Monday, February 24, 2020

Making butter yellow

Winter butter was pale, but was enhanced with carrot juice, marigold, annato, turmeric and even egg yolks for selling in the cities.  "No one in the country will eat colored butter in winter except as the milk colors it."  The taste and color naturally improved when the cows ate grass instead of their winter diet of hay. More on grass butter HERE

Monday, February 17, 2020

Rumford Roaster for sale

How great would it be to own a c200 year old Rumford Roaster!  This Rumford Roaster, made by Elijah Fuller of Salem, was originally in an 18th century house in Peabody MA, and was working into the late 20th century; the home was demolished and the oven was saved and installed in a new house. Again removed and stored, the current owner hopes it will be used and appreciated once again.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Chickens roosting in trees

Although there are many images of chicken ladders in Germany, HERE I haven’t seen a chicken ladder going into a tree...until recently.  The photo was taken the first two decades of the 1900s on a farm in southern Monroe County, Pa.  In the few writings about the pros and cons of chickens in trees, only one mentioned to "place something" for the chickens to get to the branches.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Robert Roberts - author, abolitionist, butler

Robert Roberts (c1777-1860) was a free African American who wrote the marvelous The House Servant's Directory in 1827. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Bitter butter in winter

Without a steady means of refrigeration, butter could be bitter in the winter if (according to 18th and 19th century sources) ... the milk froze then thawed, the cream was not skimmed off the milk in time, uneven turning of the barrel churn... or if the cattle ate ash tree leaves at "Michaelmas time" (Sept. 29).

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hercules Posey - George Washington's celebrity chef - new news

Five years ago I did a post on this gifted slave who escaped to freedom on Washington's birthday and was never found.  Well, now he has been found, but his image is lost.  The striking portrait by Gilbert Stuart was not of Hercules nor by Stuart.  The "toque" was actually a West Indian headdress. Hercules lived and was buried in New York City and he has dates! 1748-1812

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Twelfth Night waffles of Dutch painter Jan Steen

Instead of a Twelfth Night Cake, waffles were among the holiday's foods in the 17th century, painted by Jan Steen (1626-1679). Click on picture to enlarge

Monday, December 30, 2019

Presents for landlords at New Years, Lent, Midsummer, Michaelmas, Christmas in the 16th century

Poets described the food that tenants gave to their landlords: capon at New Years, fish for Lent, fowl at Midsummer [June 24], goose at Michaelmas [Sept 29], and a capon at Christmas "for fear their lease fly loose" - lose their lease.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Lebkuchen - German honey gingerbread for Christmas

19th century dough for these highly spiced honey cakes (cookies) was "rested" for months to improve the flavor and texture.1553 recipe; 1698 & c1520 images

Monday, December 16, 2019

16th century “Christmas Husbandly Fare” poem

Thomas Tusser (1524-1580) composed a poem of activities through the year, including a Christmas dinner of beef, mutton, pork, shred pies [mince], turkey, brawn pudding, souse, mustard and more...

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cider making in Devonshire, 1850

An article in the Dec 14, 1850 Illustrated London News described the gathering of apples and the mills for producing cider.  In 1820 over 12,200 hogsheads of Devon cider were shipped, double that amount in 1828.  Farm laborers were given 3 pints a day.    

Monday, December 2, 2019

Le marchand de marrons - roasted chestnut sellers

In the fall and winter, chestnuts were roasted in a “huge iron apparatus...cooking a bushel at a time" or on "charcoal-pans" on the street.  Images of French vendors.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Thanksgiving at Washington Market, New York City

Opened in 1812, Washington Market remained an extremely busy complex; by the 1860s its many buildings were "battered" and by the 1960s they were demolished. Thanksgiving Eve was packed with shoppers for turkeys.

Monday, November 18, 2019

400 turkeys walking to Washington City (D.C.) market in 1826

“A drove of turkeys amounting to nearly four hundred from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania just now passed the door on their way to Washington City. They go at the rate of 8 miles per day. Saturday February 4th 1826 8 o'clock AM"

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."