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!
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?
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.