Blanc Mange (blancmange) was a favorite throughout the nineteenth century, in the UK and in the States. Victorians thickened this favorite gelled dessert with a wide variety of articles, old and new. Vintage recipes gathered from era cook books and newspapers, along with newspaper advertisements, show the wide range of blanc manges in Victorian dining.
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.
We’ve seen recipes for oatmeal cookies (with and without raisins), oatmeal in Victorian bath water (to soften and whiten skin), and more. Who knew that Victorian Oatmeal Porridge Recipes could require significantly more instructions (and a dedicated saucepan!) than any other vintage recipe?
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?