A Chocolate Kitchen Mystery

On Wednesday, March 18, Royal Food Historian Marc Meltonville presented a fascinating lecture, The Rediscovery of a Royal Chocolate Kitchen, at the Hennage auditorium.

Royal Food Historian Marc Meltonville

Royal Food Historian Marc Meltonville

Marc said the occasionally during his 20-year stint as chief food historian for all of the Royal Palaces, employees would stop him and say: “You know there is a chocolate kitchen.” When he asked where it was, they would answer:  “Over there somewhere,” waving their hand toward a corner of the William and Mary addition to Hampton Court Palace.

An intern named Polly eventually solved the mystery by going through old records. She found a list of rooms around the courtyard, all numbered — and one of them was the chocolate kitchen.

Found at last, the room was being used as a closet for floral arrangements.

Once the room was …

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Posted: April 17th, 2015 in Uncategorized, Updates

A Beverage Called Flip

What’s a flip? A few eggs, a little cream, some beer and spices – all mixed together using a method that may surprise you.

Frank Clark of Historic Foodways demonstrates.

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Posted: March 27th, 2015 in Beverage, Uncategorized, Updates | 1 comment

Des Beignets de Gelee de Grosseilles (Fritters of Currant Jam)

These pockets of pastry filled with currant jam are delectable, whether you purchase puff pastry or make your own. But be careful when biting into a hot beignet. The jam inside will be very hot!

18th Century

“Of these there are several sorts; but the favorites of Mr. Clouet were one of the pastry sort, and the other I’ll shew in my next. Provide a nice rich paste, and roll out very thin; brush it all over with egg, and lay your jelly down in little lumps as many as you want for a little dish; prepare another sheet of paste and lay it over, pressing well between that it may not come out in frying; make your lard pretty hot, and dry of a fine yellowish colour, and dish them up with some fine sugar sifted over.”

—William …

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Posted: March 6th, 2015 in Dessert, Uncategorized, Updates | 2 comments

To Make Fairy Butter

This fragrant dish is often used on pancakes and scones or as a dessert sauce on gingerbread.


18th Century

“Take the yolks of two hard eggs in a mortar with a large spoonful of orange flower water, and two tea spoonfuls of fine sugar beat to a powder; beat all together till it is a fine paste then mix it up with about as much fresh butter out of the churn and force it through a fine strainer full of little holes into a plate. This is a pretty thing to set of a table at supper.”

—The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy

21st Century

  • ½ pound butter
  • 2 hard-boiled egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp orange flower water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  1. Put your eggs until hard; let cool and peel them. Remove yolks.
  2. Put the yolks in
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Posted: January 13th, 2015 in Dessert, Uncategorized, Updates | 3 comments

Happy Holidays from Historic Foodways


The Governor’s kitchen is preparing for a Twelfth Night ball.


We are making a cake and lots of sweetmeats.


Sweetmeats are candied fruits and nuts that where often served for desert.

They come in two form: One is wet sweetmeats like jellies and jam.


Then there are dry sweetmeats, candies and sugar coated nuts.


We wish you and yours the very best holidays, full of lots of great food.

And we look forward to a wonderful New Year, full of lots more recipes and photos on the History is Served blog!


Cheers from the entire Historic Foodways staff.…

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Posted: December 24th, 2014 in Dessert, Updates | 2 comments

Foodways Goes to Canada

Last June, I traveled to Calgary in Alberta, Canada, to take part in the 2014 Association of Living History Farms and  Agricultural Museums annual workshop.

I was asked to be a presenter at one session, where I shared  the story of researching and developing an interpretive plan for the James Anderson Armory Kitchen.

ALFAM_Melissa_BlankFor interpreters, the need for historical research is the first step in a lengthy process of developing a storyline for explaining the site to visitors. The snippets of information that are uncovered through historical research must be analyzed, viewed from different viewpoints and then placed in a timeline to help the overall story to unfold.

This can often be a daunting task for historic sites — and it can sometimes even be  abandoned for fear of being “too much trouble.”

My session to provided a working guideline …

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Posted: December 4th, 2014 in Uncategorized, Updates

Colonial Condiments

Historic Foodways is always looking for new ways to bring the taste of the past to the present. To this end, we have teamed up with our products and restaurants to create a line of historically inspired condiments.

Now we can taste some of the early versions of catsup and mustard for ourselves.Condiments1

Let me introduce an old way to spice up your meal.

Some background on the products:

Old_Stitch1Mustard was very popular in 18th-century England and her colonies. It was used as whole seeds or even ground into a powder they called flour of mustard.

Many chocolate makers used their mills in the off season to grind mustard. The powder was often rolled into balls and sold to be mixed up with water, wine or in this case old stitch beer to form a paste.catsup

  • The term catsup seems
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Posted: November 26th, 2014 in Condiment, Updates | 1 comment

Confectionary and Sugar Work Course with Ivan Day
Working in his garden, Ivan Day demonstrates  the proper consistency needed to spin a silver web of sugar.

Working in his garden, Ivan Day demonstrates the proper consistency needed to spin a silver web of sugar.

I traveled to England during the month of October to take a Confectionary and Sugar course taught by noted historic foodways authority Ivan Day.

Mr. Day is a published author of several books on Historic Foodways and he’s lectured and led seminars throughout Europe and the United States. He’s also seen regularly on television and was our key note speaker at the first Foodways symposium in November 2010.

During the intensive weekend course, we learned so much, including:

  • How to make a variety of edible glues and sizing
  • How to guild using beaten gold sheets
  • Making and molding gingerbread and marzipan
  • Making wafers using his 19th-century cast iron stove
  • Learning to use a cot to make satin comfits
  • Making little
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Posted: November 26th, 2014 in Dessert, Updates | 1 comment

Blown Almonds

Gently baked almonds, dipped first in egg white and drenched with sugar, make a simple dessert.

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Posted: October 31st, 2014 in Dessert, Uncategorized, Updates

Beer for Breakfast

As people who work outside and next to a fire, we here in historic foodways are happy to see the beginning signs of fall. Fall means a break from the heat and the resumption of some of the activities that we can’t do properly in high heat like brewing and chocolate making.

We will address the chocolate in a future post so here I would like to talk about beer.18-Century Beer

Beer and ale were one of the most loved beverages of 18th-century England and her colonies.

In a world without sodas and energy drinks and all the other beverages we take for granted today, beer served an important role in the beverages of the time. It was the most affordable man-made beverage , and was considered healthy and nutritious. Many Englishmen got a large proportion of their daily calories from …

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Posted: September 16th, 2014 in Beverage, Uncategorized, Updates | 4 comments