After the advent of Victorian commercially prepared gelatin came colored, flavored boxed gelatin. The Jell-O brand was born in 1899. The new brand’s four-flavor line-up was well-received by housekeepers (wives), and continually promoted by the food manufacturer. Newspaper recipes urged cooks to rely on Jell-O brand gelatin in dessert making.
Don’t miss any one of this 8-part blog series on Victorian America’s Jellies.
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.
I’ve read fiction set in the nineteenth century that references doorbells– and gets it right! (I can’t properly convey how giddy this makes me!) Picture that turnkey doorbell that makes a mechanical clattering sound inside the house.
Flour sifters are an important part of baking–today, and in the Victorian Era. Would you be surprised to learn the first flour sifter was patented by an American? See a timeline of Victorian-era advertisements for sifters and flour sieves, flour bins (canisters or extraordinary sizes) with built-in sieves, patents for early sifters and sieve holders, and a perspective of price. The advertising, alone, sheds light on why 19th century cooks were persuaded to purchase and use these devices.
Rotary Egg Beaters are an American Victorian invention–and came along early enough to make a significant difference to home cooks…early enough for homemade Angel’s Food Cake! So why, then, do so many recipes insist upon beating the egg whites by hand–for a full hour? Why not use the newly patented, amazingly successful invention?