Monday, July 21, 2014

Madeira - a Pot and a Quern

Madeira, the island off the coast of Portugal, not the fortified wine made there, was the subject of the 1821 book A History of Madeira.  Porridge is in the iron pot and grinding "Indian corn" in a quern is depicted below.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ice Cream Man in 1845 New York City and 1815 London

Selling Ice Cream - or more likely Ice Milk - on the streets of NYC "during the hot sultry weather in July and August" while carrying glasses and a sorbetiere. From the book Cries of New York we learn that 'you scream' to rhyme with ice cream is nothing new and that cream was hard to obtain...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Roll out the barrel ...on a sled

Foodstuffs and other items were stored in sacks, boxes, crates, jars and barrels of all sizes.  Smaller barrels could easily be put in wagons, but how did they transport the larger barrels? The Madeira barrel on a sled (1821) is described below.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Saddle, griddle and oatmeal for oatcakes

Traveling with "a broad plate of metal" (a 'girdle' or griddle) "under the Haps [cover, wrap] of his saddle," the fourteenth century Scottish soldier could make thin oat cakes from water and oatmeal over a fire.  This would warm and strengthen their stomachs after eating too-freshly butchered cattle, which was scavenged.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Drunken Botanist

This entertaining and well researched book details how all alcoholic beverages are composed of plants.  Actually, it is the focus on each plant and how it is made into different drinks, instead of the usual writings on the composition of beer, wine, etc., which makes this an interesting read.  Beer is generally barley, wheat, and flavored with hops.  But going from plant to drink - barley is also for whiskey; wheat is in vodka, whiskey and Maker’s Mark bourbon.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Midsummer Eve dining with newcomers

New residents in some parts of England held a dinner in front of their home on Midsummer Eve to meet their neighbors.  This custom was still observed in the Georgian and Regency periods as described in an 1814 book.

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen"...and Belvidere

The wealthy and socially prominent Jane Gilmor Howard, (left, painted by the famed Thomas Sully) as Mrs. B. C. Howard, wrote the immensely popular 1873 fundraising cookbook.  One of the recipes, “Belvidere Rice Pudding” was named for Belvidere, the large 18th century 'seat’ of the Howards, where she lived.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cherries on a stick

Cherries were tied with white thread to sticks in addition to being sold by weight.  Some sticks held up to eleven bunches (1825)  and 350 years earlier “Cheryes in the ryse…a twig.”  Numerous sketches of cherry 'kabobs' and info below...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A day at White Sulphur Springs... in 1869

Drinking the water, shooting, bowling, billiards, dancing, walking, talking, riding and eating...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Petticoat Tails

Scottish short bread in some 19th century recipes was baked in a "petticoat" shape.  A recipe from 1820 had carraway seeds, a mutchkin of water, butter, lots of flour and less sugar, mixed then rolled thin and pricked on top.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Spring Cakes

Two Spring Cakes, one with candied violets, and angelica stems from 1920, and a Regency recipe, Gateau de Mai (Cake of May) which is not sweet... using udder, suet, herbs, spices and served with stewed greens or sharp sauce.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Stuffing stomachs for Haggis and Hog Maw

It is not Fall butchering time nor Burns Night (January 25), but after hearing an interesting talk on Haggis yesterday, I wanted to do a quick pictorial on how to stuff a stomach.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Food History Symposiums, Talks, Workshops 2014. part 2

11 Activities in Virginia, Maryland, Ireland, Amsterdam, UK, Italy, Mass., Miss., and Ill.

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

Saratoga 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'....