Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stir up Sunday

It's time to stir up the Christmas pudding - on the 25th Sunday after Trinity, the Sunday before Advent.  In a Victorian poem the mother cautions her active children.  After adding raisins (take out the seeds/stone), bread crumbs, suet, eggs, currents, peel, and brandy, the kids added the cat into the pudding.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pickled Seckel Pears

What a fun name.  The mini Seckel pears are at the farmers markets now, so I tried a recipe from the 1800s to preserve Seckel pears. Very sweet. The pears pictured are from a different recipe using vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Hearth cooking - rigging a pot over the fire

First.  Place the fire under the pot. Simple enough.  but.  In the 1820s a British naval officer, Basil Hall and two others were riding along Lake Erie.  In a cottage, they tried to start a fire, only to be chided by the young woman that they had not built the fire under the crane.  So what did the naval men do?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Food History Exhibits 2015. Symposiums, Conferences 2016

12 activities in Amsterdam, Brussels, Leeds, Oxford, NYC, Washington DC, CA, CT, VA

2 new food museums in London and New York City

Monday, October 26, 2015

Turnip jack o' lanterns for Halloween

This young chap (look at the bottom of his shoes!) is carving large turnips in the British artist Edward Docker's work "Making Lanterns."  Directions stressed to not cut through the rind so the candlelight could be seen through the face design, but the wind would not blow it out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Oh, who would wish to be a cook...

In this 1854 poem Peggy, the cook, starts the fire an hour before sunrise to fry the cakes (pancakes, hoecakes?). After breakfast and cleanup, she starts roasting some fowl or a haunch of meat... which has to be turned.  and turned.  Then, there is a pudding.  By the end of day, and the poem, she is "in such a toast" that "You scarce could tell which's done the most. Myself, or what I roast!"  Ever had that feeling after a day at the hearth? or brick oven?  or... at home in the kitchen before a holiday or big dinner?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Guns over the kitchen hearth

Were guns kept above the fireplace?  During an 1856 flood at Malvern, UK (some of us can relate) one gun kept on hooks on the kitchen chimney floated away and was replaced by chairs as the water receded.  and a couple other examples.

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.