Thursday, December 22, 2022

Holiday spirits and Christmas taped talks

"Merry Christmas to All!!"
Image from Clement Moore's A Visit from Saint Nicholas. 1862

Christmas taped talks: Tudor; Victorian; Wartime - Am Rev, Civil War, WWII; PA German; how slaves were really treated on Christmas; 400 years at sea, many more.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Marking King George II dishes with the cook's name

This story from 1827, in The Table Book, was copied for years.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Ice Box Cookies or Refrigerator Cookies

During the 1920s, dough was chilled in rolls or logs in the ice boxes, then sliced and baked. With more electric refrigerators, the variety increased. Links to other historic cookies are below.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Stir-up Sunday; also Christmas talks and tapes 2022

Everyone took a turn to stir the Plum Pudding for Christmas. More on Stir up Sunday on blog post HERE many posts on Plum Pudding HERE

Many upcoming talks on Christmas (over 30), Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Variety of taped Christmas talks since 2020.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Coffee and other intoxicants (1600-1850) virtual exhibition and talk

From 1600-1850, new intoxicants included sugar, coffee, tea, chocolate, opiates and tobacco. A talk on the Intoxicating Spaces: The Impact of New Intoxicants on Urban Spaces in Europe website is on Nv 16.

Image of an "Ottoman coffee house in Istambul" from 1819. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Revolutionary War comes to the Tatnall and Lea mills in Delaware

During the Revolutionary War the Tatnall and Lea flour mills of Brandywine, by Wilmington, Delaware furnished flour to the American army. Washington and Lafayette visited Joseph Tatnall. Before the battle of the Brandywine, Washington ordered the top grinding stones of the mills to be removed and hidden from the British troops.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Candies of old Salem - Gibralter & Black Jack

Salem Gibralters, created early 1800s, still sold today. Hawthorne wrote about them - rock hard, white and wrapped in white paper. Black Jacks were a deliberately burnt mixture of maple syrup, butter, brown sugar and molasses.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The hard life of bakers in Victorian London

Starting at 11pm to make the dough, nap on flour sack over the kneading board (on the trough). wake at 2am, start kneeding and forming the dough then bake loaves in oven. When all that was done (in extreme heat), the bakers had to change clothes and go out on the street to sell the bread.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Muffin Man in Philadelphia 1850

October 15 was the traditional start to selling muffins on the streets of London (past post and the small bell HERE). This image and the writer's memories of buying from the muffin-man in the afternoon is from City Cries.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Dog wheel for butter churn

Dog powered wheels are different enough that I have written about turnspits HERE and treadmill to churn butter HERE. This excerpt shows the mechanism of the tread-wheel.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Mr. Borden's concentrated and condensed milk

In 1856, Gail Borden (1801-1874) patented a Vacuum Pan "for the Concentration and Preservation of Milk."

Barbados deforested due to sugar production, Beekeeping in Bhutan, Jacques Pépin (artist, chef), British Saffron and other talks.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Well pump or bucket

This 1865 article described the modern options to get water from a small well.
September talks are now up, and the first week's talks are below. As usual, there are some interesting talks this month, including a Medieval Feast Symposium.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Barn-door Fowl and Dunghill Fowl - Chickens

There were many breeds of chickens but the 'plain' common ones around the farm were termed Dunghill fowl (Markham 1614) and Barn door fowl.
A concise, clever description and the image is from 1900. Recipe from 1829 and other excerpts, below.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Articles found in a Kitchen Drawer 1824

Like now, a variety of useful and useless items were tossed into drawers of the kichen table and dresser, making them "untidy hidingplaces." "A grater and nutmeg— the key of the jack" to "a pen without ink" and a "lump of old suet" were items from the 1824 humorous poem. More organized suggestions were listed in a book from 1867. Painting with a drawer, 1738

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Recipe manuscript - school project at a woman's college c1831

Ann Augusta Forman Cooley (1810-1890) filled this composition book with recipes, possibly started as a school project. Raised a Quaker in NJ, then from 1828 to 1831 she attended Van Doren's Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies in Brooklyn Heights, perhaps the first woman's college. Click images to enlarge.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Dining at Jefferson's White House

Quotes from people who dined with the President. Honore Julien (1760/1–1830) was Thomas Jefferson’s French chef for both terms (1801-1809). Image 1807.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Walker's "artificial cold" (ice) for wine, ice cream 1828

Richard Walker spent many years developing "artificial cold" - making ice using chemicals (writings from 1787 to at least 1832). He was the Apothecary to the Radcliffe Infirmary at Oxford from 1781 to 1805. He heard that an ice cream apparatus was being sold that used one of his 'freezing powders' so he investigated.

Friday, July 15, 2022

A Rice Dish with Peaches & Maryland food history taped talks

Rice pudding with peaches on the bottom from Elizabeth Ellicott Lea's Domestic Cookery, 1845... the first Maryland cookbook. Rice was boiled in milk, sweetened, put over peach slices, then baked for two hours. When warm it was like other rice puddings, but it compacted as it cooled.
Many Md. taped talks, below.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Octagon cast iron ovens

This unusual oven in the Kew Palace kitchen was made by the famous Carron Company of Scotland, and was restored in 2012 to its 1789 appearance under King George III (1738-1820). Cast iron octagon ovens were noted as early as 1751. The octagonal ovens were heated by the fire in the fire box, the ashes fell below, like later Rumford Roasters and other tin block ovens (pictures below).

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Drying herbs and paper packets for seeds or dried herbs

Dry herbs in sun, no, dry in shade (Miller 1769). Hang in "small bunches" no, that dried them too much (Loudon 1835). Dry in oven (Randolph 1824, Beeton 1863). Dry in bag in oven (1893). Store dried in: brown paper sewn like sack (Culpeper 1809), paper packets (Loudon 1835), covered boxes (Mollard 1802), corked bottles (Randolph 1824), bacon racks (1923).

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Strawberries and Cream

In time for Wimbledon... where they still serve Strawberries and Cream... a sketch by Robert Seymour, 1835, with cream pitcher, sugar container with spoon and pottles (cone baskets for strawberries). Pottles are so interesting that I did a blog post with 15 images. HERE

Monday, June 20, 2022

Iced Tea

June is National Iced Tea month... though not sure if it is official... and June 10 is Iced Tea Day. There are several talks on tea. Even a multiday conference. Ad from 1906 magazine.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Glass bee hives 1772, 1828 ... and 1650s

There is an intriguing talk this Thursday on late 17th century glass hives. GLASS! In this 1772 example, bees entered the bottom section then moved up through a hole into the middle section to build a hive. Then a hole was opened into the top glass section where the bees continued making honey combs on the two cross bars.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Elder flowers to make ... Grape Water Ice

The other year I noticed while doing a blog post HERE on the 6 cookbooks (describe freezing pots/tubs and sabotieres) by people who worked at Negri’s, then Gunter’s tea shop; that half (Nutt, Jarrin, Jeanes) included an ice made from elder flowers... called Grape Water Ice. And yet, grapes could also be used to make Grape Water Ice.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Army chef used umbrella to protect fried croquettes - 1854

Memorial Day... never forget.

During the Crimean War, the chef for Prince George (Lt. Gen. & cousin of Queen Victoria) was preparing a dish of fried croquettes in the rain before the Battle of Alma (Sept. 1854)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Barrel butter churns 1758-1805

It is spring, so time for another post on butter. Over the years I have covered butter types and shapes, and a wide variety of churns. HERE. Instead of plunger churns, with the up and down motion, the barrel churns used a circular motion. Pictured is a c1900 churn of my great grandmother from an eastern PA farm.

Friday, May 13, 2022

More cookbook talks

Eliza Acton (1799-1859) and Isabella Beeton (1836-1865) talk in the British Library series. Alice Urbach’s popular How to cook in Vienna! A cookery and household book for home-style cooking, first published in 1935 (500 pages) was stolen for another book when she was forced out of Austria by the Nazi. TAPED. "Betty Crocker" first published in 1921, TAPED. Laura Shapiro's book, TAPED, and other talks.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Mother's Day

For the Moms

Le Benedicite (Saying Grace) by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin c1740, in the Louvre.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Fewer muffin street sellers by 1896

The decline of muffin street sellers was described in the following 1896 article. The muffins were still made by older ladies in their poor homes and sold to stores or a few remaining street sellers, who had a hard time making a living. Earlier that century there were 500 muffin street vendors in London with their tinkling little bells, traditionally starting on Oct 15.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter - Pasch eggs, given out at homes in Austria

Chamber's Book of Days 1863, mentioned Pasch eggs in Chester, UK and handed out at the houses in the Tyrol area in the Alps.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Bouilli - beef and soup

Bouilli was popular in France and with Jefferson, whose French chef often made it for White House dinners, and also sold it from his F street home/shop near Mr. Madison's home. Quality pieces of meat were slowly simmered for hours and served seperately, first the soup (broth) then the meat (bouilli). 3 talks on French food.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Poisonous Easter Eggs and Easter talks

Paas Egg dyes, patented 1881, were advertised to "be eaten without fear of poisoning." At that time some eggs were dyed with a biproduct of coal being burned to make gas. Logwood dye was recorded in a 1781 letter ... with pin scratched Battle of Bunker Hill scene.

Sunday, March 27, 2022


Ramps - Allium tricoccum (three seeded garlic, or wild leeks) - are found in the spring and early summer in wooded areas along the Appalacian Mountains. Don't confuse with Lily of the Valley.

There are many small and large Ramp festivals and dinners. West Virginia hosts so many there is a website listing yearly events HERE

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Flour / Grist Mills tapes, Oliver Evans vs the Ellicotts

Sharpening millstones (photo on left and in blog post). Wye Mills in Maryland is having three talks on mills and grains. Orrell’s Beaten Biscuits at Wye. Oliver Evans' patent fight with the Ellicotts. Many taped talks.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Loft over the hearth in 1846 Ireland

During the Irish Famine, or The Great Hunger of 1845-49, this image of a loft, oddly built over the hearth fire in a County Kerry tenent's cabin was in The Pictorial Times, London.
So what was on the loft?

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Maple sugaring

Native Americans collecting sap, then boiling it in a 1724 image. Two talks are about Native American traditions in Vermont and Michigan.

Several taped maple syrup and harvesting talks, followed by this week's talks.

Monday, February 28, 2022

People's Collection of Wales & Welsh Cakes

The National Library of Wales's A People's Story of Wales is a wonderful collection of film clips, oral histories, books, photos, recipes and more.
Welsh Cakes on griddle over fire.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Valentine Sweets - Chocolate and Candies

Talks on chocolate history and material culture, Cadbury, Hershey, Jews and Chocolate, and the Boston area had over 140 factories for candies. Over the past two years there have been many talks on chocolate, tapes below.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Cattle, Dairy, Cheese, and Butchers virtual talks

There was an interesting talk last fall on "Plymouth Women and the Birth of the American Dairy Business," taped, but there have been, and will be, other good talks. Image: Cattle Market before a large city, 1820

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Bees and Insects - virtual and taped talks

Bee behavior, wax, honey, an entire day of bee talks and two talks on eating insects.
Image of bee tanging, link below.

Friday, January 28, 2022

African American foodways talks

As usual, here are the talks for Black History Month. More will be added here and on the main Calendar. Farmers & Great Migration. Hercules Posey. Black Women's contributions to America’s Kitchen, and Wiki edit-a-thon. 1890 image of White House cook Dolly Johnson, tape below.
A list of taped talks, then a list of this week's talks.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Banqueting sweets for a Prince of Wales c1610

A very interesting online recipe manuscript with a terrific 4 page list of "Severall sorts of sweet meates fitting for a bankquett" was described in a talk by Dr. Sara Pennell. The recipes include Marchpanes, Rock Candies, Comfeits, Dryed Suckette, Marmallets, Dryed pasts, Past de Jaun, Preserves, Jellies/ Gellyes, Waferes, Bakemeates, Conseits, Serrops...

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Canned goods grown on the farm & Home Ec talks

Some puckish humor from Puck, 1906 - "What we get to eat in the country." Cans of chickens running around the barnyard, fishing for canned salmon, condensed milk in the dairy...

Friday, January 7, 2022

Oat cakes utensils - and Robert Burns

Poet Robert Burns called Scotland the "land o cakes" - oatcakes. So after the article on tools, I want to sneak in some upcoming Burns talks. One talk includes a tour and history of his birthplace, now a museum, and the annual Burns Dinner to celebrate his birth.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Art and food

Vermeer’s The Milkmaid c1660 (left) is his perfect painting in a talk next month. Bellini's Feast of the Gods, 1514 was one of the first to show Chinese porcelain, and another talk is also on Chinese porcelain. Over 2000 images of 16th century Mexico (including pouring chocolate) in The Florentine Codex are being digitized with text and made searchable.