Oatmeal took its place in the Victorian-American kitchen in the late 19th century. We’ve discovered oatmeal cookies (with and without raisins), oatmeal porridge, oatmeal in toiletries; now more late 19th-century recipes that call for oats. Delicious dishes like oatmeal puddings, oatmeal custards, oatmeal cream pie, oatmeal muffins, oatmeal biscuits (sweet), “parkin”… and a rather scary option– Oatmeal Soup.
Some Victorians spoke of oatmeal as if it were a mainstay of their diets. Others claimed oats were fit only for animal fodder or for use in baths to soften skin… but food? Ugh. No. Why were beliefs so polarized? Why did Victorian-Americans have an aversion to oats?
Today, April 30, is Oatmeal Cookie Day!
Who knew?! “Everyone” online claims Fannie Merritt Farmer’s oatmeal cookie recipe (1896) to be the FIRST published (FALSE!)… but I found fourteen Victorian-American recipes in vintage cook books and newspapers beginning in 1883. How did history (mistakenly) favor Fannie?
Can you imagine baking cookies like a Victorian? Given many ingredients and measuring methods are unfamiliar to today’s cooks, I’ve shared brief info about those mystery ingredients and 19th-century measuring implements.