February 29 ...
Most modern girls thinking of making a man permanent in their lives would consider the question “Can he cook?” before popping the question. Not so long ago the only men who cooked were professional chefs – it was very rare for an mere man to take up kitchen implements and those who did were viewed with some suspicion. Nevertheless, occasionally it must have been an absolute necessity, and there was such a thing as a Bachelor’s Oven to assist. This was a sort of enclosed, portable mini-oven - ‘ a most useful utensil in the kitchen for baking small puddings or potatoes’. There are a lot of recipes for Bachelor’s Puddings in old cookbooks, so presumably these were considered essential in the life of a single man, and the thing for which he needed specific instruction.
Today I give you a couple of recipes for Bachelor’s Pudding – and a third recipe, which is cooked in a Bachelor’s oven, so is allowed into the theme today, and which I could not resist because of the suggested final decoration.
Half a pound of bread, 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 cup of currants, ½ cup of butter or dripping, mix with 1 ½ cups of milk, 1 teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, some lemon juice, a little ground ginger, and one wineglassful of brandy. Boil for two hours. [This meant, boil in a pudding bowl or cloth]
[An African Colonial Cookery Book. 1890]
Bachelor’s Pudding. (2)
Break, or grate, ripe bread into new milk, and permit it to get soft before adding a good portion of boiled rice, some eggs, butter, and other condiments the taste may dictate, and sweeten with molasses.
[An American Agricultural
Delicious Fruit Pudding.
Mix two and a half pounds of red currants and raspberries with one and a quarter pound of raw sugar, then fill a pudding-dish with sliced bread (without crust), and layers of the fruit alternately, leaving a thick layer of the fruit at the top. Bake it in the bachelor's oven for nearly an hour before it is served, and serve it in the same dish, which may be improved in appearance by a knitted cover tied over the edges.
[The English cookery book, receipts collected by a committee of ladies, 1859]
Still vaguely attached to today’s theme, we have had in the past a Busy Bachelor’s Marble Cake, Old Maid Pie, and a sixteenth century recipe for ‘A Tart to provoke courage in a man or a woman’ (‘courage’, in this case, being an old word for lust.)
Monday’s Story …
Quotation for the Day …
An American Monkey after getting drunk on Brandy would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men. Charles Darwin.