DIY Yeast in Victorian America

DIY Yeast in Victorian America

Nineteenth century breads often called for “a teacup of yeast,” a huge amount compared to today’s recipes. Victorian-era housekeepers (e.g. wives) made their yeast. And continued to whip up fresh batches of yeast (with a touch of the last batch as a starter) well after commercially prepared yeast waited on grocer’s shelves.

Victorian-American Headaches: Part 1

Victorian-American Headaches: Part 1

Victorian-Americans had several ideas about the common trouble of headaches– what caused the malady, what might help once a headache became entrenched, and perhaps why women suffer headaches differently than men.

Because I suffer from severe chronic headaches, I’ve often wondered what our Victorian-American ancestors did when they suffered a headache (migraine, tension headaches, etc.).  What was science’s answer in the late nineteenth century? With so much primary historical information to share, I’ve prepared an eleven-part blog article series covering this fascinating subject.

This is Part 1: Why I write about headaches in in the Victorian Era United States and why hats may be to blame.

Victorian Baking: Angel’s Food Cake

Victorian Baking: Angel’s Food Cake

The story behind the invention (development?) of Angel Food Cake is a bit shrouded in tales of “Me, First!” Vintage newspaper advertisements show Angel Food Cake for sale in bakeries by 1878, and in cookbooks for home bakers that same year. One of the origin stories made it into a vintage cookbook (“cook book”), along with minor variations on the fluffy, snow-white theme. No matter how the dessert began, the popularity took off among Victorian bakers and remained popular through the Edwardian and Progressive Era. One peek at Pinterest vouches that this brightly white cake is still popular (even when pink).

Victorian Baking: Devil’s Food Cake

Victorian Baking: Devil’s Food Cake

Today, January 27th, is National Chocolate Cake Day!

No better time to reflect upon, and relish the “invention” of one of the BEST chocolate cakes of all time–Devil’s Food Cake.

Devil’s Food Cake (often simply “Devil’s Food”) debuted along with other chocolate cakes as the culmination of chocolate dessert creations, at the tail-end of the Victorian Era, and gained momentum into the brief Edwardian period. American bakers discovered the capacities of baking chocolate, creating the sinfully rich and decadent cake, frosted with anything from a basic white, boiled frosting to ultra-sweet fudge frosting. Of all the “Victorian Inventions”, Devil’s Food Cake might be a twenty-first century favorite!

BOOK REVIEW: The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris

BOOK REVIEW: The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris

My expectations, upon first discovering this new release by Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris, were significantly surpassed as I listened to the Audible edition. As a nurse and a student of history, I crave accuracy in historical fiction, and this title has informed and empowered me to do a better job when including medical practitioners in my nineteenth century fiction. Significant elements of this book have stayed with me for weeks after listening to this book (just released on Halloween [2017]!). Can’t recommend it enough to the curious, to amateur (and professional) historians, and to readers and authors of Historical Fiction. 5 stars!