Monday, September 26, 2016

Hussey, the inventor who made bread cheap

Obed Hussey (1797-1860) created the first successful reaper in America, rather than the more well known Cyrus McCormick (1809-1884). Great films of harvesting 1904, 1938...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pickled bamboo or elder tree recipes

In 1756 Mrs. Bradley included a recipe to imitate pickled bamboo using the tender spring shoots of the elder tree with wine and beer vinegar in her The British Housewife.  Pickled bamboo had the "appearance [of] pickled yellow cucumbers cut in long slices."

Monday, September 5, 2016

People powered churns

We often think of the dairymaid charmingly churning butter in a picturesque setting (image below) - plunging the dasher into the churn or turning the handle of a barrel churn; but in 1850s Holland, other devices were created to churn 200 quarts of cream at a time. The Treadle Lever or standing see saw; and pulling down large levers...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dogs and sheep churning butter ... on a treadmill

Dogs were workers: sheep herding, turning spits, watch dogs, and on the treadmill to churn butter in a swing or dash churn. By 1832 dog churns were common along the Hudson River. Descriptions and images from 19th century NY and New England works...

Monday, August 22, 2016

The U.S. National Park Service is 100!

On August 25, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson created the US National Park Service - ranging from stellar landscapes to homes such as "Hampton".  And what a house... and kitchen!  When built in 1790 it supposedly was the largest private house in the United States.  The state-of-the-art kitchen included a stew stove and Reip metal wall oven.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Freezing chocolate - 17th, 18th and 19th century

The first Earl of Sandwich kept a private journal which gave a recipe for a container of chocolatti placed into a bowl with snow to freeze. The early drink was made with water, thus when frozen, was more like a sherbet.  Later chocolate ice creams used cream or a cooked custard of eggs and cream.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Piki bread of the Hopi

A marvelous video explaining "Making Piki Bread" - HERE


The 1906 photo is of a Hopi woman inside a pueblo making bread.
 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tom Martin and The Landis Valley Cookbook

Last month Tom passed away, and on August 17th, Landis Valley Museum, where he worked for over 30 years, will host a celebration of his life. He knew so much about brick bake ovens and Pa. Dutch foods, and was always willing to share, and yet always researching to learn more.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Neptune House chef rejected the new cooking range

A respite from the heat drew guests to Neptune Island, in the Long Island Sound near New Rochelle, NY.  Built in 1837, in 1851 a new large cooking range was bought to replace the old setup with a stew stove.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mad dash in the White Sulpher Springs diningroom - in 1832

The wealthy elite would go to the Virginia (now WV) spa for health and society... and had to race to get a seat in the dining room (left).  And bribe the cook. And enjoy a "hail storm" (mint julep). John H. B. Latrobe, described the rough and tumble dining rules and sketched several of the sights in 1832.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Fried cucumbers

Cucumbers were fried in round slices, cubed or stuffed whole.  Hannah Glasse's Art of Cookery had cucumbers sliced and a whole one stuffed with fried onions then fried and put into a flavor-full sauce of the frying butter, flour (to thicken), water, wine, catchup, mace, cloves, and nutmeg. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Colonial Kitchen in 1864

The Brooklyn Sanitary Fair in 1864 featured a New England kitchen with cooks in colonial garb, spinning wheels on left, and tables to eat.  During the Civil War several Sanitary Fairs were held to raise money for Union troops.  Click to enlarge the Library of Congress image.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The first mealing station - the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad

Relay House in Relay, Md., built by the B & O Railroad, was the first “mealing station" for passengers to enjoy reliably good meals, and not miss the train, because the conductor ate "in full view of all."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Skim milk and buttermilk

Where does each come from?  The cream is skimmed off the cooling milk with a skimmer and what remains is skim milk.  Then, after churning, the butter is removed and buttermilk remains in the churn.

Where was each popular?  Ireland - skim milk; Cheshire - buttermilk; but in southern England, buttermilk was avoided. Skim milk for calves; buttermilk for pigs.  Cream or whole milk to make butter...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sharpening Millstones

At one time thousands of grist mills operated with sets of two grinding stones.  They were obtained from England, then France, but could also be quarried in some locales (see below). The mill stones had to be sharpened periodically. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Jefferson's cheeks and grates for his Monticello and Poplar Forest stew-holes

Surviving stew stoves (stewing stoves, masonry stoves) vary in size, shape and how they were heated.  Jefferson sketched a plan for his kitchen in 1796 with a long range of 8 stew-holes.  Thirteen years later he ordered 8 grills [grates] with "box-part" [cheeks] from Henry Foxall - then took two years to pay for them.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"May butter" or "grass butter" lambs (or dogs) ... in Holland

Easter is generally the time when "butter lambs" are sold, but butter figures were a May tradition in Holland. In the spring, cows were sent out to eat the new grass, instead of the winter hay. Samples of the fresh - and more yellow - butter were made into shapes and given to loyal customers.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Making butter

Some of the many processes involved to make butter are shown in the following paintings and photos.  For example, after carrying the buckets of fresh warm milk, carefully so as not to disturb (churn) it, to the dairy, the milk was poured through a sieve to remove hairs and dirt, and into a bowl to cool.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Never-ending dish washing

Thomas Kinnicut Beecher (1824-1900), the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, cookbook author Catharine Beecher, and Henry Ward Beecher, was "astounded at the number of thoughts and steps and acts and processes involved in a very plain supper...from fifty to two hundred separate things."  He was also shocked by the number of items to wash when making each dish - biscuits 6, steak 8, strawberries 6, and to cook four eggs 6 items.  His lesson: every 'he' should have a 'she'. Then to Mr. Henpeck (photo below)...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Oh baby! - babies in the kitchen from 1650 to 1803

Paintings of babies kept warm in the kitchen... for Emilia Elizabeth...