland crabs ... before Old Bay

In 1939, Gustav Brunn fled Germany and then developed the Old Bay crab seasoning - celery salt, peppers, paprika and secret spices - in Baltimore. Some spices used in 1800s Maryland recipes were nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, mace, cloves, and allspice. Photo of 1906 crab pickers.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Medieval crab recipes and 1723 recipes for crabs with dates, ginger, pistachios....


Nott in 1723 added all sorts of fruit, spices, nuts and veggies to 10 crab recipes: dates, grapes, oranges, barberries, gooseberries, ginger, mace, cinnamon, fennel, artichoke bottoms, asparagus, almond paste, pistachios, pine nuts, fried parsley, raw or hard egg yolks, wine, vinegar and butter.
Two Medieval crabbe recipes simply boiled or baked the crab then served it cold with vinegar; or with cinnamon, sugar, vinegar and butter upon a chaffing dish.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Cheseapeake crabs in 1850 Philadelphia, & Crabs in 17th and 19th century Britain

"Crab Crab any Crab" in the flat basket from 1688 Cryes of the city of London .  A second street seller with a wheel-barrel "Crabs! Crabs Alive!" in 1850 City Cries of Philadelphia (where a crab has caught a boy).  How a monkey catches crabs, crabs from Norway, and British crab-pots...

Monday, June 4, 2018

Taking the cook stove out of the kitchen for the summer ... then putting up the stove

If there was no out-kitchen (later called summer kitchen HERE) cooking stoves were moved out to the porch, lean-to shed, woodshed or someplace "fire-proof" to keep the kitchen cooler in the summer. Then comes the fall and the daunting task of "putting up stoves." 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Crimean War steamers Abundance (bakery) and Bruiser (flour mill)

The famed cook Alexis Soyer (1810-1858) wrote Soyer's Culinary Campaign (1857) about his experiences to improve the cooking and baking for the British Soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-56).  Floating bakeries on ships were described at length; from "working of the flour" to 15+ thousand rations baked each day.  More on floating mills HERE

Monday, May 21, 2018

Chicken coops in the kitchen

"1 wire chicken coop" was listed in a July 1818 kitchen inventory of the Virginia Governor's mansion, in the center of Richmond (Gov. James Patton Preston). 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Other Black eyed Susan recipes for the Preakness

The Preakness Stakes, "second leg" of horse racing's Triple Crown, features Maryland's state flower as the winner's horse blanket and a drink (though not as famous as the Kentucky Derby's Mint Julep).  An 1827 pudding from Domestic Economy and Cookery... receipts for sea-faring men... was probably named for a 1720 poem and later song about a sailor's goodbye.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Cafe Procope - limonadier opened in 1686 Paris

The first successful cafe in Paris sold lemonade, liquor, coffee, ices... and was across from the state theater Comedie Francaise. Its many famous patrons included Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Marat, Robespierre, George Sand and Benjamin Franklin.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Dandelion wine and dandelion salad with hot bacon dressing

Anyone tired of seeing the sunny yellow flowers in their lawn?  If you have a big yard with dandelions away from a road... and don't use chemicals... you can eat the leaves you weed (or just buy from store). My grandmother made  bacon salad dressing on dandelion leaves.  Tom Martin, who was at Landis Valley museum for years, HERE made a terrific version, which is in the cookbook and below.  Recently someone made dandelion wine, which was very sweet... so yes it was a good cordial.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Flour as a war target

In April 1861 the Civil War was started when Ft. Sumter was attacked. The tale from the Revolutionary War, below, from an 1831 children's book, describes how a miller trickily did not lie while protecting barrels of flour from the British.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Secret communal bread ovens during the French Revolution

Some revolutionary period bake ovens still remain in the Dordogne area.  Before the French Revolution began in 1789, rural ovens were owned by the wealthy overlords, then clandestine ovens were built in the woods to feed the peasants.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Birds in the kitchen: 16th through 18th century bird cages

There are several paintings... particularly from the 1600s... showing bird cages in the kitchen and taverns. Many of the paintings by the Dutch painter Jan Steen included bird cages. The late 18th cen. cage, left, has a marvelous water glass.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Left over jelly made into drinks

Two jelly drink recipes made when "jams or jellies are too old" for "table use" contain vinegar and soda for effervescence - Beecher, 1850 or the later, 1884 recipe is just jelly stirred in water and sugar.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Easter scratched egg with the Battle of Bunker Hill

Germans in Pennsylvania and Maryland dyed their eggs in brown onion skins or logwood, then scratched designs on the shells to give as gifts. A young Capt. Wm Beatty carved the Battle of Bunker Hill on an egg!! The fabulous design was described by a British officer prisoner in 1781 Frederick, Md. Eggs in photo were made by Tom Martin of Landis Valley museum.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Stew stoves (or stewing stoves) in two Hamptons

Hampton, north of Baltimore, was the large home of the wealthy Ridgely family  completed in 1790.  The more well-known Hampton Court Palace, west of London, contains the huge kitchen complex of King Henry VIII (1491-1547).

Monday, March 5, 2018

Food History Conferences, Symposiums, Exhibits and Writings 2018

Symposiums in England (Leeds, Oxford), Amsterdam, Australia and USA.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Native Americans making maple sugar described by Chateaubriand

Chateaubriand - the vicomte not his steak - left France in 1791 during the Revolution to spend a year in America.  In his book, published in 1826, he described how the native Americans gathered, then boiled the maple sap into syrup, ending as small cones of sugar. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Apple Tansey


Fried apple slices dipped in a batter of eggs, cream, sugar, nutmeg and rosewater or apples chopped fine in a batter thickened with flour are delicious fried.  Tanseys are an old recipe, and appear in cookbooks by La Varenne (1673), Smith (1730) and cooking manuscripts from the 1600s (William Penn's wife and Martha Washington's Custis inlaws - both their apple recipes are delicious).  The herb 'tansey' is no longer used in the recipe, but the name lives on.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Tortillas made in 1800s Mexico and Hondorus

The Mexican women are grinding, forming and baking tortillas in 1835 Mexico.  The description of making tortillas, below, is in a book on Honduras published two decades later.

Monday, February 5, 2018

"Tiddy-Doll" - famous London gingerbread street vendor

The flamboyant seller of gingerbread was "hailed as the King of itinerant tradesmen."  Dressing "like a person of rank" the tall Ford (his real name) wore gold lace, white stockings and a white apron.  He would harangue the audience at "fairs, mob meetings, Lord Mayor's shows, public executions" and holiday festivities; and include in his 'cries' Tiddy tiddy dol.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Andrew Jackson's Great Cheese Levee

Jefferson was given a 1,600 pound cheese from Cheshire, Mass. Every farmer brought his curd to be poured into a large cider press to make the huge variegated cheese.  A large round of cheese from New York was given to President Jackson, kept in the vestibule of the White House and finally cut in 1837.  "The air was redolent with cheese, the carpet was slippery with cheese."

Monday, January 22, 2018

Queen of the Kitchen: a collection of old Maryland receipts by Miss Tyson

In 1870, a charity cookbook was compiled by "Miss Tyson" to fund a new church building for the Protestant Episcopal Church in Oakland (western Maryland).  The first edition was so successful that the church building was built.  Enlarged and no longer for charity, the cookbook went through three more editions by a publisher in Philadelphia.  So who was "M. L. Tyson"?

Monday, January 15, 2018

James Hemings turns down Thomas Jefferson

In 1801, newly elected Thomas Jefferson wanted his former (freed in 1796) slave James Hemings (1765-1801) as his presidential chef, but Hemings wanted Jefferson to contact him personally and said he was busy with an engagement with Mr. Peck, a "Tavern Keeper" in Baltimore.  William Evans, the owner of the Indian Queen, a block away on the same street as Peck's Columbian hotel, was the go-between for Jefferson and Hemings. James had accompanied Jefferson to France where he took lessons on French cooking. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Francatelli bombs

In last year's first season of the TV series "Victoria," chef Francatelli created a Bombe Suprise from ice cream and chocolate.  The real chef included a list of bombs in his Royal English and Foreign Confectioner, 1862.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bonbons - gifts on New Year's Day in France

It was the custom in 18th & 19th cen. France for people to visit their relatives and friends with gifts of bonbons very early on New Year's Day. The containers varied from paper to elaborate hollowed vegetables, fruit, books, balloon even lobster made of confectionery.  These gifts could add up. "Parisian of 8,000 franc a year to make presents on New Year's Day which cost him a fifteenth part of his income."