A Tale of Three Apples

Final 3 apple (2)Sometimes you never know where a recipe will lead you. Recently, while making a boiled apple pudding, it occurred to me that there are many recipes that use the exact same ingredients—some type of pastry plus a filling. For example, a Beignet of Red Currant Jam, a Boiled Apple Pudding, and Kickshaw, are all essentially created using the same ingredients. What is different is the way in which they are cooked or baked.…

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Posted: July 21st, 2015 in Dessert, Updates

Why Mary Randolph?

Virginia_HousewifeVisitors to our kitchens frequently ask where the Historic Foodways staff find our recipes.

Our staff has at its disposal well over 140 cookery books, as well as a large collection of hand-written receipt books, and hundreds of secondary source books on all aspects of foodways.

Since many of the primary cookbooks were printed year after year, we will often have every edition published. As new sources are found, they are incorporated into our collection. So, with such a plentiful quantity of primary information, why would be use “The Virginia House-wife,” by Mary Randolph, which was published in 1824? The Foodways staff uses the first edition of the cookbook here.

There are several reasons.

Mary Randolph was 62-years-old when she wrote “The Virginia House-wife.” Her work was based upon a solid foundation of cookery learned as younger woman, during the last …

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Posted: May 29th, 2015 in Uncategorized, Updates | 1 comment

Puff Pastry 101

Lots of 18th century recipes involve placing sweet or savory foodstuff into pastry — or a paste. Today we would call these crusts, or pie crusts.

Most modern cooks use one or two different crusts on a regular basis. Not so in the 18th century. The variety is vast and eclectic — cold, hot, puff, potato, crackling, good, dripping, standing, for custard, for tarts, light, crisp, for covers, for baskets … and the list goes on.

In this post, we’ll learn  to make one of the most feared of all — The Puff Paste.

Today, most people will give up before they even attempt puff pastry because of the myriad of steps, cooling and number of hours it takes to prepare a light, airy and crisp product.

But it does not have to be that difficult.

By following …

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Posted: May 15th, 2015 in Uncategorized, Updates

It’s Time for Cookies at Raleigh Tavern

Barbara-Scherer-GingercakesAt Historic Foodways, we’re venturing into new territory.  But the subject is all about nostalgia. Some 30 years ago, the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies filled the air at the Raleigh Tavern.

Now we’ve been asked to re-create fresh baking at the tavern kitchen We’ve spruced it up and we’re baking gingerbread cookies by the hundreds.

Our friends at the Making History blog were there to record the first fragrant morsels that came out of the oven.

So come by and see us — and try our cookies.

And if you’re curious about the recipe. ……

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Posted: May 6th, 2015 in Dessert, Updates | 1 comment

Mint Juleps?

OK, did they have mint juleps in the 18th century ?

The short answer is no with a but. …

Let’s talk about the mint julep that they serve at Kentucky Derby Day. The exact history of this drink is somewhat of a mystery, but there are a number of factors that lead me to think that it is a early 19th-century creation.

First, this drink is typically made by taking mint leaves and mashing them up in a sugar syrup. then adding bourbon and shaved ice. The first problem is bourbon whiskey. Bourbon whiskey is named after Bourbon County in Kentucky, which was established in 1786.

It is different from other whiskeys of that time in several ways:

One, by law Bourbon must contain at least 51 percent corn.

And two,  it is made with a particular type of …

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Posted: May 2nd, 2015 in Beverage, Updates

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

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

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We are making a cake and lots of sweetmeats.

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

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

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

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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!

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Cheers from the entire Historic Foodways staff.…

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