Nineteenth century breads often called for “a teacup of yeast,” a huge amount compared to today’s recipes. Victorian-era housekeepers (e.g. wives) made their yeast. And continued to whip up fresh batches of yeast (with a touch of the last batch as a starter) well after commercially prepared yeast waited on grocer’s shelves.
Oleomargarine–a Victorian invention?
Yes! But why? And how?
Near the year 1900, Victorian-American cooks finally started combining raisins (which they had plenty of uses for) and oatmeal–a grain they’d only recently begun accepting. This article contains several vintage recipes from nineteenth century newspapers: raisins in other late-Victorian recipes, and at last–chopped raisins IN oatmeal cookies.
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?
Many reasons contribute to our immigrant ancestors’ penchant for pie-baking. Simple, honest, historic ingredients. Traditions of European countries. Affordability. And many more.
I had the superior benefit of a mother-in-law who’s a skilled baker and taught me the mysteries of pie crust nearly thirty years ago. I’ve slowly refined my methods, skills, and comprehension of how to make the best pastry. While researching and writing The Drifter’s Proposal I stumbled across a vintage pie crust recipe that fully changed everything I’d previously believed about pie crust.
OK… not quite everything. But this recipe impressed me. It’s flaky, tender, easy to work with, and yields a spectacular taste and presentation.