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!
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).
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!
Coca-Cola was born in Atlanta, and quickly gained popularity at drugstores and soda fountains, showing up very quickly a thousand miles away in mid-Kansas! Coca-Cola was touted for a wide variety of medicinal benefits, including nervous affections and sick headache. In less than fifteen years, Coca-Cola was widely known from New England to Los Angeles. Coca-Cola belongs on the long list of American Victorian Inventions.
Nineteenth Century American Bath Houses were often businesses connected to hotels, barber shops, ladies’ hairdressers, and spas offering massages and curative measures (steam baths, medicated baths, etc.). In the Old West, such businesses advertised in the newspapers of the day, some announcing prices (compared to today’s dollar). It’s a peek into the luxury of a wet-from-head-to-toe bath when a person has no running water at home.