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A 200-Year Old Chicken Salad Recipe

A 200-Year Old Chicken Salad Recipe

This recipe is called a French Salad and it comes from Maria Rundell’s 1808 cookbook, “A New System of Domestic Cookery”, but even though it is a 19th century recipe, it is very similar to a number of different 18th century recipes for salads.

  • 2 or 3 Anchovies
  • 1 Chopped Shallot
  • ¾ cup chopped Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive or Almond Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Mustard of choice
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • ¾ pound Roasted Chicken completely cooled

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Mince your anchovies and mix with the shallot and parsley. In another bowl, mix your oil with the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together, then add it back to the other bowl and mix well.

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Next, break your chicken up into small pieces or strips and add it to the vinaigrette, completely coating the chicken. Cover your bowl and set aside in a cool place like your refrigerator for about 3 hours.

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This would traditionally have been served on toast, but can also be served as a sandwich or even straight out of the bowl.

Transcription of Video:

Today I’m going to be demonstrating a simple and refreshing chicken salad right out of the 18th century. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

Today’s recipe is called a French Salad and it comes from Maria Rundell’s 1808 cookbook, “A New System of Domestic Cookery”. I know, 1808, now that’s the early 19th century isn’t it, but it turns out that this is very similar to a number of different 18th century recipes for salad. Salads have been around for hundreds of years, even thousands of years. We know that the Romans had salads and especially in the 17th and 18th century, the French and Italians were known for their salads.

Now the salads, this one’s called a French salad, and that’s quite likely because the English were so fond of French cooking and in fact they imported French cooks to cook for them and so salads were kind of known as a French dish in the English culture.

In the 18th century, salads took on many different forms. Of course, they had their cabbages and their lettuces. In fact, today we know this as Romain lettuce, in the 18th century it was just Roman lettuce. They also had a variety of vegetables. Endive, radish tops, leeks, and green onions were commonly used. Some vegetable salads were raw and some were cooked or even boiled. Other salads used meats or pickled fish. They also used herbs in their salads, not just as accents, but as major ingredients. Things where we might never put into a salad.

Now many people think of flowers in a salad as a new thing, but in fact in the 18th century, flowers were very common in salads. They had periwinkle and violets, nasturtium, those were all in 18th century salad recipes. Sometimes they were fresh and other times they might be candied. They were favored for, not only their color, but their flavor also. Ivy did a video a year ago on how to candy violets. If you haven’t seen that video, I invite you to watch it. I’ll make sure to put a link down in the description of this video.

Now what we’re making today is a meat salad. Now the common element that seems to tie all these kinds of salads together was the dressing which was usually some kind of vinaigrette and that’s where we’re going to start.

I’m going to mince 2 or 3 anchovies and put those in a large bowl, mix them with 1 chopped shallot and about ¾ of a cup of chopped parsley. The recipe calls for oil, about a tablespoon of oil and I’m using olive oil here. Now occasionally they would have used, say an almond oil also in an 18th century recipe like this and that might be an interesting variation you could try.

So now let’s add the acid. We need about twice as much acid. The recipe calls just for vinegar. Now likely what they mean is a malt vinegar in the time period. I’m not using malt vinegar today, but actually half lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons, and half distilled vinegar. To this I’ll add a teaspoon of, say the mustard of my choice, along with a little bit of salt, a little bit of pepper and I’m going to whisk this together.

Now it’s time for the meat. I have here some roasted chicken. It’s about ¾ of a pound that I had from earlier. It’s completely cooled and I can start to add this to our vinaigrette. This needs to be covered and set aside for about 3 hours so that the flavors can blend. I suggest you store it in a cool place like your refrigerator.

So, let’s give this a try.

Mmm, wonderful blend of flavors. They’re all right there. You can get a little bit of that lemon juice, but it’s not overpowering and it works so well with that oil. It all blends together so well and those flavors are just boom, they’re just right there. So this one is really good and they likely would have served this over toast or, you know, in a modern context this would go really good on a croissant although they didn’t have anything quite like that in the 18th century, but still, and you could just eat it just like this, just right out of a bowl. It is great.

Well, there you have it, a delightful 18th century chicken salad. Really good, very simple. You should try this one out. You know, I really want to encourage you to share this video. If you enjoyed it please share it on Facebook or the social network of your choice. Whenever you do that, it is so helpful, so thank you for that and if you’re interested in living history, in reenacting, we’ve got this great little getting started course. It’s a free 7 or 8 episode course and it’s kind of fun. You’ll learn a lot, so definitely check that out. I’ll put a link down in the description section of this video and I want to thank you for coming along as we try out these really interesting recipes from history, as we savor 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.

Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding

This is a wonderful variation of a plum pudding called hunter’s pudding that uses raisins for the plum. This dish was popular from the mid-18th century to the 20th century, found in British cookbooks and also popular in colonial America. Plum puddings were often associated with special occasions, served during certain holidays or when visitors came to visit. A hunter’s pudding was likely reserved for various special occasions such as a formal hunt, but that’s not to say ordinary people didn’t enjoy a hunter’s pudding on occasion. This recipe comes from “The Lady’s Assistant”, a 1775 cookbook published from Charlotte Mason’s manuscripts. This is a half batch, so if you want to make a full size batch, all you’ll need is double the ingredients and add an hour to the cooking time.

  • ½ lb. Flour
  • ½ lb. Suet (Kidney Fat)
  • ½ lb. Currants (dried, seedless, Corinthian Grapes)
  • 4 oz. Raisins
  • 2 tbsp. Candied Orange Peel
  • 2 tbsp. Candied Citron
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 3-4 tbsp. Brandy
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 cup Cream

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Preparing this pudding’s going to be very easy. We’re just going to add all of our dry ingredients plus our sweetmeats and mix well. Next whisk your eggs together in a separate bowl then combine your cream and brandy with the eggs. Once those are completely mixed, add them to your dry ingredients. This should make a pretty thick paste.

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Now when you’re going to boil a pudding, there are a few things you have to have ready to go. You need a couple of pots of water boiling.

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A large one will be for boiling the pudding itself. The smaller pot will be used to refill the water as it boils away in the larger one. You’ll also need a clean piece of cloth for each of the puddings you’re going to boil.

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Linen makes a really good pudding cloth, because the water makes the fibers swell up and the weave even tighter. You can also use cotton osnaburg. You’ll also need a stout cord to tie the cloth off with.

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Put your cloth into your boiling water for a few minutes to scald, then dust the pudding side with flour and lay in a bowl. Place your pudding dough into the cloth then tie the bag tightly around the dough.

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Place your pudding into the boiling water for 3 hours. Make sure to only replenish this water with boiling water. You want this water to not stop boiling at any time, because that will increase your cooking time.

Once your pudding has finished boiling, you will want to dip it in cold water for a few seconds to make it easier to remove the cloth without damaging the surface of your pudding.

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If you don’t want to spend 4 or 5 hours boiling a pudding at your next event, you can cook these ahead of time. You can cook these the week before if you leave them in their pudding cloth, then you can take them to the event. When you’re ready to use them, you can either boil them for an hour right before you need them or you can slice them cold and then either fry them or broil them.

These puddings were usually served with a sauce. The most common type is equal parts of butter, sugar, and sac.

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This pudding is very dense and rich. With all the raisins it’s very sweet. Compared to today’s palate, it was likely this would be the sweetest thing people of the 18th century would eat all year. This would make a great addition or finish to any celebration. You really should try these.

Transcript of Video:

Today I’m going to be doing something a little different. A dish that was popular all the way from the mid-18th century to the 20th century, found in British cookbooks and also popular in colonial America. We’re going to be making a hunter’s pudding. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas Townsend and Son.

A hunter’s pudding is a type of plum pudding and a plum in this context means raisins. Plum puddings were often associated with special occasions, served during certain holidays or when visitors came to visit. The name hunter’s pudding may be a bit deceiving. We need to be careful about assuming that it was a favorite dish for backwoodsmen. Rather, a hunter’s pudding was likely a pudding that would have been reserved for various special occasions such as a formal hunt, but that’s not to say ordinary people didn’t enjoy a hunter’s pudding on occasion. Hunter’s puddings were popular from the mid 1700’s up until the beginning of the 20th century. Let’s get started.

We’re going to be making a recipe from “The Lady’s Assistant”, a 1775 cookbook published from Charlotte Mason’s manuscripts. We’re making half batches today, so if you want to make a full size batch, all you’ll need is double the ingredients. It will change the cooking time, so we’ll talk about that as we cook it, but to start, let’s look at the ingredients.

I’m using a half pound of flour and a half pound of suet. Now when I say suet, I mean kidney fat. In a previous episode, we explored the difference between suet and hard muscle fat and when it comes to making puddings, there’s a huge difference, so if you go to your butcher to ask for suet, make sure he gives you kidney fat. If you can’t find kidney fat to use or if you have neither the time nor the inclination to render it yourself, Jas Townsend and Son now carries Atora shredded suet. This suet is made from rendered kidney fat. It’s stabilized with a little flour. Because it’s rendered properly, it doesn’t need refrigerating.

In addition, we’re using a half a pound of currants. Unlike the fleshy red berries that go by the same name and are related to the gooseberry, these currants are small dried seedless Corinthian grapes. Also in our pudding we’ll be using about 4 ounces of raisins. Now raisins in the 18th century had seeds in them so they had to be cut open and seeds removed before they could be used in a recipe like this. There were different kinds of raisins in the 18th century. The best of the raisins were dried in the sun as opposed to dried in ovens. These were called raisins of the sun and most of the time they were imported in jars so they would be many times called jar raisins. The best of these raisins were called Malaga or Muscato raisins. They were grown in Spain and imported throughout much of Europe and North America. Our modern raisins are similar in quality to a midlevel jar raisin of the 18th century while having the convenience of being seedless.

Next we’re going to be adding a couple of tablespoons of candied orange peel and candied citron. Our recipe will also use about a teaspoon of nutmeg and 3-4 tablespoons of brandy. Now here’s something interesting about the addition of brandy into these puddings, it started to be added in the second half of the 18th century and in many of the recipes they find that the addition of the brandy helped in the preservation of the pudding and many times its noted that the puddings can be kept for up to 6 months if you keep the pudding still wrapped in its pudding cloth and kept up out of reach. This allowed cooks to make multiple puddings at once, serving one immediately and the others later on.

Finally, back to our recipe, we’ll need 4 eggs and 1 cup of cream. Now that’s it for the ingredients. Now that we’ve gathered them up, let’s put this pudding together.

Preparing this pudding’s going to be very easy. We’re just going to add all of our dry ingredients plus our sweetmeats.

And don’t forget to add the nutmeg.

That’s mixed quite well.

Okay, now that our dry ingredients are done, let’s move on to our wet ingredients. Let’s whisk our eggs together.

And then we’re going to add in our cream and our last wet ingredient, our brandy.

Now let’s add this to our dry ingredients.

It should make a pretty thick paste.

Now when you’re going to boil a pudding, there are a few things you have to have ready to go. You need a couple of pots of water boiling. Our large one will be for boiling the pudding itself. The smaller pot we’ll use to refill the water as the water boils away. You’ll also need a clean piece of cloth. One for each of the puddings you’re going to boil. Linen makes a really good pudding cloth. The water makes the fibers swell up and the weave even tighter. You can also use cotton osnaburg. Go ahead and scald these cloths.

You’ll also need a stout cord to tie the cloth off with. Remove the cloths from the boiling water and dust each with a little flour, then set each one aside, flour side up, into a bowl. Gather your pudding dough and place it on top of the cloth.

Tie the bag tightly around the dough.

Now it’s time to put this in the boiling water and boil it for 3 hours. You want to make sure to only replenish this water with boiling water. You want this water to not stop boiling at any time, because that will increase your cooking time.

Now like I said, this is a half size pudding. If you’re going to be doing a full size pudding, you’ll want to boil this for 4 hours.

Okay, the hunter’s pudding has boiled 3 hours. You’ll need a bucket of cold water on hand. By dipping the hot pudding in the cold water for a few seconds it will make it easier to get the cloth off without damaging the surface of your pudding.

If you don’t want to spend 4 or 5 hours boiling a pudding at your next event, you can cook these ahead of time. You can cook these the week before if you leave them in their pudding cloth, then you can take them to the event, when you’re ready to use them, you can either boil them for an hour right before you need them or you can slice them cold and then either fry them or broil them.

These puddings were usually served with a sauce and the sauce we’re using here is the most common type which is equal parts of butter, sugar, and sac.

Let’s give these a try.

And they’re a very dense and rich kind of food here. These are chalk full of raisins and they’re nice and sweet. In fact, compared to today’s palate, 18th folks were not used to such sweet things, so it’s likely that this would be the sweetest thing they would eat all year long. These would make a great addition or finish to a nice period meal and because you can fix them the week ahead of time, they’re a perfect kind of thing you can pull out of the hat and fry these up from something that’s been prepared without spending the 4 hours of boiling them at the event. You should really try these. These are wonderful dishes.

Very nice.

This recipe and many others are available on our SavoringthePast.net cooking blog. We also have an image reference blog of 17th and 18th century paintings and drawings called SiftingthePast.com. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes. And finally, our online catalog and our printed catalog that has hundreds of 18th and 19th century men’s and women’s clothing, historical cooking items, and camping items.

I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

Baking Simple Gingerbread

Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_01_09;21)Gingerbread was a favorite treat in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many vendors sold it in the streets and markets. Many believe gingerbread possesses special medicinal properties, so it was even used to treat things like the sniffles.Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_00_57;15)

  • 2 cups Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch Allspice
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Freshly Grated Ginger
  • ½ teaspoon Pearl Ash or Baking Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Melted Butter
  • ½ cup Mild Molasses
  • 3 tablespoons Water

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Mix together flour, cinnamon, allspice, salt, ginger, and pearl ash or baking powder.Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_01_40;10)
In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, molasses and water. Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_02_04;02)

Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_02_22;24)Carefully add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until completely absorbed then turn out and knead until well mixed.Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_02_44;13)

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Roll out dough to about 1/8th inch thick and cut into desired shapes.Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_03_02;13)

Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_04_05;08)Place on a well-greased cookie sheet and bake in oven at about 400 degrees for just a few minutes until golden brown.

Simple Gingerbread (Time 0_04_25;02)Aren’t they beautiful? They smell wonderful. Crunchy and spicy. A perfect treat for an autumn day.

Transcription of Video:

My papa is well occupied. He is preparing for the winter months ahead. He’s busy; ergo I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about gingerbread. Gingerbread was a favorite treat in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many vendors sold it in the streets and markets. I think it’s yummy. I have an idea! Let’s make some!

My papa told me never to play with fire, so I’m letting him start the oven. It needs to be a good hot oven. I’ll start with 2 cups of flour, and I’ll add to it ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of allspice, a little bit of salt, about 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger and finally, I’ll add a ½ teaspoon of pearl ash, but wait, I don’t have pearl ash. Oh dear, what shall I do? I’ll use baking powder instead. Next, in a separate bowl, I’ll mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter with ½ cup of mild molasses and 3 tablespoons of water. Wow, this is really sticky. And now it’s time to mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, and I’ll carefully stir this together until the liquid is absorbed. Then I will turn it out and knead it until it’s well mixed. Next, I’ll roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8th of an inch thick. I’ll use a cookie cutter to make pretty shapes. This one even looks like a flower. And I’ll put them on a well-greased  cookie sheet. Some of these cookies I’ll impress with a stamp, that will make a pretty design on the top. And some of them will roll into a snake and cut into little brown shapes. Now it’s time for papa to put them in the oven. He says the oven is about 400 degrees. That’s really hot.

It shouldn’t take very long at all, only a couple of minutes. And here they come.

Many believe gingerbread possesses special medicinal properties, so it was even used to treat things like the sniffles. Aren’t they beautiful? They smell wonderful. We’ll let these cool for a while. Yum, crunchy and spicy. A perfect treat for an autumn day. Maybe you should make some too.

1824 English Gingerbread

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The recipe I’m making today is what’s called a light gingerbread from John Cook’s 1824 cookbook, Cooking and Confectionary.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1 cup Light or Barbados Molasses warmed
  • 2 tbsp. Milk divided evenly
  • ¾ tsp Pearl Ash (or baking soda)
  • 1 tsp Alum (or vinegar)

Combine flour, ginger and molasses and set aside.English Gingerbread (Time 0_01_30;20)

In half of milk, dissolve pearl ash. In other half of milk, dissolve alum.English Gingerbread (Time 0_02_00;11) Combine all mixtures together and stir very well. You will end up with a very stick batter.English Gingerbread (Time 0_02_09;23)

Pour into dish that has been well buttered.English Gingerbread (Time 0_02_39;10) Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.English Gingerbread (Time 0_03_07;05)

Transcript of Video:

In this episode, I’m taking a step into the future. Well, not really so much the future. Normally we focus on the 18th century. In this episode, we’re going to be doing an early 19th century recipe. The recipe I’m making today is from John Cook’s 1824 cookbook, Cooking and Confectionary. This is what’s called a light gingerbread. I’ll explain in a minute exactly why this is so special. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with James Townsend and Son.

Today’s episode is the final companion piece to our exploring the 18th Century discussion where we talk about chemical leavening. So while this recipe that we’re doing today is actually a fairly simple, common sort of gingerbread, one of the interesting things is, it uses alum as one of the leavening agents, so in our “Exploring the 18th Century Chemical Leavening” series, we talked about bread adulterants in the mid-18th century and how there was great alarm at the bakers using alum in their bread and yet here we have an early 19th century recipe that’s using alum as a leavening agent.

The original recipe is rather large, so I’ve downsized this considerably. We’re going to start with 2 cups of flour. To this, I’ll stir in 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger. Next, I’ll add 1 cup of light or Barbados molasses. Warming this first will make it easier to mix into the flour.

Now for our wet ingredients, I’ll take a few tablespoons of milk divided evenly. In half of this milk, I’ll dissolve ¾ of a teaspoon of pearl ash. In the other half, I’ll dissolve 1 teaspoon of alum. Pearl ash can be very difficult to find, so James Townsend and Son now carries food grade pearl ash in 2 ounce bottles. You can substitute it with baking soda, but baking soda was a mid-19th century invention. Alum can be found in the spice section in your local grocer. If you would prefer not to use alum, you can use a couple tablespoons of vinegar instead. Now I’ll stir this in very well. The result is a very sticky batter.

I’m going to bake this in a tart tin that has been well buttered. If you’re baking this at home, you’ll want to preheat your oven and bake this at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

We’ve got to give this a try.

Mmm. Very wonderful, very fluffy. It’s got a great gingerbread taste with the mix between the ginger and the molasses. This is an excellent, very interesting, almost like a ginger cake. Very moist though. This is really something special.

If you haven’t watched our “Exploring the 18th Century” Series on chemical leavening, I really invite you to do so. It really helps tease out and get to the roots of chemical leavening all throughout the 18th and 19th century.

 

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