Monday, October 5, 2015

Tallow from suet for candles, soap and... pie crusts

Suet (the fat around the kidney - generally beef) was clarified or rendered down - slowly cooked then strained - to make tallow "...for pie-crust, for basting and soups, as well as for frying." Recipes from an 1828 Scottish book and two Jewish manuals.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Spare ribs

Instructions on how to butcher, cook and carve a spare rib of pork from an 1831 Cincinnati cookbook is below.  During this time, the city contained large hog packing operations, shipping the meat to the eastern markets.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cats in the 16th and 17th century kitchen

Unlike the previous post on medieval cats, HERE, the cats in these paintings are more active.  In fact, the first painting is filled with activity: 'Cats fighting in a larder' by Paul de Vos (1663, at The Prado).  The still life includes asparagus, artichoke and... small birds strung on a stick.  Click images to enlarge.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cats in the Medieval kitchen

Cats have always been clever creatures...the cats in the 3 images are staying near the food and people, and yet appear aloof. In the post on 16th and 17th cats in kitchens HERE they are more active. A few images (click to enlarge) from the Middle Ages...

Monday, September 7, 2015

Pickers' checks or tokens for Labor Day

In the early 1900s workers were given a metal token token or "check" for a set number of baskets filled with fruit or vegetables at "truck" farms.  Also for oysters shucked.  The discs were redeemed for merchandise at area stores or for cash. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

4 French mustard recipes, 1725

Dijon mustard or Anjou mustard, mustard seeds soaked overnight in water, dried mustard cakes and a mustard lasting eight days were four recipes from a French book revised by Richard Bradley in 1725.  And the source of the name 'moutarde' or 'moult tarde'? An article related a story of the Duke of Burgundy in 1382 and mustard, by an author who jested that the Dijonese didn't know Latin... 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Making a stove in sand at Hopewell Furnace

Cast iron 6 panel or 'box' stoves from the 18th century heated rooms and perhaps a kettle on the top.  Then came more panels to make an oven and the heating stove also became a cooking stove.  Cast iron plates were made by iron ore, limestone and charcoal chunks added to the furnace, as air blasts from the wonderful water wheel with bellows super heated the fire, then the molten ore was poured onto molded sand to form the panels for stoves. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

DC markets in the heat of summer

Few people were in Washington, D.C. during the summer 1822, so the markets were "cruelly ill-supplied."  Bad potatoes, lamb, rock fish and catfish (cheap, but good fried). The bright sun, wind, no rain then floods meant no fruit gardens.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mary Randolph's family - Bizarre scandal, Pocahontas, Jefferson, eccentrics and Spanish foods

Famous for The Virginia Housewife, 1824, Mary Randolph was from an interesting and prominent family. Thomas Jefferson was raised with her father and his daughter married Jane's brother; an affair, a murder trial, one sister lived in Spain, one sister was also an author, almost all faced financial crisis and all were descendants of Pocahontas (left).

Monday, August 3, 2015

Food History Conferences, Symposiums, Exhibits 2015, pt 3

16 events in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, DC, NY, CT, TX, MS, IN, VA

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blueberry Batter Pudding 1839

Batter puddings are a lighter cake-type 'pudding'. The following recipe is by Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788-1879) best known for her poem "Mary had a little lamb" and promoting Thanksgiving.  Also general instructions from 1827.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Watermelons - Italy 1810 and Cincinnati

When the British traveler Mrs. Trollope first tasted water-melon she "thought it very vile stuff."  She also felt the men, women and children who were sitting on the streets of 1830 Cincinnati, spitting the seeds "to the great annoyance of all within reach" and the juice pouring out of their mouths... looked "very unpleasant."  The delightful image is from Italy, 1810.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mrs. Goodfellow - Lemon Pudding before the Meringue

Mrs. Goodfellow (1767-1851) made a lemon pudding (pie) at her cooking school and shop in early Phila. (more HERE).  I've not found any proof that she created the first 'lemon meringue pie' (unlikely since she used whole eggs; if just yolks then the extra whites became the meringue), but her lemon pudding was popular and copied into several local authors' cookbooks.  More details and three recipes are below. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mrs. Goodfellow - raves from Miss Leslie and others

Mrs. Goodfellow (c1767-1851) was a renowned baker, confectioner and founder of a cooking school for wealthy young ladies. She changed the paragraph format of recipes to list the ingredients first, and her lemon pies, Spanish buns and cocoanut pies were locally renowned. Using her class notes, Eliza Leslie, a student, wrote the first of her many popular cook books, passing on Mrs. Goodfellow's recipes and ideas to future generations of cooks.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Red, white and blue boiled hams for the 4th of July

At Mercersburg, Pa., before the Civil War, the town folk and farmers would go out to President James Buchanan's birthplace and share a picnic.  One lady brought "boiled hams decorated with cloves and red, white and blue paper."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Esther Allen Howland - "The New England Economical Housekeeper," CPR, Valentines

The mother of the "Mother of the American Valentine," (both named) Esther Allen Howland, wrote the small cookbook in 1844 which sold 1500 copies in it's first 15 weeks! The next year it was expanded and later the regional cookbook, with a more national name The American Economical Housekeeper and Family Receipt Book, was reprinted many times until 1875.  Receipts economical (tainted beef), medicinal (early CPR), New England (chowder in dinner-pot)... 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Battle of Waterloo 200, Magna Carta 800

June 18 is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon. The Duke of Wellington celebrated his victory with an annual dinner.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Strawberries washed in milk

In the first recipe, berries were to be washed in skim milk (the milk which remained after the cream was skimmed off) "to take off any grit and sand."  Recipes for berries in cream and whipped cream Whips... 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Strawberries in Pottles and Punnets

What's a pottle? a punnet?  50 to 60 of the long conical baskets were placed in a HUGH basket, weighing 30-40 pounds! then carried on the head from the field to London... up to 10 miles.  The street vendor looks so charming in the painting. Women carriers caused less damage to the fruit than men carriers. A pottle was an old measure for 2 quarts, but by the Regency period, it held half that amount, and in Boston the baskets were pint sized and packed into square hampers.  A deposit fee of one cent was refunded if the basket was returned. Cries of London and other images...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day - Remember their sacrifice

Civil War soldiers cooking and dining "in the field."