I’ve recently covered leavening agents in Victorian Baking, including saleratus and baking soda (let’s not confuse salsoda!). But what of the “pearl ash” noted in early American cook books (1796)? Asheries were a significant part of 19th century life, as ashes (can you imagine?) were a significant export from the United States and Canada. Come see what pearl ash was, how it was made, and what an ashery was all about.
Coffee Cake… Yummm! Today, April 7th, is National Coffee Cake Day! Do you like the crumble-topped kind, varieties with coffee in the cake, or simply cake meant to be enjoyed with a cup (or five) of coffee? Come see the recipes and methods our Victorian ancestors found tasty enough to keep.
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19th Century Ladies Fashions included gigantic sleeves known by many names: Leg of Mutton, Marquise, Balloon, etc. Highly fashionable, women wore them to work at home, to “walk out”, to sit for photographs, and on their wedding days. Highly fashionable for a period of time in the 1890s (through the turn of the century), they’ve returned at least twice: mid 1980s and in 2016. A favorite? You decide.
Cake tins are often mentioned in Victorian-era Cook Books (as spelled in nineteenth century publications). This post provides historic images of this era’s baking pans from both newspaper advertisements and catalog ads (such as Sears and Montgomery Ward’s catalogs). Many of the shapes and sizes are familiar to today’s baker’s options, and several have disappeared in the intervening years. My greatest surprise is the SIZE of Victorian cake pans. Compare to today’s, and see what I mean!
It’s Valentine’s Day! Millennials (and old folks like me) understand society’s expectations of how committed couples acknowledge Valentine’s, and how expression of love is done (or we believe should be done). But what about our Victorian ancestors?
How did Victorian Americans say “I love you”? …Or, did they?
Did advice of the era shed light on such matters?
Flour sifters are an important part of baking–today, and in the Victorian Era. Would you be surprised to learn the first flour sifter was patented by an American? See a timeline of Victorian-era advertisements for sifters and flour sieves, flour bins (canisters or extraordinary sizes) with built-in sieves, patents for early sifters and sieve holders, and a perspective of price. The advertising, alone, sheds light on why 19th century cooks were persuaded to purchase and use these devices.
Rotary Egg Beaters are an American Victorian invention–and came along early enough to make a significant difference to home cooks…early enough for homemade Angel’s Food Cake! So why, then, do so many recipes insist upon beating the egg whites by hand–for a full hour? Why not use the newly patented, amazingly successful invention?
Examining vintage recipes for any kind of edible… or how to prepare laundry soaps… will often use the term “receipt”. What’s up with that? When wasn’t a recipe, a recipe?