Five Food Principles

Framework for an Early Food Pyramid. Or My Plate, they both work. This excerpt comes from the book Practical Cooking and Serving, 1902. As you read through it, you'll notice that the author has a very scientific orientation towards cooking. We're moving into an era when cooking becomes a science to be understood and mastered.... Continue Reading →

Late 1800s Domestic Help

Household Staffing: Servants, Maids, Butlers. Domestic Workers in Homes Large and Small. Wouldn't it be lovely to have an extra pair of hands to help with the drudgery of chores? Shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening, minding the children... And what about 30 pairs of hands? Today's excerpt comes from The new cyclopædia of domestic economy, and... Continue Reading →

Household Tips ~1923

Advice on Brooms, Bread, and Cake Molds. Eclectic list of household advice from The Neighbor: Keep salt and pepper shaker on the kitchen range. It is handy when seasoning food. (Mine are on top of the microwave). Encircle all new brooms with a section of stocking leg, it will wear longer. A few drops of... Continue Reading →

Kitchen Design ~1827

1800s Kitchens.For your leisurely Sunday consumption, I offer you these remarks on the Victorian kitchen:It is an undisputed fact, that no person can work without tools; and in proportion to the completeness and fitness of the tools furnished, labour is facilitated, and a more perfect performance may be expected. These remarks apply, in no small... Continue Reading →

Frugal Friday ~1917

Classic Tips for Saving Food. Happy Friday, all! Made it through another week. I was in the car the other day with The Boy and we heard a public service message about food waste. Did you know: Consumers are responsible for more wasted food than farmers, grocery stores, restaurants, or any other part of the... Continue Reading →

Preserving Butter ~1827

Three Options for Saving Butter. Nostalgic for Creameries. The word creamery conjures images of black and white Holstein dairy cows grazing on green fields of wavy grassland dotted with white daisies and yellow clover under azure blue skies filled with happy, puffy white clouds. Growing up in a rural town surrounded by pasturelands, our class... Continue Reading →

A Concise History of Home Distillery

What Is Distillation?
Distillation is a process of purifying liquids through controlled boiling and condensation. A liquid is converted into a gas/vapour through heat, and then recondensed through cooling to return the vapor to a liquid form. Distillation was used to make fragrances, medicinal cordials, and liquors.

How to Drink Milk ~1897

1890s Directions for Drinking Milk. Happy National Milk Day! Do not swallow milk fast and in such big gulps. Sip it slowly. Take four minutes at least to finish a glassful, and do not take more than a good teaspoonful at one sip. When milk goes into your stomach it is instantly curdled. If you... Continue Reading →

Treating Frozen Limbs ~1820

The Successful Treatment of Frozen Limbs in Russia Early 1800s. Today's excerpt comes from The Husbandman and Housewife. The book is exhaustive in terms of breadth and the contents are arranged alphabetically instead of by category. This results in Dressing Fowls immediately preceding Frostbitten Feet. However, after spending time exploring the contents, I have never... Continue Reading →

Housekeeping Accounts ~1872

Tips for Household Management in the 1870s. When we think about managing our household budgets to maximize our savings (economy) today, what comes to mind? Certainly buying in bulk, perhaps with coupons or from club stores. Perhaps price checking at the store or even between stores in the weekly circulars that get mailed out. The... Continue Reading →

Articles in Season ~1872

Seasonal January Foods. Welcome January! The local farmers market marches doggedly into the new year. Pale hot house tomatoes, the last of the winter greens, and carrots debut for us loyal shoppers. I'm dreaming of flats of ruby strawberries... We do get lemons. Lovely sunny spheres hinting at the promise of spring. How much longer... Continue Reading →

Folding Napkins ~1872

Victorian Napkin Diagrams. I believe diagrams such as these were arguably the inspiration behind YouTube. #howtofoldcoolnapkins #ThankYouYouTube Source: The new cyclopædia of domestic economy, and practical housekeeper. Adapted to all classes of society and comprising subjects connected with the interests of every family, and five thousand practical receipts and maxims. From the best English, French,... Continue Reading →

Packing Lunches ~1920

The 1920s Lunchbox. The art of packing lunches has been foremost in my mind recently. Our local recycling company just announced that it would no longer accept plastic bags or plastic wrap of any sort. Now this has been some time coming. California already outlawed cheap plastic grocery bags (Yes, we also banned straws...evil straws.).... Continue Reading →

Helps for Housekeepers ~1922

National League Cookbook. Lots of good tips here - from salting to searing. Any that you would add? Source: Everywoman's Cook Book, 1922. More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks Rice and Cheese 1913 What To Do With Stale Bread ~1897 Domestic Economy and Bliss in 1877

Feeding a Family for a Week ~1875

A Piece of Roast Beef and a Boiled Leg of Mutton Serve a Small Family for a Week. This particular selection is familiar to me. My go-to meat is a whole chicken, however, mutton being unavailable locally. The Convivial chicken menu looks something like the following: Sunday - Roast whole chicken with rice and peas... Continue Reading →

Household Tips for Tuesday ~1875

5 Helpful Hints for the Home. A fun read, including "a most beautiful application of the science of chemistry." I just can't figure out what the first one is for... What are we leaching? Source: In the Kitchen, 1875. More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks Potage au Choux ~1825 Remarks on Pie Making ~1866 The Housewife... Continue Reading →

The Table ~1875

Victorian Table Etiquette. The Silent Educator. No silent educator in the household has higher rank than the table. Surrounded three times a day by the family, who gather from their various callings and duties, eager for refreshment of body and spirit... Source: In the Kitchen, 1875. More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks Carrot Soup ~1819... Continue Reading →

5 Household Cleaning Hints ~1819

Cleaning Tips from the Early 1800s. As you go about your weekend chores, here are some helpful hints to get your work done! From blackening stone chimney-pieces to shoes, American domestic cookery, formed on principles of economy, for the use of private families  covers it all! To blacken the fronts of Stone Chimney-pieces. To clean (Silver) Plate.... Continue Reading →

Management of Cows ~1819

Running a Dairy in the Early 1800s. Every cookbook should have such a thorough section on livestock management. This excerpt opens a window on the practical aspects of owning a cow. It covers all of the details - from cleanliness, to weaning the calf, to hiring a milking maid. Source: American domestic cookery, formed on principles... Continue Reading →

Mysteries of Puddings ~1805

How to Boil Pudding. Today's post answers a question that I've long had about the mystery of boiled puddings. You'll often come across recipes for boiled puddings tied up in cloth, but I could never picture how this functioned practically: If you have a liquid mixture tied in a bag and then placed into a... Continue Reading →

To Keep Meat Hot ~1805

Clever Cooking Tip. Brilliant way of keeping meat hot without drying it out. I've certainly had meat from restaurants that could have employed some method akin to that described above. More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks Derby Time! Mint Julep ~1886 Gridirons ~1855 War and Potatoes ~1917 Source: The art of cookery made plain and... Continue Reading →

Habits of Economy ~1800

Gravy, Broth, or Soup. Do you save your drippings? If so, what do you use them for? Here's an excerpt on saving drippings and broths to make soup and collect grease for frying. In our household, I save chicken drippings for soup all of the time. Here's the most recent addition: You can see the... Continue Reading →

Butchery ~1807

Kitchen Knives, etc. Back to the kitchen for today's post! Saw these and thought the illustrations were fascinating, in a macabre kind of way. I'm familiar with larding needles and meat cleavers, but a cutlet bat is a new one. Additional instruments for the home cook: meat saw, chopping boards, basins, and knives. From a... Continue Reading →

How To Set The Luncheon Table ~1899

The Victorian Lunch Table. Love the early photography in this one! The directions for setting the luncheon table will not be familiar. Take a look at the picture itself, then the directions below. You'll notice multiple forks and knives. I really like the little tea kettle set-up in the center of the table. When did... Continue Reading →

The Outdoors Meal ~1915

Are you a devotee of outdoors eating? Three day weekend here in the US that officially kicks off BBQ season. This find seems appropriately timed. "If you have a country home with verandas, garden and lawns, try to have at least two meals out-of-doors each day." The outdoors meal may be as simple or as... Continue Reading →

Random Household Hints ~1886

Household Hints. Ever wonder about: boiling coffee, cleaning your stovepipe, making glue for mounting ferns and seaweed, slicing pineapple, and mashing potatoes? Quite the collection! Enjoy! Source: Abbeville Messenger, 1886. More Fun Discoveries from Antique Cookbooks Garlic ~1885 Fried Cauliflower ~1887 Rice and Cheese 1913

Small Kitchen Stove Advertisement ~1855

Apparatus for Heating, Cooking, and Ventilating by Gas. Description. The more economical cousin of the deluxe gas stove shown here, this must-have kitchen apparatus will roast meat, bake a pie, and heat your soup all at once! Love it! Unsure as to how the ironing would happen here... but still, amazing little gas stove! Source:... Continue Reading →

Victorian Gas Stove Advertisement ~1855

Apparatus for Heating, Cooking, and Ventilating by Gas. Description. Check out this baby! Decorative and functional! For those who need an endorsement, how about Her Majesty's Royal Letters Patent? An apparatus worthy the attention of Men of Science, and the Culinary Art... Extra Credit for incorporating the word PERNICIOUS in an advertisement! Source: Soyer's Shilling... Continue Reading →

Alarum Clock ~1855

Alarm Clock - New Kitchen Invention. No microwave timer? No smartphone alarm? No problem! Check out this newest and most handiest of inventions, the alarum, or cooking clock. (Alarum is the British spelling) Note the N.B. - If the fire isn't the correct temperature, the alarm clock will not serve much of a purpose. Makes... Continue Reading →

Cottage Kitchen ~1855

Victorian Kitchen Necessities. A brief overview of what our kitchens would have if we were to set up house in 1855.     A visual, if you please:   What's missing for you? I would need a coffee pot. Maybe a few more bowls. Source: Soyer's Shilling Cookery for the People, 1855. More Fun Discoveries... Continue Reading →

Cottage Cooking ~1855

Victorian Domestic Economy.   For those readers who enjoy peeking into the past, this excerpt offers a wonderful view of family life in a English cottage circa 1850. You have a multi-generational home, picky eaters, and a glimpse at food prices. Fascinating. Enjoy! Have a wonderful day! Source: Soyer's Shilling Cookery for the People, 1855.... Continue Reading →

Gridirons ~1855

Gridiron. Another great excerpt from Soyer's shilling cookery for the people! Here's everything you need to know about gridirons: I couldn't find a photo of the hanging wire gridiron. I found what looks like a hanging flat griddle, but that's not what is described above. If anyone knows more about this one, please pass it along in... Continue Reading →

Rainy Days ~1866

Rainy Day Advice from 1866. For those enduring April Showers - Determine at least to have sunshine in the house, if you cannot have it outside... More Fun Discoveries Chocolate Caramels ~1897 Snowballs for Dessert ~1866 Mulled Wine ~ 1876

Curved Bottoms on Wine Bottles ~1912

Why Wine Bottles Have Dimpled Bottoms. Have you ever wondered why a wine bottle has a dent on the bottom? Wonder no more! According to this 1912 newspaper excerpt it is to facilitate the cooling or warming of the liquid inside. Seems scientific enough. And obviously calls for experimentation. But is it true? The Wine... Continue Reading →

$1 Dollar Dinners ~1906

Delicious Dinners at a Cost of $1. This a fascinating read. You find the complete menu - soup, main, sides, drinks - as well as a breakdown of the costs and tips for cooking. I don't think you could do this today. For those who shop for whole ingredients, it's easy to see the inflationary... Continue Reading →

Household Management: 4 Cultures 1915

English, French, German, Italian, and American Household Management in the Early 1900s Apologies for the more lengthy excerpt, but I thought this was too delightful not to share! The English household comes across as 'just-so'. This would be the Downton Abby - era household. As for the French, I've never heard of a "dot" before,... Continue Reading →

Fannie Farmer Kitchen Utensils 1924

Kitchen Utensils 1920s Recognize any of these lovelies? Any surprises? I just can't get over the number of eggbeaters - what was going on in this kitchen?!? More Fun Discoveries Housekeeping Recipe 1913 Potato Omelet ~ 1900 Rules for Eating ~1866

Advice on Most Useful Vegetables ~1847

Advice on Vegetables. Discovered this list of the most useful vegetables. How does this compare with your average shopping list? Our common household vegetables: Carrots Onions Potatoes Celery Cabbage Cauliflower Beets Broccoli Peas (frozen) Herbs hanging in my window: Mint Basil Dill Parsley (in cupboard, actually)   More Fun Discoveries. The Housewife ~1897 A Bachelor’s... Continue Reading →

Housekeeping Recipe 1913

From Mrs. Louise Casey, 1913. While good in theory, there are just those days where either the first or third ingredient is missing - or maybe it's the directions for storage. More Fun Discoveries Stewed Squirrels Recipe ~1886 Soft Gingerbread ~1866 Rules for Eating ~1866  

Victorian Kitchen Gadgets ~1897

Victorian Kitchen Gadgets. Kitchen gadgetry appears to be timeless. Would love the nutmeg holder/grater. What would be on your wish list? Source: Montgomery Ward and Co's Common Sense Cookery, 1897. More Fun Discoveries Pork Butchery ~1856 You Will Slay Them By The Thousand ~1856 Wesson Cooking Oil ~1900

The Art of Pouring Coffee ~1897

Pouring Coffee as Art. As a rule, the guest of honor is offered the first cup, which is the weakest, and the children, if served at all, are given the last and strongest. Okay, then. We'll go with that. This reminds me of those signs in cafes that state: Unattended children will be given an... Continue Reading →

12 General Principles of Cooking ~1866

  12 General Principles of Cooking ~1866 (Make sure you read #12.) The object of cooking is to make food healthful, and palatable; the secrete (sic) is therefore, how to combine elements and flavors, so as to produce the best results. The best meat requires the simplest preparation. A cardinal principle in cooking is cleanliness;... Continue Reading →

Elmina’s “Death to Grasshoppers”

Want to know how to get rid of those pesky grasshoppers in your garden? Elmina's has you covered! Here's a how-to video. Discover More: Introduction: Elmina H. Allen's 1930s-1940s Homemade Cookbook Elmina Wins a Prize Elmina Shares Winning Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

You Will Slay Them By The Thousand ~1856

Note: This is a fun read - the author doesn't hide her true feelings about ants! Wikipedia has this to say about camphor: Pest deterrent and preservative Camphor is believed to be toxic to insects and is thus sometimes used as a repellent. Camphor is used to make mothballs. Camphor crystals are sometimes used to... Continue Reading →

The Woman Who Laughs ~1889

The trick of always seeing the bright side, or, if the matter has no bright side, of shining up the dark one, is a very important faculty... A warming message for the day. More Delightful Discoveries All Housewives May Add Wines to Their Household Stores ~1856 Dandelion Salad ~1844 Whortleberry Fried-Cakes ~1886 Source: St. Paul... Continue Reading →

Illustration: Pastry ~1886

Today's post is dedicated to all of the Cook's Illustrated enthusiasts out there! Thank you, Miss Corson, for keeping it real for all 19th century home cooks. More Fun Discoveries Corn Bread Recipe ~1905 At the Head of the Vegetable Class Stands Bread ~1856 Cannelons With Cream ~1886 Source: Miss Corson's Practical American Cookery and... Continue Reading →

Salamanders: Not a Recipe ~1886

Salamanders are used to heat up dishes without placing them in an oven. What I can't figure out is how the second salamander works. The angle seems odd. Source: Miss Corson's Practical American Cookery and Household Management, 1886. All of our ailments…proceed from a disordered stomach, 1856 Maccaroni, with Cheese 1881 Medicinal Preparations And Herbs,... Continue Reading →

Bain-Marie ~1886

A Bain-Marie, or a salt-water bath, would be used to raise the temperature of foods without boiling them. Very clever. Source: Miss Corson's Practical American Cookery and Household Management, Miss Juliet Corson, 1886.

To Prevent Wounds from Mortifying ~1856

Source: Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy, E. Hall, 1856. This one is so close, it's painful. If only Elizabeth had kept the wine and ditched the sugar...sigh. Interestingly, the use of wine as an antiseptic had already been discovered, but obviously not well known.  

Bathing: Cures Insanity, Prevents Cholera ~1856

Source: Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy, Hall, 1856. The next time your child argues about taking a bath, you can cite the indisputable evidence that "during the terrible visitation of cholera in France, out of nearly 16,228 subscribers to the public baths of Paris, Bordeaux, and Marseilles, only two deaths among them were ascribed... Continue Reading →

A Slow But Sure Poison ~1856

Toxicity of German Silver. Alas, modern cookbooks lack a certain something when it comes to poison warnings... Why is it called German silver? In the late 1700s, German metalworks were the first Europeans who were able to copy the technique carried over from China. In the early 1800s, Germany actually held a competition to perfect... Continue Reading →

Recipe To Petrify Wood ~1856

Source: Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy, E. Hall, 1856 Obviously, this recipe falls squarely on the domestic economy side of the publication. One is left wondering, however, why a Victorian homemaker would have need of a recipe to petrify wood? Stopping a leak, cleaning brass, even making cement I understand - but petrifying wood?... Continue Reading →

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