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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…

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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…

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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…

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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. http://ift.tt/2wQkO31 More great information! ***************************** Our Retail Website -…

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Page 1 of 69

Cheesemaking In The Early 19th Century

We have a very special episode today! Deanna Berkemeier, from Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, walks us through the process of making cheese from scratch. Deanna is a master at the art of Cheesemaking. 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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18th Century Cheese Curd Fritters

Today’s recipe is a little different: Cheese-curd fritters from Eliza Smith’s 1758 cookbook, “The Compleat Housewife.” We found it a bit challenging to make cheese curds in camp, but we managed to pull it off. If you don’t want to go to those lengths, you can often find cheese curds at your grocer. Either way, deep fried and topped with sugar, you can’t really go wrong! Enjoy!

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Our videos are funded by the purchases made by our customers on our website. Buy products from us now! http://townsends.us/

FREE “Getting Started in Living History” video course!

Help support the channel with Patreon: http://ift.tt/2hn0mBt

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An 18th Century Cheese Soup

This cheese soup is another recipe from Ann Cook’s 1755 cookbook, “Professed Cookery.” It’s a very easy and delicious little dish that is perfect for this cold weather. You have to try it!

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A Delicious Cheese Spread, Welsh Rabbit from 1788

Today’s recipe is from Richard Briggs’ 1788 cookbook, “The English Art of Cookery” It’s for a delicious and easy cheese spread. Jon shows first how to make it, then he demonstrates three ways to serve it, including an authentic recipe for Welsh rabbit, a very popular Tavern food of the day!

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Cheese Tart

In this episode we make a wonderful cheese tart from a 17th century cookbook.

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Preserved Walnuts

Preserved Walnuts

In preparation for our upcoming wedding, my fiancée, Kelly, and I visited a wonderful cheese shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan this weekend, hoping to explore different cheese options for our reception. The tiny shop was packed with wide-eyed shoppers, and the busy shopkeepers raced back and forth between the cooler and counter with armfuls of carefully double-wrapped cheeses. Samples were generously supplied.

As we savored a delightfully salty aged Gouda from the Netherlands, a creamy Irish white cheddar made with morning milk, and one of my favorites — a smooth and buttery Manchego from Spain, I overheard one patron after another succumb to the will of the expert cheesemongers. “Oooo, I’ll take a pound of that too, please.”

This little store was stocked with everything one could possibly need for the finest cours de fromage.  To customers’ backs was an entire wall of chutneys, crackers, preserves, and dried fruits. It was on this wall that I made a wonderful discovery: preserved young walnuts produced by Harvest Song.

I called Kelly over. I was eager to explain how I have for some time now wanted to preserve my own young walnuts according to the old recipes from Hannah Glasse and John Farley. Before she could make her way against the lines of people, two samples awaited our approval at the counter.

Walnuts, in the 18th century, were often pickled with vinegar, preserved in sugar syrup, or processed into walnut catsup. Generally, young walnuts were used before their shells had the chance to harden. Recipes instruct that the nuts are to be harvested while a pin can still be pushed through them. Most of, if not all of the walnut was preserved — meat, shell, and husk alike, depending on whether they were to be preserved white, black, or green.

These recipes have always captured my curiosity, but in the busyness of modern life, it seems I have routinely either missed the harvest window, or have lacked the week and a half to dedicate to the process. So I was thrilled to find these preserved walnuts on the shelf and was willing to pay the $10.00 price for an 18.9-ounce jar. No preservatives — only young walnuts, cane sugar, and lemon juice. I suppose I could throw in a few whole cloves and let them sit in my refrigerator. That’s about all they’re missing.

Kelly and I squeezed in between the lines to get to our samples. The sweetness was the first thing we noticed…almost cloyingly sweet…but they were a bit earthy too. These walnuts remind me of the flavor of dates…sending my thoughts longingly back to that first bite of aged Gouda. This would be a perfect compliment.

But beyond the flavor, probably the more memorable experience was the texture. How can I describe it without diminishing the surprise? The snap of an excellent refrigerator pickle…the crunch of a freshly roasted jumbo cashew…the pop in my back when my chiropractor finally gives me relief…yeah, that visceral…my attempts seem absurd.

The shop manager noticed our surprise and was delighted in our willingness to try them. I explained my fondness for historical foods. Out of curiosity, I asked if he was familiar with a French cheese that was very popular in the 18th century. I couldn’t remember its name…it started with an “M.” The most peculiar thing about this cheese is how it gains its flavor through the secretions of cheese mites that infest the block.

“Mimolette!” he interrupted.

“Yes! That’s it! Do you happen to have any?”

“No, I’m sorry, sir. You see the FDA has banned Mimolette in the U.S. They won’t allow it through customs. It seems that customs officials don’t like how it comes all covered with bugs! What a shame!”

“Yes, isn’t it…what a shame.”

So to my disappointment (but not necessarily to Kelly’s), there will be no Mimolette at the wedding reception, but I’m thinking a bowl of sliced preserved walnuts will be in order.

While we don’t offer the walnuts here at Jas. Townsend & Son, you can find them in my new favorite cheese shop in Kalamazoo, or you can order them on line. I will shamelessly say that the bowl and knife in the picture above are sold on our website.

If you prefer to try your hand at making your own preserved walnuts, I wish you success in your endeavors. I would love to hear of the outcome. Here’s a recipe from John Farley’s 1800 edition of The London Art of Cookery.

 

Parmesan Cheese Tart

Parmesan Cheese Tart

  Ok, I am obviously some kind of cheese pie freak, and I admit this is my third cheesecake type recipe in the last couple of months, but you will just have to bear with me.

In the past, we made a couple of 18th century dishes that were called cheesecakes, but they were very different from the familiar modern cheesecake. 18th century cookbooks seem to have a lot of recipes that are called cheesecake, a few even containing cheese, but most do not come very close to what we now call a cheesecake. This dish comes a bit closer than most, but with a interesting twist: Parmesan.

The recipe is from William Rabisha’s The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected (1682)

To Make a Cheese Tart

This recipe makes quite a large tart so we are going to cut the recipe in half.

Parmesan Cheese Tart

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Parmesan cheese, grated fine
  • 3 whole eggs plus 3 additional egg yolks.
  • 4 oz of butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp of powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 of a nutmeg, grated (about 1/2 tsp)
  • 3 oz fresh bread crumbs (the crumb of any white bread, crust removed, and pulsed in a food processor will work perfectly)
  • 3 Tbs of sugar
  • somewhere around 2 to 3 cups of heavy cream

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except for the cream, and stir with a spoon until well incorporated. Add as much cream as necessary to make a thin batter. The amount of cream needed will vary depending on the type of bread you use. The goal is to have a batter that you can pour — like pancake batter. The cheese and the bread crumbs will make the batter lumpy.

For a savory pie cut back the sugar to 1 or 2 Tablespoons. If you want it a sweeter pie,  add 3, even 4 tablespoons.

Pour the batter into pie pans lined with a short paste. This recipe filled one of our 9″ pie pans with enough left over to fill a tart made in our pewter bowl. You can place optional strips of puff paste across the top.  Finish by sprinkling a little sugar on top just before you place the pie in the oven, or add some sugar after baking and brown it with a salamander or torch.

savoringthepast_cheese tart 5

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Larger pies will take longer than smaller ones. The puff paste will puff up and brown, indicating when the pie is done.

The finished tart has a texture similar to that of a modern American cheesecake but is not nearly as sweet. You can take detect in this cheesecake the subtle bite of the Parmesan Cheese, but it’s not overpowering — perfect for the addition of fruit.

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