Sunday, December 26, 2021

Egg Nog - setting the story straight

George Washington personally wrote the following recipe? "...fold slowly into mixture... Taste frequently." No. Another false claim is that a travellor wrote in 1796 that egg nog was served at breakfast in City Tavern, Phila. No, in Maryland. Thanks to the internet, WAY too many bloggers and book authors are blindly passing these modern tales on.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Pa. German Christmas and New Years traditions

This Tuesday, Landis Valley Museum staff will do a talk on the Pa. German customs for Christmas and New Years. Below is an 1853 account of Krishkinkle, stockings with sugar plums, and for those who are bad... a visit from Belsnickel. Also baking cookies for Christmas at Landis.

Have a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Alexis Soyer - more than just a celebrity chef

What a Renaissance Man Chef! -- humanitarian (Irish Famine and later he literally shortened his life by going to Crimea to help organize feeding the UK troops during the Crimean War), designer of cooking apparatus (camp stove for army, Reform Club kitchen, soup kitchen), cookbook author, promoter, writer... oh yes, and a chef. And, as seen in the image, a tad flamboyant.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

From bones to diet to migration via Isotopes

Isotopic analysis on bones (humans and animals) can determine what they ate and where they were raised. So even when buried elsewhere, such as Jamestown, their earlier home and foods can be determined. Amazing.
A couple talks explain the proceedure and its importance to learning about the food and migration of our ancestors.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Christmas talks 2021 and taped talks

Christmas – dinner by Annie Gray(De3) food & drink(1) feast in art(22) at sea(7) London railways(16) among enslaved(15) family recipes(2) Roman origins(2) Pagan festivals(20) Medieval(7,10) Georgian/ Regency(19,22) Victorian(8,15) WWII (16) Mid 1900s(6) Britain (8,9,10,17) Wales(9,16) Canada(5,12) US(9,11,15,16,20) New Eng(9,14) Germany(12,14,17) Italy(12,15,18) France(18) Mexico(8)

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Yorkshire oat cakes 1814 & backstone / bakestone

Oat cake, Haver-cake, or Clap-bread were made very thin in Yorkshire. Costing one penny, the size of the ladle would change depending on the cost of the oats. Ladeled over dried meal on a board, put on bakestone, then on cloth, then hung on a creel.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Passing on your family recipes

It's Family Stories Month, so talks on kitchen tales (show and tell), share family traditions and recipes, Holiday Foods and Your Family History, Christmas festivities and family traditions, and talks on doing your family history. Its never too late to start collecting recipes and stories from relatives and writing them down.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Indigenous foodways talks

A wide variety of talks for Native American Heritage Month - Aztec coffee, na̓ʔk̓ʷulamən: Fishing and Hemp Rope, The Harvest Celebration of 1621, New Native Kitchen, and almost 30 taped talks...

Saturday, October 30, 2021

November holidays - Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Stir-up Sunday talks

400 years after the first 'Thanksgiving' dinner in 1621. Image for Veterans Day or Armistice Day on 11/11 - Union soldiers with a turkey wishbone after Thanksgiving meal in 1864 by Winslow Homer.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Halloween posts and talks

'Snap-apple Night' painting, 1833, shows several games - snap-apple, diving (duck/bobbing) for apples, and divining one's future. Also snapdragon, turnip lanterns, Colcannon Night, (Soule) Cake Night and Day of the Dead (Nov 2). Click to enlarge

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Korean foodways

There are several talks on Korean food coming up this week: Kimchi and the town Kimchi, temple foods, Harvest Festival, Korean food history, drinks and 3 course meals.Photo c1910-20, click to enlarge.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Baking over a fire in a "pot oven" or "cottage oven"

An interesting one minute film clip from 1950s or 60s Wales, shows a pot oven baking bread hung over a peat (turf) fire with coals. Chunks of burning peat are placed on the flat lid to bake. There is no lip along edge of the lid (so differs from dutch oven top). Excerpts mentioning Ireland and Scotland. Film clip below.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Farm fences – Stone walls, Hedgerows, Waddle fences

These endangered fences using rocks or trees/bushes should be preserved... or at least appreciated. There are several upcoming hedgerow talks and some very good talks on a variety of stone walls, that were taped.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Mustard seeds and vinegar makers in 1765

Mustard seed merchants had to wait until vinegar makers, who also made mustard, had inspected and chosen the seeds they wanted. Large scale mustard grinding from Diderot's encyclopedia. Upcoming talk on Colman, the "mustard king."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

German foodways - in Germany and US

German immigrant cookbooks, industrialization caused changes in German cheese production, and Octoberfest talks.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Peach Cordial 1845

Elizabeth Ellicott Lea's Cordial recipe was included in her slim first edition of 1845 and the enlarged 1846 and 1851 editions (reprinted for 40 years). Her Peach Cordial required peaches, sugar, brandy, mace and blanched peach kernels. Born in 1793 in Ellicott City, Maryland, Lea included many peach recipes, which have been great, as have her other recipes. I have not made a cake flavored with her Peach Cordial, yet.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Mexican foodways

National Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 to October 15.

There are many past tape talks on cookbooks, foods and Dia de los Muertos.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Cast iron and metal pot

This unusual cooking pot is not entirely cast iron. It has a cast iron bottom which extends 3/4" up the thinner metal body. Both sections feel and sound different, and are probably from a three part mold. My great grandmother used it on her wood stove or at the large stone hearth in an outbuilding on their eastern Penn. farm. Perhaps it's a transitional iron pot from hearth to cookstove?

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Edible England - national festival and UK talks

The theme for this year's Heritage Open Days is food and related topics, with online and in person activities throughout the country from Sept. 10 to 19.
Edible England search HERE and general information HERE

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Dining out - Restaurants, Diners, Fast food, Street food, Picnics, Trains and Taverns virtual talks

Tapes of talks on restaurant histories, types of restaurants, eating on trains and ships, WWII municipal restaurants ('British Restaurants') and Paris' Cabarets of Death.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

German Sweet Pickled Peaches

It's August, so yet another peach recipe from Maryland. Tyson's 1870 recipe called for equal amounts of vinegar and brown sugar, with cinnamon. Marylanders Howard's Peach Chutnee is equal, but Lea's Spiced Peaches used 4:1 sugar to vinegar. As for the German in the title...

Monday, August 9, 2021

Rice puddings

My grandmother's recipe, baked in her rice pudding bowl (left). Another baked for 4 hours adding milk every half hour until extremely thick. Or boiled around an apple in a cloth. Or a c1800 MD manuscript recipe boiled with suet. Or used rice flour. Or burnt rice...

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Bank Barns and taped barn & farm talks

The Bank Barn was set into a hill to allow the horse and wagon to enter the upper story to unload the hay, which would be dropped to the lower floor to feed the cows, horses, etc, who could exit on that level through doors under the overhang.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Feeding the poor and needy

Soyer's Soup Kitchens during Irish Famine (image) more HERE, Americans sending aid to Ireland in 1847 and Europe after WWI, workhouses, almshouses and other ways to help the poor.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Ice cream cone molds in the 1910s

An ice cream cone factory in 1917 Oklahoma depicts making the cones, and other images show various US patents. The metal molds were heated, thick batter poured in, then the top mold was lowered into the bottom.
This is a test email since the blog email server was switched. Click images to enlarge.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Change in delivery of blog posts

The service to send out emails for each new blog post is being discontinued. This came at a busy time for me, so I just picked a service that is supposed to be popular. Hopefully there will not be too much of a difference in emails when I switch over this week. Let me know if you don't get the emails. My blog, and the Calendar of food history talks (first on links list, right side), will stay at

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Beaten Biscuit Brake demo

This Friday there is a demo making Beaten Biscuits on an 1877 biscuit brake (not this pic), Cold Water Biscuits from Malinda Russell's cookbook. Just heard about it today... thanks Foodways Pilgrim for posting on Facebook!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Chinese foodways, restaurants

Several interesting upcoming talks - one on Chinese workers in early Napa Valley wineries, evolution of restaurants in Southern Cal, and China's eight regional cuisines. There have been many tapes on restaurants, tea, even chili peppers.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Whipped ice cream - Iced Froths or Mousses Glacees in 1869

Jules Gouffe (1807-1877) was born to a Parisian patisserie (pastry shop) owner and spent seven years with the great Careme.  In his 1869 cookbook he tried to popularize the lighter Iced Froths served in jelly glasses.  They were "superior to either Ices or Sorbets" during "this transition period" and thus "improve the indifferent quality of the refreshments now served at evening parties." The frothing stick and sieve were needed to make his 5 flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Strawberry, Maraschino and Almond Milk.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Fishing, River restoration, Seafood, Roman Fish Sauce (Garum) talks

World Ocean Day is June 8. As some may have noticed, a few of my monthly search terms involve fish, oysters and river restoration measures like old mill dam removal and removing weirs. This month there are 12 talks, including a virtual international Fish Passage Conference, archival films of Scottish fishing communities, environmental, and women herring packers travel around Scotland. Past taped talks include shrimpers, oysters, shad, and salmon.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Rations and Rationing

Memorial Day ... when we honor those who gave their lives so we can live free.

There have been many talks on rationing over the past year.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Virtual talks... a year ago

When I started gathering together a list of virtual talks, classes, readings last April, I never thought I would still be at it, and how much time it would take. This post will be on some of the Zooming pioneers who got us through the first few months with talks, tours, and cook/or bake-alongs.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Italian foodways in Italy and America

From Michelangelo to Scappi (image), from pasta to pizza to olive oil to many more subjects. And so many interesting talks were taped. Also Greek foodways talks.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Peat in Ireland for cooking, heating

Much manual labor was involved to get peat from a bog to the hearth. Slabs (like long bricks) were/are sliced off the bank by a special tool, then dried, turned, and dried until all surfaces were hardened and able to burn. Cooking over peat is shown in the picture An Irish farm kitchen with its open grate for peat. [1906]

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Women cookbook authors

Hannah Glasse vs Ann Cook, Margaret Dods was Christian Isobel Johnstone. Glasse (1708-1770), the most well known, published her first book The Art of Cookery in 1747. Cook's The Professed Cook came out in 1754 with her critique of Glasse. Johnstone (1781-1857) wrote The Cook and Housewife's Manual 1826, using the name of a character created by Sir Walter Scott in 1823. All will be explained in two upcoming talks, one by Ivan Day.

Monday, April 19, 2021


Scotch Whisky and Haggis (ofcourse), sowans, peat - harvested and used for cooking and now to flavor Whisky - are in upcoming and taped talks. One intriguing talk is on the potato famine in Scotland, when there was a revolt... over oatmeal. Another talk is on the Margaret Dods cookbook (which I have used and enjoyed) and its Sir Walter Scott connection. Future taped talks will be added to this post.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Victory Gardens, Plants, Farms and Barns talks

May and June 20 talks UPDATE. There were over 25 talks in April on Victory Gardens WWII (War Gardens WW1), Medieval & Colonial gardens, 2 on White House gardens, Indeginous food & plants and more. There are also many taped talks from the past year on gardens, seeds, sugar beets, Manoomin (Wild Rice), farms and a few on livestock and stone walls.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs also online talks

100,000 Hot Cross Buns were sold on one day - Good Friday - in London by 500 sellars in 1850. But already in 1825 "demand has decreased, and so has the quality of the buns." HERE

Easter Eggs were colored, scratched, left by a hare for some unknown reason, hunted, rolled, thrown and struck against another egg to see which cracked. HERE

Monday, March 15, 2021

Cooking on a barrel by a Venetian doughnut seller

A street seller is using part of a wooden barrel like a raised hearth. So. How did that work?

Jan van Grevenbroeck (1731-1807) lived in Venice, Italy and did this intriguing watercolor and ink drawing.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Irish food, famine, and drinks talks

St. Patrick's Day - March 17 - means lots of talks on Irish food, drinks and the Irish Potato Famine or the Great Hunger (1845-1852). An American ship brought relief. A new journal. And a new project - FoodCult.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Jewish foodways talks

The British Library has an exhibit Hebrew Manuscripts and The Great Big Jewish Food Fest really was great, with many taped talks.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Ice harvesting in 19th and 20th century America

Early 1900s films, recent tapes and zoom talk tapes show the various processes of ice harvesting on lakes and rivers: horse teams to plow the snow, score then saw the ice, then send the 'cakes' of ice up a conveyor into huge ice houses. It was done by small farmers to large scale operators, such as Bostonian Frederic Tudor the "Ice King" who shipped the New England ice to India.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Washington Cakes or Pies, Fat Tuesday donuts or pancakes

On Shrove Tuesday, it was a tradition for many Christians to use the last of the fat before Lent. In England it became Pancake Day and in some places the pancakes were tossed (1837 sketch). Germanic areas in Europe and the US made doughnuts, fachnachts, or kinklings - the last only in Frederick MD.
And for Washington's Birthday ... when Washington Pies were cakes. Three cakes named after our first president were: a cake with raisins & currants (1830 recipe), Pearl ash with brandy & spices (1837), and a yeast pancake (1842).

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Chocolate! ... virtual talks

Finally, chocolate talks. I've written blog posts on chocolate, in fact my first post was on Raffald's Chocolate Puffs, and other posts on Liotard, his 'La Belle Chocolatiere' used on this Baker's Chocolate cover. Here is a list of upcoming and taped past talks on chocolate, in time for Valentine's Day. Dr. Leni Sorenson is giving a talk on colonial chocolate in the Atlantic world and Dr. Leslie Goddard on more modern chocolate candies. So listen to the doctors (and the others) talk about chocolate!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

African American foodways virtual talks

There are many upcoming talks - 42 so far - and tapes of talks to celebrate Black History Month. Dolly Johnson (1852-1918), chief cook of the White House kitchen is pictured c1890. She started working for President Benjamin Harrison and stayed on. Andrian Miller will talk about his book The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: African American chefs who have fed the first families. Check out the variety of interesting talks -

Friday, January 29, 2021

Medical and culinary manuscripts digitized

Recipes and Remedies: Manuscript Cookbooks is a new Digital Collections & Exhibits website at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). Manuscript Cookbooks Survey is a great source to find manuscripts in libraries, his. soc. and museums.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Archive 2 - listing of past virtual food history talks Jan-Feb 2021

The first archive of links is filling up since several months had over 200 talks. The original calendar post will maintain the current month of virtual talks listing Calendar of virtual talks. This post is to "archive" all (including not taped) virtual talks on the events list from the past months.  Many talks are not taped (only a fourth of the talks are) and marked in red as Tape Those which are taped will be placed in the various categories when I have time. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Streaming from the hearth - virtual hearth cooking and baking in ovens

Some cooks and museums have done virtual demos of bake oven and cooking over the fire. But. There should be more! People are curious about the unusual activity, and it's a unique way to get donations. Links to tapes of hearth cooking and bake oven are below, and upcoming virtual demos.

So hearth cooks out there... grab your laptop or smart phone and share the fun you are having at the hearth.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Eating and sleeping in the Capitol at the start of the Civil War, April 1861

To honor our troops now sleeping on the floor of the US Capitol and visitor's center to protect it from another terrorist assault...

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Tea Talks

It is National Hot Tea Month with 15 talks. Saved the taped talks from 2020, 2021. Blog Post on Ice/Iced Tea HERE

Monday, January 4, 2021

Twelfth Night cakes in shop windows

Elaborate window displays for Twelfth-day cakes in bakeries and confectioneries, like this 1836 image, showed off a huge cake "on large and massy salvers" with many other sizes at the window and on shelves, lit by "argand-lamps and manifold wax-lights."