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I posted my next Historical Food Fortnightly challenge: a homely (but delicious!) Cherry Trifle.
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I've done my first 2016 Historical Food Fortnightly challenge. I'll be posting these on my That's Sew Minnesota blog. You can see this one here.
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Or Nun's Puffs, if you prefer. But I would never miss a chance to say fart. Because I never grew up.

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The Challenge: 15. Sacred or Profane December 14 - December 27
In this challenge, be as divine or as devious as you like! It could be a food with connections to a religion, a dish served for sacred celebrations, or a concoction with a not-so-polite name. Whatever your choice, show us how naughty and/or nice you can be!
Ok so I am late, oh well.

I first heard of Nun's Farts, or pets de nonne, in the Green & Blacks Chocolate cookbook. Their version is baked and includes chocolate. The recipe I chose is fried and filled with whipped cream.

The Recipe: Nun's Puffs from A Text-Book of Cookery.

nun puff recipe

more! )
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The Challenge: 14. Fear Factor November 30 - December 13
What foods have you always wanted to attempt, but were afraid to attempt to make - or afraid to eat? Choose a dish that is either tricky to create or nerve-wracking to eat, and get adventurous! It’s historical Fear Factor!

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I honestly couldn't think of any food more terrifying to make or to eat than live lobsters. I am a most-of-the-time vegetarian; fish occasionally and poultry maybe once or twice a year. Usually no shellfish. They creep me out. Shellfish are weird, and icky, and are basically giant bugs that live in the ocean. Plus with lobsters you have to cook them alive, so yeah. But my HB loves lobster so I knew it wouldn't go to waste if I made it.

The Recipe(s): I read Mrs. Beeton's general notes on boiling lobsters, and I also used a recipe from National Cookery, below. This was a 2-day process.

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The Date/Year and Region: English/American, 1860s-70s.

How Did You Make It: I got the lobsters live from the local Coastal Seafoods store just down the street. We brought them home and put them in the sink to chill out while I boiled water in the canning kettle, the biggest pot I own. They were definitely alive! I thought one of them was going to flop out of the sink!

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By this point I was definitely starting to freak out, so I did what any good historic cook would do to calm her nerves.

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And, for your amusement, here's the video of the harrowing ordeal of getting them into the pot.

The rest of it - not for the faint of heart )
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The Challenge: 13. Ethnic Foodways November 16 - November 29
Foodways and cuisine are at the heart of every ethnic group around the world and throughout time. Choose one ethnic group, research their traditional dishes or food, and prepare one as it is traditionally made.

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Lots of progress photos! )
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The Challenge: 12. If They’d Had It… November 2 - November 15
Have you ever looked through a cookbook from another era and been surprised at the modern dishes you find? Have you ever been surprised at just how much they differ from their modern counterparts? Recreate a dish which is still around today, even if it may look a little - or a lot - different!

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Before I started dabbling in historic cooking, I would definitely have considered mac and cheese to be a very modern dish, something that originated in the kitchens of mid-century Betty Crocker types. But I found this recipe and this one here and realized how popular it was from the 18th century on.

The Recipe: I eventually chose Mrs. Beeton's recipe; without eggs or sherry, it made more sense to me.

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Read more... )
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The Challenge: 11. Foods Named After People October 19 - November 1
Beef Wellington? Charlotte Russe? Choose a dish named after a person, either fictional or real, to create. Bonus points if you tell us about the link between the person and the dish!

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The Recipe: Queen Esther's Toast from p. 239 of National Cookery.

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The story of Queen Esther is fairly well known, but I have no idea what makes this "her" toast. It looked like a recipe for French toast, so I knew it would be yummy. My husband's family background is Jewish so I enjoy experimenting with traditional Jewish cookery, and that's part of what drew me to this dish. This is technically for Purim, which is in spring, but it fit the challenge!

Read more... )
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My HB and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this week, so I coordinated this challenge with our day and made a fancy cake!

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The Challenge: 10. Let Them Eat Cake! October 5 - October 18
The 16th is the anniversary of the beheading of Marie Antoinette (zut alors!). In honor of Madame Deficit, prepare your best cake from a historic recipe. And then eat it, bien sur.

Read more... )
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First of all, we tried the green tomato pickles from the last challenge and I updated that entry in case you are curious.

The Challenge: 9. The Frugal Housewife September 21 - October 4
Throughout history, housewives and housekeepers have kept a close eye on their budgets and found creative ways to pinch pennies while providing delicious and nutritious food. Create a dish that interprets one historically-documented method of frugal cooking.

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The Recipe: Beans baked in sour cream from the 1939 book Appetizing Meals at Lower Cost. I think "lower cost" says it all, don't you? But my other argument for frugality is the use of beans - a cheaper protein source than meat.

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More! )
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Update below: we tasted them!

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The Challenge: 8. In a Jam (Or Jelly or Preserve) September 7 - September 20
It’s harvest time in the northern hemisphere, and springtime in the southern hemisphere. Make something either to preserve that produce that you’re harvesting, or replenish your supply after the winter! Fruit and vegetable jams, jellies, and preserves are the focus!

Read more... )
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The Challenge: 7. The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread August 24 - September 6
Create a food item that reflects historical food improvements. Showcase a new discovery in food preparation, a different way of using food, or a different way of serving it. Make sure to include your documentation!

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I decided to base my challenge on the introduction of potatoes to Europe by using the earliest potato recipe I could find. My recipe is from 1664, by which point potatoes were commonly cultivated and eaten, but as you can see in the introduction to the book linked below, people were still trying to increase production of potatoes and encourage their general use as a food.

The Recipe: Potato Pudding, recipe here: http://povertystudies.org/Links/Rhwymbooks/Ode/Ode-PoliticsOfPotatoes.htm

How to Make Puddings of Potatoes, either Baked or Boiled

For to make puddings of potatoes, you must take one half of the roots, boiled and broken, as before for bread, and one half of wheaten or barley flour, and mix them well together, with some kind of liquid, adding also two or three eggs to make it hollow, and what other cost you please, and having so done, you may either bake them in an oven or boil them in a bag, and being well baked or boiled, and then buttered (or they may be made with suet if you please), they will be as pleasant in taste and as wholesome as if they were made only of wheat.

In this case I am interpreting "pudding" as an eggy bread-type thing, like Yorkshire pudding for example. Not a custard or wet boiled suet thing.

Read more... )


Sep. 5th, 2014 12:00 pm
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I needed to get out of the house yesterday afternoon, so The Girl and I went to my favorite nearby antique store, Mall of St. Paul. I found a couple cooking booklets for about $3 each.


1941 and 1939, respectively.
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The Challenge: #6 Seasonal Fruits/Vegetables August 10 - August 23
Concoct a dish based on the fruits and/or vegetables that would have been in season and available to the particular time you wish to interpret. It needn’t be the place you are in at this moment, but it should coincide with the season!

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The Recipe: Described in Little Town on The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this is really not a recipe as much as a suggestion. I have always loved the passages dealing with Mary's preparations for college. On p. 110 we find this:

"What would you like for supper, Mary?" It would be Mary's last supper at home.
"Anything you put on the table is good, Ma," Mary answered.
"It is so hot," Ma said. "I believe I will have cottage cheese balls with onions in them, and the cold creamed peas. Suppose you bring some lettuce and tomatoes from the garden, Laura."

Elsewhere in the book she refers to eating the tomatoes in dishes with sugar and cream, and sprinkling the lettuce leaves with vinegar and sugar.

More! )
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The Challenge: #5. July 27 - August 9 Pies! Make a pie! Meat, fruit, sweet, savory - but make sure it’s documented!

I wanted to do a savory pie because I love them so much and make them all the time anyway, but I knew I would have to dig deep for one that wasn’t meat, and then the almost-5-year-old (seriously, 5 already?!) piped up and requested strawberry.

None of my print cookbooks had anything; the closest was Mrs. Beeton’s jam tarts. I searched for “Victorian strawberry tart recipe” and came up with this page, which had a couple strawberry recipes but NO documentation. LAME. I cut and pasted the entire paragraph of text for one of the recipes into google search and came up with the source: The White House Cookbook from 1913.

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The details... )
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The Challenge: “Foreign Foods” July 13 - July 26
Make a dish that reflects the historical idea of “foreign” - either foods with a loose connection to foreign lands, named after faraway places, or attributed to foreigners. Real connections to actual foreign countries not necessary!

Read more... )
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The Raleigh Tavern book is really more of a pamphlet, only 30 pages. It has original recipes along with modern interpretations.

National Cookery is available for free on Google books, but I got a used copy for 5 bucks on Amazon. For that cheap I'd much rather read the paper copy. It's so much easier. This is the book I took my ice cream recipe from last week.
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Phew, came in just in time on this one!

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The Challenge: Today in History June 29 - July 12
Make a dish based on or inspired by a momentous occasion that took place on the day you made it. Get creative - you would be surprised by all the interesting things that happened every single day!

Okay. This one was tough for me, which is why I left it until the end. The theme seemed random and I just couldn't find inspiration. In my perfect fantasy world I would have a 19th c book of letters exchanged by sisters detailing recipes, of course with meticulous instructions (and specific dates). Or possibly a newspaper column, dated, with a recipe. But no. While most of the historic sources I could find were dated by year, there were no specific days at all.

A few participants suggested websites like Today in History but mostly I found they just contained lists of battles and deaths. Not terribly useful for recipes!

My one idea was to base something off the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia 1876. Although there were many mentions of how great this event was and how much awesome food was served, the details were lacking. That is why this challenge was tough for me. The research was just not happening.

To skip to the good bit, here is what I eventually found:


This is Tufts Arctic Soda Fountain at the Exhibition, from Philadelphia's 1876 Centennial Exhibition on google books. It seems that ice-cream sodas were the hot new thing in 1876 and this Tufts guy had exclusive concession rights at the Exhibition, plus the teetotalers came and ruined everybody's good time so soda was the best drink on the block.

Read more... )
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Challenge 2: Soups and Sauces June 15 - June 28
Soups, stews, sauces, gravies! Make a soup or a sauce from a historical recipe.

I've been reading Mrs. Beeton's and thought I would do one of her vegetable soups. I brought some turnips home, which the husband promptly made fun of, because he hates them. Everything else was stuff I had on hand. But as June rolled on, I felt less and less like eating hot soup, so yesterday I decided I'd better just make something and sat down with my thick paperback copy of Mrs. Beeton's and flipped.

After spending a few minutes reading hilarious excerpts aloud (ridiculously vague directions, servant management, uses of animal bladders, and so on) I settled on a salad dressing, which surely counts as a sauce.

Let's just get straight to the point: this was NOM NOM NOM.

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Okay, the details:

More! )
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All right!!! My first Historical Food Fortnightly challenge! The first theme is Literary: “Make a dish that has been mentioned in a work of literature, based on historical documentation about that food item.”

I posted a little intro about this last week, and yesterday I went for it.

The Challenge: Literary Foods: 1. Literary Foods June 1 - June 14
Food is described in great detail in much of the literature of the past. Make a dish that has been mentioned in a work of literature, based on historical documentation about that food item.

A meal from the Battle Creek Sanitarium, as described in the novel The Road to Wellville by T. Coraghessan Boyle.

The whole belief system of the Health Food craze at the time was what inspired the meal, not just one recipe. The elimination of meat, not necessarily for ethical reasons, but to remove toxins from the diet; the focus on beneficial intestinal bacteria; the idea that the body could be purified and kept in a state of perfect health based on diet alone.

I find it so funny/annoying that while the early 1900s health food movement was so much about grains – whole grains! –  now we have a complete backlash and everyone thinks grains make you fat, gluten is the devil, meat is awesome again, everyone’s doing Paleo diet, bacon is still a fad, etc.

Okay, moving on.

The Recipe(s): Protose, bran and graham biscuits, stewed tomatoes, and orange yogurt

A bit of intro on the Protose. This was a product manufactured by Kellogg. It was not meant to be made at home, so no recipes exist for it. There are LOTS of recipes telling you what to do with it, but it assumes you are buying it. Apparently this product was manufactured until the 1990s. I found the ingredient list from the 1990s-era version as well as several recipes for reverse-engineering the product.

Its main ingredient is gluten. Gluten in the form of seitan is a common food at my house, so I wasn't entirely unfamiliar with the concept. I have also experimented with making whole food “meat substitutes” off and on for years.

We tend to think of these weird fake meat foods as a very modern thing, so I love the idea of making a historic meat substitute.

The sides to round out the meal were from The New Cookery, A Book of Recipes, Most of which are in Use at the Battle Creek Sanitarium on google books. Details below.

All the dishes were part of the menu appearing in the Road to Wellville.

How I made it with LOTS of pictures )
I had so much fun with this and I’m excited for the next one!
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The first challenge is Literary, so I thought something out of Laura Ingalls’ Little House in the Big Woods would be a no-brainer. I love that series and I grew up with it, and a lot of it is just about food. But I couldn't find ONE dish I most wanted to make – “Literary” is so open-ended, I could have chosen anything! And I’d already earmarked a couple Little House recipes for other challenges.

So I went back to the bookshelf. Eventually I spotted The Road To Wellville. Perfect!! Not only did I love the book (and the movie – hilarious) but it's also very much about food.

More specifically, it's about the early vegetarian movement in America. Since I am an on-and-off vegetarian (mostly on) this is ideal for me. I went to a page in an early chapter of the book where the character of Mr. Lightbody first enters the dining room and is utterly confused by the menu. Protose, Nuttolene, and Kaffir Tea are among the weirder items.

I found a couple books on google books for reference:The New Cookery: A Book of Recipes, Most of Which are in Use at the Battle Creek Sanitarium from 1913, and Hygienic Cook Book from 1914. There are lots of recipes with protose as an ingredient, but not how to make it. So I looked up Protose and Nuttolene and it turns out they were both canned products that one bought rather than made. However, here is a post with recipes to make your own, and another one here. Ingredients from the 1990s-era canned version are in this blog post. I want to try this! Since home cooks did not make it in the period, it feels not quite authentic to do so, but whatevs.

With it, the plan is stewed tomatoes, orange kumyss, and bran and graham biscuits, all of which are mentioned in The Road To Wellville and recipes for which can be found in the above books.
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