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.

This picture (click to enlarge) has always intrigued me, with one of my 'fluezies' - backstone or bakestone. But also with the batter so far from the cooking surface so not poured directly as we would crepes or pancakes. Several years ago, I finally found the accompanying pages which described the use of the board in her hand - like an oven peel to transfer it. Wooden peels feel so perfect when used in brick ovens, so I had to make a post about these oatcakes and their board. Though I wonder the consistancy of the batter to be able to ladle out then transfer off the board to the hot top.

Has anyone used this method to make oakcakes - swirling batter over the meal on a board, then transfering to hot surface?

Woman Making Oat Cakes.

"It is a very thin cake, composed of oatmeal and water only, and by no means unpalatable, particularly while it is new. The mixture is made of a proper consistence in a large bowl, and measured out for each cake by a ladle. As the price of an oat cake is invariably one penny, the size of the ladle of course depends upon the rate of meal in the market.
Some dry meal is sifted upon a flat board, and a ladle-full of the mixture poured over it. The cake is formed and brought to a proper size and thickness by a circular horizontal movement of the board…
It is then laid upon what is termed the Backstone, or hot hearth, to bake, which does not require many seconds of time, and afterwards placed upon a cloth to cool.

An inverted chair, as seen in the Plate, frequently serves this purpose.
The cakes are then hung upon a frame, called a Bread Creel, suspended from the ceiling of almost every cottage in the district."
1758 Bacon racks or Meat racks suspended like creel - past post HERE
The flue space within the bricks (probable path - grey line on image) would leave the fire box (ash box below it) and run around the niche or raised hearth section with the kettle on the side of the hearth and exit higher in the chimney. Maybe heating the niche's bricks slightly, like for brick 'warming ovens'.
Source: Walker, George. The Costume of Yorkshire. London: 1814 in NY Public Library

The actual utensils/tools, with images, to make oat cakes will be in a later post.

Oat cakes made by Scots going to battle on horseback with iron plate and bag of oatmeal. past post HERE

CALENDAR OF VIRTUAL FOOD HISTORY TALKS HERE

THIS WEEK'S TALKS

Stir up Sunday for Christmas pudding post HERE

Nov 21 Sun 5AM Stir-Up Sunday Christmas Pudding Preparation Cook Along. Waitrose & Partners Cookery School £5HERE

Nov 21 Sun 10-12 Historic Christmas Pudding. Eliza Acton 1830 recipe. Paul Couchman. The Regency Cook. £25.00 HERE

Nov 21 Sun 3 New Native Kitchen author Freddie Bitsoie. “the variety of flavor and culinary history on offer from coast to coast” Politics and Prose HERE

Nov 21 Sun 4 Prohibition and Repeal with Tammy Coxen, author of Cheers to Michigan. Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor HERE TAPE may be HERE

Nov 21 Sun 8 Thanksgiving Traditions and Mayhem at the Macy's Parade. History, food. Eleanor Schrader. L.A. Architecture and Art Tours. $8 and tape HERE

Nv 22 Mon 1-2:30 Plant Nurseries in England - Armstrongs Nursery of Hants. “Three generations of the Armstrong family of Hampshire: A nursery with links to Repton and Jane Austen, and a plant hunter in Australia and Timor by Sally Miller.” The Gardens Trust £5 HERE

Nv 22 Mon 7 Let’s Make Dumplings! “folding styles and fillings from across Asia, as well as dumpling lore.” authors Hugh Amano & Sarah Becan. The Westport Library CT HERE

Nov 22 Mon 7 Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques, and Traditions from Around the World. Sandor Katz (author) and Ann Yonetani. MOFAD $10 HERE

Nov 23 Tue 9AM Linnean Lens: Carl Linnaeus' Species Plantarum and Naming Nature. His 1753 book “and Linnaeus' personal herbarium contain both the information and the physical specimens upon which our understanding of important plants such as rice, foxglove and tomato… relationship between Linnaeus plant collecting and his writings.” Dr Mark Spencer. Linnean Society of London HERE TAPE may be HERE

Nov 23 Tue 10:30 AM Secrets of royal entertaining and style. Alexandra Messervy, William Hanson. The English Manner. £29.70 HERE

Nov 23 Tue 12:30-2 Human Capital and Empire: Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British Imperialism. “distinctive and different… role of Scots, Irish and Welsh within the English East India Company between c. 1690 and c. 1820.” Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies HERE

Nov 23 Tue 1:30 The Great British Baker that Ignited a Business Computing Revolution. 1951 “food giant J Lyons & Co. bought into service a room-sized computer” John Daines. The National Museum of Computing £5.98 HERE

Nov 23 Tue 5 The First Thanksgiving. Marc Callis. Context Travel $36.50 HERE

Nov 23 Tue 6:30 Gourmet Tour of Italy from Venice to Sicily. Francine Segan. AARP not have to be a member HERE

Nov 23 Tue 7 Midcentury Christmas from the 1940s through the 1960s. Dr. Leslie Goddard. Renfrew Museum & Park PA $5 HERE

Nov 23 Tue 7-9 Colonial Baking with 18th-Century Baker. savory pies and pastries. Justin Cherry in original 1738 oven of Stratford Hall VA $10 HERE

Nov 24 Wed 8:30-9:45AM ‘Forbidden Mixtures’: Still Life Painting & the Colonial Gaze. “investigates the enticing, somewhat morally ambiguous world of still life paintings to consider what they can tell us about plantation…”Lauren Working. History of Art Research Seminar HERE

Nov 24 Wed 1 Food & Art Through Ages: From Renaissance Sugar Sculpture to 3D Printing. Tasha Marks. LEVEL. £16.76 HERE

Nov 24 Wed 1 What's with Wheat? Sharon Roberts. Learn Sourdough HERE

Nov 24 Wed 2 Thanksgiving Turkey Curry Food History and Cooking. chef Josh cook recipe, Dr Lillian Cespedes Gonzalez tell history of ingredients. Travelusion Tours HERE

Nov 24 Wed 2:30-3:45 Protecting Hedgerows: Planning System & the Hedge Protection Bill. Emma Marrington. 3 weekly talks Wild Oxfordshire. UK HERE

Nov 25 Thur 12:30-2 Subverting “Back to the Kitchen”: Memories of food and lesbian love affairs in Italy’s 1950s. Gabriella Romano. Institute of Historical Research (IHR) U of London HERE TAPE may be HERE

Nv 25 Thu 2-2:30 Cilewent Farmhouse in Wales (English) Sgwrs Amgueddfa. 1734 rebuild of 1470 “long-house typical of mid and south Wales during the post-medieval period, where cattle and their owners would live at different ends of the same building.” Museum Talks. National Museum Wales £1.26 – £5.58 HERE

Nov 26 Fri 7AM Not just a pretty picture - a vital lifeline for many. Peat bogs. Peatland Restoration, Lancashire Wildlife Trust. Jenny Bennion. Vertue £12.50 HERE

Nov 26 Fri 12 Turkey, Tour and Thanksgiving at Alden House. John and Priscilla Alden Kindred of America $8 HERE

Nov 27 Sat 1 Milan and Food Traditions: A Culinary Love Story. Laura Benitti. Context Travel $36.50 HERE

Nv 28 Sun 1:30 Daily Life in Ancient Egypt. Immersive Experience. “Agriculture, food and drinks, arts, music and dancing, and religious offerings.” World Virtual Tours $9.99 HERE

©2021 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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