Sunday, December 31, 2006

Online Historic Cookbooks.

I have created a list of historic cookbooks that are available freely on the Internet.

Naturally, this will be a permanent work in progress as new books are being added all the time. At this stage I have over 400 resources listed.

Thanks to Gary Allen I have today worked out how to make it available - thus achieving my daily goal of learning at least one impossible thing before every breakfast.

You can download it as a pdf HERE.

It appears the link above is not glitch-free. Sometimes it links, sometimes it just acts confused. The impossible thing may not be learned until supper time. If you have problems opening the file, this is the url - if all else fails, try cutting and pasting it into your address bar:

If you know of any other free online historic cookbooks that can be added, please let me know.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Auld Man’s Milk.

Hogmanay is Today.

The last day of the year – the chief of “the daft days” - is upon us. As we all know, it is especially celebrated in Scotland where it is called Hogmanay (although they probably got the name from old French, thanks to the Auld Alliance).

If we are to celebrate properly we must consider Scottish food today. On the off-chance that haggis, crappit-heads, Glasgow tripe and sheeps-head broth are not to your liking, I give these recipes from that good Scots lady who called herself Mistress Margaret Dods, but was really the novelist Christian Isobel Johnstone (1781-1857).

From The Cook and Housewife's Manual (1826)

Scottish Shortbread, or Short-cake.
To the fourth of a peck of flour (two pounds) take six ounces of sifted sugar, and of candied citron, orange-peel, and blanched almonds, two ounces each. Cut these in rather long thin slices, which cut in dice and mix with the flour. Rub down among the flour a pound of butter in small bits, melt a half-pound more, and with this work up the flour, &c. The less kneading it gets the more short and crisp the cakes will be. Rollout the paste lightly into a large well-shaped oval cake, about an inch thick, and divide this the narrow way, so as to have two cakes somewhat the shape of a Saxon arch. Pinch the cakes neatly at the edges, and dab them on the top with an instrument, the dabber, used for that purpose, or with a fork. Strew caraway-comfits over the top, and a few strips of citron-peel. Bake on paper, rubbed with flour. The cakes may be square, or oblong.
Obs. Plainer shortbread may be made using less butter and no candied peel. The whole of the butter may be melted, which makes the process easier. Chopped almonds, and buter, are used in larger quantity or Scotch shortbread wanted very rich for sending as a holiday present to England.

Auld Man’s Milk.
Beat the yolks and whites of six eggs separately. Put to the beat yolks sugar and a quart of new milk, or thin sweet cream. Add to this rum, whisky, or brandy to taste (about half a pint). Slip in the whipt whites and give the whole a gentle stir up in the china punch-bowl, in which it should be mixed. It may be flavoured with nutmeg or lemon-zest. This Highland morning-cup is nearly the egg-nog of America.

Solomon’s Temple in Flummery.

A recipe for 'Solomon's Temple in Flummery' from John Farley's The London art of cookery (1792) has been added to the Coffee Recipe Archive. I apologise to those of you who tried to access this via the link in yesterday's post, and found it took you to the wrong place.

Thankyou to Judy Glattstein of BelleWood Gardens for pointing out the problem!

Now all I need to do is find an image of a Solomon's Temple mould ....

Friday, December 29, 2006

The King bans Coffee.

Today, December 29th …

The proliferation of coffee houses in seventeenth century London made King Charles II nervous. Coffee houses were ideal places to chew the political fat, which could perhaps include ideas of dissent and decapitation – so in view of his father’s fate Charles’ reaction is not surprising. So what is a King to do? Ban them of course, which Charles attempted to do by a Proclamation issued on this day in 1675.

Naturally, it does not do for a King to publicly proclaim insecurity about his head, so Charles argument was that coffee houses disturbed the peace of the realm and promoted idleness and some scurrilous and defamatory rumour-mongering.

By the King
Suppression of Coffee-Houses.


Whereas it is most apparent, that the Multitude of Coffee-Houses of late years set up and kept within the Kingdom, the Dominion of Wales, and the Town of Berwick on Tweed, and the great resort of Idle and disaffected persons to them, have produced very evil and dangerous effects; as well for that many Tradesmen and others, do therein mis-spend much of their time, which might and probably would otherwise by imployed in and about their Lawful Callings and Affairs; but also, for that in such houses, and by occasion of the meetings of such persons therein, diverse False, Malitious and Scandalous Reports are devised and spread abroad, to the Defamation of His Majesties Government, and to the Disturbance of the Peace and Quiet of the Realm; his Majesty hath thought it fit and necessary, That the said Coffee-houses be (for the future) put down and supressed, and doth (with the Advice of his Privy council) by this Royal Proclamation, Strictly Charge and Command all manner of persons, That they or any of them do not presume from and after the Tenth Day of January next ensuing, to keep any Publick Coffee-house, or to Utter or sell by retail, in his, her, or their house or houses (to be spent or consumed within the same) any Coffee, Chocolet, Sherbett or Tea, as they will answer the contrary at their utmost perils.

And for the better accomplishment of this his Majesties Royal Pleasure, his Majesty both hereby will and require the Justices of the Peace within their several Counties, and the Chief Magistrates in all Cities and Towns Corporate, that they do at their next respective General Sessions of the peace (to be holden within their several and respective Counties, Divisions and Precincts) recall and make void all Licences at any time heretofore Granted, for the selling or retailing of any Coffee, Chocolet, Sherbett or Tea. And that they or any of them do not (for the future) make or grant any such Licence or Licences to any persons whatsoever. And his Majesty doth further hereby declare, that if any person or persons shall take upon them, him or her, after his, her or their Licence or Licences recalled, or otherwise without Licence, to sell by retail (as aforesaid) any of the Liquors aforesaid, that then the person or persons so Offending, shall not only be proceeded against , upon the Statute made in the fifteenth year of his Majesties Reign (which gives the forfeiture of five pounds for every moneth wherein he, she or they shall offend therein) but shall (in case they persevere to Offend) receive the severest punishments that may by Law be inflicted.

Given at our Court at Whitehall, the Nine and twentieth day of December 1675, in the Seven and twentieth year of Our Reign.

God save the King

The proclamation was to take effect on January 10th, but due to pressure from his own ministers (who loved their coffee), it was withdrawn on January 8th.

Hannah Woolley’s famous book ‘The Accomplished Ladies Delight … ’ was published in the same year. It did not contain any coffee recipes – it was still an exotic and expensive beverage, and it was a long time before it sank to the level of a mere culinary ingredient. The book did have some recipes for other beverages that must have been just as risky to the peace and quiet of the realm, such as cock ale, capon water, artificial malmsey – and ‘Usquebath’ (i.e whisky)

To make good Usquebath.
Take two Gallons of good Aquavitae, four ounces of the best liquorice bruised, four ounces of Anniseed bruised, put them into a Wooden, Glass, or Stone Vessel, and cover them close, and so let them stand a week, then draw off the cleerest and Sweetest with Molosso’s and keep it in another Vessel, and put in some Dates, and Raisens stoned; keep it very close from the Air.

Monday’s Story …

New Year Breakfast.

A Previous Story for this Day …
Last year on December 29th we had a story about Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup, called 'The Battle for Food'.
On this Topic ...

For other interesting primary documents on tea and coffee, see Thomas Gloning's site.
If you love coffee as an ingredient, please look a the Archive of Coffee Recipes.

Balzac's famous dissertation “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee” is also on the Companion site.

Quotation for the Day …

Wherever it has been introduced it has spelled revolution. It has been the world's most radical drink in that its function has always been to make people think. And when people think, they become dangerous to tyrants. William Ukers.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A terrible sea cook

Today, December 28th …

The English newspaper The Guardian carried the following article on this day in 1908.

A terrible sea cook.

Tale from the south seas.

Mails from Vancouver received at Queenstown last night brought a stirring tale of mutiny and murder on board a South Sea schooner.
It appears that an English lad, one of the crew, was in prison at Suva, Fiji, together with the cook of the vessel, a Belgian, charged with the murder of the captain and mate and with piracy.
The English lad's story was that when the vessel was two days out from Callao the cook came on deck with a chopper in his hand and attacked the captain and the mate.
After dodging him around the deck for some time they were forced to climb into the rigging to save their lives. The cook shouted to them to come down, and as they would not he brought a gun from the cabin and threatened to shoot them if they did not jump into the sea.
They begged hard for their lives, but the cook was obdurate, and he had levelled the gun to fire when both men jumped overboard. They must have been drowned. The schooner (which presumably had a Kanaka crew) sailed away, and the cook changed her name to the White Rose. She subsequently went ashore on the Gilbert Islands, the cook looting her of all valuables. The English lad said he had no part in the crime, being coerced by the cook under pain of instant death.

The article could provide a perfect trigger for a story about other bad, or mad, or bad-mad sea-cooks - and there is no shortage of material on that topic. I have, however, been awaiting an excuse to give you a recipe from a specific book, simply because I find its title amusing. I feel justified in indulging my whim today, as it is my birthday, and the title fits perfectly with our theme.

The book was published in America in 1831, and is called called ‘The Cook not Mad’, or more accurately ‘The Cook Not Mad, or Rational Cookery; Being A Collection of Original and Selected Receipts, Embracing Not Only the Art of Curing Various Kinds of Meats and Vegetables for Future Use, but of Cooking in its General Acceptation, to the Taste, Habits, and Degrees of Luxury, Prevalent with the American Publick, in Town and Country. To Which are Added, Directions for Preparing Comforts for the SICKROOM; Together with Sundry Miscellaneous Kinds of Information, of Importance to Housekeepers in General, Nearly All Tested by Experience'. The book gives me the perfect opportunity to indulge another whim, and make the observation that “They don’t give cookbooks titles like that anymore”.

Naturally I have chosen recipes with a nautical theme. The first is for Sea-Pie, which in spite of its name contains no seafood - but that is a story for another day. The second is an early recipe (in a ‘Western’ cookbook) for kebabs.

A Sea Pie.
Four pounds flour, one pound and a half butter rolled in paste, wet with cold water, line the pot therewith, lay in one dozen split pigeons, with slices of pork, salt, pepper, and dust on flour, doing thus till the pot is full, or your ingredients expended, add three pints water, cover tight with paste, and stew moderately two hours and a half.

A Moorish method of cooking beef, as described by Captain Riley, the shipwrecked mariner.
"Mr. Willshire's cook had by this time prepared a repast, which consisted of beef cut into square pieces, just large enough for a mouthful before it was cooked; these were then rolled in onions, cut up fine, and mixed with salt and pepper; they were in the next place put on iron skewers and laid horizontally across a pot of burning charcoal, and turned over occasionally, until perfectly roasted:"

[Query.--Does he mean that the skewers be run through the pieces of meat? we think he must, as it would be difficult to make such small pieces lie on the skewers, without falling through into the fire; especially when the meat came to be turned.]

"This dish," continues Captain Riley, "is called cubbub, and in my opinion far surpasses in flavour the so much admired beef steak; as it is eaten hot from the skewers, and is indeed an excellent mode of cooking beef."
Remark.--How would it do to cut up flakes here and there on our common steak pieces, and put under pieces of raw onion, pepper and salt, and fasten the flap down by means of little wooden pins or pegs, to be pulled out after cooking?

Tomorrow’s Story …

The King bans Coffee.

A Previous Story for this Day …

‘Any Peas with That?’

Quotation for the Day …

It is not, in fact, cookery books that we need half so much as cooks really trained to a knowledge of their duties. Eliza Acton (1845)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Papal Pasta.

Today, December 27th

Giovanni Angelo Braschi was born into a wealthy aristocratic family on this day in 1717 in Cesena in northern Italy. In 1775 he was elected Pope as a compromise candidate after four months deliberation, and took the name Pius VI. He did not let his new role get in the way of the life of luxury to which he was accustomed – in fact he almost bankrupted the country partly on account of the magnificence of his entertainments.

A cookbook (Il Cuoco Maceratese) was published during his Papacy by Antonio Nebbia, which is famous on a number of counts. It documents the upper class cuisine of the time, and included mention of the fine French sauces developed by La Varenne. It also included a recipe for the famous lasagne-style dish of the Marchese region now called vincisgrassi (although he called it princisgras) which contains chicken livers, truffles and prosciutto.

The name of Nebbia’s dish is the cause of some controversy, with the popular theory that it was named for the Austrian General Windisch Graetz being impossible because the Napoleonic Wars which caused him to be in the region did not happen until long after the book was published. There are other mysteries in the world of pasta words - the origin of the word ‘lasagne’ itself for example. The first written Italian recipe occurs in a fourteenth century cookbook from Naples. However, something pasta-like called ‘loseyns’ is described in The Form of Cury – the late fourteenth century cookbook of the master chefs of King Richard II of England. An even more intriguing (but less likely) contender is a Viking-era dish called ‘langkake’. Naturally the Italians wont listen to any of these other theories, and probably count it treason against the state to do so.

A third pasta-naming mystery occurs in our recipe of the day. There is absolutely no clue in the late Victorian English tome ‘Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery’ as to why this dish is styled “à la Pontiffe’. The ‘macaroni’ is in the form of ‘long ribbons’ too, which sounds closer to lasagne noodles than the small tubes that have the name today. Which is a fourth pasta-naming mystery, if my counting is correct.

Macaroni à la Pontiffe.
Boil eight ounces of long straight ribbon macaroni in the usual way, but fifteen minutes will be enough to swell it, which is all that is needed. Drain on a sieve, and when drained put a neat layer of it as a lining over a well-buttered mould; cover next with a quenelle forcemeat of fowl or rabbit, and full the mould with game or poultry, boned and filleted, some larks, also boned, and rolled with thin bits of bacon inside each, and some delicate strips or pieces cut into rounds about he size of a shilling, distributed with egg-balls and button mushrooms, previously simmered in gravy in the mould. Thicken the gravy, a littlr of which use to moisten the whole, cover with macaroni, and simmer, but do not boil, for an hour.

Tomorrow’s Story …

A terrible sea cook.

A Previous Story for this Day …

We had a story about Jane Austen on this day in 2005.

On this Topic …

Food for Cowboys and Popes.

Quotation for the Day …

Life is a combination of magic and pasta. Federico Fellini.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Classic at Christmas.

Today, December 26th …

Yes, I know I promised you a fruitcake story for today, but in retrospect it seemed a heavy topic for the day after a heavy-eating day. And in any case, I have too much post-feasting cleaning up to do myself (but what a good day!) – so when I realised that I had not selected a suitable fruitcake recipe for the day, I made an executive decision to change topic.

I hope you like this 1921 Boxing Day menu from the Hotel Rubens, London S.W 1.


Royal Natives
Consomme a l’Ancienne
Supreme de Salmon Chambort
Tournedos Rossini
Haricots Verts
Pommes Chateau
Cailles de Vigne au Raisins
Salade de Saison
Coupe Mexicaine
Café 6d.

Lunedi le 26 Decembre 1921

Here is Escoffier's recipe for the Tournedos Rossini.

Tournedos Rossini.
Seasoning: 4 tournedos, butter, 4 croûtons, fried in butter, meat jelly, 4 slices foie gras, Madeira, 12 slices truffle, dem-glace sauce.
Season and sauté the tournedos in butter. Cover each crouton with a little meat jelly and place the tournedos on top. Arrange on a serving dish. Sauté foie gras in butter and place a slice on each tournedos. Add a little Madeira to the pan in which the tournedos were cooked, boil, add the slice of truffle and the very well reduced demi-glace sauce. Pour over the tournedos.
Serve with a dish of noodles, mixed with butter and Parmesan cheese.

[As for the Royal Natives, you'll have to shoot a few for yourself today .... ]

Tomorrow’s Story...

Papal Pasta.

A Previous Story for this Day...

Last year we had a story set during the Boer War era, called 'Keeping Husbands at Home'.

Quotation for the Day.

From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it. Katharine Whitehorn, English writer, in 1962.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Queen Victoria's Christmas Dinner.

Today, December 25th …

Queen Victoria’s Christmas Dinner at Windsor in 1899.


Consommé à la Monaco. Du Berry


Filet de Sole à la Vassant.
Eperlans frits, sauce Verneuil.


Côtelettes de Volaille à la York.


Dinde à la Chipolata.
Roast Beef. Chine of Pork.


Asperges, sauce Hollandaise.
Mince Pies. Plum Pudding.
Gelée d’Orange à l’Anglaise.


Baron of Beef. Boar’s Head. Game Pie.
Woodcock Pie. Brawn.
Roast Fowl. Tongue.
A collection of Vintage Christmas Recipes is HERE.
'Through the Ages with Gingerbread' is HERE.
Tomorrow’s Story …

Fruit Cake, Large.

Quotation for the Day …

In my experience, clever food is not appreciated at Christmas. It makes the little ones cry and the old ones nervous. Jane Grigson.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Last Minute Historic Food Gift?

This recipe was a serendipitous Christmas Eve find. If you need a last minute gift for a friend who loves food or is a history nerd, this might just suit. The quantity will need to be scaled down - Durand clearly made this amount for restaurant use!

Spiced Salt.

The great cook, Durand, of illustrious memory, advocated the use of spiced salt, which he said had often stood him in good stead. The following are the exact quantities he gave in his recipe.
Take twenty ounces of salt, four heads of cloves, two nutmegs, six laurel [bay] leaves, a stick of cinnamon, four whole black peppers, half a quarter of an ounce of basil leaves [not a typo- he means an eighth of an ounce], and the same quantity of coriander seeds; pound in a mortar, pass through a tammy, pound any pieces that remain over, pass through the tammy, and keep in tightly corked bottles.

From: 366 Menus and 1200 Recipes; by the Baron Brisse (originally published in 1868, this was transcribed from the eighth edition of the English translation).

Friday, December 22, 2006

More Vintage Christmas Recipes.

Some more recipes have been added to the collection of Vintage Christmas Recipes.

The recipes are in order of historic date. The recipes added today are:

1860: Alexis Soyer explains how to cook a three course Christmas Dinner in one three-legged pot, and also gives a recipe for an economical eggless Christmas pudding “for the million”.

1896: The U.S. Commissary General Of Subsistence instructs Army Cooks how to make Plum Pudding to feed thirty men.

1937: A Bakery Trade recipe book published by a margarine manufacturer explains how to make Christmas Pudding from Cake Crumbs.

There is less than one day left to make a donation to the wonderful work done by the World Food Program and at the same time give yourself a chance to win one of the magnificent prizes.

For information on the prize offered by The Old Foodie, go HERE.

For a complete list of all prizes, go HERE.

To donate, go HERE.

A Food Facts Quiz.

Today, December 22nd ...

By December 1941, with WW II well underway, the British Ministry of Food had already produced 74 “Food Facts Leaflets” to assist the housewife with feeding her family under rationing. Leaflet Number 75 appeared in The Times on this day, just in time for some Christmas fun. It was in the form of a quiz - no prizes for the winners, only the warm glow of satisfaction of a quiz well-answered, but a suggested penalty for the poor performers in the family.

See how well you do with it today:


Here is a handful of nuts for you to crack around the fire at Christmas. “Chestnuts” they should be – to those of you who listen to the Kitchen Front Broadcasts or read Food Facts. Each correct answer is worth a certain number of points. A score of 20 out of 25 is good; but anyone who scores less than 10 should be made to do the washing up!

1 (a) Why is it an advantage to cook green vegetables quickly? (one point) (b) How do you prepare them for quick cooking? (one point)
2. Should young children be given cheese? (one point)
3. Who drew the figure at the top of this advertisement? (one point)
4. How long must a fruiterer keep oranges for the holder of a child’s ration book? (one point)
5. (a) How much is fresh-salted cod per lb.? (one point) (b) Who prepares it for cooking, and how? (two points).(c) When should it be cooked (one point).
6. (a) What are the present values of Points Coupons A, B, and C? (three points). (b)Between what dates are the current coupons valid? (two points)
7. Which is the correct way of mixing Milk Powder? (a) Do you pour the water on to the powder (b) Sprinkle the powder into the water? (one point)
8.(a) What is the time of the Kitchen Front Broadcast? (one point) (b) Which four of the following have taken part in these broadcasts? Raymond Gram Swing, Jack Hylton, Quentin Reynolds, Vic Oliver, Howard Marshall, Mabel Constanduros, George Allison, Goss Custard, Bernard Shaw (four points).
9. Each of the following foods is famous for a particular Vitamin. State whether A, B, C, or D: - National Wheatmeal; Carrots; Cod Liver Oil; Brussels Sprouts (four points).
10. What is (or are) Rose Hips? A dress design, An authoress, An Eastern Dance; Pods of the wild rose, rich in Vitamin C (one point).

[These were printed upside down in the advertisement “so that you do not look before you should!”]

1. (a) To preserve the vitamins. (b) Shred them.
2. Certainly. Preferably grated and not cooked.
3. Walt Disney.
4. Five days (it used to be seven)
5. (a) 9d. a lb. (Smoked varieties 1/1d. to 1/3d.) (b) The fishmonger. He desalts it by soaking it in water for 48 hours. (c) The same day it is desalted.
6. (a) A and B equal 1 point each. C equals 2 points. (b) December 14th to January 12th .
7. (b)
8. (a) 8.15 a.m. (b) Quentin Reynolds, Vic Oliver, Mabel Constanduros, George Allison.
9. Carrot, A; National Wheatmeal, B; Sprouts, C; Cod Liver Oil, D.
10. Pods of the Wild Rose.

Walt Disney designed a whole cartoon family of carrots for the Ministry of Food. Here is a recipe from another advertisement featuring “Doctor Carrot”.

"Here’s a recipe that will be new to most British housewives."

Boston Bake.
Soak 2 breakfastcupfuls small white beans in cold water for 24 hours. Put into a stew-jar with 3 ozs. diced fat bacon, and 1 lb. sliced carrots. Mix thoroughly 1 level teaspoonful dry mustard and 1 tablespoonful golden syrup with enough hot water to make ½ pint. Pour over beans, and add enough water to cover. Put on lid, and bake in moderate oven for 2 to 2 ½ hours. For the last half-hour, remove the lid, and bring some of the bits of bacon to the top to brown off. Delicious!

Monday’s Story …

Queen Victoria’s Christmas Dinner.

A Previous Story for this Day …

We had a story about the composer Puccini on this day in 2005.

Quotation for the Day …

Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter. Fran Lebowitz

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pig, with Onions.

Today, December 21st

There are many reasons to celebrate today, all linked somehow with the Solstice – one of the two turning points of the seasons when the sun appears to stand still, an event of special significance, so an excuse for special food. The December solstice (Winter in the Northern hemisphere, Summer in the Southern) occurs on the 21st or 22nd of the month. This year it is technically tomorrow, the 22nd (at 10:24 am AEST), but we will consider it today because this day is also old St. Thomas’ Day and the usual blend of traditions pagan, Christian, and secular overlap.

Whatever food we chose for our solstice celebrations, we are guaranteed a calm setting in which to enjoy it, for the solstice falls in the middle of the Halcyon Days. These are the fourteen days of calm seas and mild weather which supposedly fall equally around the solstice, thanks to a mythical Greek bird, the ‘alkyon’ which caused these fine conditions in order to hatch its brood on its floating nest.

Of course the fine weather prediction applies to the winter solstice, where the legend originated. There does not seem to be a corresponding guarantee in the Southern hemisphere, which about sums up our problem Down Under. All of the ‘traditional’ December solstice foods are winter foods, and many of us expect to be sweltering in the heat. I will therefore offer two alternative food themes for the day.

St. Thomas’ Day is “good for brewing, baking and killing fat swine” – in other words, household activities entirely suitable for the official beginning of winter. In Bavaria the tradition is particularly strong, and the swine is even called the “St Thomas Pig”. It is believed that if you eat well on this day you will eat well all year. This shortest day of the year is also the traditional day to plant onions and broad beans – on the basis that they will grow with the days and be ready to pick at the summer solstice.

It would seem appropriate then to give you a suitably rural, porky, oniony recipe for this day. Who better to supply this than the good eighteenth century husbandman William Ellis who ensures that nothing is wasted of the pig? The following recipes are from his book ‘The Country Housewife’s Companion’ (1750)

To bake the Ears, Feet, the Nose-part, Mugget, or gristly lean Parts of a Hock of Pork.
These, or any part of them, may be made a good family pleasant dish, thus: - Lay them in a glazed earthen pot, and strew over them some salt, pepper, onions, one or more bay leaves; over these pour water till it is above them, bake it two or three hours, and keep it as it comes out of the oven till wanted, then cut and fry it in slices; the sauce is a little of the pickle, flower, and butter melted with some mustard.

The Farmers Way of dressing a Porker's Head, Feet, and Ears.
We make no more to do, than to boil them tender, and eat them with mustard; and if any of them are left cold, we fry them in lard with some onions, and eat with mustard. - Or else, mince the flesh of them, and lade butter over it for eating. - But to eat the feet and ears in a nicer manner; when they are boiled, chop them small, and mix butter with gravey, shalot, mustard, and slices of lemon; then stew all together.

And for the Southern hemisphere Summer Solstice, I break with the tradition of giving you something historic and instead give you my personal recipe for Summer Solstice Cake – light and bright with sunny red, orange and yellow fruits, and fragrant with liqueur. It is a variation of my Chocolate Alcohol Christmas Cake, which I must therefore give you first.

1650 gm dried fruit.
1/3 cup honey or golden syrup.
1 cup alcohol of your choice (choc or choc-orange liqueur is good, whisky or brandy or rum)
shredded or grated rind of one orange and one lemon
100gm (at least) of good quality chocolate, chopped up.
125 gm of nuts, if you wish. Pecans are good.
2 cups plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
¼ cup cocoa (good quality Dutch, or Callebaut choc powder is great)
250 gm butter (NO substitutes, good cake needs good butter)
300 gm dark brown (or black) sugar
6 eggs.

Mix the fruits, honey, alcohol, and rinds in a big jar, and marinate as long as possible.
When you are ready to make the cake, sift together the flours and cocoa.
Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
Fold the fruit mixture, the chopped chocolate, and the nuts into the creamed mixture, then fold in the dry ingredients in 2 batches.
Put in the greased tins, decorate the tops with cherries and nuts if you wish.
This makes one 24 cm cake PLUS 6 small cakes made in LARGE muffin tins, or make all small ones.
Time to cook: the small cakes about 1 hour at 120 degrees Celsius, the large one 3 ½ to 4 hours.

Make it as above, but instead:
Use all red and yellow fruits – dried cranberries (better than glace cherries I think), chopped dried apricot, peach, pear; crystallised ginger; the pale yellow sultanas.
Use a fruity liqueur – I used peach Schnapps in 2005, because that’s what I had - and it was fantastic, but Grand Marnier or Curacao would be good.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Use white sugar (vanilla if possible)
No cocoa, use an extra ¼ cup plain flour instead.
Substitute white chocolate of course.
Macadamia nuts (slightly roasted first) instead of pecans.
Pour more of the alcohol of your choice over the cakes as they are cooling, and as often afterwards as you can, until time for eating.

Tomorrow’s Story …

A Food Facts Quiz.

A Previous Story for this Day …

Ortolans were featured in our story of this day in 2005.

Quotation for the Day …

It's probably illegal to make soups, stews and casseroles without plenty of onions. Maggie Waldron, American author.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Your Birthday Food History.

If you would love to know what happened in food history on your birthday, please consider buying a $10 raffle ticket for prize AP13 in the MENU FOR HOPE fundraising effort for the World Food Program.

I am offering a personalised food history for any day the winner nominates. It might make a great gift for the foodie in your life! Details of this particular prize are HERE.

The list of all prizes from around the world are HERE.

The donation page is HERE.

The Fish & Chip Shop.

Today, December 20th …

A most unpretentious fish and chip shop opened near Bradford, in Yorkshire, England on this day in 1928. The proprietor was Harry Ramsden, and somehow his little shop became the most famous fish and chip shop in the world.

It wasn’t the first fish and chip shop in England, although a believable rumour says that the phenomenon did start in the North of the country. At the risk of starting the Wars of the Roses all over again, this honour may in fact go to Lancashire. The true history of the classic combination will, like that of the hamburger in the USA, almost certainly never be proven to the satisfaction of every stakeholder, but we must not let this put us off considering the factoids as they currently appear.

Fried fish (no chips) was being sold as a street food in the 1840’s, and there were several ‘Fried Fish Shops’ in London in the early 1850’s. As for the chips, the claim by the town of Mossley in Lancashire is that sometime in the 1860’s the owner of a shop selling pigs’ trotters and pea soup noticed a vendor at a nearby market selling “chipped potatoes in the French style”, and subsequently added them to his repertoire, thus creating the first Chip Shop.

The true inspiration of course lies in the combination of these two fairly pedestrian victuals. The town of Oldham, also in Lancashire, claims that one of their own, a tripe-dresser (a singularly uninspiring-sounding profession) named Dyson was the genius to whom an entire class - Nay! an entire Nation - has reason to owe their undying gratitude.

‘Fish and Chips’ is now a classless classic, but it certainly began life as a cheap working class meal. How did something clearly associated with France and therefore according to definition in England, with ‘fancy food’, come to be a low-class meal? My own theory is that it is all the responsibility of that champion of the English downtrodden, Charles Dickens. The OED gives the first reference to “chips of potatoes” as ocurring in his novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. Perhaps his widely-read and much-loved books had something to do with it? I welcome comment.

Here are a couple of Victorian recipes for fried fish, from Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery (1870’s)

Fish, Fried.
Fish to be nicely fried should be wiped very dry, and floured before being put into the pan of boiling fat. Next to oil clarified dripping is the best. Shake the pan gently till hot through. If you want the fish to look very nice, dip it into egg, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs before frying. Drain before the fire, and dish on a hot napkin. The time required for this mode of cooking will vary according to the size, quality, and thickness of the fish.

Fish, Fried (Jewish Fashion).
The Jews, like our continental neighbours, use oil for frying. Soyer gives the following excellent recipe for cooking fish: - Lay one or more pounds of halibut in a dish, with salt over the top, and water not to cover the fish. Let it stay one hour for the salt to penetrate. Drain and dry it; then cut out the bone and take off the fins. Divide the pieces into slices half an inch thick. Put a quarter of a pound of oil, butter, lard, or dripping into a frying pan. Dip the fish into a batter, and fry till the pieces are of a nice colour, and all sides alike. When quite done, take them out with a slice, drain, and serve with any sauce liked. All fish, especially those containing oil, are improved by this method – the oil is absorbed by the batter.

[Unfortunate inclusion, that lard, in a Jewish recipe. I blame the editors.]

Tomorrow’s Story …

Pig, with Onions.

A Previous Story for this Day …

Preserved potatoes aboard ship featured on December 20th 2005.

Quotation for the Day …

And then I saw the menu, stained with tea and beautifully written by a foreign hand, and on top it said - God I hated that old man - it said 'Chips with everything'. Chips with every damn thing. You breed babies and you eat chips with everything. Arnold Wesker ; Chips with Everything.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oranges and Saturday Hash.

Before the official "on this day" post, just a reminder that the Vintage Christmas Recipes file is HERE, and contains everything from Boar's Head (16thC style) to Punch, with puddings, cakes and pies inbetween. Please enjoy, and please let me know what you think, and if there is anything you would like added.

Today, December 19th …

The newlywed poets Elizabeth (Barrett) and Robert Browning started their married life in Italy in 1846. Elizabeth wrote to her sister Henrietta from Pisa on this day, a few months after their wedding.

“Will you take us in some day, Henrietta, and ‘include the cooking and housekeeping’? and ‘see us properly done for’? Robert and I are just alike in every fancy about those kind of things, he turns away from beef and mutton, and loathes the idea of a Saturday hash! A little chicken and plenty of cayenne, and above all things pudding, will satisfy us both when most we are satisfied; and to order just what is wanted, from the ‘traiteur’, apart from economical considerations of what is ‘in the house’, and should be eaten, is our ‘ideal’ in this way. My appetite is certainly improved. I finish one egg, for instance, in the morning. Then at dinner we have Chianti which is an excellent kind of claret; and fancy me (and Wilson) drinking claret out of tumblers! … A few days ago, our lady of the house sent me a gift of an enormous dish of oranges – for the ‘Signora’ – great oranges just gathered from her own garden – two hanging on a stalk, and the green leaves glittering around them – twelve or thirteen great oranges they were, and excellent oranges. We have on every day after dinner, and the sight of the green crowding orange leaves is very pretty, and keeps us from thinking too much of the cold.”

Saturday Hash does not sound a like a romantic meal for a decidedly romantic pair of poets, so Robert’s objection may have been aesthetic. Perhaps he would have accepted ‘Saturday Pie’ instead? He certainly had a husbandly duty to at least tolerate it, if the little scene in Ernest Maltravers (1837) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton reflected the expectations of the times. The new bride in this story has also only been married three months, and her mother is giving her some instruction on the way to make a ten pound leg of lamb last the whole week.

"Where was I, my dear?" resumed Mrs. Hobbs, resettling herself, and readjusting the invaded petticoats. "Oh, about the leg of mutton! - yes, large joints are the best - the second day a nice hash, with dumplings; the third, broil the bone - your husband is sure to like broiled bones! - and then keep the scraps for Saturday's pie; - you know, my dear, your father and I were worse off than you when we began. But now we have everything that is handsome about us - nothing like management. Saturday pies are very nice things, and then you start clear with your joint on Sunday. A good wife like you should never neglect the Saturday's pie!"

"Yes," said the bride, mournfully; "but Mr. Tiddy does not like pies."

"Not like pies! That’s very odd - Mr. Hobbs likes pies - perhaps you don't have the crust made thick eno'. How somever, you can make it up to him with a pudding. A wife should always study her husband's tastes - what is a man's home without love? Still a husband ought not to be aggravating, and dislike pie on a Saturday!"

There is then no definitive recipe for Saturday pie as the contents reflect the collected weeks' leftovers, which is why it is sometimes also called Resurrection Pie or Scrap Pie (and no doubt some even more unkindly epithets). How different from the composition of a ‘Friday Pie’! Friday Pie was a pie suitable to serve on the meatless days decreed by the church, and usually contained eggs, which appear to have appealed to Elizabeth’s fragile invalid appetite.

Here is a late sixteenth-early seventeenth century recipe from the Receipt Book of Lady Castlehill.

Friday Pye.
Boil 5 Eggs very hard, and mince them exceedingly small, then mixe a quarter of a pound of Suet, 6 Dates some new Raisons stoned, mixe these together with Currans salt, sugar, and Spices with a little rosewater, and so bake your Pye. If you please you put it between two sheets of Paste, and fry it in a frying pan.

Tomorrow’s Story …

The Fish & Chip Shop.

A Previous Story for this Day …

On this day in 2005 we looked at a menu from the Lusitania in 1911, and considered the bologna sausage.

Quotation for the Day …

An orange on the table, your dress on the rug, and you in my bed, sweet present of the present, cool of night, warmth of my life. Jaques Prevert (French poet; 1900-77)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Conceited Dishes.

John Evelyn was a diarist, like his contemporary and friend Samuel Pepys. His diary is not as rich in food detail as is Sam’s, although on this day in 1685 he does give us some insight into fine dining in the seventeenth century. He had attended a dinner given by King James II to some Venetian ambassadors, and wrote:

“I din’d at the greate entertainement his Majestie gave the Venetian Ambassadors Signors Zenno & Justiniani, accompanied with 10 more Noble Venetians of their most illustrious families Cornaro, Maccenigo &c, who came to Congratulate their Majesties coming to the Crowne &c: The dinner was one of the most magnificent & plentifull that I have ever seene, at 4 severall Tables with Music, Trumpets, Ketle-drums which sounded upon a whistle at every health: The banquet was 12 vast Chargers pild up so high, as those who sat one against another could hardly see one another, of these Sweetemeates which doub [t]lesse were some dayes piling up in that exquisite manner, the Ambassadors touched not, but leaving them to the Spectators who came in Curiosity to see the dinner, &c were exceedingly pleas’d to see in what a moment of time, all that curious work was demolish’d, & the Comfitures &c voided & table clear’d: Thus his Majestie entertain’d them 3 dayes, which (for the table onely) cost him 600 pounds as the Cleark of the Greene-Cloth Sir W: Boreman assur’d me….”

A ‘banquet’ at that time occurred at the end of the meal, and consisted of a variety of sweetmeats such as preserves and confectionary, expensive fruits and so on. In other words, it was what we would now call dessert. It was often served in a separate room – on a ‘banquette’ (i.e a ‘bench’) - or even a specially built ‘banquetting house’ in the garden. The production of ‘banquetting stuffe’ was an opportunity for confectioners to really show off – hence the other name of ‘conceited dishes’, meaning fancy and intricate. Their creation was invested with a great deal of secrecy and mystery, and in grand homes the responsibility for them fell to the mistress of the house. She would often make them herself, along with household medicine, in the ‘still room’ (which housed the distillation equipment for producing spirits and essences). The importance of this role was stressed by Gervase Markham in ‘The English Housewife’ (1615).

“… I will … proceede to the manner of making Banquetting stuffe and conceited dishes, with other pretty and curious secrets, necessary for the understanding of our English Hous-wife: for albeit they are not of generall use, yet in their due time they are so needful for adornation, that whosoever is ignorant therin, is lame, and but the halfe part of a compleat Hous-wife.”

Markham does give some recipes for conceited dishes, such as this one for conserve of flowers, so you are saved from appearing only a halfe-compleat house-person (one must make some concessions to progress)

To make conserve of flowers, as Roses, Violets, Gilliflowers, and such like: you shall take the flowers from the stalkes, and with a paire of sheeres cut away the white ends a the roots thereof, and then put them into a stone morter or wodden breake, and there crush or beate them till they be come to a soft substance: and then to every pound therof, take a pound of fine refined sugar well searst and beat it all together, till it come into one intire body, then pot it up, and use it as occasion shall serve.

Tomorrow’s Story …

Oranges and Saturday Hash.

Quotation for the Day …

There are so few invalids who are invariably and conscientiously untemptable by those deadly domestic enemies, sweetmeats, pastry, and gravies, that the usual civilities at a meal are very like being politely assisted to the grave. Nathaniel Parker Willis.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Pie from 1867.

'First, bone a fowl, a wild duck, a pheasant, and two woodcocks ... ' begins the recipe for Christmas Pie in Charles Elmé Francatelli's book ‘The Cook’s Guide and Housekeeper and Butler’s Assistant’. The chef to Queen Victoria obviously had more help in the kitchen than most of us can aspire to, but if you can rustle up some help, and want to try it, the full instructions have been added to the Vintage Christmas Recipes feature. The recipes are in order of date, so just scroll down to 1867.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Menu For Hope Prize.

Have you seen the list of fantastic prizes offered in the Menu for Hope fundraising effort being run on behalf of the World Food Program by Pim at Chez Pim? For a $10 donation you get a virtual raffle ticket in the prize of your choice.

For the prize of a personalised "Food History on this Day" for the day of your choice ( a great gift for the foodie in your life who has everything!), buy a ticket in prize number AP13. For more details on this prize go HERE.

For more details of all the prizes offered, go HERE.

To donate, go HERE.

And if you love gingerbread, several recipes have been added to the Through the Ages with Gingerbread feature over the last few days. They include a World War I recipe for gingerless, molassessless, eggless, butterless, milkless gingerbread,

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pioneers and Persimmons.

Today, December 15th …

Things were pretty grim for Washington’s forces at Valley Forge in December 1777. The surgeon, Albigence Waldo had his own ‘medical’ problem too, in addition to plain old hunger. Luckily both were solved on this day, with the assistance of some fruit. His diary reads:

‘Quiet. Eat Pessimmens, found myself better for their Lenient Opperation. Went to a house, poor and small, but good food within - eat too much from being so long Abstemious, thro' want of palatables. Mankind are never truly thankfull for the Benefits of life, until they have experienc'd the want of them. The Man who has seen misery knows best how to enjoy good… ’

Much as we might be sympathetic to the relief offered to Waldo’s bowels by the persimmons, it is frustrating for us as curious students of food history that he makes no comment about the rest of the meal. We can be safe in assuming however that the fruit was very ripe indeed, as otherwise they are traumatically astringent and mouth puckering. Captain John Smith of the English settlement in Virginia early in the seventeenth century said:

‘Plums there are of three sorts. The red and white are like our hedge plums; but the other, which they call Putchamins, grows as high as a Palmeta, the fruit is like a Medler, it is first green, then yellow, and red when ripe. If it be not ripe, it will drawe a man’s mouth awrie, with much torment; but when it is ripe, it is delicious as an Apricocke.

Putchamin is the Algonquin Indian word from which we get persimmon, and it appears from a report by Hernando de Soto in 1541 that Indians in the Mississippi region made it into “bread”. The variety of persimmon enjoyed by these intrepid explorers and early settlers is what we now call Diospyros virginiana. Another variety originally from China is Diospyros kaki – or simply kaki – which is inherently sweeter and less astringent, and is certainly the most popular today.

If you want to feel like a pioneer, you could make the suggested variation of this pumpkin bread from Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South by Martha McCulloch-Willia (1913), or the beer, or both!

Pumpkin Bread: (Pioneer.)
Sift a pint of meal, add salt to season fully, then rub through a large cupful of stewed pumpkin, made very smooth. Add half a cup melted lard, then mix with sweet milk to a fairly stiff dough, make pones, and bake crisp. Mashed sweet potato can be used instead of pumpkin, and cracklings, rubbed very fine in place of lard. Folks curious as to older cookery, can even make persimmon bread, using the pulp of ripe persimmons to mix with the meal - but they will need the patience of Job to free the pulp properly from skin and seed.

Persimmon Beer:

The poor relation of champagne - with the advantage that nobody is ever the worse for drinking it. To make it, take full-ripe persimmons, the juicier the better, free them of stalks and calyxes, then mash thoroughly, and add enough wheat bran or middlings to make a stiffish dough. Form the dough into thin, flat cakes, which bake crisp in a slow oven. When cold break them up in a clean barrel, and fill it with filtered rainwater. A bushel of persimmons before mashing will make a barrel of beer. Set the barrel upright, covered with a thin cloth, in a warm, dry place, free of taints. Let stand until the beer works--the persimmon cakes will rise and stand in a foamy mass on top. After three to four weeks, either move the barrel to a cold place, or rack off the beer into bottles or demijohns, tieing down the corks, and keeping the bottled stuff very cool. The more meaty and flavorous the persimmons, the richer will be the beer. Beware of putting in fruit that has not felt the touch of frost, so retains a rough tang. A very little of it will spoil a whole brewing of beer. If the beer is left standing in the barrel a wooden cover should be laid over the cloth, after it is done working. Fermentation can be hastened by putting in with the persimmon cakes a slice of toast dipped in quick yeast. But if the temperature is right, the beer will ferment itself.

Monday’s Story …

Conceited Dishes.

A Previous Story for this Day …

"Sex and Science in the Kitchen"

Quotation for the Day …

having examined

three thousand haiku poems -

two persimmons

Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vintage Christmas Recipes.


Our Christmas food traditions today reflect many centuries of change and evolution.
This selection of historic Christmas recipes will give you some idea of how cooks and housewives have adapted recipes over time, depending on their own beliefs and philosophies, as well as availability of ingredients.
There are recipes for pies, puddings, cakes and beverages. They are in order of historic date.
As time permits, others will be added, so please stop by again soon.
There is another recipe feature relevant to this time of year. It is called Through the Ages withGingerbread .

1553: First, the Boar’s Head.
From: The Cookbook of Sabina Welserin; 1553; version by David Friedman
How to cook a wild boar's head, also how to prepare a sauce for it.
A wild boar's head should be boiled well in water and, when it is done, laid on a grate and basted with wine, then it will be thought to have been cooked in wine. Afterwards make a black or yellow sauce with it. First, when you would make a black sauce, you should heat up a little fat and brown a small spoonful of wheat flour in the fat and after that put good wine into it and good cherry syrup, so that it becomes black, and sugar, ginger, pepper, cloves and cinnamon, grapes, raisins and finely chopped almonds. And taste it, however it seems good to you, make it so.
If you would make a yellow sauce.
Then make it in the same way as the black sauce, only take saffron instead of the syrup and put no cloves therein, so you will also have a good sauce.

1588: Minst Pyes, with rosewater.
From: The good hous-wiues treasurie Beeing a verye necessarie booke instructing to the dressing of meates; Anon. 1588
To make minst Pyes.
Take your Veale and perboyle it a little, or mutton, then set it a cooling; and when it is colde, take three pound of suit [suet] to a leg of mutton, or fower [four] pound to a fillet of Veale, and then mince them small by themselves, or together whether you will, then take to season them halfe an once [ounce] of Nutmegs, half an once of cloves and Mace, halfe an once of Sinamon, a little Pepper, as much Salt as you think will season them, either to the mutton or to the Veale, take viii [8] yolkes of Egges when they be hard, half a pinte of rosewater full measure, halfe an pund of Suger, then straine the Yolkes with the rosewayer and the Suger and mingle it with your meate, if ye have any Orenges or Lemmans you must take two of them, and take the pilles [peels] very thin and mince them very smalle, and put them in a pound of currans, six dates, half a pound of prunes laye Currans and Dates upon the top of your meate, you must taek tow or three Pomewaters or Wardens and mince with your meate, you maye make them woorsse [?] if you will, if you will make good crust put in three or foure yolkes of egges a litle Rosewater, and a good deale of suger.

1660: Mince Pies, French and Italian Fashion.
From: The Accomplisht Cook, by Robert May.
Minced in the French fashion, called Pelipate, or in English Petits, made of Veal, Pork, or Lamb, or any kind of Venison, Beef, Poultrey, or Fowl.
Mince them with lard, and being minced, season them with salt, and a little nutmeg, mix the meat with some pine-apple-seed, and a few grapes or gooseberries; fill the pies and bake them, being baked liquor them with a little gravy.
Sometimes for variety in the Winter time, you may use currans instead of grapes or gooseberries, and yolks of hard eggs minced among the meat.
Minced Pies in the Italian Fashion.
Parboil a leg of veal, and being cold mince it with beef-suet, and season it with pepper, salt, and gooseberries; mix with it a little verjuyce, currans, sugar, and a little saffron in powder.

1675: Meatless Mince Pies.
From: The Accomplish'd Lady's Delight In Preserving, Physick, Beautifying, and Cookery, Hannah Woolley; 1675
To make an Egg-Pye, or Mince-Pye of Eggs.
Take the Yolks of two dozen of Eggs hard boyled, shred them, take the same quantity of Beef-Suet, half a pound of Pippins, a pound of Currans well washt, and dry'd, half a pound of Sugar, a penny-worth of beaten Spice, a few Carraway-Seeds, a little Candyed Orange-peel shred, a little Verjuice and Rosewater; fill the Coffin, and bake it with gentle heat.

1724: Plum Porridge, Plum Pudding.
Plum pudding gradually evolved from frumenty - a sort of wheat porridge which was enriched with fruit and wine or ale for special occasions. Over time, and with the development of pudding cloths, it thickend up and eventually became pudding as we know it. For a couple of centuries, plum porridge and plum pudding co-existed peacefully.  John Nott gave recipes for both in The cooks and confectioners dictionary: or, the accomplish’d housewives companion; 1724.
To make Plum Pottage.
Make strong Broth of a Leg or Shin of Beef, Neck-beef, and Neck of Mutton; boil them ‘till you have boil’d all the Goodness out of the Meat; strain the Broth, and when it is cold, take off all the Fat, (if you please;) then put the Crust of a quartern Loaf grated into three Gallons of Broth for an Hour, then set it on the Fire, and put in half a dozen Cloves, a Nutmeg or two, half a dozen Blades of Mace whole, and Cinnamon broken into small Bits, two or three Pound of Currans, two Pound of Raisins, half a Pound of Dates ston’d and slic’d; season it with Salt, boil all gently; then put in a Quart of Canary, and a Quart of red Port; let all boil ‘till the fruit is plump, and when you serve it up, put in a little Grape Verjuice, and Juice of Orange.
Plum Pudding.
Shred a Pound and half of Suet very fine, and sift it; add a Pound and half of Raisins of the Sun, ston’d, six spoonfuls of Flour, and as many of Sugar, the Yolks of eight Eggs, and the Whites of five, beat the Eggs with a little salt, tye up close in a Cloth, and boil it for four or five Hours.

1747: Plum Pudding.
From: Hannah Glasse; Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.
Plum Pudding
Take a Pound of Suet cut in little Pieces, not too fine, a Pound of Currants, and a Pound of Raisins stone, eight Eggs, one half the Whites,the Crumb of a Penny-loaf grated fine, one half a Nutmeg grated, and aTea Spoonful of beaten Ginger, a little Salt, a Pound of Flour, a Pint of Milk; beat the Eggs first, then one half the Milk, beat them together, and by degrees stir in the Flour and Bread together, then the suet, spice and Fruit, and as Milk as will mix it all well together and very thick; boil it five Hours.

1750: Mince Pye, Costly or Stinking varieties.
From: The Country Housewife’s Companion; William Ellis, 1750.
To make a Mince-Pye costly and rich.
To one pound of the meat of a tongue, add two pounds of suet, six pippins, and a green lemon-peel shred small, with an ounce of Jamaica pepper, two pounds of currants, citron, lemon, and orange peels, candy'd and shred small. Mix all these with half a pint of sack, and fll your pye with it. And to make this richer still, add two spoonfuls of lemon juice or verjuice, stoned and sliced dates, with some chop'd raisins. - Another says: take an ox heart, or tongue, or meat of a surloin of beef, parboil it, and chop it with two pounds of suet to every pound of lean meat; this mix with a two-penny grated loaf and eight pippins minced fine. It makes excellent pyes, if spice, sack, and orange-peel are added, with two pounds of currants to every pound of meat. Also that this composition may be kept in an earthen pot in a dry place a month or more good, and to make the pyes eat moist, as soon as they are out of the oven, put in a glass of brandy or white-wine.--Another says, that savoury mince-pyes are best made with equal parts of mutton and veal, and other proper ingredients.--Another says, that double tripe boiled tender and minced small, with currants, sugar, and other materials, makes good mince-pyes.--Another, to make mince-pyes without flesh, says: Boil a dozen or more of eggs hard, then boil also a pound of rice very soft; mince the eggs, and beat the rice to a pap: Mix these with beef suet shred, currants, raisins, sugar, nutmeg, candy'd orange-peel, and put the whole into a pye with sack, and bake it in an oven moderately heated.

How a poor Woman makes palatable Mince-Pyes of stinking Meat.
This is a poor industrious woman that rents a little tenement by me of twenty shillings a year, who for the sake of her poverty is every week relieved, with many others, by the most noble lord of Gaddesden Manour; who killing a bullock almost every week for his very large family, he has the offald meat dressed, and is so good as to have it given away to the poorest people in the neighbourhood. But it sometimes happens, through the negligence of careless servants, that this charitable meat is apt to stink in hot weather, for want of its due cleaning, boiling, and laying it in a cool place: However, the poor are very glad of this dole, as it does their families considerable service. And to recover such tainted meat, this woman, after boiling and cleansing it well, chops and minces it very small, and when mixed with some pepper, salt, chop'd sage, thyme and onion, she bakes it: This for a savoury pye. At another time she makes a sweet pye of this flesh, by mixing a few currants and plumbs with it. But in either form the taint is so lessened that it is hardly to be perceived.

1769: Yorkshire Goose Pie.
From: The Experienced English Housekeeper; Elizabeth Raffald, 1769.
A Yorkshire Goose Pie.
Take a large fat goose, split it down the back and take all the bone out; bone a turkey and two ducks the same way; season them very well with pepper and salt, with six woodcocks. Lay the goose down on a clean dish with the skin side down and lay the turkey into the goose with the skin down. Have ready a large hare, cleaned well; cut in pieces and stewed in the oven with a pound of butter, a quarter of an ounce of mace beat fine; the same of white pepper, and salt to taste, till the meat will leave the bones. Scum off the gravy; pick the meat clean off and beat it in a marble mortar very fine with the butter you took off, and lay it in the turkey. Take twenty-four pounds of the finest flour, six of butter, half a pound of fresh rendered suet, make the paste thick and raise the pie oval; roll out a lump of paste and cut it in vine leaves or what form you please; rub the pie with yolks of eggs and put your ornaments on the walls. then turn your hare, turkey and goose upside down and lay them on your pie with the ducks at each end and the woodcocks at the sides, make your lid pretty thick and put it on. You may make flowers, or the shape pf folds in the paste on the lid, and make a hole in the middle of your lid. The walls of the pie are to be one inch and a half higher than the lid. Then rub it all over with the yolks of eggs and bind it round with three-fold paper and the same over the top. It will take four hours baking in a brown bread oven. When it comes out, melt two pounds of butter in the gravy that came from the hare and pour it through a tun-dish, close it well up and let it be eight or ten days before you cut it. If you send it any distance, close up the hole in the middle with cold butter to prevent the air from getting in.

1829: An “Italian” cake from an English Cookbook.
Another sort of Spongati, or Italian Christmas Cakes.
Five yolks of fresh eggs; one pound seven ounces of sugar in powder; seven ounces of bread, dried and powdered; one pound two ounces of almonds, blanched and roasted like cocoa; four ounces of wild pine-apple kernels; three drachms of fine cinnamon; three drachms of cloves; three and a half drachms of nutmeg; two ounces of preserved cedratys; and one drachm of ground pepper.
This mixture must likewise be put into a crust or covering made of the following paste, viz. steep two ounces of gum-dragon [gum traganth] in twice its volume of orange-flower water, and put on your marble slab fourteen pounds of pulverized sugar, and six pounds of fine starch; add your gum, and strain it through a cloth like the paste for drops; form a malleable paste by adding a little white wine; make your crust, put in the above ingredients, and cover them with a large wafer paper; make them an inch thick. You may have wooden moulds representing different subjects, into which you may put your paste, and fill the moulds as above, covering them with a wafer paper. They must be kept in a stove in a gentle heat a day before they are baked, in a slack oven.
[From: The Italian confectioner; or, Complete economy of desserts. William Alexis Jarrin; London, 1829]

1839:Temperance Mince Pies.
Take on quart of good rye or wheat bread, after it is chopped fine, and one quart of sour apples, chopped fine; add the juice of six lemons, two large spoonfuls of ground cinnamon, a large teaspoonful of salt, a pint of cream or milk, a pint of the best sugar bakers’ molasses, and a pint of washed raisins. Grate in a lemon peel. Bake them one hour.
The young house-keeper: or, thoughts on food and cookery, William Andrus Alcott, 1839

1845: New England Mince Pies, with Beets.
From: The New England Economical Housekeeper, and Family Receipt Book. Esther Allen; 1845.
Common Mince Pies.
Boil a piece of lean fresh beef very tender; when cold, chop it very fine; then take three times the quantity of apples, pared and cored and chopped fine; mix the meat with it, and add raisins, allspice, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and molasses to suit the taste; incorporate the articles well together, and it will improve by standing overnight, if the weather is cool; a very little ginger improves the flavor. Small pieces of butter, sliced over the mince before laying on the top crust will make them keep longer. A tea-cup of grape sirup will give them a good flavor.
Wisconsin Mince Pies.
Take the usual quantity of meat, and substitute beets for apples; put in only one third the quantity of the latter; boil the beets, pickle them in vinegar twelve hours, chop them very fine, and add the vinegar they were pickled in. Add one eighth of grated bread and spice to suit your taste.

1845: A vegetable plum pudding from Eliza Acton.
(Cheap and good.)
Mix well together one pound of smoothly-mashed potatoes, half a pound of carrots boiled quite tender, and beaten to a paste, one pound of flour, one of currants, and one of raisins (full weight after they are stoned), three quarters of a pound of sugar, eight ounces of suet, one nutmeg, and a quarter-teaspoonful of salt.
Put the pudding into a well-floured cloth, tie it closely, and boil it for four hours. The correspondent to whom we are indebted for this receipt says, that the cost of the ingredients does not exceed half a crown, and that the pudding is of sufficient size for a party of sixteen persons.
We can vouch for its excellence, but as it is rather apt to break when turned out of the cloth, a couple of eggs would perhaps improve it. Sweetmeats, brandy, and spices can be added at pleasure.
Mashed potatoes, 1 Ib.; carrots, 8 ozs.; flour, 1 Ib.; suet, ½ Ib.; sugar, ¾ Ib.; currants and raisins, 1 Ib. each ; nutmeg, 1; little salt: 4 hours.
 [From: Modern Cookery for Private Families. Eliza Acton, 1845]

1847: Scotch Christmas Bun.
This is sometimes known as "Black-Bun". Some recipes are for a fruit cake-type mixture in a pastry shell - a sort of cake that is a pie or a pie that thinks it is a cake. Mistress Dod's recipe is for a raised yeast dough, some left plain for the outside 'wrapping', the remainder enriched and used as filling. It is from The Cook and Housewife's Manual: A Practical System of Modern Domestic Cookery, by By Mistress Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone); 1847.
A Scotch Christmas Bun, from Mrs. Fraser's Cookery.
Take half a peck of flour, keeping out a little to work it up with ; make a hole in the middle of the flour, and break in sixteen ounces of butter ; pour in a mutchkin (pint) of warm water, and three gills of yeast, and work it up into a smooth dough. If it is not wet enough, put in a little more warm water : then cut off one-third of the dough, and lay it aside for the cover. Take three pounds of stoned raisins, three pounds of cleaned currants, half a pound of blanched almonds cut longwise; candied orange and citron peel cut, of each eight ounces; half an ounce of cloves, an ounce of cinnamon, and two ounces of ginger, all beat and sifted. Mix the spices by themselves, then spread out the dough; lay the fruit upon it; strew the spices over the fruit, and mix all together. When it is well kneaded, roll out the cover. Cover it neatly, cut it round the sides, prickle it, and bind it with paper to keep it in shape ; set it in a pretty quick oven, and, just before you take it out, glaze the top with a beat egg.
These buns, weighing from four to eight, ten, twelve, and sixteen, or more pounds, are still sent from Edinburgh, from the depots of Littlejohn and Mackie, to all parts of the three kingdoms. Every country town, rural village, and neighbourhood in England, Scotland, and Ireland, has its favourite holiday-cake, or currant-loaf, under some such name as " Lady Bountiful's loaf," " Mrs. Notable's cake," "Miss Thrifty's bun," &c. &c. We do not pretend to give receipts for all these - the formula is endless - and they are all good. … That they be well raised and well fired is all besides that is of any importance. They should be baked in a dome-shaped fluted mould or Turk's cap, but look still more imposing at holiday-times, formed like large, respectable, old- fashioned household loaves. Leavened dough should be bought for them.

1854: Christmas pudding made with snow (and potatoes).
This is from a book of “recipes for cooking on hygienic principles” – what we would now call a health-food cookbook.
Christmas Pudding.
Mix together a pound and a quarter of wheaten flour or meal, half a pint of sweet cream, a pound of stoned raisins, four ounces of currants, four ounces of potatoes, mashed, five ounces of brown sugar, and a gill of milk. When thoroughly worked together, add eight large spoonfuls of clean snow; diffuce it through the mass as quickly as possible; tie the pudding tightly in a bag previously wet in cold water, and boil four hours.
The book states that “It is a singular fact that puddings may be made light with snow instead of eggs – a circumstance of some importance in the winter season, when eggs are dear and snow is cheap. Two large tablespoonfuls are equivalent to one egg. The explanation is found in the fact that snow involves within its flakes a large amount of atmospheric air, which is set free as the snow melts.”
[From: The New Hydropathic Cook-book. Trall, R.T, New York, 1854]

1860: Three courses, one pot.
Alexis Soyer wrote several cookbooks. In A Shilling Cookery for the People, he explains how to cook an entire Christmas dinner in a single, two-gallon capacity three-legged iron pot.
Our Christmas Dinner – Small Boiled Turkey.
Put into the pot four quarts of water, three teaspoonfuls of salt, one of pepper, have the turkey ready stuffed, as No. 456; when the water boils, put in the turkey, and four pieces of salt pork or bacon, of about half a pound each, or whole, if you prefer it; also add half a pound of onions, one of white celery, six peppercorns, a bunch of sweet herbs; boil slowly for one hour and a half, mix three ounces of flour with two ounces of butter; melt it in a small pan, add a pint of the liquor from the pot, and half a pint of milk, the onions and celery taken out of the pot, and cut up and added to it; boil for twenty minutes, until it is thickish; serve the turkey on a dish, the bacon separate, and pour the sauce over the bird.
A turkey done in this way is delicious. With the liquor, in which you may add a little colouring, a vermicelli, rice, or clear vegetable soup can be made; skim off the fat, and serve.
The above with a plum pudding made the day before, and re-warmed in boiling water in the pot whilst eating the soup and turkey, and the addition of potatoes, baked in the embers, under the grate, is a very excellent dinner, and can all be done with the black pot.
No. 456; Veal Stuffing.
Chop half a pound of suet, put it in a basin with three quarters of a pound of breadcrumbs, a teaspoonful of salt, a quarter of pepper, a little thyme, or lemon peel chopped, three whole eggs, mix well, and use where directed. A pound of breadcrumbs and one more egg may be used, it will make it cut finer.
In the chapter on “Camp Receipts for the Army”, Soyer includes this recipe:
A Plum Pudding for the Million, or a luxury for the Artisan.
Here is a cheap pudding, adapted not for the millionaire but for the million. No eggs are required, and it costs only sixteen pence to make a good-sized one, enough to supply from ten to twelve people.
Receipt:- Put in a basin a pound of flour, half a pound of stoned raisins, ditto of currants, ditto of chopped suet, two tablespoonfuls of treacle, and half a pint of water. Mix all well, put in a cloth or mould, and boil from four and a half to five hours.
Sauce:- Melted butter, sugar, and juice of a lemon, if handy.
A tablespoonful will well sweeten half a pint. A little spice, or a few drops of any essence, or lemon, or peel chopped; a little brandy, rum &c, &c, will be an improvement.

1861: Mrs Beeton's Christmas Cake.
Ingredients. - 5 teacupfuls of flour, 1 teacupful of melted butter, 1 teacupful of cream, 1 teacupful of treacle, 1 teacupful of moist sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 oz. of powdered ginger, 1/2 lb. of raisins, 1 teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, 1 tablespoonful of vinegar.
Mode. - Make the butter sufficiently warm to melt it, but do not allow it to oil; put the flour into a basin; add to it the sugar, ginger, and raisins, which should be stoned and cut into small pieces. When these dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, stir in the butter, cream, treacle, and well-whisked eggs, and beat the mixture for a few minutes. Dissolve the soda in the vinegar, add it to the dough, and be particular that these latter ingredients are well incorporated with the others; put the cake into a buttered mould or tin, place it in a moderate oven immediately, and bake it from 1 ¾ to 2 ¼ hours.

1861: Mrs Beeton's Christmas Plum Pudding
(Very Good.)
Ingredients.—l ½ lb. of raisins, ½ lb. of currants, ½ lb. of mixed peel, ¾ lb. of bread crumbs, ¾ lb. of suet, 8 eggs, 1 wineglassful of brandy.
Mode.—Stone and cut the raisins in halves, but do not chop them; wash, pick, and dry the currants, and mince the suet finely; cut the candied peel into thin slices, and grate down the bread into fine crumbs. When all these dry ingredients are prepared, mix them well together; then moisten the mixture with the eggs, which should be well beaten, and the brandy; stir well, that every thing may be very thoroughly blended, and press the pudding into a buttered
mould; tie it down tightly with a floured cloth, and boil for 5 or 6 hours.
It may be boiled in a cloth without a mould, and will require the same time allowed for cooking.
As Christmas puddings are usually made a few days before they are required for table, when the pudding is taken out of the pot, hang it up immediately, and put a plate or saucer underneath to catch the water that may drain from it. The day it is to be eaten, plunge it into boiling water, and keep it boiling for at least 2 hours; then turn it out of the mould, and serve with brandy-sauce. On Christmas-day a sprig of holly is usually placed in the middle of the pudding, and about a wineglassful of brandy poured round it, which, at the moment of  serving, is lighted, and the pudding thus brought to table encircled in flame.
Time.—5 or C hours the first time of boiling; 2 hours the day it is to be served.
Average cost, 4s.
Sufficient for a quart mould for 7 or 8 persons.
Seasonable on the 25th of December, and on various festive occasions till March.
Note.—Five or six of these puddings should be made at one time, as they will keep good for many weeks, and in cases where unexpected guests arrive, will be found and acceptable, and as it only requires warming through, a quickly-prepared dish.
1867: Christmas Pie.
From: The Cook’s Guide and Housekeeper and Butler’s Assistant; Charles Elmé Francatelli [Chef to Queen Victoria].
Christmas Pie.
First, bone a fowl, a wild duck, a pheasant, and two woodcocks, &c; and having spread them open on the table, season them with aromatic herbs, No. 671; pepper and salt; garnish each with some forcemeat, No. 188; sew them up with small twine, place them on a sautapan [sic] with a little clarified butter, and set them to bake in a moderate heat, until they are done through; when they must be withdrawn from the oven and put in the cool. Meanwhile, place the carcasses in a stewpan, with two calf’s feet, carrot, celery, onion, a clove of garlic, two bay leaves, thyme, cloves, mace, and a little salt; fill up with four quarts of water; boil, skim, and them set this by the side to continue gently boiling for three hours when it must be strained, freed from grease, and boiled down to a thin glaze, and kept in reserve.
Make four pounds of hot-water paste, No. 949, and use this to line a raised pie mould (see Adams’ Illustrations); line the inside of the pie with some of the forcemeat; arrange the baked fowl, duck, &c., in the centre, placing at the same time layers of forcemeat and seasoning, until the preparation is used up; put a cover of paste on the top; weld it all round; cut the edge even; pinch it with pastry-pincers (see Adams’ Illustrations); ornament the top with leaves of paste; egg it over, and bake the pie for about two hours and a half; and when it comes out of the oven pour in the game-glaze through a funnel; put it in the larder to get cold; and previously to sending it to table, remove the lid, garnish the top with aspic jelly; place the pie on a napkin, in its dish, and ornament the base with a border of fresh-picked parsley.
Note. - The addition of truffles would be an improvement.
No. 671. This is a recipe for Spinach with Cream, so the numbering appears to be an error. The only ‘aromatic herbs’ recipe is No. 948.
No. 188. Forcemeat of Liver and Ham for Raised Pies, &c.
Take equal quantities of calf’s liver and fat bacon, and cut these in square pieces the size of a walnut. First, fry the pieces of bacon in a large stewpan, and when about half done, add the pieces of liver, season with prepared herbaceous seasoning, No. 948, a clove of garlic, and a little salt; and as soon as the liver is about half done, first chop fine, and then pound the whole in a mortar until reduced to a smooth substance, and force this through a wire sieve, and put it in a basin for use.
No. 949. Hot-Water Paste for Raised Pies.
Put a pound of flour on the table, and spread it out with the back of the hand so as to form a hollow in the centre, put in an ounce of salt, and half a pint of hot water with four ounces of dissolved butter; mix all together with the hand into a firm paste; work it compactly with both hands, roll it up in a cloth, and put it in a warm stewpan for use.
No. 948. Aromatic Herbaceous Seasoning.
Take of nutmegs and mace one ounce each, of cloves and peppercorns two ounces of each, one ounce of dried bay-leaves, three ounces of basil, the same of marjoram, two ounces of winter savory, and three ounces of thyme, half an ounce of cayenne-pepper, the same of grated lemon-peel, and two cloves of garlic; all these ingredients must be well pulverised in a mortar, and sifted through a fine wire sieve, and put away in dry corked bottles for use.

1870: "Not Healthful" Mince pies, with maple syrup and cider.
Mince Pies.
Mince pies are not healthful, and one batch in a season is quite sufficient. A shin of beef boiled down till very tender, one pound of nice clear beef suet chopped very fine, a table-spoonful of salt, six pounds of greening apples peeled, cored and chopped, three pounds of raisins stoned, three of currants carefully cleaned, one pound of brown sugar, a cup of maple syrup, half a pound of citron, shredded, half a pound of candied lemon peel, a quart of the best cider. This mixture makes rich pies, but mince pies are nothing if not rich. These are also particularly fine in flavor. Instead of cider, some persons put in a quart of Madeira wine, and a little brandy; but it is better not to use alcohol in food when it can be avoided.
From: Jennie June's American Cookery Book. Jane Cunningham Croly, New York, 1870

1890: Cheap Christmas Pudding.
From: The Times (London), December 24th, 1890.
Now that eggs are 2d. each and sultana raisins 1s. a pound, a really cheap Christmas pudding would be a positive boon to many. The following recipe will not be found in any cookery book, as it is the result of some experiments I made with dates a few weeks ago. Dates are now retailed at 2d. a pound and enable us to make a rich, nourishing, and wholesome pudding, closely resembling Christmas pudding in appearance and flavour, sufficient for six persons, at a cost of 4d.
Take a quarter of a pound each of suet, flour, and brown sugar (Porto Rico), one pound of dates, and a quarter of a grated nutmeg. Chop the suet finely, stone and cut up the dates, mix all the ingredients well together, moistening with as little water as possible; boil the whole in a buttered basin for four hours.
Recipe below from: Manual for Army Cooks/Prepared Under The Direction Of The Commissary General Of Subsistence; Published By Authority Of The Secretary Of War For Use In The Army Of The United States. ( 1896)
The ingredients of this pudding, with the exception of the eggs and milk, should be prepared the day before the pudding is to be made.
Two quarts sifted flour; two quarts bread crumbs; four pounds suet, freed from fiber and chopped moderately fine; four pounds raisins, picked, seeded, chopped, and dredged with flour; sixteen eggs, whites and yolks beaten separately; two quarts sweet milk (or equivalent of condensed milk); a fourth of a pound of citron, cut fine and dredged with flour; grated rind of one lemon; two nutmegs, grated; one tablespoonful ground ginger; one tablespoonful ground cinnamon; one teaspoonful ground cloves.
Into a deep pan or dish put the ingredients in the following order, incorporating them thoroughly: First, the beaten yolks of the eggs; then one-half the milk; then the flour, bread crumbs, suet, spices, and lemon rind; then the remainder of the milk, or as much of it as will make a thick batter; then the beaten whites of the eggs; and last the dredged fruit.
Beat the mixture for thirty minutes, put it into the prepared bag or bags, and boil seven hours. Serve hot with sauce.
The above recipe is enough for thirty men.

1903: Hot Chestnuts.
Creamed Chestnut Pates.
Shell a pint of chestnuts and peel off the brown skins. Wash In cold water and boil in milk until very tender. Drain and sprinkle over them half a teaspoon of salt. Keep hot. Add to the milk in which the chestnuts have been boiled sufficient cream to make a pint, and thicken with a teaspoon of corn starch mixed with a little cold milk: stir in a double boiler until boiling, then add a teaspoon of butter and a little grated onion; let boil up, add the chestnuts; when steaming hot spoon into hot pate shells. One has to gauge the amount of sauce to the size of the shells. Serve garnished with parsley and sliced lemon.
[The Fort Wayne Sentinel, (Indiana) dec 21 1903]

1907: Christmas Drinks.
From: The New York Times, December 15th 1907
To make a gallon of this eggnog will require a pound and a quarter of pulverized sugar, twelve fresh eggs, a quart of cognac, half a pint of champagne, two quarts of fresh milk, one quart of rich cream, and about a tablespoonful of powdered nutmeg. Mix these ingredients thoroughly, then incorporate with them the yolks of the dozen eggs that have been beaten to a froth. Stir persistently and steadily until the blend is perfect; pour the result into the well chilled punch bowl, and if you can procure some very old rum, add about three tablespoonfuls. Beat the white of the twelve eggs until very stiff, place this meringue on top of the eggnog, and you may feel reasonably assured that your guests will have no cause to complain about your mode of entertainment.
Hot Port Wine Punch.
Should a hot drink be desired, one may always depend upon the “hot port wine punch” that “The Only William” esteemed as the most appropriate of Christmas tipples. To prepare it mix a quart of claret with a quart of Rhine wine and two quarts of port wine, and put them over the fire, with two pounds of sugar. Let them heat slowly, for they must not be permitted to boil, and stir them sufficiently to assure the sugar being dissolved. When the mixture has become very hot pour it into a tureen in which there shall be the juice of four lemons, and half a bottle of the best arrack; stir for a moment and serve. For a Christmas Eve or Christmas night party no hot drink can be better.

1909: Mincemeat without Intoxicants.
From: The Good Housekeeping Woman's Home Cook Book; Arranged By Isabel Gordon Curtis. c1909
Good Mincemeat Without Intoxicants
Five pounds of beef boiled until tender (it should be salted when partly done). Let cool in liquor, remove fat, chop very fine and measure. Use twice as much finely chopped apple, which should be tart, as meat. To the apple and meat then add the liquor in which the meat was boiled; also the fat which has been removed, and one quart of boiled cider. If there was a scant amount of fat, add also half a cup of butter. Jelly or candied fruit will improve the pies, if wanted richer. Add also three teaspoons of cloves, two of cinnamon, same of mace, and three pounds of seeded raisins. No definite rule can be given for sugar, as more or less is required, according to acidity of apples. Sweeten to taste with brown sugar. After all the ingredients have been put together, warm, and if found too thick for use, thin with cider or unfermented grape juice. When hot this can be put up as fruit and kept indefinitely.--Mrs E. M. Widdicomb.

1911: Cranberry Sauce.
New York Cranberry Sauce.
Wash 1 quart of cranberries, put them into the kettle with 1 pint of water and four cored and sliced tart apples. Cover and cook for twenty minutes; press through a colander.Add 1 pound of sugar, boil five minutes and take from the fire.
[Galveston Daily News,dec 17, 1911]

1914: An Alternative Pudding idea.
The following recipe was found in a Winnipeg newspaper of 1914. It sounds like a nice change from heavier puddings.
Cranberry Snowballs.
Sift together two cupfuls of flour, a pinch of salt and three teaspoonfuls of baking powder; add sufficient sweet milk to make a soft batter, one cupful of sugar, one and a half cupfuls of chopped cranberries dredged with flour and two well beaten eggs. Pour the mixture into buttered pudding cups, and steam for two hours. Garnish with sprigs of holly and serve with hard sauce.

1915: War Christmas Pudding.
From: The Times, December 8th 1915.
We are using dates as far as possible in our puddings to replace raisins, and also in mincemeat as the supply of raisins in the country appears to be getting low. We have a cheap recipe for a war Christmas pudding in which we use dates. To make a 4 lb. pudding the ingredients are:- ½ lb. suet or dripping, ½ lb flour, ½ lb. breadcrumbs, ½ lb dates, 1 lb grated carrots, ½ lb currants, 4 oz. mixed peel, grated rind of lemon, 4 oz. sugar, one egg, and spice to taste. Figs are not much used to replace raisins as the seeds give away the substitution.

1917: Patriotic Mince Pies.
The British wartime Ministry of Food suggested that to conserve sugar, some corn (glucose) syrup be substituted:
Mince Meat for Patriotic People
1 ¼ lb apples
6 oz suet, grated
½ lb currants and raisins
¼ lb moist sugar or corn syrup
¼ lb dates or prunes (stoned)
¼ lb candied peel (optional)
1 oz ground ginger
1 oz mixed spice
1 lemon or orange
½ gill cider (optional)

Peel and chop the apples, chop the dates, figs or prunes and candied peel – clean currants and raisins, mix all together. Sufficient for 36 mince pies.
And to conserve wheat, this pastry was recommended:
Short Crust Paste for Mince Pies.
 ¼ lb ordinary flour, 2 oz maize flour, 2 oz barley flour or cornflour, 4 oz lard, dripping, or margarine, a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda, water to mix.
Mix the flour, salt, and soda, and rub fat into flour. Mix to a stiff paste with water. Roll out. Sufficient for 12 pies.

1918: Peace At Last.
Peace Christmas Pudding.
(large enough for six)
4 oz flour, 4 oz soaked bread, 6 oz chopped suet, ½ teas salt, 1 dessert spoonful mixed spice, 4 oz sultanas, 2 oz mixed chopped peel, ½ lb apples, 2 oz grated carrot, 1 egg (dried), ½ gill milk, 2 oz treacle, grated rind and juice half a lemon
Weigh out and measure all the ingredients. Prepare the dry materials and put them in a mixing bowl, stir all well together, then add the egg and milk. When thoroughly mixed, put the mixture into two well-greased basins, cover each with a cloth and boil or steam for fully three hours.

[the newspaper noted that a pudding at this time‘could not aspire to pre-war richness’]

1921: Christmas Cheer
From The Times: first, for those who do not like their pudding "to emerge rich and dark from a long imprisonment in the basin", but prefer a lighter more wholesome compound.
Enchantress Christmas Pudding.
½ lb each of bread crumbs, sultanas, currants, raisins, mixed peel, suet, brown sugar four eggs, and the zest of two lemons. Mix and cook in the usual way, serving brandy or orange butter.

For those who dislike both pudding and cake, this alternative was suggested:
Macédoine of Dried Fruits and Cake.
Cut into small pieces some glacé cherries, French plums, raisins, citron peel, dates, and a few crystallized or glacé French apricots, greengages, or pears. Put these into a stewpan with a tin of pineapple cut into small pieces with the juice added to the other fruit, let all get hot, and place in the centre of a hot silver dish with slices of spong-cake cut in rounds fried in butter to a pale brown on both sides. A dash of rum or maraschino flavouring the mixed fruit can be added, or the fruit could be piled onto a pyramid on a large round of fried cake divided into sections.
And for the children, for whom an almond-iced and sugar-iced cake may be too much of a good thing:

Children’s Cake.
½ lb butter beaten to a cream with ½ lb castor sugar, break in four fresh eggs, beating each separately, add gradually ½ lb flour, then 1 oz of skinned and chopped pistachio nuts, 1 oz chopped sweet almonds, ½ lb glacé cherries halved, the grated rind of a lemon. Mix well, bake in a moderate oven for some two hours. Cover with soft icing, and decorate if desired.

1927: The Empire Strikes Back.
The King’s Christmas Pudding, or, the All-British (Empire) Pudding.
5 lb. currants (Australia)
5 lb. sultanas (Australia)
5 lb. stoned raisins (South Africa)
1 ½ lb. minced apple (Canada)
5 lb. breadcrumbs (United Kingdom)
5 lb. beef suet (New Zealand)
2 lb. cut candied peel (South Africa)
2 ½ lb flour (United Kingdom)
2 ½ lb. Demarara sugar (West Indies)
20 eggs (Irish Free State)
2 oz. ground cinnamon (Ceylon)
1 ½ oz. ground cloves (Zanzibar)
1 ½ oz. ground nutmegs (Straits Settlements)
1 teaspoonful pudding spice (India)
1 gill brandy (Cyprus)
2 gills rum (Jamaica)
2 quarts old beer (England)

This was prepared by “the usual method” of course.

1931: Australian Christmas Lollies.
From the Children's pages of The Argus, December 12, 1931.
Most Fun Children enjoy making home-made sweets during the school holidays. It would be very jolly to make some for Christmas. If they are placed in attractive little boxes they make charming Christmas presents. Polly Parrot is sure that you will like the following recipes, which she recommends:-
Fruit Nougat
For this recipe you will need some dates, dried figs,raisins, and Maraschino cherries  and two cups of melted sugar. Chop the dates, figs, raisins, and cherries into small pieces, and arrange in alternate layers in a shallow buttered pan. Melt two cups of sugar over a quick fire, watching closely that it does not turn yellow. Pour it over the fruits evenly and slowly, using only enough to blend. Before the mixture is quite cold, cut it into small bars.
(A Parrot Card for Frances Hope Bertuch, Bonnie View, Harcourt North.

Turkish Delight.
Soak one ounce of powdered gelatine in three-quarters of a cup of cold water for two hours. Put 2 lb. of sugar into a saucepan with three-quarters of a cup of water, bring to the boil, and add the soaked gelatine, a little citric acid, and a few drops of vanilla essence. Simmer for 20 minutes, skim well, and then pour on a damp dish.Leave for 24 hours, then cut into squares and roll in castor sugar. For colouring use cochineal.
(A Parrot Card for Edna Hoskin, Primrose street. Violet Town)

Cocoanut Dainties.

Here is some cooking which a small child could do. The ingredients needed are:-

Four table-spoonfuls of sugar, 8 tablespoonfuls of desiccated cocoanut, and the whites of two eggs. Beat the whites of the eggs to a froth, add the sugar, and beat well again. Then stir in in the cocoanut.
Drop teaspoonfuls of this mixture on to a greased slide, and bake about 10 or 15minutes in a moderate oven.
(A Parrot Card is awarded to Jean Douglas, Coast Road, Mirboo [?] North, Gippsland.)

1932: Queensland Mincemeat.
This recipe is from the Women's Weekly. Compare it with the Wisconsin mince pies using beets - cooks are ever resourceful at substituting ingredients depending on availability, and mangoes and beets are both very sweet.
Queensland Mincemeat.

Peel and slice enough green mangoes to make, when run through mincer 1 cup of pulp (minus excess juice). Add ½ cup sugar, 1 cup currants, 1 cup raisins cut up finely, 2 heaped Tabs. Home-made orange marmalade, 1 heaped Tbs. Butter and 1 ½ tsp. Mixed spice. Mix thoroughly.
[This recipe appeared in the story of December 16th, 2005: The Goodly Litter of the Cupboard.]

1937: From the Bakery Trade.
The Marrickville Margarine Pty.Ltd in N.S.W, Australia marketed their product under the brand name “Pilot Margarine”. One of their marketing tools was a cookbook for the bakery trade, so the quantities of mixture are large. This recipe makes good commercial sense as it very cleverly uses up broken cake.
Christmas Pudding (Using Cake Crumbs).
6 lbs. Cake Crumbs
4 lbs. Flour
1 ½ lbs. Sugar
1 ½ lbs. PILOT Cake Margarine.
2 oz. Baking Powder.
12 Eggs
3 lbs. Raisins
3 lbs. Sultanas
½ lb Peel
½ lb. Currants
2 oz. Mace
Burnt Sugar Colour
Sufficient Milk to make a nice consistency.

Sieve flour, powder, and mace together, then add the crumbs. Cream the Margarine and Sugar well, adding the eggs slowly and also the colour; then add the milk, next the flour, then the fruit.
Measure the mixture into basins, filling them three-quarter full, tie over with greaseproof paper and steam from two to five hours according to size.

1939: A Good Way with Plum Pudding.
For a change, when dishing up plum pudding, scoop a piece out of the top as large as a teacup. Put four ounces of Demarara sugar in this cavity, and fill up with either clotted cream or brandy butter.
The Times, Dec 18, 1919

1939: Mince Pies Royal.
Add to half a pound of mincemeat an ounce and a half of castor sugar, the grated rind and strained juice of half a lemon, an ounce of melted butter, and four egg yolks. Beat well together and put the mixture in pastry cases. Set in a moderate oven and when nearly cooked, cover with meringue mixture and bake to a golden brown.
The Times, Dec 18, 1939
1944: Wartime Christmas Recipes.
During, and for some years after WW II, the Ministry of Food in Britain put out regular Food Facts leaflets to help the public cope with rationing. Rationing was eased very slightly on some foods in the weeks leading up to Christmas – the authorities being well aware of the morale-boost that this would provide.

Food Facts No. 232 in the second week of December in 1944 had recipes for Christmas pudding and cake.

First, the “splendid Christmas Pudding recipe with a fine, rich, fruity flavour, which is not difficult to make. It tastes almost as good as pre-war!”

Christmas Pudding.

2 oz. plain flour, ½ level teaspoon baking powder; ½ level teaspoon salt; ¼ level teaspoon grated nutmeg, ¼ level teaspoon salt; ¼ level teaspoon cinnamon; 1 level teaspoon mixed spice; 4 oz suet or fat; 3 oz. sugar; 1 lb. mixed dried fruit; 4 oz. breadcrumbs; 1 level tablespoon marmalade; 2 dried eggs, reconstituted; ¼ pint pale ale, stout or milk. (Enough for 4-5 people).

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and spices together. Add sugar, fruit, and breadcrumbs and grated suet or melted fat. Mix with the marmalade, eggs and liquid. Mix very thoroughly. Put in a greased basin, 2 pint size. Cover with greased paper and steam for 4 hours. Remove paper and cover with a fresh piece and a clean cloth. Store in a cool place. Steam 2 or 3 hours before serving.

Christmas Cake.
½ lb. margarine, ½ lb. sugar (brown if possible); 5 dried eggs, dry; 10 tablespoons water; ½ teaspn. almond essence; ½ teaspn. vanilla essence; ¾ lb. plain flour; 1 level teaspn. bicarbonate soda; ½ level teaspn. Salt; 2 level teaspns. mixed spice; 2 lb. mixed dried fruit; 3-4 tablespns. ale, stout, or milk.
Cream margarine and sugar, adding dried eggs and water gradually. Beat until white and creamy. Add essences. Sift flour, soda, salt and spices together and add to mixture. Add prepared fruit and lastly the liquid, to make a fairly stiff mixture. Mix thoroughly. Put in a cake tin lined with paper, and bake in a slow oven for 3 hours. Leave in tin to cool. (Icing recipe in next week’s Food Facts.)

As promised, Food Facts No. 233 the following week had the recipe for ration-friendly icing, as well as several other ideas including one for wartime gingerbread men.

Icing made with ordinary Sugar and Household Milk.
Ingredients: 4 level dessertspoons sugar, 6 level tablespoons Household Milk, dry [i.e milk powder], 2 tablespoons water, colouring and flavouring.
Method: Mix sugar and milk together. Add water and beat till smooth.Add colouring and flavouring and sperad on top of cake.

Gingerbread Men.
Ingredients: 2 oz. sugar or syrup, 2 oz. margarine, 8 oz. plain flour, ½ level teaspoon mixed spice, 2 level teaspoons ginger, lemon substitute, 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.

Method: Melt in a pan the syrup or sugar and margarine. Pour into a bowl. Add some flour and the spice and lemon substitute. Stir well. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in a tablespoon of tepid water and add to the mixture. Continue stirring, gradually adding more flour. Finish the process by turning out the mixture on to a well-floured board. Knead in the remainder of the flour. Roll a small ball for the head, flatten it and place it on the baking tin. Roll an oblong for the body and strips for arms and legs. Join these together with a little reconstituted egg and put currants for the eyes.

Spiced Fruit Punch.
Ingredients: 1 level tablespoon marmalade, 1 level dessertspoonful syrup, ¼ - ½ level teaspoonful ground ginger, 1 tablespoon water, 2 tablespoons orange squash, 1 tablespoon lemon squash, ½ pint freshly made tea.
Method: Put marmalade, syrup, ginger, and water into a pan and make hot but do not boil. Add the lemon and orange squash and the tea and serve hot or very cold. (The tea should not be allowed to stand for more than 3 minutes before straining, and should not be very strong.

Snow Pudding.
Ingredients: 1 ½ oz. semolina, ½ pint milk and ½ pint apple pulp, or 1 pint fruit syrup, 1 ½ oz. sugar, coloured sugar for decorating.
Method: Cook the semolina in the milk or fruit syrup for 7-10 minutes, then beat in the appke and sugar. Turn into a bowl to cool. When cold, but not set,beat until light and frothy. Turn into a dish and just before serving, decorate with coloured sugar.

Coloured Sugar.
Ingredients: Put 2 level teaspoons sugar on a plate and add a few drops of food colouring. Mix well. Allow to dry before using as a decoration. If more than one colour is available, a very pretty effect can be obtained by using different coloured sugars.