Monday, April 21, 2014

A wig for the cook - 1776

BETTY the COOK MAIDS HEAD DREST is a satirical image from London in 1776.   Her exaggerated wig contains some cooking tools, cheese, vegetables, animals and a cooking fire in a grate.  Closeup of each with sketches from other period images...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eggs and onion skins

The marvelous brown, mahogany hues of hard-boiled eggs boiled in onion skins make a wonderful backdrop to etch with a needle or knife, as seen in the eggs done by Tom Martin at Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster, Pa.  1826 and 1876 directions...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sarasota Chips - Potato Chips

You can't eat just one... in 1887 - "The more you have of them, the more you will want one."  The paper thin chips were eaten hot or cold, and one writer felt they had "all the nutriment cooked out of them."  A few recipes, a joke from 1889 and more...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Egg shell perfumed bombs - 1685

Egg shells filled with scented rose-water were to be thrown by the ladies during banquets... after the cannons were fired on board pastry boats... to cover the smoke smell.  Then live birds and frogs came out of the pies.  Robert May described how to make these and other incredible dishes in his The Accomplisht Cook, 1685. ...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Food prices were lower in Federal America than Regency England

In 1818 Cobbett listed the many “groceries” the Americans paid half or even a third the price that the British paid.  Furthermore, everyone was able to partake of chocolate “which is a treat to the rich in England.”  The British people paid to keep the Indies, and yet, “What a hellish oppression must that people [Americans] live under!”

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


For hundreds of years depictions have shown extensive creases on the tablecloths. This was achieved by ironing, placing in a napkin press and later, in the mangle. Several references show that the mangle was available in the early federal period, but more widespread in the 19th to the early 20th centuries.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Oven Radiator

Radiators could do more than heat a room.  The steam pipes could warm plates, keep food hot for the table, or raise bread dough as was done in 'warming ovens' and 'hot closets'....

Monday, March 3, 2014

Flip 'n pancakes

New England "rum makes pancakes light. Flip makes very nice pancakes." 

Monday, February 24, 2014

In Meat We Trust

The meat industry changed radically from the colonial farm to the corporate giants of today. Along the way railroads and their stockyards took over walking the cattle to market; town butchers were replaced with precut frozen pieces of meat.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coffee Cake

When a Coffee Cake is coffee in a cake...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More snow - Snow Pancakes and Fritters

Once again a lot of us are in the midst of a snow storm...DC is shoveling out now, and in this 1925 photo.  Several years ago I posted recipes for Snow Cream, and this time it is Snow Pancakes or Snow Fritters.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Jelly and fruits

Three centuries of fruit in jelly and jelly shaped as fruit.  The early receipts used a base of jelly from calves feet, issinglass or hartshorn.  One jelly using "a Gang of Calf's Feet" from 1769 is given at the end of this posting.  Powdered gelatin, created about 1840, made the process less laborious. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You are what you wear

Literally.  'Grotesques costumes' created by Nicolas de Larmessin (died 1694) included many tradesmen and women.  Tools and products of each trade will give a hint on what is being sold that is cooking related, such as the fruit vender.  Try to guess the others...    Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Carrots in Art

A mother peeling carrots while the son eats one in "A Family Seated Round a Kitchen Fire" by Brekelenkam, 17th century (in Manchester City Galleries).  This Dutch painting is among many images at Carrots in Fine Art Works

Monday, January 13, 2014

Free range pigs ... in New York City

Thousands of pigs roamed the streets eating "whole joints of meat"  from the butchers and refuse from homes.  At night they wandered home to piggeries which were removed as Central Park was opened in 1859.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Twelfth Night Cake Serviette

Instead of baking a "Twelfth Cake" - Twelfth Night Cake, make one out of a napkin, as shown in ...

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Amsterdam New Year's

New Year’s Calls started by the Dutch in the 1600s compared to the New York socialites of the 1870s. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Georgian holiday dessert table

Merry Christmas!

©2013 Patricia Bixler Reber

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mince Pie alert!

"Very fashionable mince pies are made at Strasbourg, in France, from the diseased livers of geese, or other animals. These pies are now brought, in some instances, to this country, especially to Philadelphia, and our other large cities." with Robert May receipts, 1685..

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cranberries on the English moors, 1814

'The Cranberry Girl' picks cranberries on the moors of Regency Yorkshire.  Though smaller, the cranberries tasted better than those imported from America and Russia...