Icing for Cake saved the day when I had about 5 dozen bland Ammonia Cakes that needed some extra pizzazz! Both Ammonia Cakes and Icing for Cake are found in the 1898 The New Galt Cookbook, which is a community cookbook compiled not far from where I grew up and where I live today. Icing for Cake is a simple white sugar and milk icing that hardens within minutes and you could drizzle it on cakes, cookies, donuts or squares.Read More
Ammonia Cakes: probably the least appetizing cookie name that I’ve ever come across. These cakes use ammonium bicarbonate (baker’s ammonia) as the leavening agent and I assure you that they don’t taste like ammonia, but they will temporarily stink up your kitchen while they bake! Ammonia Cakes fall on the bland side of the cookie spectrum, so I was lucky to find the recipe Icing for Cake in the same recipe book and I iced them the next day.Read More
Baking Soda Bread is a shortcut to eating fresh baked bread when you’re short on time. You’ll be spreading butter on a warm bread slice in about an hour and a half! This Soda Bread recipe, from the 1861 Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, is a favourite of mine because it produces a more moist and less dense soda bread than most recipes that I’ve tried. Soda bread doesn’t have the longevity of risen breads, so it will be toast (literally) sooner than later.Read More
I wanted to prepare one last root vegetable recipe before the greens & herbs start popping up here in Ontario, and I thought I'd turn to a local 1898 cookbook: The New Galt Cook Book. Galt is a town which is now part of Cambridge, Ontario and it's also close to where I grew up and where I live now in Hamilton. Scalloped Turnips is an interesting twist on scalloped potatoes. The turnips provide additional flavour to the dish, and it is creamy but also light because the sauce uses a butter & flour roux and the cooking water from the turnips instead of a white bechamel sauce.
Coincidentally, I had this recipe selected and the turnips purchased before I knew that cooking at an event using recipes from The New Galt Cook Book was even a possibility! I'll be preparing food from this cookbook for a Victorian Tea at the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario on May 18th, and Food Historian Carolyn Blackstock will be speaking about her year-old journey making a recipe a day from The New Galt Cook Book.Read More
One year ago today, on March 31st, I hit the "Publish" button for the first time and put out my first Food History blog recipe for the world to see and taste. I selected Cayenne Cheeses, a scrumptious cheese biscuit, from the 1861 Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management because it has been one of my favourite historic recipes since I began working in Historic House Museums. They are very delicious, you should try them!
When it came to picking out a 1-year anniversary recipe, I knew right away that I’d make Cheese Hooies. When I first read this recipe in the 1965 Stillmeadow Cookbook by Gladys Taber, I saw the ingredient list (butter, cheese, flour, salt and cayenne pepper) and thought, "These Hooies are basically Cayenne Cheeses". Cheese Hooies haven't kicked Cayenne Cheeses off my favourite recipes list, but making them was interesting look at how a century changes a recipe.Read More
Chicken Terrapin, from the 1903 Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book, is a creamy and decadent casserole dish, perfect for using up leftover chicken. After selecting this recipe, my research began with the question "Why is this dish called Chicken TERRAPIN?" and quickly descended down a rabbit hole. Literally. Before beginning to piece together what I learned about Terrapin recipes, I had pulled my childhood copy of Alice in Wonderland off my bookshelf!
The chicken meat in this recipe is meant to take the place of Terrapin Turtle meat and I'll be delving into how one prepares Terrapin meat, the popularity of Turtle recipes, specialized Turtle Soup Tureens and the replacement of dishes featuring turtle meat with Mock Turtle recipes. I'll also explain the appearance of the Mock Turtle character in Alice in Wonderland, and why he is so melancholy in the story.Read More
I'm not a fan of the taste of beets, although I have evolved enough to abide roasted and pickled beets on occasion. I liked Piquant Beets, though, and I can't say that I've ever thought that about a recipe made with boiled beets! This recipe takes those (in my mind at least) repulsive boiled beets and jazzes them up with horseradish, honey, lemon juice and...wait for it...bacon. Steve's response to tasting this dish was, "I don't even mind the beets", which is probably the highest praise he could give to this recipe. We can thank Elaine Collett and Mary-Etta Macpherson, who compiled the 1965 Canadian classic The Chatelaine Cookbook, for this culinary miracle.Read More
To Fry Fish is found in A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes, written by Charles Elmé Francatelli in London in 1852. Fortunately, I had some bacon fat in my fridge, so that's what I used to fry my fish. Let me tell you, fish dredged in flour and fried in bacon fat is scrumptious, and so were the fried onions that we ate on the side. I paired the fish with Sharp Sauce for Broiled Meats from the same cookbook. The main component of this sauce is a variety of pickles and it reminds of relish, albeit without the sweetness. I round out this blog post by delving a little bit into the Fish Slice, a serving utensil for fish.Read More
Nut and Spinach Loaf is found in the "High-Protein Non-Meat Dishes" chapter of the 1929 Physical Culture Cook Book, written by fitness and health guru Bernarr MacFadden. This vegetarian loaf holds together well when its being formed, but doesn't slice well. Nevertheless, it is tasty and satisfying and I'd make it again! Bernarr MacFadden spoke out passionately against white bread, so I made my own whole-grain breadcrumbs for this recipe, and paired the loaf with a Tomato Sauce, which is thick sauce that tastes a bit like ketchup.Read More
Cookbooks used to not only be a resource for learning how to prepare food, but would also contain medicinal recipes and household tips. I’ve been wanting to explore other facets of cookbooks, so to start with, I chose my favourite remedy, To Restore from Stroke of Lightning. This “cure” is my favourite because it makes me chuckle every single time, no matter how many times I read it.
This helpful tip is found in the Medicinal Receipts chapter in The Home Cookbook, published in 1877, which was Canada's first fund-raising community cookbook and the best selling Canadian cookbook in the 19th-century. I had the vague thought that I had an ancestor who was killed by lightning, so I did some research and found out who it was! In this blog post, you’ll read the story of my Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather’s death, along with a few other tales from that branch of my family tree.Read More
Cawdel of Almaund Mylk is a rather boozy and thick warm beverage that is slightly silty, made with white wine, ground almonds, sugar and ginger. This is a drink that you'll want to sip and be prepared for a strong alcohol taste, but if you are vegan and miss drinking eggnog, this is a recipe that you may want to try out.
So far, Cawdel of Almaund Mylk is the oldest recipe I've ever made on this blog. It is found in The Forme of Cury, which is a scroll of recipes written by the Master-Cooks of King Richard II in the 1390s. This is my first foray into Medieval Cookery, so I was surprised that many of its recipes contain almond milk! I did some research and found out that almond milk was a favourite of the British upper class in that era because there were many days in the Christian calendar when eating dairy was forbidden.Read More
I was intrigued by this gingerbread cookie recipe from The Cook's Complete Guide (1810): gingerbread cookies rolled like wafers! The historic recipe instructs us to "bake it gently; when hot cut it in squares, and while warm roll it over a stick, like wafers, till cold". But yet, my gingerbread cookies that I ended up with are flat squares. This is one of those occurrences when a historic recipe doesn't turn out as expected the first time around (they instantly cracked and broke when I tried to bend them). This is a delicious lightly flavoured Lemon Gingersnap, so I recommend it, whether it is rolled or flat.Read More