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.”
We know coffee was an every-day commodity in the Victorian American West, but how much do you know about its availability, preparation methods, the era’s tried-and-true substitutions, and where it was purchased? Come see!
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.
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).
Gunsmiths were essential to the nineteenth century American West. While writing The Gunsmith’s Bride, I came across interesting information about the most well-known American gunsmiths (and perhaps, armorers).
Key elements that made their way into my novella are the multi-generational family knowledge of the craft and training of their sons, the prevalence and “household word” of the Colt Peacemaker, and the Hawken rifle. Take a quick look at history’s memory of these three popular gun-makers.