Rhubarb and Banana Fool

Rhubarb and Banana Fool

One evening recently, I found myself driving home from visiting my Mom with a small harvest of fresh rhubarb from her garden in the passenger seat. Basically as soon as I set foot in my door, I searched for a historic rhubarb recipe that wasn’t Rhubarb Jam, Stewed Rhubarb or Rhubarb Pie (the things I do for fun!). Rhubarb and Banana Fool, from the 1900 cookbook Mrs. Beeton’s Cold Sweets, was the most intriguing to me.

A good description of this recipe in today’s terms would be a low-sugar banana and rhubarb smoothie, with a suggested whipped cream topping. Discovering the Rhubarb and Banana Fool recipe made me wonder: “When did people start eating bananas in North America?”, so I delve into answering that question by having a look at American and Canadian cookbooks and the establishment of the Boston Fruit Company. You’ll also find a bit of bonus info about Cochineal, an insect used as a red dye.

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Chicken Terrapin

Chicken Terrapin

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.

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