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Propagating Wild Yeast for Reenactments

Today, if you asked 50 people about how to start a wild yeast culture for making sourdough bread, it’s likely you’ll get 100 different answers, but in reality, all it takes is a little bit of flour, some water and…

Which Yeast (Time 0_00_55;12)

September 29, 2017

Akara Recipe

Akara is a simple, easy to make snack that was frequently made in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Dried Black-eyed Peas Onions Parsley flour Boiling water Lard First, pulverize the dried black-eyed peas into very small pieces. Add to…


A Fanciful Yet Easy Asparagus Soup

This delicious Asparagus Soup recipe from Elizabeth Cleland’s A new and easy methods of cookery (1755). Many of this recipe's techniques, including roux, food coloring, bone broth, and court-bouillon (the ingredients boiled in the soup that are removed before eating)…


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September 28, 2017

Rye and Indian Bread

This is called Rye and Indian bread, because it’s made of part rye flour and part Indian meal or sometimes we call it cornmeal. You can use just those two grains to make the flour, or you can add wheat…


Simple Boiled Plum Pudding

Many people hear the word pudding today and they think about some little custardy stuff in a cup or something you buy at the grocery store in a box and mix it up with some milk. Pudding has a much…

Plum Pudding (Time 0_11_05;10)

An Onion Soup Recipe from 1801

This recipe for onion soup is out of John Mollard’s 1801 cookbook, “The Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined”. 4 oz. Butter 4 tbsps. Flour 8 midsized Onions of choice Salt 3 qts. Beef Stock 4 Egg Yolks 1…


A White Pot Recipe

A White Pot with Raisins and Dates Serves 1 - 6 (depending on how polite you are) The name “White Pot” originates from the Devon region of England. But this sweet, buttery custard bread pudding, layered with sweetmeats (dried fruits)…

Also Known as a White Pudding

Master Wood Turner Erv Tschanz

In this special video, master wood turner Erv Tschanz shares his passion for the craft. Erv is one of several skilled artisans that sells handcrafted items through Jas. Townsend & Son. The treenware cherry wood plate being made in this…

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September 13, 2017

Weaver/Trapper Interview: Experiencing History Through Reenacting

We've been busy interviewing fellow reenactors for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging viewers who are interested in getting involved in historical reenacting but don't know how to begin. Today we interview Tony Baker, a weaver by trade, who has…

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Starting a Living History Group from Scratch

It took an idea and a group of friends, and it went from there. Albert Roberts tells the story of how the innovative historical interpretive group "The HMS Acasta" was born. More great information! ***************************** Our Retail Website -…

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Page 1 of 69

Anchovies And Eggs?

Michael Dragoo brings us a very experimental recipe from Martha Washington’s “Booke Of Cookery”. Don’t let the anchovies scare you, this one is delicious!

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Breakfast In The 18th Century!

A simple, delicious recipe from The Art Of Cookery by Hannah Glasse!

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The Freshest Breakfast Sausage (1808 Recipe)

We have another very special episode today! Marie Schultz, from Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, shares with us a very simple but absolutely delicious recipe for fresh pork sausage. Marie is a long-time historical interpretor at the village. For today’s episode, she draws upon Hannah Glasse’s 1808 book “Plain and Fancy” as well a similar recipe passed down from her great-grandmother. We hope you enjoy this! If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY, area, be sure to put Genesee Country Village & Museum on your itinerary! You won’t regret it!

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Barley Gruel

Barley Gruel

This recipe for Barley Gruel comes from John Knots 1724 cookbook called “The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary”.

  • 3 oz. Barley
  • 1 qt. Water
  • 4 oz. Currants or Raisins
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 10 oz. Cream
  • 1 cup White Wine or Sparkling Grape Juice
  • Lemon Zest (about half a lemon peel)
  • Sugar

Boil the barley in 1 quart of water changing the water out as needed until it comes out clean. Add in currants and allow to boil for about an hour then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Gruel (Time 0_01_35;02)

Mix together egg yolks, cream, white wine, and lemon zest. Make sure that your barley is cool enough that it will not cook your eggs, then add to your egg mixture.


Place your gruel into a pot and heat on low stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken.

Gruel (Time 0_03_06;25)

Remove from heat, allow to cool and sweeten to taste.

Transcript of Video:

So, today’s recipe sounds horrible, barley gruel, but let’s find out. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas. Townsend and Son.

The recipe for today comes from John Knots 1724 cookbook called “The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary” and you know, it starts off with something pretty simple, he wants us to make barley water with 3 ounces of barley and a quart of water so I’m going to put this quart of water on to boil and then we’re going to add in our 3 ounces of barley. He also talks about making sure that our barley is white and if your barley is like my barley, you’ll start boiling it and you’ll get this kind of scum that comes up to the surface and you’ll want to skim that and you’ll get maybe sort of a brown barley water out of it and what he wants is the nice cleaner water so he talks about shifting the water once or twice so once it’s come up to the boil and some of the scum has come up to the surface, we’re going to drain this off and put more water back in, again about a quart. We don’t want to put in too much more, and let this boil. As it’s boiling we can add in our currants. He asks for about 4 ounces of currants in this situation. You could use raisins instead, really the currants aren’t the important part of this, so a little less or a little more really isn’t’ that important.

To get your barley nice and tender, you should boil it about an hour. So our barley is basically done. It’s ready to go. We need to let this cool and we’re going to start making this other mixture that we’re going to add into it, so let me set this aside to cool and now let’s work on our other mixture.

We need 3 egg yolks. He calls for a half a pint, it may actually be 10 ounces, of cream. Also, some white wine, the same amount, also about a cup. Also some lemon zest, it’s about a half a lemon peel that I zested up. Now our mixture is stirred up, I’ve got our gruel, I’m going to go ahead, for the sake of mixing it up, I’m going to put it into the mixing bowl, but we’re going to need to heat this up, so we’ll put it back into a vessel we can heat with. You want to make sure that this is cool enough though that it doesn’t cook our eggs as we add this in, and you can tell by this time that the barley should have absorbed a lot of that water. It’s not nearly as liquidy as it was in the beginning. Now that this is mixed up, we can put it back in our vessel here. We’re going to put it on a low heat and make sure to stir it constantly until it starts to thicken.

I’ve let this cool a little bit. The recipe says to sweeten to taste so I’m just going to add a little bit of sugar here and mix it in and hopefully it’s cool enough that I can try it out.

Mmm, whoa, that’s the best gruel I have ever had. This is really good. All the flavors are there. You get a little bit of the wine flavor up on top. If you want to use just a sparkling grape juice you can get the same kind of flavors here that the wine’s going to give you, at least a little bit, if you don’t want to use an alcohol, but you get all these different flavors coming in that we had with the little bit of spices, that lemon in there, the sweetness also, the thickness of this custard is wonderful and those little textures of the barley in there. They’ve been cooked so long that they’re very soft, just like a tapioca would be and tapioca wasn’t in the 18th century, at least in an English context, so this is probably as close as you’re ever going to get to a tapioca pudding in the 18th century. Wonderful. If you get a chance to make up this barley gruel, you will enjoy it, I promise you. I want to thank you for coming along as we’re experimenting, as we’re savoring the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

If you’re new to our channel, I want to welcome you. You can subscribe by clicking the button right up here. Also check out our related videos. Thanks so much for watching.

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