Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Muffin Rings, Muffin Pans and Recipes

Initially muffins were what we call "English Muffins" - a yeast dough prepared on a griddle in muffin rings.  Later American recipes for a cake-like muffin used pans or cups.  Recipes for both types of muffins, below.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grated Pumpkin Pie

Early pumpkin pies were made from pureed or sliced pumpkin.  A third option was to use grated pumpkin. It is important to remove the excess liquid from the grated pumpkin, as described below, before making any of the pie recipes...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oranges filled with Jelly

Filling emptied orange rinds with jelly was a surprising change in serving 18th and 19th century jellies.  Here are a few recipes...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monroe Plateau Exhibit

The 14 1/2 foot mirrored plateau in 7 sections was bought by President Monroe in 1817 from Matelin in France.  It had "...16 Figures presenting wreathes for receiving lights [candles] and 16 cups for changing at will, composed of 7 pieces altogether 13 [14] feet 6 inches long, over 2 feet wide, set with its mirrors."  ...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ham 'n Hay

When boiling ham, hay would be placed in the bottom of a ham boiler. Ham cooked with hay would “…greatly improve the flavor” [Leslie, Eliza.  New Cookery Book.  Phila: 1857], and according to the Detroit Free Press cookbook in 1881, it “…mellows the taste, and keeps it from being burned.”   A third reason given was to absorb impurities ...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stuffed Pigs Ears - Forced Hogs Ears

There were several ways 18th century cooks prepared hog's ears. Two recipes to stuff the ears are given below.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gingerbread Rolls and Nuts

John Murrell, 1621 in his receipt for White Gingerbread said to "...roule it in round cakes and print it with your moulds..."  The gingerbread seller from the Cries of Paris, left, has some moulded cakes. In 1749, Charles Carter [below] suggested to shape the gingerbread dough "...into long rolls or cakes, as you please..."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flowers - To candy, to make paste, a conserve

While looking through Queen's Delight. London: 1683 in the LofC rare books room, I came across these interesting receipts using flower petals - a paste, conserve of Piony, and candied Rosemary flowers...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mary Foote Henderson's castle

There is an interesting illustrated article HERE about cookbook author Mary Foote Henderson's entertaining and her huge mansion, Boundary Castle, built in 1888 in DC. Not your average cookbook writer's home. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cup Cake

Some early cakes, such as "Queen's Cakes" [ more info here] were baked in small containers such as cups or small pans.   The name could have come from the measured ingredients 1,2,3,4 cups of butter, sugar, flour and 4 eggs. Much more information and recipes below...

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's Cooking Uncle Sam? exhibit at National Archives DC

historical poster that reads Uncle Sam says GARDEN to cut food costs - Ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture Washington, D.C. for a free bulletin on gardening - it's food for thought
What's Cooking Uncle Sam?  was an exhibit at the National Archives in Washington DC.  The Archives just hired a "Wikipedian in Residence"...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Monday egg roll, egg cracking & throwing

Cracking eggs competition in 1836 New York, a White House Egg Roll of 1874, and English Monday egg games in early 1800 are detailed.  Eggs have been decorated for centuries, with some intricate or memorable examples "preserved very carefully in the corner-cupboard ; each egg being the occupant of a deep, long-stemmed ale-glass...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cries of London on fore-edge painting

Wheatley's picture of a street seller carrying strawberries in pottles is actually on the fore-edge of a book of poems by William Cowper.  What's even more remarkable is there is a different picture if seen from back to front.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Queen Cakes and patty-pans

Queen's Cakes are little pound cakes with currants baked in small fluted pans.
So how did they get the name  - was there a particular Queen? Petty or Patty Pans could be large or small, china or tin, and huge numbers. Recipes given for the cake and icing...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beaten Corn Bread

While writing my research on Beaten Biscuits, I came across a recipe for Beaten Corn Bread, from WW1.  I have made beaten biscuits, but have not tried it using cornmeal.  It seems hard to believe cornmeal would work as the gluten in wheat does when beaten... 

Friday, March 18, 2011


Now is the time of year that Ramps begin to appear, and ramp festivals abound in West Virginia and surrounding mountain areas.  For a list of festivals and dinners go HERE , which also has links to information, recipes, etc.  An article on digging ramps is HERE .

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Maple sugar - Tapping the trees

Sugar Maple trees were tapped in several ways over the centuries as seen the the following excerpts.  the 17th cen gash, the spout and troughs, 1792, and 19th century spiles...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spun Sugar

Sugar was heated to "the crack" stage, then from a fork or spoon "rapidly throw it to and fro..." into some elaborate structures...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lincoln's inauguration meals

After Abraham Lincoln's first inauguration on March 4, 1861, he may have dined on Mock Turtle Soup, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Parsley Potatoes and Blackberry Pie.  Mock Turtle Soup is actually made from a calf's head, as seen in the recipe from Eliza Leslie's Directions for Cookery, below.  Mrs. Lincoln owned a copy of this book.

Friday, February 25, 2011

President's cakes, pies, jumbles and pudding

Numerous recipes have been named to honor the Presidents including Washington Cakes, which were discussed in a previous posting HERE. Period recipes for Washington Pie, Madison Cake, Jackson Jumbles, Harrison Cake, Tyler Pudding, and Lincoln Cake are given below.  ...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Washington Cake

There were at least three types of Washington Cakes in cookbooks - with raisins and currants, with soda and brandy, and with yeast. In 1838, a confectionery store displayed a Washington cake which they claimed weighed twenty-six hundred pounds. ...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maple sugaring - 1792

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Rush's fascinating pamphlet An Account of the Sugar Maple-tree, of the United States, and of the methods of obtaining Sugar from it, which may be viewed HERE or at the Library of Congress.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sugar Production, Sugar Mills, Sugar Plantations

A series of period images show the cutting of the sugar cane, various types of sugar mills on the plantations  (powered by oxen and others by water wheel).  Then the syrup was boiled down in cauldrons then into cones.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chocolate making equipment

Many period pictures and modern photographs show original and reproduction tools to make chocolate - roaster, metate, and chocolate pots.  Quotes from old books describe the process, and modern suggestions are given in the following post.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sugar Chest, Sugar Desk, Sugar Table

For bulk sugar storage, some beautiful pieces of furniture were made, particularly in the south.  Links to some detailed online articles [see below]. SUGAR CHEST at left.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mustard Flour, Mustard Pots, Mustard Casters

After 1720, the processing of the mustard seeds in a mill resulted in a fine flour - the flower of mustard - known commercially as Durham Mustard. Interesting story is below.  Later, when the processing moved to Leeds, the name Durham was retained. The mustard was sold as dry powder or as a "paste"...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mustard Balls and Cannon Balls

Mustard Balls were made from pounded mustard seeds, spices, and a binder such as wine, vinegar, honey or raisins. The balls were then dried in the sun or warm oven, and thus would "...keep better than mustard-seed or flour [ground mustard] at sea, and are easily dissolved." [Domestic, 1827] To use, thin pieces were sliced and soaked in vinegar, wine or verjuice. Tewkesbury was so famous for its mustard balls that Shakespeare mentioned it in a play. And cannon balls in the kitchen...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Home cooks in the past put bits and scraps of pork in a container and covered with grease/fat after each addition. It was a means of combining scraps and to preserve until ready to use...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Women and Medicine exhibit at the Folger, DC

Beyond Home Remedy: Women, Medicine, and Science exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library borrowed the manuscript book which Karen Hess used to make "Martha Washington's cookbook."  There is an audio tour, below.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hard Apple Cider

Several heirloom apple orchards offer hard cider workshops.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Molasses Stew

Marion Harland, the pseudonym of Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune, was born (1830) and raised in Virginia. When married she moved north and continued writing fiction, nonfiction and cookbooks. The following is an excerpt from her book, Marion Harland's Autobiography: the story of a long life, 1910. This continues the Candy pulls and Candy stew posting HERE