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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…

akara-time-0_00_0921


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)…

Asp6

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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…

rye-and-indian-bread-time-0_08_1818


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…

onion-soup-time-0_00_4313


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…

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.06.59 PM

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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…

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 12.45.21 PM

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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
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.

An Onion Soup Recipe From 1801

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 cup Cream
  • Frazer’s Mixed Spices (Black Pepper, Allspice, Nutmeg, Clove)
  • Bread

Start by placing 4 ounces of butter and about 4 tablespoons of flour in a large skillet. Keep it stirred well while it browns so it doesn’t burn.

onion-soup-time-0_01_0713

Next add about 8 midsized onions, peeled and sliced very thin. Any onions will do, white, yellow, sweet. I like onions, so I’m using a lot of red onion which is the stronger flavor. Red onions were used in the 18th century probably more often in medicine, but they were used in cooking as well. You can also mix your onions to get a unique flavor.

Season your onions with a little salt and stir until the onions are soft and have begun to caramelize. The longer you reduce them, the sweeter and more flavorful they will become.

onion-soup-time-0_01_4411

Bring about 3 quarts of beef stock to boil and add the onions to the pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

onion-soup-time-0_02_1501

While your onions are simmering, you need to prepare the rest of the ingredients. This version is a cream of onion soup, so we need to prepare what is called a liaison. Gently whip together 4 egg yolks and a cup of cream with just a little bit of salt, then add to the onion soup.

At this point, this is a very basic, plain onion soup. You could add a lot of things to this. I’m going to season this one with a little bit of our Mrs. Frazer’s Mixed Spices.

onion-soup-time-0_02_3726

This is an authentic blend of spices from an 18th century recipe. It contains black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. This will be a great addition. You could also add other things like vegetables or other kinds of spices.

onion-soup-time-0_02_0327

Onion soup was routinely served over a piece of bread. Sometimes that bread was toasted as we are doing, other times it was fried. After another 20 minutes this is ready to serve.

Transcript of Video:

You’re going to love this episode today. We went back in the archives and we got an episode on French Onion Soup we did several years ago. It’s a great one and we are working on so much right now. We’ve got lots of great episodes coming up, bonus topics, the next season of 18th Century Cooking starts next week, so stay tuned. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

In a previous episode, we did a dish, Fried Onion Rings. Something that’s thought to be purely modern, but it actually came from John Mollard’s 1801 cookbook, “The Art of Cooking Made Easy and Refined”. Today we’re going to be making another one of John Mollard’s recipes. A recipe for 18th century Onion Soup. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas. Townsend and Son.

We start by placing 4 ounces of butter in our spider along with about 4 tablespoons of flour. I’ll want to keep this stirred well while it browns so it doesn’t burn. Next I’ll add 8 midsized onions, peeled and sliced very thin. Any onions will do, white, yellow, sweet. I like onions, so I’m using a lot of red onion which is the stronger flavor. Red onions were used in the 18th century probably more often in medicine, but they were used in cooking as well.

I’ll season this with a little salt. I’ll continue to stir this until the onions are soft and they have begun to caramelize. The longer I reduce them, the sweeter and more flavorful they will become.

We need about 3 quarts of beef stock on the fire here and we’re going to add our onions.

We’re going to let this simmer about 30 minutes. While this is simmering, I’m going to prepare the rest of our ingredients. Onion soup was routinely served over a piece of bread. Sometimes that bread was toasted as we are doing, other times it was fried.

In addition, Mollard’s version of the onion soup here is a cream of onion soup, so I have prepared what’s called a liaison, it’s 4 egg yolks, a cup of cream and a little bit of salt and we’re going to add this to the soup. Mollard’s onion soup here is just a very plain basic onion soup. You could add a lot of things to this. I’m going to season this one with a little bit of our Mrs. Frazer’s Mixed Spices. This is an authentic blend of spices from an 18th century recipe. It contains black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. This will be a great addition. You could also add other things like vegetables or other kinds of spices.

After 20 minutes this is looking wonderful. I’m going to dish some out.

This smells wonderful. Let’s give it a quick try.

Mmm. This is really, really good. You’re going to really enjoy this. It’s got a wonderful medley of flavors. The wonderful sweet onions. You can get all those wonderful spice flavors in there. The texture of the bread. This is really great.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes. I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

Pemmican

Pemmican

Pemmican is the ultimate survival food from the 18th and 19th centuries, originally made by indigenous peoples in North America. Buffalo was the obvious selection for large scale pemmican production. Many native peoples of America depended on pemmican for their survival. It kept well and it was an excellent food source, especially during hard winter months. Pemmican was also an important food source for many voyagers, frontiersmen, explorers, and fur traders. At the height of its production, from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century, the vast majority of it was made with bison, although at times deer, moose and elk were used depending upon availability.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_24;03)

The Metis were a unique group of people with their own cultural identity who originated from the descendants of French voyageurs and their Native American wives. They were responsible for most of the pemmican that was sold and traded throughout the northern regions of North America. The Metis developed an entire societal structure based upon the buffalo hunt. They conducted two hunts per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. A single Metis hunting party could have up to a thousand ox drawn carts in tow and could return from the hunt with up to a million pounds of pemmican and dried meat, and there were multiple Metis hunting parties.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_53;02)

While the men hunted buffalo, the women processed them. Period accounts say that a skilled Metis woman could dismantle up to 10 buffalo carcasses a day leaving very little behind for the wild animals to scavenge. A single bison cow, when processed properly, would produce about 250 pounds of raw meat or about 50 pounds of dried meat. This same cow would also produce about 50 pounds of rendered tallow.

Once the useable portions of the animal were harvested, they’d be processed over the next few days. The meat was cut into thin strips and laid out on wooden racks to dry near the fire and in the heat of the sun. The skins were stripped of their hair and sewn into rawhide bags that would be used to store the pemmican. Suet was melted and refined into tallow and the bones were cracked and the delicate marrow extracted. The dried meat was then pulverized and placed into rawhide bags. Sometimes dried berries were mixed in. Then the liquid suet was poured in over the top and mixed in well and the bag was sewn shut.

Pemmican, produced and stored in this fashion, would last a long time. Some reports suggest 10, 20, even 30 years. About half of the pemmican produced by the Metis was kept and used by them to get them through the hard winter. The remaining pemmican was sold to the Hudson Bay Company or its competitor The North-West Company. The pemmican sold to these companies would provision vast crews of voyageurs that used to transport their goods. It was also sold to other backwoodsmen and to outlying military posts. Competition between these two companies was so fierce that battles broke out between the employees of these companies and became known as the pemmican war. The British government eventually had to step in and settle the matter by forcing a merger between the two companies.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_48;08)

During the late 1700’s, great buffalo herds extended from just west of the Appalachian Mountains all the way to the Rockies, as far south as what is now Mexico to arctic Canada, but the demand for pemmican put a tremendous strain on the buffalo herd. Today, only about 500,000 bison still live in the wild across North America.

Pemmican can be easily made in a modern kitchen so you can use it at your next historical reenactment, survival outing, or even camping trip. It can also be stored long term for times of shortage.

  • Beef (or other meat)
  • Suet
  • Dried berries (optional)

Slice your meat very thin and against the grain. Place in your oven preheated to the lowest possible temperature. If you wish to use a dehydrator, I recommend baking your meat strips in your oven at 200 degrees for about a half hour first. Your meat should be completely dry and brittle in about 10-12 hours. For every pound of raw beef, you should end up with about a quarter pound of dried beef. It is best not to use beef jerky for this process, because it is typically very highly salted, highly spiced and also contains nitrates. These all add up to a very concentrated flavor which isn’t good in pemmican. The other problem is that jerky is cut with the grain instead of against the grain, so it’s very difficult to break up into powder.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_02;23)

Once the meat is dry and brittle, melt an equal amount by weight of suet in a saucepan. While your suet is melting, grind your meat into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or your food processor. Mix together your meat powder and melted suet. If you are using dried berries, now would be the time to add them, though it will cause your pemmican to not keep as well. A common version in the time period called seed pemmican had ground up choke berries.

You can eat your pemmican raw or you can use it to make other delicious dishes.

Transcription of Videos:

Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Food – Episode 1

This is pemmican. It’s food from the 18th and 19th centuries, originally made by indigenous peoples in North America and then used by voyagers, frontiersmen, and explorers alike. It is a highly condensed nutritious form of food. It’s in fact, the ultimate survival food. Over the next few episodes, we’re going to talk about exactly what pemmican is, how it was made historically, how you can make it in your modern kitchen and also how we can cook with it, whether it’s at home, at an historical event or in your next survival outing. I want to thank you for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas Townsend and Son.

Pemmican was traditionally made of just two or three ingredients; dried meat, animal fats, and dried berries. At the height of it’s production, from the late 18th century to the mid 19th century, the vast majority of it was made with bison, although at times deer, moose and elk were used depending upon availability.

A group of people called the Metis were most famous for their pemmican. The Metis were a unique people group with their own cultural identity. They originated from the descendants of French voyageurs and their Native American wives. They were responsible for most of the pemmican that was sold and traded throughout the northern regions of North America.

The Metis people developed an entire societal structure based upon the buffalo hunt. While the men hunted buffalo, the women processed them. Period accounts say that a skilled Metis woman could dismantle up to 10 buffalo carcasses a day leaving very little behind for the wild animals to scavenge.

Once the useable portions of the animal were harvested, they’d be processed over the next few days. The meat was cut into thin strips and laid out on wooden racks to dry near the fire and in the heat of the sun. The skins were stripped of their hair and sewn into rawhide bags that would be used to store the pemmican. Suet was melted and refined into tallow and the bones were cracked and the delicate marrow extracted.

A single bison cow when processed properly, would produce about 250 pounds of raw meat or about 50 pounds of dried meat. This same cow would produce, also, about 50 pounds of rendered tallow. The dried meat was pulverized and placed into rawhide bags. Sometimes dried berries were mixed in. Then the liquid suet was poured in over the top and mixed in well. Then the bag was sewn shut.

Pemmican produced and stored in this fashion would last a long time. Some reports suggest 10, 20, even 30 years. It was the ultimate survival food. In our next episode, we’ll show you how you can make this authentic pemmican at home.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also visit our website and you can request a print catalog. I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

 

Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Food – Episode 2

In our last episode, I showed you how pemmican, the ultimate survival food, was made in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, I’m going to show you how you can easily make it in a modern kitchen so that you can use it at your next historical reenactment, your survival outing or even your next camping trip. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas Townsend and Son.

 

Large quantities of pemmican was made with bison. Today we’re using beef. If you have access to bison, or perhaps a venison, you may use that instead.

Bison was the obvious selection for large scale pemmican production. Now, today the wild bison herd is very small, but during the late 1700’s, great buffalo herds extended from just west of the Appalachian mountains all the way to the Rockies, and as far south as what is now Mexico, all the way north to arctic Canada.

Many native peoples of America depended on pemmican for their survival. It kept well and it was an excellent food source, especially during hard winter months. Pemmican was also an important food source for many voyagers and fur traders.

The demand for pemmican put a tremendous strain on the buffalo herd. There is one particular group of people call the Metis. They were descendants of early voyageurs and their Native wives. The Metis produced and supplied most of the pemmican. They conducted two hunts per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. A single Metis hunting party could have up to a thousand ox drawn carts in tow and could return from the hunt with up to a million pounds of pemmican and dried meat, and there were multiple Metis hunting parties. About half of the pemmican produced by the Metis was kept and used by them to get them through the hard winter. The remaining pemmican was sold to the Hudson Bay Company or it’s competitor The North-West Company.

The pemmican sold to these companies would provision vast crews of voyageurs that used to transport their goods. It was also sold to other backwoodsmen and to outlying military posts. Competition between these two companies was fierce. So fierce that battles broke out between the employees of these companies. These battles became known as the pemmican war. The British government eventually had to step in and settle the matter by forcing a merger between the two companies.

 

Now back to our meat. I’m slicing this meat very thinly.

I’m going to put this in my modern oven, preheated to the lowest temperature possible. You can use a dehydrator too if you wish. If you do, you ought to bake your meat strips first in your oven at 200 degrees for about a half an hour and then you can place them into the dehydrator to dry up.

The process will take between 10 and 12 hours. Your meat should be completely dry and brittle when it’s done. For every pound of raw beef, you should end up with about a quarter pound of dried meat.

 

Now some of you are probably thinking, Jon why don’t you just use beef jerky instead of dried beef in this recipe? Well, typically is very highly salted, it’s highly spiced and it also contains nitrates. These all add up to a very concentrated flavor which isn’t good in pemmican. The other problem is, it’s cut with the grain instead of against the grain, so it’s very difficult to break up into our powder.

Once our meat is dry and brittle, I’m going to melt in a saucepan an equal amount by weight of suet. Today, I’m using Atora’s suet in this recipe, which is available online on our website. Now you can render your own tallow from raw suet, but make sure to watch our previous episode on suet that’ll give you instructions on how to do that.

Now I’m going to take my dried meat and I could use a mortar and pestle, or even easier, I could use my food processor at home. Reguardless, I want to end up with a coarse powder. I’ve got about 8 ounces of dried beef here. I’m going to mix in about an ounce of dried berries, those are optional, along with 8 ounces of melted suet.

A common version in the time period had ground up choke berries. These you can find online. If you add dried berries to your pemmican, it will not keep as well. This version is called seed pemmican. Let’s see what this pemmican tastes like raw.

You know, there’s not a lot of flavor right up front. After you chew it for a while, you get a nice little beefy flavor. The texture might turn off some, but hey, if you’re tired and you’re hungry, this will keep you going.

And here it is, authentic pemmican. In our next episode, I’ll show you how to prepare easy, delicious dishes with this wonderful mixture.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also visit our website and you can request a print catalog. I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_00_03;06)

Pemmican is the ultimate survival food from the 18th and 19th centuries, originally made by indigenous peoples in North America. Buffalo was the obvious selection for large scale pemmican production. Many native peoples of America depended on pemmican for their survival. It kept well and it was an excellent food source, especially during hard winter months. Pemmican was also an important food source for many voyagers, frontiersmen, explorers, and fur traders. At the height of its production, from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century, the vast majority of it was made with bison, although at times deer, moose and elk were used depending upon availability.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_24;03)

The Metis were a unique group of people with their own cultural identity who originated from the descendants of French voyageurs and their Native American wives. They were responsible for most of the pemmican that was sold and traded throughout the northern regions of North America. The Metis developed an entire societal structure based upon the buffalo hunt. They conducted two hunts per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. A single Metis hunting party could have up to a thousand ox drawn carts in tow and could return from the hunt with up to a million pounds of pemmican and dried meat, and there were multiple Metis hunting parties.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_53;02)

While the men hunted buffalo, the women processed them. Period accounts say that a skilled Metis woman could dismantle up to 10 buffalo carcasses a day leaving very little behind for the wild animals to scavenge. A single bison cow, when processed properly, would produce about 250 pounds of raw meat or about 50 pounds of dried meat. This same cow would also produce about 50 pounds of rendered tallow.

Once the useable portions of the animal were harvested, they’d be processed over the next few days. The meat was cut into thin strips and laid out on wooden racks to dry near the fire and in the heat of the sun. The skins were stripped of their hair and sewn into rawhide bags that would be used to store the pemmican. Suet was melted and refined into tallow and the bones were cracked and the delicate marrow extracted. The dried meat was then pulverized and placed into rawhide bags. Sometimes dried berries were mixed in. Then the liquid suet was poured in over the top and mixed in well and the bag was sewn shut.

Pemmican, produced and stored in this fashion, would last a long time. Some reports suggest 10, 20, even 30 years. About half of the pemmican produced by the Metis was kept and used by them to get them through the hard winter. The remaining pemmican was sold to the Hudson Bay Company or its competitor The North-West Company. The pemmican sold to these companies would provision vast crews of voyageurs that used to transport their goods. It was also sold to other backwoodsmen and to outlying military posts. Competition between these two companies was so fierce that battles broke out between the employees of these companies and became known as the pemmican war. The British government eventually had to step in and settle the matter by forcing a merger between the two companies.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_48;08)

During the late 1700’s, great buffalo herds extended from just west of the Appalachian Mountains all the way to the Rockies, as far south as what is now Mexico to arctic Canada, but the demand for pemmican put a tremendous strain on the buffalo herd. Today, only about 500,000 bison still live in the wild across North America.

Pemmican can be easily made in a modern kitchen so you can use it at your next historical reenactment, survival outing, or even camping trip. It can also be stored long term for times of shortage.

  • Beef (or other meat)
  • Suet
  • Dried berries (optional)

Slice your meat very thin and against the grain. Place in your oven preheated to the lowest possible temperature. If you wish to use a dehydrator, I recommend baking your meat strips in your oven at 200 degrees for about a half hour first. Your meat should be completely dry and brittle in about 10-12 hours. For every pound of raw beef, you should end up with about a quarter pound of dried beef. It is best not to use beef jerky for this process, because it is typically very highly salted, highly spiced and also contains nitrates. These all add up to a very concentrated flavor which isn’t good in pemmican. The other problem is that jerky is cut with the grain instead of against the grain, so it’s very difficult to break up into powder.

Copy of Pemmican (Time 0_01_02;23)

Once the meat is dry and brittle, melt an equal amount by weight of suet in a saucepan. While your suet is melting, grind your meat into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or your food processor. Mix together your meat powder and melted suet. If you are using dried berries, now would be the time to add them, though it will cause your pemmican to not keep as well. A common version in the time period called seed pemmican had ground up choke berries.

You can eat your pemmican raw or you can use it to make other delicious dishes.


Transcription of Videos:

Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Food – Episode 1

This is pemmican. It’s food from the 18th and 19th centuries, originally made by indigenous peoples in North America and then used by voyagers, frontiersmen, and explorers alike. It is a highly condensed nutritious form of food. It’s in fact, the ultimate survival food. Over the next few episodes, we’re going to talk about exactly what pemmican is, how it was made historically, how you can make it in your modern kitchen and also how we can cook with it, whether it’s at home, at an historical event or in your next survival outing. I want to thank you for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas Townsend and Son.

 

Pemmican was traditionally made of just two or three ingredients; dried meat, animal fats, and dried berries. At the height of it’s production, from the late 18th century to the mid 19th century, the vast majority of it was made with bison, although at times deer, moose and elk were used depending upon availability.

A group of people called the Metis were most famous for their pemmican. The Metis were a unique people group with their own cultural identity. They originated from the descendants of French voyageurs and their Native American wives. They were responsible for most of the pemmican that was sold and traded throughout the northern regions of North America.

The Metis people developed an entire societal structure based upon the buffalo hunt. While the men hunted buffalo, the women processed them. Period accounts say that a skilled Metis woman could dismantle up to 10 buffalo carcasses a day leaving very little behind for the wild animals to scavenge.

Once the useable portions of the animal were harvested, they’d be processed over the next few days. The meat was cut into thin strips and laid out on wooden racks to dry near the fire and in the heat of the sun. The skins were stripped of their hair and sewn into rawhide bags that would be used to store the pemmican. Suet was melted and refined into tallow and the bones were cracked and the delicate marrow extracted.

A single bison cow when processed properly, would produce about 250 pounds of raw meat or about 50 pounds of dried meat. This same cow would produce, also, about 50 pounds of rendered tallow. The dried meat was pulverized and placed into rawhide bags. Sometimes dried berries were mixed in. Then the liquid suet was poured in over the top and mixed in well. Then the bag was sewn shut.

Pemmican produced and stored in this fashion would last a long time. Some reports suggest 10, 20, even 30 years. It was the ultimate survival food. In our next episode, we’ll show you how you can make this authentic pemmican at home.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also visit our website and you can request a print catalog. I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

 

 

 

Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Food – Episode 2

In our last episode, I showed you how pemmican, the ultimate survival food, was made in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, I’m going to show you how you can easily make it in a modern kitchen so that you can use it at your next historical reenactment, your survival outing or even your next camping trip. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with Jas Townsend and Son.

 

Large quantities of pemmican was made with bison. Today we’re using beef. If you have access to bison, or perhaps a venison, you may use that instead.

Bison was the obvious selection for large scale pemmican production. Now, today the wild bison herd is very small, but during the late 1700’s, great buffalo herds extended from just west of the Appalachian mountains all the way to the Rockies, and as far south as what is now Mexico, all the way north to arctic Canada.

Many native peoples of America depended on pemmican for their survival. It kept well and it was an excellent food source, especially during hard winter months. Pemmican was also an important food source for many voyagers and fur traders.

The demand for pemmican put a tremendous strain on the buffalo herd. There is one particular group of people call the Metis. They were descendants of early voyageurs and their Native wives. The Metis produced and supplied most of the pemmican. They conducted two hunts per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. A single Metis hunting party could have up to a thousand ox drawn carts in tow and could return from the hunt with up to a million pounds of pemmican and dried meat, and there were multiple Metis hunting parties. About half of the pemmican produced by the Metis was kept and used by them to get them through the hard winter. The remaining pemmican was sold to the Hudson Bay Company or it’s competitor The North-West Company.

The pemmican sold to these companies would provision vast crews of voyageurs that used to transport their goods. It was also sold to other backwoodsmen and to outlying military posts. Competition between these two companies was fierce. So fierce that battles broke out between the employees of these companies. These battles became known as the pemmican war. The British government eventually had to step in and settle the matter by forcing a merger between the two companies.

 

Now back to our meat. I’m slicing this meat very thinly.

I’m going to put this in my modern oven, preheated to the lowest temperature possible. You can use a dehydrator too if you wish. If you do, you ought to bake your meat strips first in your oven at 200 degrees for about a half an hour and then you can place them into the dehydrator to dry up.

The process will take between 10 and 12 hours. Your meat should be completely dry and brittle when it’s done. For every pound of raw beef, you should end up with about a quarter pound of dried meat.

 

Now some of you are probably thinking, Jon why don’t you just use beef jerky instead of dried beef in this recipe? Well, typically is very highly salted, it’s highly spiced and it also contains nitrates. These all add up to a very concentrated flavor which isn’t good in pemmican. The other problem is, it’s cut with the grain instead of against the grain, so it’s very difficult to break up into our powder.

Once our meat is dry and brittle, I’m going to melt in a saucepan an equal amount by weight of suet. Today, I’m using Atora’s suet in this recipe, which is available online on our website. Now you can render your own tallow from raw suet, but make sure to watch our previous episode on suet that’ll give you instructions on how to do that.

Now I’m going to take my dried meat and I could use a mortar and pestle, or even easier, I could use my food processor at home. Reguardless, I want to end up with a coarse powder. I’ve got about 8 ounces of dried beef here. I’m going to mix in about an ounce of dried berries, those are optional, along with 8 ounces of melted suet.

A common version in the time period had ground up choke berries. These you can find online. If you add dried berries to your pemmican, it will not keep as well. This version is called seed pemmican. Let’s see what this pemmican tastes like raw.

You know, there’s not a lot of flavor right up front. After you chew it for a while, you get a nice little beefy flavor. The texture might turn off some, but hey, if you’re tired and you’re hungry, this will keep you going.

And here it is, authentic pemmican. In our next episode, I’ll show you how to prepare easy, delicious dishes with this wonderful mixture.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also visit our website and you can request a print catalog. I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.

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.

Samp Cakes

Samp Cakes

Samp cakes have been a staple for Natives and Settlers for as long as corn has been around. This recipe has been found all over the Americas in different forms but it is foundationally the same recipe.

  • Cornmeal
  • Water
  • Dried Raspberries (optional)

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Mix your cornmeal with just enough water to make a thick paste. Add in dried raspberries or other dried fruit to taste.

You can cook these in two ways. The first is to wrap it securely in green leaves and place on the hot ashes of your fire for about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. When your cake is firm it is done. The second is to bring a pot of water to a heavy rolling boil.

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Roll your cakes into a ball about the size of a golf ball and drop them into the pot. When your cake first goes in it will drop to the bottom, when it is ready to eat, it will float to the top.

These cakes taste nice dipped in maple syrup or as a side dish to any meal.

Transcript of Video:

Today, again I’m here at Connor Prairie, a premier living history site here in Fishers Indiana and we’ve got another great recipe for you. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

[Jon] I’m here today at Connor Prairie. It’s a little rainy. Hopefully you can hear me well. I’m with Duncan McKinnon and he’s going to show us about samp cakes. So, tell me a little bit about exactly what these samp cakes are.

[Duncan] Well, it’s pretty simple, it’s nothing more than just cornmeal and water, but you mix it very heavy. It has to hold together because your going to do it in boiling water and the water has to be to a real boil.

[Jon] So how long has this kind of food, these cakes, how long have they been made?

[Duncan] Probably as long as the Native People have had corn.

[Jon] Okay.

[Duncan] It’s prevalent amongst all the tribes, East coast, here in the middle grounds, I’ve seen it in all my travels. I learned to do it from the Delaware. And the Delaware have their way of doing it and the other tribes have their way, but they’re all basically the same. It’s hard to say.

[Jon] So people have been doing it for a long time.

[Duncan] A long time.

[Jon] Well, let’s get started. What exactly do we need?

[Duncan] Alright, well we need cornmeal and we need the water, and I think what we might do first is do an ash cake while we’re waiting on our water to get a good rolling boil.

[Jon] Right.

[Duncan] So we’ll start with that.

[Jon] We’re adding dried red raspberries to this mixture to give these some flavor.

[Duncan] Alright, now what I’m going to do is I do them like this. It’s just the way that I do them, I roll them up. Some people would just take them and roll it up and roll the leaf around it, but I like to do mine like this. I mean, whatever you want to do is perfectly fine. Take and just strip me off

[Jon] Wait, that’s too thin.

[Duncan] Yeah, well, there you go.

[Jon] There we go.

[Duncan] Now, we can take that.

[Jon] Do you want another one?

[Duncan] This will be fine.

[Jon] Okay.

[Duncan] I think this will hold it. And we’ll do it like that and then we’ll just tie it in there and then I’m just going to set it on the ash.

[Jon] So, we’ve got the one already going in the ashes here, but there’s another way to cook this, right?

[Duncan] It is, and what you do is just like you would a dumpling and just do it up in a ball similar to a dumpling, make sure that your water has got a really rolling boil.

[Jon] Okay, so it’s got to be boiling water?

[Duncan] It has to be boiling water and when I say boiling I mean rolling boil.

[Jon] and we want something a little bit bigger than a golf ball?

[Duncan] yeah right about like that.

[Jon] Right

[Duncan] And drop that in that water, it’ll go to the bottom and the way to tell when it’s done is that it will float to the top.

[Jon] It’ll rise to the top when it’s done.

[Duncan] Rise to the top when it’s done.

[Jon] Okay so, you’ve got the one on the ashes, but we do want to flip this over right?

[Duncan] Right, you flip it over and give both sides, total time, about 5 minutes. When it’s firm, it’s done, just take it right off and then unwrap it and it’s ready to eat.

[Duncan] You’ll find it to be a little bit dry, but with the berries in there, it gives it more flavor and if you wanted to try a little bit of that maple syrup on it.

[Jon] Yeah. Ah, that makes all the difference. If you didn’t have anything else

[Duncan] You’d be glad you had it.

[Jon] Right. Very similar to ash cakes, you would do with other kinds of flour like wheat flour, but soldiers, I mean this would be all through this time period.

[Duncan] Oh certainly, I mean that was just a staple. I mean, they lived on corn and cornbread.

[Jon] Right, so we’ve got the boiled kind, let’s try this out. Alright

[Duncan] now, like I said, it’s boiled, very much like a dumpling.

[Jon] Okay

[Duncan] You’re going to find it has the consistency of a dumpling.

[Jon] Okay.

[Duncan] It’s not going to be as dry.

[Jon] Okay.

[Duncan] And it has a little sweeter taste.

[Jon] It certainly does. It brings out a whole different set of flavors because it was boiled.

[Duncan] Yup. I think it brings out more of the flavor of the berry into it.

[Jon] Yeah I get some saltiness that I didn’t get out of the dry cooked one and the texture is nice and soft. Would you eat these with other things?

[Duncan] Oh yeah certainly. That would just be a complement to whatever you had

[Jon] Right

[Duncan] A sauce so to speak.

[Jon] A sauce but maybe it’s a meat or other things

[Duncan] that you might have had

[Jon] Right, it’s a side dish maybe.

[Duncan] Oh yeah, It would go good with squirrel.

[Jon] Squirrel, oh I’ll bet. I want to thank Duncan McKinnon so much for showing us exactly how to make these samp cakes and letting me sample them. They’re so unique and interesting. I hope you get a chance to try them out and I hope you get a chance to come to Connor Prairie so you can see this for yourselves. An amazing site. You can check out their website. I’ll put a link down in the description section. It’s ConnorPrairie.org make sure to check that out. Thank you so much for coming along with us as we experiment, as we try these flavors and the aromas of the 18th and early 19th century.

I want to give a special thanks to all the folks as Conner Prairie and make sure to check out their website. 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.

Harvest Succotash

Harvest Succotash

This is a traditional Native American soup that would have been enjoyed by the early pioneers. The Native Americans often called this dish the three sisters, because it contained corn, beans, and squash.

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For most of the year fresh ingredients were not available, and so they would have used dried corn and dried beans. In this recipe, we are going to be using dried hominy and dried beans.

  • Hominy
  • Beans
  • Meat
  • Butter
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves
  • Stock
  • Rutabaga
  • Carrot
  • Parsnip
  • Squash

Hominy is mature corn, usually dried and soaked in a caustic solution of hardwood ashes and water to remove the outer hull. The corn that we have today is generally of the soft kind called dent corn that was developed in the 19th century. In the 18th century, corn was typically of the flint variety, which was very hard.

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For this recipe, we are using a heritage corn that has its origins in corn over 2000 years old called Iroquois white corn available at the Iroquois whit corn project. They have also treated this corn exactly how the Native Americans in the 18th century would have done, so all the work of turning the corn into hominy has been done for us.

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First thing you need to do is soak your hominy and dried beans separately overnight. Be sure not to use your bean soaking water in the cooking of this dish.

Succotash is a dish that allows for a lot of variety. Some of the old travel journals mention these types of soup having wild game meat in them, and actually traditionally you’ll hear about bear meat being used in this type of dish. Bear meat is exceedingly good and tastes a lot like a fine beef. Since bear meat isn’t very popular anymore, I recommend using a fine chuck roast.

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Cube your meat into 1 inch squares and brown it in a little bit of butter along with some onions. Season it with salt, pepper, and a bay leaf or two. Next, add some stock. You can use chicken stock, beef broth, or just water. To this we’ll add the corn and beans, the first two sisters. Place the lid on this and let it simmer about 3 hours.

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Next, it’s time to add our vegetables. Add in the rutabaga, carrot, parsnip, and of course the third sister, squash. Drop them in and cook for another half hour or so until these are nice and tender.

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Our wonderful three sisters soup, or I might even call this a stew, is so rich and thick and the smell is wonderful. It’s full of a lot of different flavors and textures. I really recommend you give this a try.

Transcript of Video:

A few weeks ago we made a centuries-old summertime succotash recipe using fresh sweet corn and baby lima beans. If you haven’t seen that episode, I encourage you to go and see that now. Today I’m going to be making yet another traditional Native American soup that would have likewise been enjoyed by the early pioneers. The Native Americans often called this dish the three sisters because it contained corn, beans and squash. Thank you for joining me today on 18th Century Cooking.

As I mentioned earlier, in a previous episode we made a summertime succotash using fresh corn and fresh beans, but for most of the year, these fresh ingredients were not available, and so they would have used dried corn and dried beans. Today in this episode, we are going to be using dried hominy and dried beans as well.

Now, we hope to have an episode in the not too distant future about making hominy and hominy is mature corn. Usually it’s dried and soaked in a caustic solution of hardwood ashes and water to remove the outer hull. The hominy that we’re using today is of a very special variety. In the 18th century, corn was typically of the flint variety and the corn that we have today is generally of the soft kind which is a dent corn. It was developed in the mid-19th century. The other varieties of flint corn that we’ll have today are generally popcorn and some kinds of Indian corn that hasn’t been hybridized.

The flint corn we’re using today is a very special kind of corn. It’s a heritage corn that has its origins in corn that’s over 2000 years old. It’s called Iroquois white corn and its available online at the Iroquois white corn project. In addition to this being a heritage variety of flint corn, it’s already been turned into hominy for us and dried, so they’ve done a lot of the work already for us. It’s treated just exactly the way the Native Americans in the 18th century and before that would have done it as well as the early settlers.

To make this ready for us to use, all we need to do is soak it overnight the same way we need to do with our dried beans. You’ll want to soak these in their water until right before you use them. Be sure not to use your bean soaking water in the cooking of this dish. So let’s get started.

Some of the old travel journals mention these types of soup having wild game meat in them, and actually traditionally you’ll hear about bear meat being used in this type of dish and bear meat’s exceedingly good and tastes a lot like, say, a fine beef. Now, I don’t have bear meat today to use in this recipe, so I’m going to be using a fine chuck roast that I’ve already cubed into 1 inch squares.

Let’s brown this meat in a little bit of butter along with some onions and then I’ll season it with salt and pepper and a bay leaf or two. Next, I’m going to add some stock. Now, I’ve got some chicken stock here. You could use just water instead or even beef broth.

To this we’ll add the corn and the beans, the first two sisters.

I’m going to put the lid on this and let it simmer about 3 hours.

Our soup has been simmering for 2 ½ – 3 hours and now it’s time to add our vegetables to it and I’ve got 4 vegetables here. I’ve got rutabaga, I’ve got carrot, I’ve got some parsnip, and of course the third sister, which is the squash. These I’ll drop in and this will cook for another half hour or so until these are nice and tender.

Well, here is our wonderful three sisters soup, or I might even call this a stew. It’s so rich and thick and the smell is wonderful. Let’s find out what it tastes like.

Mmm

Now this is full of a lot of different flavors. I mean obviously we’ve got the meat and the wonderful broth flavors, but the interesting textures are what really, I think, sets this apart, and the corn is something totally different than you’re probably expecting. This corn is much larger in its size than a standard piece of corn and it’s got a really good texture. It’s not hard but it keeps holding its texture whereas the beans have almost broken down. They’re very soft, but the corn really is still holding its own in there so we have some really interesting texture with it, but we also have all these different flavors, so you get a piece of parsnip and you’re going to get a totally different flavor. You get a piece of rutabaga you get another flavor. You get the meat, you get the corn, you get the beans, it is really a wonderful medley of flavors. Each bite is almost just a little bit different. This is such a wonderful recipe and I hope you get a chance to try it.

All the things you’ve seen here today, the cooking implements and the clothing I wear, all these things are available in our print catalog or on our website, and it’s really the patronage of all our viewers out there that make it possible for us to make these videos week after week. This is so wonderful. I want to thank you for coming along with us 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.

Summer Succotash

Summer Succotash

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Succotash is a dish that has been around for centuries and is still very popular today. There are so many different ways this dish has been made with so many different ingredients. Native Americans, colonists, and Europeans enjoyed this dish while adding any ingredients that were fresh or available in their area during the season. This is a traditional Summer Succotash recipe.

  • 4 oz. diced Jowl or Regular Bacon (Optional)
  • 2-3 qt. Water
  • 8-10 Ears of Corn
  • 1 ½ cups of Beans (Lima or Kidney beans do well)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Butter

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Brown your bacon, then add it to about 2-3 quarts of water and bring to a low boil. Trim the corn off your cobs so that you come up with about 4 cups worth of kernels. Be careful not to cut too closely to the cob as this will give a disagreeable taste to your dish.

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Once your water has come to a low boil, add in your corn cobs and beans and boil for about 20 minutes. If you use dried beans, make sure to soak them overnight beforehand.

After 20 minutes, remove the corn cobs and add in the corn kernels and season with some salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil for 15 more minutes. Top with a little bit of butter if desired before serving.

If you enjoy this, I encourage you to experiment with other beans, meats, squash, hominy, and other ingredients to make this recipe your own.

Transcription of Video:

Corn in the 17th and 18th century was extremely important for not only Native peoples but for European colonists also, and some of the dishes favored by the first nations peoples were also favorites of the colonists and we’re going to be making one of those dishes, succotash. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

Succotash is a very interesting dish. It remains popular, even to this day, in certain regions of the United States. The very first recipe that we found published for succotash is from the mid-1800’s but it’s a much older dish.

To learn about the earlier history of this food, you have to turn to old travel journals of European explorers and settlers. The word succotash is a phonetic mutation of a number of similar Native American words and the earliest that we found this dish by name, at least that we have found, is from Johnathan Carver’s book from 1778, “Travels throughout the Interior Parts of North America”. Here’s a little excerpt:

One dish which answers nearly the same as bread, is in use among a number of Eastern nations where Indian corn grows… it is reckoned extremely palatable by all the Europeans who enter their dominions. This is composed of their unripe corn as before described, and beans in the same state, boiled together with bears flesh, which renders it beyond comparison, delicious, and they call this food, succotash.

The earliest reference we found to succotash did not call it by name. It’s a reference from 1674 by Daniel Gookin and it is titled, “Historical Collections of the Indians in New England”.

Their food is generally boiled maize or Indian corn mixed with kidney beans or sometimes without. Also they frequently boil in this pottage fish and flesh of all sorts, either newly taken or dried, and also they mixed with the said pottage several sorts of roots as Jerusalem artichokes and ground nuts and other roots and pumpkins and squashes and also several sorts of nuts or masts as acorns, chestnuts, walnuts, these husked and dried and powdered, they thicken their pottage therewith.

By now the dictionaries have settled on a spelling for succotash and pretty much all the modern recipes you find for succotash are exactly the same, but as there were a number of ways to spell succotash in the 18th century, there were undoubtedly the same number of ways to fix it.

Today’s recipe is an adaptation. We’re taking the mid-19th century recipe and we’re adding to it some of the same things you’ll find in the earlier references.

I’m using diced jowl bacon for this, about 4 ounces. You can use regular bacon if you’d like. I’m going to brown this in our cast iron pot. As I read earlier, the Native Americans would have used, well basically any meat they had available. It’s likely that European settlers making this dish would use salt pork or bacon. If you’d like to make a vegetarian version of this dish, just leave out the meat. Once that’s browned, we’ll add 2 or 3 quarts of water and we’ll bring that up to a low boil.

While that’s warming up, I have to trim off the very last bit of corn here. I’ve got 8-10 ears. You want to be careful not to cut too closely to the cob. I’ll explain why in just a moment. I’ve got about 2 pounds or say 4 cups of trimmed corn kernels. In addition, we need a cup and a half of beans. Today I’m using baby lima beans.

Let’s add the beans and the corn cobs to this boiling water and I’m going to let this cook for about 20 minutes. If you trim your corn too close to the cob, then they’ll give a disagreeable taste to the dish. You can use canned or dried kidney beans in this instead of the lima beans. If you use the dried beans, make sure to soak them overnight beforehand.

Other vegetables may have been added to this really depending on what was available in the season. Now I’m making a summertime version of succotash here. You could do a fall version or a winter version with dried beans with dried hominy and sometimes adding something like squash or pumpkin. Hopefully in the near future we’ll have an episode on making hominy.

Jason Richards, one of our viewers, recently sent us a little cookbook on native American cooking called “Cherokee Cooklore”. We were fascinated to find a succotash recipe that had dried corn, dried beans and squash. Thank you so much for sending that little cookbook to us Jason.

Once the beans and the cobs have been boiled for, say, 20 minutes or so, remove the cobs and add the corn kernels. Season this with some salt and black pepper, then let it boil for another 15 minutes.

Well, let’s give this a try. This is something, if you want to top this off with a little bit of butter, you’ll probably enjoy that, so I’m going to add a little butter.

Mmm

Wonderful summertime flavors. You get that beautiful sweet corn flavor with the beans settled down very nicely in this. They don’t come out too much in this. You know, I’m not a big fan of lima beans, turns out really good in this dish. The juice is wonderful and of course you can’t go wrong with butter and pepper on there as a seasoning. I’m sure they may have not had those kind of choices but it’s still wonderful, wonderful flavors. A nice medley. And of course the bacon flavor comes out at the very end. Very nice. This dish is great with its roots in 17th century and even earlier Native American cooking.

All the things you’ve seen here today, you know all the cookware that we use, the bowls, the spoons, all these things are available on our website, or in our print catalog. I want to thank you for joining us today as we continue to experiment and try out these very interesting things, 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

Baking Simple Gingerbread

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.

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In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, molasses and water.

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Carefully add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until completely absorbed then turn out and knead until well mixed.

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Roll out dough to about 1/8th inch thick and cut into desired shapes.

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Place on a well-greased cookie sheet and bake in oven at about 400 degrees for just a few minutes until golden brown.

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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

1824 English Gingerbread

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.

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In half of milk, dissolve pearl ash. In other half of milk, dissolve alum.

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Combine all mixtures together and stir very well. You will end up with a very stick batter.

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Pour into dish that has been well buttered.

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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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