Dandelions were so much more than weeds to our Victorian ancestors. Not only were the tender plants sought for springtime vegetables and salads, but for tea, coffee, wine, beer, and prominent medicinal value. 19th century cook books and newspapers share the Victorian-American viewpoint on the value of dandelions from blossom to root. Recipes for edibles and curatives, advertisements, and more!
Today, February 23, is National Banana Bread Day. While banana bread (as we now know it) became a staple among home bakers in the 1930s, banana bread had its start in the late Victorian era where “banana flour” came to the United States from the tropics. Vintage newspaper advertisements show the beginnings of banana bread available in bakeries and homemakers’ awareness of quality nutrition to be found in the imported fruit and “flour.” With or without nuts, banana bread is a hallmark of American quick breads… and our nineteenth century ancestors, complete with baking powder and a wealth of cake-baking knowledge, were prepared for the post-Great Depression’s urge to “use it up.”
Beyond the obvious beneficiaries of the Calico Ball craze (mid- to late-nineteenth century United States)– the needy who received the once-worn dresses (or suits of clothes), who else benefited?
I suggest a short list of Hidden Beneficiaries. Who else can you identify?
One (unnamed) high-society New York City hostess started a fad that lasted fifty years…
The Calico Ball. Not only was the style of party highly fashionable, it also ensured help to those who needed it most.
Today, December 30th, is National Bicarbonate of Soda Day.
Why recognize and celebrate such an obscure “foodie” day?
Victorian-era recipes containing saleratus, pearl ash, baking soda, baking powder (and more) can be confusing… and evoke a million questions. When were each used? Which were Victorian-era developments? Which did 19th century cooks prefer?