Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening

I‘m tickled pink to share with you Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening, but first…

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Definitions Matter!

Today, if something is “cheap“, it’s undesirable, may not last long, of poor workmanship, or poor quality. Throughout the American Victorian era, “cheap” was an admirable, positive, desirable trait. To our Victorian ancestors, “cheap” meant frugal (in the best way possible), affordable (also in the best way possible), inexpensive, low cost.

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Kristin Holt | Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening - Divider Braid

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June 24, 1888

On June 24, 1888, the Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota, published this short article containing three recipes for the benefit of housewives. Newspaper sections containing recipes, fashion, stories filled with Victorian morals, etc. were common throughout the United States in the mid- to late-Victorian era.

Now that we’ve qualified that “cheap” is a positive modifier, something women looking for recipes (or fashion or a butcher) would find appealing, I’ll share the article itself. “For Small Pocketbooks, Cheap Cool Desserts — Snow Mound, Princess Pudding, and Lemon Snow.”

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Kristin Holt | Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening. Cheap Cool Desserts, published in the Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 24, 1888. (Part 1 of 3) "For Small Pocketbooks. Cheap Cool Desserts --- Snow Mound, Princess Pudding and Lemon Snow."

Cheap Cool Desserts, published in the Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 24, 1888. (Part 1 of 3)

Kristin Holt | Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening. Cheap Cool Desserts, published in the Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 24, 1888. (Part 2 of 3)

Cheap Cool Desserts, published in the Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 24, 1888. (Part 2 of 3)

Kristin Holt | Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening. Cheap Cool Desserts, published in the Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 24, 1888. (Part 3 of 3)

(Part 3 of 3) Cheap Cool Desserts, published in the Saint Paul Globe of Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 24, 1888.

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What is a gill?

Victorian recipes are readable by today’s cooks… mostly. Measurement units are sometimes a bit historic. Gill? And what is a yelk?

Kristin Holt | Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Night. Definition of "gill": a unit of liquid measure, equal to a quarter of a pint. (Middle English)

Kristin Holt | Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening. Defintion of "yelk": alternate (and perhaps correct) spelling of yolk, as in egg yolk. From Wiktionary.

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Price Comparisons

According to The Inflation Calculator, the approximate prices listed for each recipe in 1888, is given as follows (Note: 2017 was the latest year offered at publication):

What cost $0.15 in 1888 would cost $4.15 in 2017.

What cost $0.20 in 1888 would cost $5.54 in 2017.

What cost $0.25 in 1888 would cost $6.92 in 2017.

If you bake desserts or treats from scratch, or make candy, you’ll realize these cold treats are quite reasonably priced. I believe my homemade cheesecake recipe can cost more than $20, and my homemade Sandy Turtles recipe (I share recipes without hesitation!) makes these puddings look “cheap”/affordable, indeed!

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Recipes Enjoyed in Mountain Home, Colorado, August 1887

Occasionally, I come across a tidbit in a historic newspaper that catches my eye and I want to include it in a book. The newspaper column contained in this article is one of those treasures! The opening scenes of Unmistakably Yours are in the hot months prior to autumn. A cool treat like these would make an ideal sweet to serve in Jane Vancoller’s Tea Room.

Jane’s guests might stop for luncheon (“lunch” was slang and frowned upon) or a light repast. Some might want feminine conversation and a rest. Others might be stopping for refreshment while in town with husbands. After all, those husbands spend time at the blacksmith, feed store, and tobacco shop. He pauses to visit with male friends and associates everywhere. The short list of places “good women” could stop and visit in a similar fashion was short indeed. A Tea Room, a new concept by Jane’s day, grew in popularity into the twentieth century.

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Unmistakably Yours is set in my fictional town, Mountain Home, Colorado and is title #8 in my Holidays in Mountain Home series.

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Kristin Holt: (Link to) Holidays in Mountain Home Series; representation of Main Street copyright Carpe Librum Design.

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Articles Sharing Historical Elements within Unmistakably Yours:

To browse and easily click through to articles that also cover history in this novel, click the picture:

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Kristin Holt | Book Description, Unmistakably Yours

Kristin Holt | Victorian Folding Chairs

On a warm summer evening, Victorians spent time on the front porch. Often porches were considered “outdoor living space” and thus were honored with furniture. In a pinch, a folding chair would do nicely.

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Related Articles

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Refrigerators, a.k.a. Icebox. Related to Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening.

Includes 19th century recipes: Icebox Cakes, Puddings, Desserts.

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Kristin Holt | BOOK REVIEW: Things Mother Used to Make: A Collection of Old Time Recipes. Related To Cool Desserts for a Victorian Summer Evening.

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Kristin Holt | Old West Mason Jars

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Related Links:

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Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection One Series Page on Amazon

Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Fan Group -- You're Invited!

Kristin Holt | Book Description: Unmistakably Yours

Each book in the series, Titles 1 through 8

Note: Some titles are short novellas, some are longer novellas, and some are full-length novels. See individual book descriptions for details, including which are Christian (ALL are “sweet” and “clean”.)

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Updated July 2019 and
Copyright © 2018 Kristin Holt LC