Monday, September 18, 2017

Seckel or Seckle Pears originally from Philadelphia


The Seckel pear, the "finest pear," had a celebrated ‘original tree’ on Seckel’s farm, later part of the Stephen Girard estate, south of Philly.  The tree was said to have been found in the 1760s, survived for decades and was even pictured in magazines.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Asenath Nicholson - from Graham crackers to the Irish famine

Asenath Nicholson (1792-1855) started as a teacher then social activist, writer, managed Graham boarding houses in NYC, vegetarian and traveled alone through Ireland 1844-5, and 1847-9 during the famine.  She wrote two cookbooks -  Nature’s Own Book 1835 (27 recipes in 9 of the 84 pages) and her 1848 A Treatise on Vegetable Diet (60 recipes in 10 of the pages).

Monday, September 4, 2017

Soyer's Dublin Soup Kitchen 1847

Alexis Soyer (1810-1858) went to the aid of the starving poor during the Irish potato famine by designing a soup kitchen and recipes.  He was the famed chef and designer of the Reform Club kitchen from 1837-1850, inventor and writer.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Brandied Peaches

Another of the 10 peach recipes in Maryland's Elizabeth Ellicott Lea Domestic Cookery - Peaches in Brandy. The glorious peach on the right was obtained by pouring "boiling water on them, and wipe off the down."  When done properly, the skin came off easily; the other two of the first batch were... not smooth...at all 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Mary Randolph's Peach ice cream

Mary Randolph's Virginia Housewife, first published in 1824, included many ice cream recipes - peach, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, cocoa nut, iced jelly, strawberry, raspberries, lemonade iced, citron melon, almond and... oyster.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Shrimpers

Standing in water for hours pushing their nets ahead of them in the sand, the picturesque Shrimpers captured the shrimp and/or prawns.  When prepared, the shrimp formed "a delightful show, their brilliant red coats being garnished with green parsley." From Pyne's 1827 book.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Kitchen # 2 - 18th century out-kitchens

In a previous post - 7 years ago, (when this post was written, oops) - HERE, I discussed 19th century 'summer kitchens'.  In the 18th century they were called 'out kitchens', or just 'kitchens'.  The reason for the detached kitchens? - to keep homes "...more cool and Sweet" and "...because the Smell of hot Victuals, offensive in the hot Weather."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Camp cookery - outdoor stewstove and improvised ovens

Stew stoves - one of my favorite flue-zies - were described in a 1882 camping book. The image shows two green logs flattened along the top to securely place the pots and pans over coals from the main fire.  Another camping book had illustrations of different pots and pans used to make ovens.

Monday, July 24, 2017

"The Nursery Chair" and a Gingerbread & lemonade stand

Two poems in a children's book from 1880.  In the first poem, the little girl is "plucking the raisins so rich" from her [Queen Cakes?] "cake that is flavoured with spice."  In the second poem - the children asked “If you please, Mrs. Grumpy, we’d like lemonade, and sweet sugar candy with almonds inlaid.”

Monday, July 17, 2017

Alligator Pears since 1600 (Aguacates, Alvacatas, Avocados)

The avocado, once called the Alligator Pear, appeared in books since the early 17th century, and by mid 1800s in London was "much eaten by all classes of people."  In 1696 Hans Sloane was able to cite numerous names for the fruit from books. Originally from Mexico, it was grown in the West Indies, St Augustine (1766) Florida, and California in the later part of the century. Claimed to taste like chestnuts, was "superior to the peach" and often served as a salad with French dressing (recipes below).

Monday, July 10, 2017

S'mores

For Girl Scouts, and now most campers, s'mores are THE summer campfire treat.  And no, you can't eat just one.  From the 1965 official GS calendar - "'S'mores'... that favorite campfire dessert."  The recipe "Some More" is from a 1927 GS book, and "S'mores" started appearing by the 1940s.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

4th of July Kitchen Parade

A variety of kitchen items become musical instruments in this 1890 sketch: "Fourth of July in the Kitchen."  Click to enlarge, closeups below...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Artificial crab, lobster and even anchovies

Richard Bradley's 1727 cookbook had several fake/mock crabs using liver or chicken & potatoes, anchovy liquor, lemon and placed in cleaned crab shells.  In the 1870s cheese became a primary ingredient for mock crabs.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fishing Miseries - an 1833 advice book for fishermen

Cartoons and descriptions of the hazards of fishing.

"Wading half an inch deeper than the tops of your boots, and finding afterwards that you must carry about with you four or five quarts [of water] in each, or must sit down on the wet grass whilst your attendant pulls them off, in order that you may empty them, and try to pull them on again."

Monday, June 5, 2017

800 pound Plum Pudding - boiled in huge brewing kettle for a June fair

A plum pudding for the June 7, 1809 Bartholomew Fair at Paignton was so enormous it had to be boiled in a "brewer's copper."  How big?  400 lbs of flour, 175 lbs of suet, 140 lbs raisins and 240 eggs to make a pudding weighing in at 800 lbs!  It was boiled from Sat. morning until Tues. evening and pulled in a wagon by 8 oxen.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Flour mill and bakery onboard naval ships during Crimean War

To support the British troops with their daily bread ration during the Crimean War in 1855-6, two iron steamers were refitted – one named “Bruiser” as a floating mill and the other “Abundance” as a bakery.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Greek and Turkish confectionary

These fabulous colored images are from Conditorei des Orients (1838) by Friedrich Unger, the German confectioner to King Otto I of Greece.
The first picture is a confectionery in Athens.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Brown-Eyed Susan Cake

The yellow and brown (chocolate) marble cake is from the 1933 Betty Crocker New Party Cakes.  The Black-eyed Susan is the official drink of the Preakness.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Calling bees - Tanging or ringing

"Why does the old lady knock with her key on a frying-pan?"  Bees swarm when the hives "be too much crowded by the young brood" and the weather warms in late April or May.  To settle/calm the bees into an empty hive people would beat a kettle, pan or ring a little bell.  Perhaps to sound like thunder or it was done to claim ownership of the swarm.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

Ruth Hanly (1891-1973) and her friend Rebecca Gooch, both in their 20s, left teaching in 1919 to start a candy business – Rebecca Ruth Candies - in Frankfort Ky.  The company, still in business, still sells the famed Bourbon Balls it created in 1938.