Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Plum Pudding

The 'Christmas' Plum Pudding during the Victorian Era became distinguished from the centuries old plum puddings. It contained rich ingredients, and many were served flaming. A few cookbook authors, such as the British chef Soyer, had a seperate Christmas section.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Egg Nogg Party

"Christmas in the South - Egg Nog Party" from Harper's Weekly, Dec. 31, 1870.  Links to recipes and literary references...

To Market, To Market ... baskets for chickens

A huge variety of baskets have been used over the centuries to take produce to market, as seen in this Market Scene from 1550 by Aertsen. Click on picture to see larger view with details of the baskets.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Virginia Hams

The James River and centuries old methods divide the Virginia hams prepared in Colonial Williamsburg from those by the Edwards’ Ham Company in Surry, Virginia. While the basic technique of salting and smoking to preserve meat is the same, Edwards is able to make use of modern technologies to replicate the seasonal process.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cranberry Sauce

Eliza Leslie included a recipe for Cranberry Sauce in 1840 using brown sugar.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lydia Child's Thanksgiving connection

Although Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) today is best known for her cookbooks, most people have sung "Over the river, and through the wood" which is taken from her poem "The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day" from Flowers for Children, II, 1845.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Researching at State Archives & County Courthouses

Each state archives contains copies or original records from local courthouses and other government agencies, but the years vary with each state. Be sure to check probate inventories (left) and other records...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cranberry harvesting (stealing) in 1864 New Jersey

Excerpt from: Edmund Morris. How to get a Farm, and where to find one. NY: 1864.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ivan Day's Dessert Tables

Ivan Day created a dessert table in two U.S. museums with his exquisite sugar creations and extensively researched food displays.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Museum libraries

Most museums contain a library available to the public. It may be one room in a small local museum or a large collection of books and manuscripts. Generally anyone may research their holdings, although a couple, the Folger (DC) and Huntington (CA) have restrictions.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Preserved Pumpkin Chips - 1840 & 1770

Pumpkins can be made into many other recipes other than pie. Be sure that they are of the 'eating' variety not field or jack-o-lanterns. These Chips are sweet preserves to accompany dishes or as a snack.  The 1840 recipe (and the modern interpretation) results in alot of water being taken out...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Gentlemen's Dinner - with ladies

At times, a Gentleman’s Dinner would be just that... only men such as a Social Club [as seen in painting The Dinner Party, Henry Sargent, c1821 in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston] or many dining establishments. Other times in private homes, the female family members might attend.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rose Geraniums

Rose Geranium leaves can be used to flavor jelly, cakes, sugar and other recipes. So too with other scented geraniums.... Nutmeg geranium makes a very nice jelly, as does Ginger.  In 1803...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Research at Historical Societies and Manuscript cookbooks in print

There is a wealth of information in historical societies, from large old state collections, such as Maryland’s, started in 1844, to a one room local county. The oldest, founded in 1791, is the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Below, is a list of manuscript cookbooks in print.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Gardener for the Kitchen Garden of the President's House

"I remember the towering rage displayed by Major Watt [in charge of garden] when Tad [Lincoln] ate up all the strawberries being forced for a state dinner. ...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Long titles for historic cookbooks

Early cookbooks had lengthy and informative titles so the potential buyer could readily see what the book contained. My favorite part of Simmons’ introduction is about the difference between “old people” and young - in 1798.

Monday, August 24, 2009

300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles by Linda Campbell Franklin

300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles is a must for any museum or cook. The almost 900 pages are filled with detailed information, period illustrations, modern photographs of items, and excerpts from historic books, magazines, trade journals, patents, and more.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Google Books

Google Books.  With thousands of cookbooks and many more related books, Google has become the largest collection of freely accessible e-texts, on any subject, on the web from the 18th century to the present.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken on a String

Several recipes describe cooking on a string, as does my modern interpretation at the end.  If the cotton twine is wrapped around the body correctly it will turn on its own without the cook twisting the string.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Peach Cobler or Peach Pot Pie

An interesting way to make a peach pot pie or cobbler is to roll out pie crust and line the sides of a stew pot or dutch oven.  Add the peach slices and top with crust.  Put the pot over the fire and the crust will be amazingly crispy.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Luis Melendez - Still Life: fruits, vegetables & cooking utensils

The superb still life paintings of Luis Melendez [1715-1780] depict tomatoes, melons, cauliflower, fish, bread, pomegranates, artichokes, fruits with cooking utensils, and the 18th century cork wine cooler.  Many are online...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Library of Congress

As the largest library in the world with 530 miles of bookshelves, LC’s collection of books, manuscripts, prints… anything and everything, is phenomenal. Cooking and related materials include eleven editions of Hannah Glasse’s Art of Cookery and two of her extremely rare Complete Confectioner, La Varenne, children’s cookbooks, handwritten receipt manuscripts, herbals, Diderot, other early encyclopedias, and much more.  The conveyor system, 1/4 mile of pneumatic tubes, history and collections are detailed...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Landis Valley Cookbook

The Landis Valley Cookbook: Pennsylvania German Foods and Traditions is back in print! The first edition in 1999 was terrific, and this is even better. The 2d edition contains over fifteen additional recipes, more of the pictures are in color (88), and the spiral inside the hard binding allows the book to lay flat when in use. ...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Raffald's Chocolate Puffs

To begin this blog, here is my modern interpretation of one of my favorite receipts [recipe]. It is easy to make, and is always among the samples for my chocolate talks. Raffald's 1786 recipe is very clear and easy to make.