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.


Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed spending time reading your vintage recipes. You have an excellent site and I am so glad that Yahoo picked your site in it's weekly choice. Thanking you for taking time to bring pleasure to many.

The Old Foodie said...

Thankyou Jill. I have had much pleasure myself in collecting the recipes.

Anonymous said...

This is a really special collection! I'm very impressed; I love to see how people cooked in the "olden days". Thank you for going to all this trouble so that foodie nerds like me may be enlightened!

Anonymous said...

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I just came across a great website about Christmas Cookie Recipes,

The are offering a FREE eBook with whole lot of Recipes.


neybursguy said...

there are some great vintage christmas articles here

Unknown said...

You share some great recipes here. I cannot wait to try some of them out this Christmas season. Christmas Recipes are like priceless and I especially love that these are so old connecting the present and the past. I work with Better Recipes and I have to say that the recipes I love most are some of the ones that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Bruce said...

You have some great recipes here, thanks. I found this very informative.

Christmas Recipes

Anonymous said...

What fun to discover your blog and your books.
A link was published on ""...another wonderful resource.
Thank you, and Merry Christmas. Embth

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks Embth! need to update the vintage recipes archive - lots of recipes have been included in blog posts, but not added to the archive - I am often too short of time to cut and paste or link them.!