Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Brandy.

Not everyone in Britain would have taken up Messrs. Hennessy’s offer of free brandy in 1905, as was discussed in yesterday’s post. There are those who, for various reasons, eschew the use of alcohol.

The temperance movement had been alive and well in both Britain and the USA since at least the mid-nineteenth century, and Christmas was a particularly challenging time for its would-be adherents. To this end, the movement discovered, invented or modified and promoted alcohol-free recipes specifically for the season. Many appeared during the thirteen-year long ‘noble experiment’ of Prohibition in the USA, but many also pre-dated this by decades. In the Vintage Christmas Recipes Archive you will find ‘Mincemeat without Intoxicants’, from 1909. Today I give you an even earlier one recipe for ‘temperance mincemeat’, which sounds quite intriguingly delicious with its cream and molasses base.

Temperance Mince Pies.
Take one 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

Quotation for the Day.

...Christmas is a season of such infinite labour, as well as expense in the shopping and present-making line, that almost every woman I know is good for nothing in purse and person for a month afterwards, done up physically, and broken down financially
Fanny Kemble, writing on December 31, 1874.


SharleneT said...

Thank God we're into the 21st Century because I have some home-made Plum Brandy, Peach Brandy, and Bristol Creme for the holidays! Thanks for sharing... Come visit when you can...

Mary in LA said...

I'm delighted to find this recipe! Not because I'm a teetotaler, but because I often find myself cooking for historically themed events while needing to accommodate modern people's various dietary needs and preferences. (Ask me about my vegan scones sometime!) Many public halls here in California ban the serving of alcohol for reasons of liability. As it's possible that someone might get drunk on Christmas pudding, smash up his car, and sue me for all I'm worth (not much!), I look forward to trying this version.