Victorians took their hair seriously: “Want Good Hair?” asked Godey’s Lady’s Book (1861). Throughout the nineteenth century, much advice circulated in magazines, newspapers, and cook books regarding how to cleanse hair (long before shampoo was invented), use of combs, whether or not to cut kids’ hair and more!
Blanc Mange (blancmange) was a favorite throughout the nineteenth century, in the UK and in the States. Victorians thickened this favorite gelled dessert with a wide variety of articles, old and new. Vintage recipes gathered from era cook books and newspapers, along with newspaper advertisements, show the wide range of blanc manges in Victorian dining.
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.
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?