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A Well-To-Do Rice Pudding


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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


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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

German Cooked Dough

We’ve had many viewers ask for 18th Century German recipes, but we couldn’t because we lack the expertise to translate the old cookbooks. Thanks to Kayla and Karen at Old Salem Museums and Gardens, who are presently translating two period German cookbooks, we can finally bring you some delicious German food! This recipe comes from “The Economical Handbook For The Housewife” printed in 1795.

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Orange Fool

This is our final cooking episode at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. For this last recipe, Deb Colburn joins us and makes us “Orange Fool”. A perfect dessert to end your meal. Enjoy!

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Hoe Cakes

We’re back at George Washington’s Mount Vernon! Once again, we’re joined by Deb Colburn and today she has a recipe for “Hoe Cakes”. A delicious and easy Cornmeal Pancake that you have to try!

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Fried Catfish

Today historic interpreter Brenda Parker from George Washington’s Mount Vernon gives us a first person portrayal of “Silla”, an enslaved woman who worked on Washington’s estate. In this special cooking episode Brenda shows us a delicious recipe for fried catfish that you have to try!

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Papering Parched Corn

In last weeks episode we demonstrate several methods for preparing parched corn. Today is all about preparing our corn to eat in the easiest and most palatable ways.

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Parched Corn

In today’s episode we demonstrate several methods for preparing parched corn, including methods from a pamphlet on maize written by Benjamin Franklin.

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Delicious Catfish Stew

We’re back at George Washington’s Mount Vernon! Once again, we’re joined by Deb Colburn who shows us a wonderful Catfish Stew recipe. Enjoy!

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Delicious Open Fire Shad at Mount Vernon

This is the first in a series of episodes we shot with the amazing people at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Today Deb Colburn shows us how to prepare a “Planked Shad”. Enjoy! #townsendsplankedshad

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Propagating Wild Yeast For Reenactments

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 time. Now the question is, did people in the 18th century knowingly and intentionally propagate wild yeast? Our initial conclusion was yes due to the frequent references to sour bread, but as we dug deeper we found only 3 references to propagated wild yeast, none of those prior to 1790. These references were either examples of scientific experiments or were from non-European cultures.

Which Yeast (Time 0_01_56;07)

Interestingly, the typical response to these experiments is astonishment. Let me read to you a little piece from a journal dated 1790 from the transactions of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing, and Commerce. The context is about a contest the society had on the manufacture of yeast. This is a man writing about experiments that he’s doing to make yeast talking about his assistant. “He accordingly brought me some small vessel with the full head of yeast upon it, assuring me with some degree of exaltation that neither oil of vitriol with chalk nor any portion of old yeast had been employed on that occasion. This greatly surprised me and I desired he would proceed with the experiment.” So his experiment had to do with having boiled water and malt and nothing else and just letting this set over time. He was cultivating wild yeast and he didn’t even know it.

Now there are many 18th century recipes for making yeast and circumstances when yeast was in short supply, but other than these experiments that I’ve already mentioned, they all have to do with propagating yeast from a little bit of preexisting yeast, so it was very surprising for these experimenters to find that you could make a yeast slurry without adding any preexisting yeast. So it’s apparent that these experiments flew against the conventional wisdom.

Which Yeast (Time 0_00_58;05)

So what does this mean for the 18th century reenactor or historic site? Should we be using a bread baked with barm or sourdough bread made with leaven? Well, it really depends on who we are trying to portray, what our culture is, what our class is, and what our climate is. The one thing we can seem to draw from this information is propagating wild yeast in the manner in which we do today to make sourdough bread is not a historically accurate option.

Transcript of Video:

For a couple of weeks now we’ve been anticipating doing an episode on cultivating wild yeast to make an 18th century sourdough bread but the more we did research the more it became apparent that this was not something that they did in the 18th century.

Now 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 and some water and some time. Now the question remains, did people in the 18th century knowingly and intentionally propagate wild yeast? Our initial conclusion was yes due to the frequent references to sour bread but as we dug deeper we found only 3 references to propagated wild yeast, none of those prior to 1790. They were either examples of scientific experiments or they were from non-European cultures. Interestingly, the typical response to these experiments is a astonishment. Let me read to you a little piece from a journal. This is dated 1790 and it’s from the transactions of the society for the encouragement of arts, manufacturing, and commerce, and this is in context to about a contest. The society had a contest about the manufacture of yeast and this is a man writing about experiments that he’s doing to make yeast.

Here the man writes about his assistant, “He accordingly brought me some small vessel with the full head of yeast upon it, assuring me with some degree of exaltation that neither oil of vitriol with chalk nor any portion of old yeast had been employed on that occasion. This greatly surprised me and I desired he would proceed with the experiment.” So his experiment had to do with having boiled water and malt and nothing else and just letting this set over time. He was cultivating a wild yeast and he didn’t even know it.

Now there are many 18th century recipes for making yeast and circumstances when yeast was in short supply. Now other than these experiments that I’ve already mentioned, they all have to do with propagating yeast from a little bit of preexisting yeast, so it was very surprising for these experimenters to find that you could make a yeast slurry without adding any preexisting yeast. So it’s apparent that these experiments flew against the conventional wisdom.

So what does this mean for the 18th century reenactor or historic site? Should we be using a bread baked with barm or sourdough bread made with leaven? Well, it really depends on who we are trying to portray, what our culture is, what our class is, and what our climate is. The one thing we can seem to draw from this information is, is that propagating wild yeast in the manner in which we do today to make sourdough bread is not an historically accurate option.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly different episode today. We want to take this opportunity to announce our new historic cooking blog SavoringThePast.net. In this cooking blog we’re going to give you authentic 18th and 19th century recipes along with some of the references and documentation that go on behind our videos. We invite you to subscribe to this new SavoringThePast.net so you can get immediate notification of new posts. Also we invite you to give us your historic cooking experiences and documentation by leaving us feedback.

SavoringThePast.net is a companion to our other blog SiftingThePast.com which is a website that’s intended to give you a snap shot though art of the lives and customs of people in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th century. I also invite you to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you can get notification of new videos as soon as they’re available and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for all the latest news at Jas. Townsend and Son.

Jas. Townsend and Son offers hundreds of quality 18th century reproduction clothing items and personal accessories including a great line of cooking vessels and utensils. All these can be found on our website or in our print catalog and I want to thank you for watching today and I want to invite you to come along as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

Akara Recipe

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

akara-time-0_00_5113

First, pulverize the dried black-eyed peas into very small pieces. Add to this some chopped onion and parsley to taste.

akara-time-0_01_0425

Add some boiling water to the mixture to soften and allow to rest until the water has been absorbed. Add a little flour to bring the mixture together.

akara-time-0_01_4613

When your mixture looks like a nice thick batter you can place it by the spoonful into the heated lard in your frying pan.

Akara has a wonderful fried flavor and can be made your own by eating it with hot pepper, or adding other spices to the mixture.

Transcript of Video:

[Jon] Hi, I’m Jon Townsend and again we’re here at Historic Gunston Hall. I’ve got Michael Twitty, a culinary historian. What are we cooking this morning?

[Michael] Akara.

[Jon] Akara. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

[Jon] So, Akara, what exactly is this?

[Michael] It’s a fritter that’s made from black-eyed peas.

[Jon] Okay.

[Michael] Think of it sort of like a West African version of falafel.

[Jon] Okay.

[Michael] Not quite the same, but very similar. It’s eaten as a snack with hot pepper. Basically, you either boil the peas and mash them without the skin, take every bit of skin off, or you pound them dry like we’ve done here. Pulverize them until they were in little pieces, and then took some chopped onion and some chopped parsley and mashed that with it as well. So, what I need to do now is take some of the boiling hot water and pour it on top to soften it and to let it swell a little bit up, and when this batter that we have going on settles, we’ll be able to take it out by the spoonful and fry it in oil and that will make the akara.

[Jon] So it’ll be a nice thick batter that we can work with and easily pop in the pan.

[Michael] Right.

[Jon] So we’ve let this set for a while. We poured boiling water on it

[Michael] With a little bit of flour to help bring it together, but ultimately this is mostly black-eyed peas and onions put together. So, our job right now is to turn it into a little bit of a fritter, so what we’re going to do is put it in some hot fat, fry it up in little drop batches, and then we’ll see what it tastes like.

[Jon] It’s ready to go.

[Michael] Being a cook, being an enslaved cook was a tremendously important job, not just because it represented a great deal of skill and ability for the white household, but because it represented a person who was someone who transmitted knowledge between the field quarter and the big house. Important knowledge that could lead to freedom, that could lead to access to knowledge, education. All of these fruits have come out of our struggle to fully become ourselves, and I want our young people of all backgrounds to be proud of what African Americans have achieved and what all African people have achieved.

[Jon] They’ve got a very interesting look to them and they smell great. I guess I’m going to find out what they taste like.

[Michael] Yep, try one.

[Jon] Here we go. Wonderful fried flavor, it’s got a really interesting flavor that I’m not used to. Those black-eyed peas in a fried bean cake, not something that I’d normally eat, but they taste really good. You know if you’re putting this in a meal with multiple dishes

[Michael] It’s more like a snack.

[Jon] Oh really?

[Michael] It’s more like something you eat as a snack but on Virginia plantation tables, we know this was eaten. Mary Randolph has a recipe for black-eyed pea cakes.

[Jon] Okay.

[Michael] So this is sort of like the root of her recipe.

[Jon] Sure.

[Michael] So, you can imagine this being a food that she would eat, probably at the time the black-eyed peas were still in dried form, not fresh.

[Jon] Right.

[Michael] So not so much in summer and early fall, but more like winter and spring.

[Jon] Wonderful, and very interesting way of making it and interesting kind of take on what’s going on with peas and how you cook them and how you’re going to use them in your cooking, so wonderful. Thank you so much for bringing this recipe to us and again a very interesting experiment in what food was like in the 18th and 19th century. Those mixes of cultures. Really interesting, so thank you Michael for bringing this to us and thank you all out there for sharing with us. Coming along with us as we experiment, as we savor the flavors of the 18th century.

I want to thank everyone there at Gunston Hall for their wonderful help with this series. If you’re interested in Gunston Hall, make sure to check out their website.

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