Monday, September 01, 2008

Wedding Feasts, Part 1.

A young friend is getting married this week (you know who you are, Alexis) so I dedicate this week of wedding-themed stories to her.
When I searched the almost-three years of posts, I found only a few with a wedding theme. The first known recipes for white wedding cake icing are in Elizabeth Raffald’s The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769). Her recipes for Sugar Icing and Almond Icing for a Bride Cake have been featured previously, but for some strange reason not her cake. We had the wonderful mid-seventeenth century instructions for To make an extraordinary Pie, or a Bride Pie, of severall Compounds, being several distinct Pies on one bottom from Robert May’s wonderful book The Accomplisht Cook. And we did have a story around Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. Not sufficient wedding food history, methinks.
For Alexis, and all other beautiful brides, here is Mrs. Raffald’s cake.
To make a Bride Cake.
Take four Pounds of fine Flour well dried, four Pounds of fresh Butter, two Pounds of Loaf Sugar, pound and sift fine a quarter of an Ounce of Mace, the same of  Nutmegs, to every Pound of Flour put eight Eggs, wash four Pounds of Currants, pick them well and dry them before the Fire, blanch a Pound of Sweet Almonds (and cut them length-way very thin) a Pound of Citron, one Pound of candied Orange, the same of candied Lemon, half a Pint of Brandy; first work the Butter with your Hand to a Cream, then beat in your Sugar a quarter of an Hour, beat the Whites of your Eggs to a very strong Froth, mix them with your Sugar and Butter, beat your Yolks half an Hour at least, and mix them With your Cake, then put in your Flour, Mace, and Nutmeg, keep beating it well 'till your Oven is ready, put in your Brandy, and beat your Currants and Almonds lightly in, tie three Sheets of Paper round the Bottom of your Hoop to keep it from running out, rub it well with Butter, put in your Cake, and lay your Sweetmeats in three Lays, with Cake betwixt every Lay, after it is risen and coloured, cover it with Paper before your Oven is stopped up; it will take three Hours baking.

And to wash it down, what better than a good sack-posset?

“A Receipt for all young Ladies that are going to be Married.”
To make a SACK-POSSET.

From famed Barbadoes on the Western Main
Fetch sugar half a pound; fetch sack from Spain
A pint; and from the Eastern Indian Coast
Nutmeg, the glory of our Northern toast.
O'er flaming coals together let them heat
Till the all-conquering sack dissolves the sweet.
O'er such another fire set eggs, twice ten,
New born from crowing cock and speckled hen;
Stir them with steady hand, and conscience pricking
To see the untimely fate of twenty chicken.
From shining shelf take down your brazen skillet,
A quart of milk from gentle cow will fill it.
When boiled and cooked, put milk and sack to egg,
Unite them firmly like the triple League.
Then covered close, together let them dwell
Till Miss twice sings: You must not kiss and tell. 
From: New York Gazette of February 13, 1744

Quotation for the Day …

The most dangerous food is wedding cake. James Thurber

No comments: