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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

Breakfast In The 18th Century!

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

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The Top 6 Historical Egg Preservation Techniques!

In today’s video, we explore six egg preservation methods that were used in households from the 18th century to well into the 20th century. Early tests reveal that some of these methods were incredibly effective. You won’t believe how successful the top-rated method worked!

Caveat: this video is intended to only present the methods and tests results outlined in historical texts. We have not tested these methods ourselves, and we can not guarantee similar results.

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Pan Perdu (or As We Call It “French Toast”)

Pan Perdu (or as we call it “French Toast”)

Who doesn’t like a nice big plate of French Toast? For me it brings back fond childhood memories of Saturday mornings — usually during the holidays when no one seemed to be in a hurry to change out of our pj’s to go anywhere. Truly, French toast a quintessential breakfast food, though I’ll eat it for any meal if given a chance — especially if it’s served with real maple syrup, a dab of melting butter, and maybe some fresh fruit or berries on the side.

But did you know that this delectable dish we call French Toast has been around for over  a thousand years? And it wasn’t always breakfast fare, in fact, it likely started out as a dessert.

The earliest documented recipe for French toast can be found in the Apicius — a collection of 4th and 5th century Roman recipes. The dish is simply titled, “Another Sweet.” Its translation reads:

“Break a slice of fine white bread, crust removed, into rather large pieces. Soak in milk and beaten eggs, Fry in oil, cover in honey, and serve.”

Bread was known as the staff of life. It was the dietary pillar of cultures around the world. But what was one to do when their bread went stale?

In an old nameless English cookbook from 1430, later compiled and published under the name “Two 15th Century Cookery Books,” We find a recipe for bread dipped in egg yolks, fried in butter, and sprinkled with sugar.

The name of this dish is the French word, “Payn Perdeuz,” meaning “Lost Bread” or “Wasted Bread,” suggesting the recipe was intended for bread that had gone stale. This name seemed to stick for many years in the vocabulary of English cooks.

Karen Hess, who transcribed Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery, says,

“The English early took to pain perdu and made it their own; it was rarely omitted from a cookbook, usually listed under “made dishes”…or any dish that amused the cook or showed off her skill.”

Here is our take on an 18th-century recipe for Payn Perdue:

Fried Toasts in Eliza Smith 1758 cookbook The Compleat Housewife


1 – Medium loaf of firm enriched bread. (The No-Knead “French” Bread in our most recent video would make a perfect choice. If you’re not up to making your own bread, Challah, Brioche, or a Country French loaf will work perfectly. Stale bread is better. You can leave it out overnight if you need to, out of reach of the critters)
8 – Egg yolks
1 Cup of Cream
1/4 Cup Sweet Sherry
1-1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Grated Nutmeg

3 – 4 Tablespoons Butter

For the sweet sauce (instead of maple syrup)

4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
1-1/2 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Tablespoons Sweet Sherry


Take a sharp or serrated knife and slice off all the outer crust of the bread. Cut the remaining crumb into slices about 3/4″ thick.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, cream, sherry, and sugar. Season with grated nutmeg.

Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture, making sure you get the edges as well,  and set them on a plate for a while — 15 minutes should do, unless your bread is really stale, then it might take longer.

While the bread slices are sitting there soaking up the egg mixture, go ahead and mix the melted butter, sherry and sugar for the sweet sauce. Set this nearby for serving your toasts.

Melt 3 to 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. You may have to be very careful handling the bread at this point, depending on the type of bread that you use. When your butter has stopped bubbling and it’s quieted down just a bit, fry your payn perdue slices on both sides until they are a golden brown.

Pour the sweet sauce over your slices and serve.

For authentic alternatives to our 18th century sweet sauce, you can also use honey, light molasses, maple syrup, or you can simply sprinkle it with sugar and a bit of ground cinnamon.

A sweet and sour alternative that is likewise very authentic, would substitute verjus for the sherry. Verjus is the unfermented juice of unripe grapes. It was commonly used in the 18th century for pickling and spicing up sauces in place of vinegar. It’s available online.

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