Monday, June 10, 2019

"When they fall ill -- of course they must"

This 1861 sketch "dining under difficulties" depicted the large hoop skirt dilemma; but food "dripping with grease," bread made with "strong alkalies" and twenty dishes at breakfast lead to taking "loads of all the medicines."

Monday, June 3, 2019

19th century Strawberry Parties

During strawberry season the demand "is enormous" and in an 1857 article they sold for 12 or 15 cents a quart so "even the moderately rich buy berries daily." Maryland Strawberry Parties 1831-2 and Jane Austen

Monday, May 27, 2019

Military campaign chairs and tables

Years ago I wrote a post on Army tables and chairs with creative ways to close and transport on mules or wagons during the Rev War and Civil War ... 39 examples HERE

Monday, May 20, 2019

1607 Italian book with mills powered by water and animals

For those of us who like mechanical devices - check out Vittorio Zonca’s (1568-1603)  Novo Teatro Di Machine Et Edificii.   Padoua: 1607.  Click to enlarge.  

Monday, May 13, 2019

Macaroni sellers in Naples, Italy - 18th and 19th centuries

Visitors to Naples noted the "great coppers filled with macaroni ready prepared, sprinkled over with cheese" and customers "taking it securely between the finger and thumb, they raise it very high, and let it fall into the mouth." The Naples area produced the best pasta - either "by their skilful method of compounding and kneading the flour, or from some peculiar excellence in the water and climate."

Monday, May 6, 2019

Dolly Varden Cake

This cake was named for a Dickens character in an 1839 novel and the ensuing 1870s dress style.  The earliest recipe, in 1877, had four layers - chocolate, white (egg whites), rose (cochineal), and yellow (egg yolks) - with frosting.  The new cake had appeared in several state fair lists in 1876.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Advice from the creator of Kentucky Derby Benedictine sandwiches - Jennie C. Benedict

Virginia "Jennie" Carter Benedict (1860-1928) created Benedictines - the green cucumber sandwich common at Kentucky Derby parties.  In the late 1890s she was forced to earn a living and rapidly developed her cooking business.  She wrote two cookbooks, both contained advice for women wanting to enter the cooking profession.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Mary Randolph's refrigerator described by Harriott Pinckney Horry in 1815

On the trip north from her South Carolina plantation the 67 year old made a point to stay at "Mrs. Randolph's" - a renowned boarding house.  It was full, but Mr. Otis (from Boston) gave up his room and Horry was able to write in her journal about the refrigerator and a table fan.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hot-cross Buns - 100,000 sold on one day in London

Once sold on the streets on Good Friday, the buns, marked with a cross on top, are now remembered as a nursery rhyme "One-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot-cross buns!" In 1851 "500 persons" sold the buns on the street that one day. Another author, in 1825, lamented that "some thirty or forty years ago pastrycooks and bakers vied with each other for excellence in making hot-cross-buns; the demand has decreased, and so has the quality of the buns."

Monday, April 8, 2019

Piping icing through paper cornets or ox guts

In an early (1842) detailed description to pipe icing onto cakes, paper was rolled into a cone, and the end was cut.  In addition to "stout foolscap paper" the author also used small bags made of "gut of the ox" with tin tips.  Urbain Dubois noted in his Artistic Cookery, 1870, that "icing-sugar, squeezed through a cornet" was an "innovation of rather recent date" and kept secret, which he learned in the 1840s in Rome.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Large scale pasta production in 1767

A Frenchman, Paul-Jacques Malouin (1701-1778) wrote a detailed (over 300 pages) book Description et d├ętails des arts du meunier: du vermicelier et du boulenger - about the pasta maker and baker - with marvelous images.  The hard manual labor was eased somewhat by rotating a pole connected by rope to the pasta press bar and by jumping up and down on a pole to knead the dough (similar to 1638 biscuit break).

Monday, March 18, 2019

1911 Macaroni machine

Huge macaroni machine in 1911 as compared with Jefferson's smaller version a hundred years before (below, more HERE ); from Artemas Ward's The Grocer's Encyclopedia. NY: 1911

Monday, March 11, 2019

Thomas Jefferson's Maccaroni machine


While in France, Jefferson ordered William Short (who was for a time his personal secretary) to buy a macaroni (Jefferson spelled it maccaroni) machine from Naples which eventually was shipped to America.  Their correspondence and Jefferson's drawings are below.  Click to enlarge

Friday, March 1, 2019

2 prong forks

When the wider silver folks came out some continued to eat with two prong steel forks or knife. An American defended "that Americans have as good a right to their own fashions" and to eat off a knife in 1837.  Even 15 years later a British visitor remarked on the habits of Baltimore women still using two prong forks.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Pepper pot street sellers in 1811, 1850 Philadelphia; 18th & 19th century recipes

The peppery soup of tripe (stomach lining), meats and vegetables was very popular in Philadelphia.  So popular, that later recipes were labeled "Philadelphia Pepper Pot" in cookbooks not published in Phila.  British recipes for the dish "sort of clear-larder" of seasonal or leftover veggies; meats and even seafood (but no tripe), then highly seasoned with pepper. The Dutch (pepper trade) and Virginia Housewife connection?

Monday, February 11, 2019

"America Eats Project" of the 1930's Great Depression

"What America Ate, Preserving America’s Culinary History from the Great Depression" - is an interactive website and digitized archive of cookbooks, letters, recipes written during the Depression. MSU (Michigan State University) and National Endowment for the Humanities gathered the scattered materials made for the government's “America Eats Project” during the Depression of the 1930s

HERE

Monday, February 4, 2019

Medieval Gyngerbrede

Honey - a lot of honey - is boiled, foam removed, spices and dried bread crumbs incorporated, then pressed or rolled flat. Cut into hard (firm) slices. It's not cake-like.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Francatelli's special dinner using Liebig's Extract of Meat 1869

Once the chef for Queen Victoria (from 1840 to 1842), the Reform Club, the Prince of Wales and others, Charles Elme Francatelli (1805-1876) became the manager of the St. James's hotel when it opened in 1863. Among his many banquets was one to introduce Liebig's extract as a substitute for beef stock.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Smoke jacks

So how did they work?  Leonardo da Vinci sketched one in the 1480s; the one on left is from the 1600s. The smoke jack was attached in the throat of a chimney so the rising smoke and hot air would move the fan on a shaft (like blowing a windmill spinner toy), causing the gear and plate to rotate, thus moving the wheel attached by chains to the wheel on each spit.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Federal-era kitchen apparatus in Gadsby's Indian Queen Hotel, Baltimore

By 1815, Gadsby's Indian Queen Hotel had state-of-the-art kitchen equipment: a "patent oven" (metal wall oven), "steam for boiling" (steam kitchens), "stoves set in brick" (stew stoves), and smoke jacks to turn meat on spits and a coffee roaster.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Food history symposiums, conferences 2019

Along with the symposiums, there is an opportunity to apply for a paid summer fellowship at the cookbook collection of Michigan State University, and an exhibit at the Folger in DC.