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A Well-To-Do Rice Pudding


Get Your Copy of the Cookbook Here! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/american-cook… ▶▶ Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶ Sign up for the YouTube Mailing List! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/youtube_list.htm ▶▶ Twitter ▶ @Jas_Townsend Facebook ▶…

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April 4, 2018


A Poor Man’s Rice Pudding


Get Your Copy of the Cookbook Here! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/american-cook… ▶▶ Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶ Sign up for the YouTube Mailing List! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/youtube_list.htm ▶▶ Twitter ▶ @Jas_Townsend Facebook ▶…

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Macaroni And Cheese


Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶ Sign up for the YouTube Mailing List! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/youtube_list.htm ▶▶ Twitter ▶ @Jas_Townsend Facebook ▶ facebook.com/jas.townsend Instagram ▶ townsends_official   Related

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Barley Soup


Get your copy of the cook-book here ▶ http://www.townsends.us/the-art-of-co… ▶▶ Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶ Sign up for the YouTube Mailing List! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/youtube_list.htm ▶▶ Twitter ▶ @Jas_Townsend Facebook ▶…

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Pink Pancakes!


Perfect for Valentines Day! Pink Pancakes featuring last week’s candies lime peel! Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶ Sign up for the YouTube Mailing List! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/youtube_list.htm ▶▶ Twitter ▶ @Jas_Townsend…

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Candied Lime Peel


A simple and delicious sweet meat from the 18th Century. #townsendspeel Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend ▶▶ Sign up for the YouTube Mailing List! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/youtube_list.htm ▶▶ Twitter ▶ @Jas_Townsend Facebook…

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A perfect recipe just in time for Christmas! This is another German recipe translated by Kayla and Karen at Old Salem Museums and Gardens. #townsendslittleantlers Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Old Salem’s Website ▶ http://www.oldsalem.org/ ▶▶ Help support the…

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March 23, 2018


Yellow Turnips


The translation for these “Yellow Turnips” was made possible by Kayla and Karen at Old Salem Museums and Gardens, who are presently translating two 18th Century German cookbooks. Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Old Salem’s Website ▶ http://www.oldsalem.org/ ▶▶…

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March 22, 2018


Open Fire Roast Beef


There is nothing like cooking over an open fire! Today we are doing a very simple recipe for Roast Beef from “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons. Visit Our Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Help support the channel with Patreon ▶ https://www.patreon.com/townsend…

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Apple Puree


Another delicious, German recipe given to us by Kayla and Karen at Old Salem Museums and Gardens, who are presently translating two period German cookbooks. Check Out Our Brand New Website! ▶ http://www.townsends.us/ ▶▶ Old Salem’s Website ▶ http://www.oldsalem.org/ ▶▶…

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Page 1 of 73
A Rare Glimpse And A Unique Resource

A Rare Glimpse and a Unique Resource

Here at Jas. Townsend & Son, we’re presently researching, of all things, the history of pancakes.  We noticed a broad range of various pancake recipes as we perused the numerous period cookbooks in preparation for our video series, but we routinely skipped over them for more adventurous fare. But the ubiquitous pancake has finally caught the attention of our easily enticed eyes, and as a result, you can fully expect future blog entries as well as videos on this historically important food item.

But pancakes are not the point of this post.

Nestled in this grand terrain of flapjack, fritter, and crepe recipes rises a mountain of a treatise on pancakes by William Ellis, in his book The Country Housewife’s Family Companion. Lacking the pedigree of most of his competing culinary counterparts, Ellis, who was a maven of anecdote, drew upon his skills in observation and storytelling to present a grand collection of conventional wisdom. The frontispiece of this 1752 work on country life and cooking admits the rather unconventional qualifications for an author of a cookbook with the line, “The whole [of this book is] founded on nearly 30 years of experience by W. Ellis, Farmer…”

The few remaining references on Ellis’s life suggest that he was a popular 18th-century author, albeit only briefly, on English agriculture. His collection of best practices in agricultural affairs was popular among English country gentlemen, yeomen, and farmers, that is, until some of his readers visited his farm hoping to observe his prescribed methods as well as their successful outcomes. Instead, what they reported was a farm in complete disarray, and consequently much of Ellis’s writing was eventually dismissed as being largely fabricated.

Let that serve as a caveat to our modern interpretations, but even so, let us also avoid being too hasty to throw out the curds with the whey. The fact is, The Country Housewife’s Family Companion still gives us a rare glimpse into the daily customs, challenges, and conditions of  English country folk.

This book merits further study by those interested in 18th-century cooking, husbandry, and country living in general.

You can find a digital version of  The Country Housewife’s Family Companion here, with a superglossary offered here.

Printed versions are advertised here by Prospect Books.

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