Monday, August 14, 2017


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


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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Maple Sugar described in Goodrich/Parley books

Generally maple syrup is the end result from the sap tapped from maple trees.  However the following excerpts detail how maple sugar was made.  Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860)  wrote numerous books (excerpts from 1832-1856) under his name or as 'Peter Parley". 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

H. L. Barnum's cookbook from Cincinnati

Not the great showman P. T. Barnum, but H. L. Barnum (another of the vast Conn. family), lived in Cincinnati in 1831 when he compiled the 400 page Family Receipts, including an egg and boiling tea substitute for milk. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Good Friday Hot Cross Buns kept for a year

Hot Cross Buns stored for a year?  Cornish folklore- "In some of our farmhouses the Good Friday cake may be seen hanging to the bacon-rack, slowly diminishing..."  Poor Robin's Almanack of 1753 noted it would not get moldy and was used to cure illnesses in humans and farm animals.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Easter in Germany - hares laying eggs?? decorations, egg hunt and toss

It is very interesting, to those of us raised accepting a bunny delivered Easter eggs, that writers outside of Germany and the German areas of the US were perplexed by the tradition.  And surprised by the egg hunt.  The following excerpts and sketches from an 1878 article also show the range of chocolate or sugared figures far exceed our chocolate bunnies and eggs...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Barley Lemonade

Generally found in the foods for the sick section, barley water was often flavored with lemons and sugar, but this recipe was actually named lemonade by famed chef Alexis Soyer.  The pearl barley is boiled in water, strained and added to the sugar water and lemon. Then the lemonade is strained.