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Propagating Wild Yeast for Reenactments


Today, if you asked 50 people about how to start a wild yeast culture for making sourdough bread, it’s likely you’ll get 100 different answers, but in reality, all it takes is a little bit of flour, some water and…

Which Yeast (Time 0_00_55;12)

September 29, 2017


Akara Recipe


Akara is a simple, easy to make snack that was frequently made in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Dried Black-eyed Peas Onions Parsley flour Boiling water Lard First, pulverize the dried black-eyed peas into very small pieces. Add to…

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A Fanciful Yet Easy Asparagus Soup


This delicious Asparagus Soup recipe from Elizabeth Cleland’s A new and easy methods of cookery (1755). Many of this recipe's techniques, including roux, food coloring, bone broth, and court-bouillon (the ingredients boiled in the soup that are removed before eating)…

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

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

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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.

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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.

Rye And Indian Bread

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 flour.

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Adding wheat flour is a good way to make it stretch as well as adding a different texture, allowing the bread to bind together better and making it a bit sturdier.

  • Yeast Sponge (made from barm)
  • ½ teacup Molasses (to taste)
  • ¾ cup Water
  • 1 cup Indian Meal
  • 1 cup Rye Flour
  • 2 cups Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsps. Salt

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Add all of your ingredients together and stir until it becomes a ball. Resist the urge to add any more water to the mixture until you really get your hands into it. Knead your dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes nice and strong and doesn’t stick to your hands quite as much. Keep in mind that due to the molasses, it will continue to be at least a little bit sticky.

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The yeast sponge used in this recipe is much like the sponge made in an earlier post, Making Leaven. To start this leaven, we used barm and instead of storing the yeast cake in salt, we are using cornmeal to dry it out and store it.

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For this bread, you can reconstitute this yeast cake by simply crumbling it up and adding some water to it. It should be ready to use within a few hours.

Once your ball of dough is stiff but slightly sticky to the touch, line a bowl with a towel, then sprinkle a generous amount of flour onto the towel. Place your dough onto the towel good side down and allow to rest until it’s about 50% larger.

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This mixture will not be as dense as cornbread but it will still be a pretty dense bread.

Make sure that your oven is preheated. When you are using an Earthen Oven to bake your bread, you will need about 2 hours to get your oven up to temperature.

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When you can toss some cornmeal in and it doesn’t burn immediately, but only toasts, it’s at the correct temperature. If your oven is too hot, allow it to cool a little.

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When it’s done, this bread has a wonderful texture to it. It would go great with a little bit of butter or molasses added on top.

Transcription of Video:

We’re here today at Connor Prairie in Fishers Indiana. It’s a premier living historic site and we’ve got a wonderful recipe for you. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

[Jon] I’m here today with Ms. Barker and we’re going to talk about Rye and Indian bread. So, explain to me a little bit about what we’re cooking here today.

[Ms. Barker] We call it rye and Indian bread because it’s made of part rye flour and Indian meal or sometimes we call it cornmeal and you can use just those two grains to make the flour or you can use wheat flour. We’ve actually put some wheat flour into it because it’s a good way to stretch your wheat if you don’t have a whole lot. See, here in Indiana, we have a lot of corn and we grow rye very easily too and wheat is more of a second crop, so we have much more abundance of corn, so this is a bread that’s good for stretching since we eat bread three times a day, but it’s very similar to a cornbread but more of a mix between a cornbread and an Indian pudding.

[Jon] Tell me the difficulties that we’re going to have with corn and making bread. Why can’t we just make bread with corn?

[Ms. Barker] Well, you could, but it would be quite dense and a little bit crumbly, so a lot of folks, especially with making rye and Indian bread, they’ll say to scald the meal, which adds boiling water, but I find that that makes a very pasty bread. Very dense. If you like that, then that’s what you should do, but we’re just going to put plain water into in and then we’re also going to put in the wheat flour in there to give it a little bit more chew, it’ll bind together a little bit more. It’ll be a little bit sturdier.

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

[Ms. Barker] Well, first you need to start off with some sponge. Now this is just a regular old sponge. It’s got lively yeast into it. We’ve broken down one of our yeast cakes which we’ve made recently. But it’s basically just about a cup of lively yeast, and then we’re going to add to that about a half a teacup of molasses. You can add more or less to your taste. It makes it quite dark if you add a lot of it, but if you like it sweeter, then you just do what you please. Now I’m going to add maybe ¾ cup of water and then what we have in our bowl is 1 cup of Indian meal, 1 cup of rye flour, 2 cups of wheat flour and 2 teaspoons of salt. If you want to put that in here, I’ll stir while you pour.

[Jon] Okay.

[Ms. Barker] And once it comes to a ball, you’re going to have to start kneading it and kneading it is important. Really resist the urge to add water until you really get your hands into it. So, I think it’s really important to get at least one hand into it, because the spoons not going to do you any good from this point and I come from a potter’s family, so I like to knead in a bowl.

[Jon] Mmhm.

[Ms. Barker] So you’re going to want to knead this for about 10 minutes or so until it becomes nice and strong and it’s not sticking to your hands too much. Now don’t ever look for it to never stick to your hands. Because of that molasses, it’s going to stick.

[Jon] Oh, yeah. So, tell me a little bit about the leaven that you’ve used in this. You just had a sponge, but what was this sponge made out of?

[Ms. Barker] Well, you can get it from lively emptyings, which is whenever you go to your brewer, you ask for some beer barm and that barm is what you can use to start your bread and you can start a lively yeast that you can keep at your house as long as you keep feeding it. So basically, that was a little teacup full of barm and feed it some flour and some water, equal parts and then you stir it up and that’s that. I would let it set for a bit and then that will make your bread, and if you wanted to preserve that, you could make your yeast cake, and so to that mixture that I just told you, you should add some cornmeal until it becomes a very stiff batterlike biscuit, cut them into biscuit shapes and then you just lay them out to dry.

[Jon] Right and then that’s what you’ve used here to make this.

[Ms. Barker] Yes indeed, so to reconstitute this, you just crumble this up and add some warm water to it. Two of these will make a nice loaf of bread.

[Jon] And it’ll get all active and alive again after a few hours or half a day.

[Ms. Barker] Yes, and in the summertime, you know, it’s a lot faster to make bread than in the winter.

[Jon] How’s our ball doing?

[Ms. Barker] It’s good and strong now. It’s very, very stiff, it’s still sticky to the touch, so when it gets to that point, when you’ve kneaded it about 8 or 10 minutes or so, you want to put it into a ball shape and, you see, it’s very dense.

[Jon] Yeah, that’s tough.

[Ms. Barker] But that is going to keep you going throughout the day. So, I’m going to put, we’ve got a bowl here, I’m going to line it with a towel and then sprinkle a generous amount of flour, whatever flour you please really, and then you want to put the good side down.

[Jon] So that will be the top of the loaf when we’re done?

[Ms. Barker] Yes, and then we’re just going to let it rest until it, it’s never going to get double in size, when it does get that size it’s going to be too deflated, so just let it get 50% larger. Well, we’ve got one that we made earlier, and as you see, it’s not very tall, but it’s going to be just enough chew and rise. It’s not going to be as dense as cornbread.

[Jon] So these were the same size?

[Ms. Barker] Yes, indeed.

[Jon] Okay, so it has grown a little bit, it has flattened out and we’ve got, you can see that it’s grown some.

[Ms. Barker] Mmhm, yeah and it’s light to the touch, it’s not near as dense as this. It’s got some air into it.

[Jon] That looks great.

[Ms. Barker] Earlier I prepared the oven with some hot coals from the hearth. We cheated a little bit. Every cook knows, don’t ever let your fire go out, so add some little sticks and then some larger sticks and we put them in there and with a little bit of some wood shavings, we got the fire going. It was a small fire. We let that burn down a little bit and then we pushed it to the middle and then made another small fire and let that burn down and then we put the hot coals and distributed them around the bottom to let the bricks really soak up that heat, and then I push them to the back and put my door on to really keep the heat in. Now we’re just going to wait until the coals die down completely and I’ll rake them out.

[Jon] So exactly how long does it take to get this oven up to temperature?

[Ms. Barker] It depends on how long you want to use it. Since we’re only baking a couple loaves of bread, it’s only about 2 hours. If you wanted to use it all day long, I would suggest maybe at least 3 hours.

[Jon] So tell me about the oven in the setting that we have here with your house.

[Ms. Barker] Well, this is the Zimmerman’s bake oven and they asked Doctor Campbell if they could put it on their property and this is the Inn so if you’re needing a place to stay they’ve got a really nice facility, but it’s managed by Doctor Campbell and this is a wonderful tool now that Mrs. Zimmerman has to use and we actually, my family being potters, we provided the clay. It’s mostly made out of clay, sand, and straw in different ratios and so it’s about 11 inches thick and 30 inches in diameter

[Jon] From the inside?

[Ms. Barker] Yes, so it could fit 6 loaves of bread very comfortably and it can keep heat for 6+ hours. So, once the oven has been swabbed out, we’re going to cast on some corn meal to see how hot the oven is. If the oven is too hot, the cornmeal will burn immediately and if that’s the case, just let it cool down some, but if it just toasts, then it’s ready to use.

[Jon] So the loaf is done, the bread smells amazing. I can’t wait to try this. I’ll let you cut into it.

[Ms. Barker] Yes indeed.

[Jon] Mmm, that’s wonderful. It’s got a great texture to it. What comes out for the most for you flavor wise?

[Ms. Barker] Definitely the cornmeal, and I would say I would put molasses on it instead of butter. More in it or more on it or both. That’s how I take my bread.

[Jon] Well, I really want to thank Ms. Barker for showing us this wonderful rye and Indian bread. Great recipe and not very difficult to do.

[Ms. Barker] Not indeed.

[Jon] And I really want to encourage everyone who is in this area to come and check out Connor Prairie. It is an amazing site. It really is something that if you are anywhere close, you really should try to come and visit it, there’s so many things here. I really want thank you for coming along with us as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th and early 19th century.

I want to give a special thanks to all the folks at Connor 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.

Simple Boiled Plum Pudding

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 deeper richer history. The word pudding is based on the old English words for gut or for stomach. The original puddings were actually meat or organ meats mixed with grains and cooked in stomachs or in intestines, much like modern day sausage or, if you’ve ever heard of a Scottish haggis. Haggises are like a true old pudding.

So these original puddings had their ingredients stuffed in a stomach and tied off then put in boiling water for several hours. It wasn’t until the early 17th century when they started making these puddings in cloth sacks instead of in stomachs, and we started seeing the ingredients change a lot, too. Some of the meats were taken out and more grains and other things put in, so we start to see an evolution in puddings, and they started to become very popular in the 17th and 18th century.

So today we’re going to be working on a simple boiled plum pudding.

Plum Pudding

  • 1 cup Flour
  • ½ cup Milk
  • 1 whole Egg + 1 Egg Yolk
  • 4 oz. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Mace
  • Ground Ginger
  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar

Plum Pudding Sauce

  • 1 cup Sac Wine or Sherry
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Butter

Plum Pudding

You’re going to need a pot, at least a gallon or so, to boil the pudding in. You also need a pudding cloth, a piece of tightly woven fabric, something not soapy but nice and clean. Go ahead and toss your cloth in the pot of boiling water while we start mixing the batter. It’s going to stay there until the batter is all mixed up and ready to put inside of it.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_04_13;07)

First let’s start with our wet ingredients. We need 2 eggs separated. We want actually 1 whole egg and then just the yolk from the other one. With our egg and a half, we need to add about 4 ounces of milk, that’s half a cup. Whisk them up, get them mixed well, and set aside.

For the dry ingredients, in your mixing bowl add about 4 ounces of flour, about a cup. We used just plain rough ground wheat flour. We’re going to add some salt, not any great quantity, a teaspoonful or so. We’re also going to add our mace, again about a teaspoon full. The recipes aren’t real specific so it’s really how much you want, how much you like. Add some of the ground ginger, nutmeg, and finally we have about a tablespoon of sugar.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_06_03;16)

Now it’s time to get the butter into these dry ingredients. That’s going to be a little bit tricky. We’re going to use about 4 ounces of butter. You need to chop your butter up, put it in and then use the spoon to mush it around and then crumble it up to get it in there. Once you have that mixed pretty well, it’s time to add in the milk and eggs, then the raisins and currants.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_06_20;25)

So, we want to get a consistency that’s sort of a stiff battery kind of a drop biscuit consistency, not too stiff and not so runny that it runs around. If it’s too runny, add a little bit of flour. If it’s a little too stiff, add a little bit more milk until you get the right consistency.

Now let’s take our cloth out of the hot water. You want to be careful if it’s too hot. Lay it out on a bowl and flour the inside. Make sure that the whole inside of this is nice and floured. Now place the batter in the center, wrap it up and tie it off with another strip of fabric.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_07_20;17)

When you’re ready to put the pudding in, you want to make sure that the water is fully boiling. Then just gently drop it in. This is a smaller size pudding. It’s about a quarter of a normal recipe, so this one should take about 2 hours and maybe as much as 3 hours to cook. I wouldn’t cook it any more than that. You don’t really have a good way to know exactly when it’s done, because there isn’t a good way to check it, so you just have to know that this size takes about 2 hours. Usually, if it’s a full recipe, like most of the ones that use a pound of flour and a pound of suet, they are much bigger, almost a soccer ball size, and take quite a while to cook, 4 hours at least and probably more like 5 or 6.

Plum Pudding Sauce

When your pudding is almost done you need to get started on your sauce. You will need to add about a cup of our sac wine in a small pan or pipkin and then start to put in about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Just get these mixed in and warmed up.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_09_31;25)

Once it is warm, remove from heat and add about 3 tablespoons of butter in a little bit at a time. It’s best if your butter is cold so it won’t separate. You want to keep whisking and slowly incorporate the butter one piece at a time. As it gets incorporated, then you add the next little piece and just keep whisking the whole time.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_09_49;22)

Once the sauce is ready, set it away from the fire so it doesn’t heat up and separate and get the pudding out.

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Place the pudding in cold water just to cool it off, then open it up turn it out onto a plate, slice it and gently add the sauce. Enjoy.

Plum Pudding (Time 0_11_27;26)

There are a lot of different variations of this that you can make, plain ones to go along with different meats, you can add vegetables, and you can change the grains. There are so many interesting things you can do with boiled puddings. I really encourage you to try one of these boiled puddings out. They were very popular for an 18th century dish.

Transcript of Video:

Puddings. Many people hear the word pudding today and what do they think about? 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 deeper richer history. Today we’re going to look at boiled puddings from the 17th and 18th century.

So the word pudding is based on the old English words for gut or for stomach. In the original puddings were actually meat or organ meats mixed with grains and cooked in stomachs or in intestines, so much more like say, modern day sausage or, if you’ve ever heard of a Scottish haggis. Haggises are like a true old pudding.

So these original puddings had their ingredients stuffed in a stomach and then that tied off and they were put in boiling water and they were boiled for many hours. It wasn’t until the 17th century, the early 17th century, when there was a change, there was an evolution in this pudding. They started making these puddings in cloth sacks instead of in stomachs, and we started seeing the ingredients change a lot too. Some of the meats were taken out and more grains and some other things put in there, so we’re starting to see an evolution in puddings, and puddings started to become very popular in the 17th and 18th century.

Most of those puddings in the 18th century cookbooks call for 4 main ingredients. They called for flour. They called for milk. They called for eggs, and they called for some kind of fat. Usually suet is the one that’s most often referred to in the cookbooks. Suet can be very hard to come by in the United States. It’s not commonly used in cooking, so today we’re going to substitute butter for the suet.

So today we’re going to be working on a simple boiled plum pudding. Let’s get started.

So in addition to our four main ingredients, we’ve got some other smaller ingredients that we’re going to talk about now. We’ve got salt which is in most recipes. We also have a nutmeg we’re going to grate into that, which nutmeg is in all the different pudding recipes. We’ve got some mace which is in most of them which is related to nutmeg. We’ve got ground ginger. Ground ginger was inexpensive in the time period and a very commonly used spice. It’s a plum pudding and the plums aren’t plums, but they’re raisins in this. These have regular raisins. We also have some currants and currants in English cookbooks from the time period are actually just miniature seedless raisins from the Corinth region, and we also have some sugar that we’re going to add into this recipe.

So before we get going and start mixing things, we need to have some things happening in the background. I’ve got some water boiling here. We’re going to need a pot, at least a gallon or so, so that we can boil our pudding. We also need a pudding cloth, a piece of tightly woven fabric, something not soapy but nice and clean. I’m going to toss this in the pot and then we can start mixing. I’m just going to toss this cloth in. We’re going to leave it in here until I’ve got the batter all mixed up and ready to put inside of it.

Well, let’s start getting our ingredients mixed up. Let’s start with out wet ingredients. We need 2 eggs and we don’t want all of both of them, we want actually 1 whole egg and then just the yolk from the other one. This egg let’s separate out. We just want the yolk so I’m going to split this open and separate it. There we are.

So with our egg and a half here we’re going to add about 4 ounces of milk, and that should be about right. That’s half a cup. Let’s whisk this up and get these mixed well.

Okay, once we’ve got that mixed well, we’re going to set these wet ingredients aside.

So for our dry ingredients, we need our mixing bowl, we’re going to add about 4 ounces of flour, should be about a cup, and this is just plain rough ground wheat flour. We’re going to add some salt, not any great quantity, a teaspoonful or so. We’re also going to add our mace, again about a teaspoon full. The recipes aren’t real specific so it’s really a flavor, how much you want, how much you like, and some of the ground ginger. Now let’s grind up some of our fresh nutmeg.

Okay, looks about right, and finally we have about a tablespoon of sugar.

Now it’s time to get the butter into these dry ingredients. That’s going to be a little bit tricky. I’ve already chopped this butter up and I’m just going to put it in here and then use the spoon, mush it around and then crumble it up to get it in there.

In the period recipes, when they’re using suet, they actually were specific about not getting the suet too well mixed so that the suet would end up being in little pockets in the finished pudding and not spread completely throughout it. This, we want to get the butter pretty mixed up in here.

We’re going to use about 4 ounces of butter. Okay that looks pretty good. Now it’s time to mix in our milk and our eggs. Now it’s time to add our final ingredient here. We’re going to add our raisins and currants. Okay, there we are, and we’re going to mix those in well. So, we want to get a consistency that’s sort of a stiff battery kind of a drop biscuit consistency, not too stiff and not so runny that it runs around. If it’s too runny, add a little bit of flour. If it’s a little too stiff, add a little bit more milk. You’ll get to about this consistency. Let’s get the bag ready to put this in.

Now let’s take our cloth, we just brought it out of the hot water, you want to be kind of careful if it’s too hot, we’re going to lay it out on the bowl here and we’re going to flour the inside of our bag or our piece of cloth, so I’m going to take some flour and going to make sure that the whole inside of this is nice and floured. There we are, now we can get our batter here and put it in.

Now let’s wrap it up and we just need to tie this off. I’ve just got a little strip of fabric I’m going to use to tie it.

So, when we’re ready to put the pudding in, you want to make sure that the water is fully boiling. We’re going to drop this pudding in. This is a smaller size pudding. It’s about a quarter of a normal recipe, so this one should take about 2 hours and maybe as much as 3 hours to cook. I wouldn’t cook it any more than that. 2 hours is about right. You don’t really have a good way to know exactly when it’s done. I mean it’s not a good way to check it, so you just have to know that this size takes about 2 hours. That’s about it. Usually if it’s a full recipe size like most of the ones use a pound of flour and a pound of suet, those are much bigger, almost a soccer ball size, those take quite a while to cook, 4 hours at least and probably more like 5 or 6.

When our pudding is about done, it’s time to work on the sauce portion and we’ve got a nice red ware pipkin that we’re going to prepare our sauce in. Our sauce has 3 components. We’ve got some sac wine which is a white wine from Spain commonly known today as sherry. We need some sugar and then we’re going to add some butter, but first let’s put together the sac and the sugar and warm them up.

So, let’s warm up our pipkin. We’re going to add about a cup of our sac wine. There we go, and we’re going to start to put in our sugar. This is about 2 tablespoons of sugar we’re going to add in, and let’s get these mixed up and warmed up. So, let’s take our sac and our sugar off the fire now and now that it’s warm, we’re going to take and we’re going to add our butter in a little bit at a time. We’re going to stir it in, whisk it in, it’s best if your butter’s cold and that way it won’t separate. We’re going to add about 3 tablespoons of butter just a little bit at a time and keep whisking it up.

So you want to keep whisking and slowly incorporate the butter one piece at a time. As it gets incorporated, then you add the next little piece and just keep whisking the whole time.

That’s going to taste really good on this pudding. Our sauce we’re going to set that away from the fire so it doesn’t heat up and separate. Let’s get this pudding out.

Okay there it is.

Okay we’re going to put this in cold water here just to cool it off and now we can open it up.

Okay, let’s crack this open and I’ll turn it out onto a plate. Let’s see, ah, here, scissors.

And now a little sauce.

Mmm, this pudding’s really great. The sauce really lifts it up and the raisins are really, really good in this bready kind of a pudding mix. Very nice. You know, I’ve prepared some variations on this same basic recipe.

Here’s a cornmeal pudding. This one’s got butter but it’s a plain cornmeal pudding, like a cornmeal dumpling. Here’s a pudding that I did, it’s a plain bread pudding, but it’s got carrots in it though, and then here’s a final one over here. Here’s a suet and oatmeal. So there’s a lot of different interesting variations you can do, plain ones to go along with different meats, you can add vegetables, you can change the grains, so there’s so many interesting things you can do with boiled puddings. I really encourage you to try one of these boiled puddings out. Very popular for an 18th century dish.

So all the things you’ve seen here today, the utensils, the cooking equipment, even the clothing, all these things are available on our website or you can get our print catalog and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and hey, I’m going to go eat the rest of this pudding.

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.

Paw Paw Pudding

Paw Paw Pudding

Paw paws are a small yellow fruit native to the Eastern United States, but has a very short harvest season of only a week. Because of this short harvest season, it is hard to find recipes for this delicious fruit so we have adapted a pumpkin pie recipe from Amelia Simons’ “American Cookery” cookbook.

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  • Pie Crust
  • 1 cup Paw Paw Flesh
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 2-3 tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 tsp. Allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground Ginger

Make sure to remove all seeds from the paw paw flesh and mash it up. Whisk in milk and egg getting the mixture as smooth as possible. Mix in your molasses and spices. This mixture will be a little thin but will thicken up as it cooks.

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Pour the mixture into your pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely, probably even overnight before slicing.

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Transcript of Video:

[Ivy] Hey dad, look what I found!

[Jon] Ah, let’s take a look! Wow, I’ll bet this is the leaf from the tree they came from?

[Ivy] What are they?

[Jon] These are paw paws. I’ve got an idea for these. Let’s take them to the kitchen.

[Jon] So paw paws are a strange exotic kind of fruit.

[Ivy] They look like a cross between a potato and an avocado.

[Jon] I mean, obviously, these really green ones, these aren’t done, but when they start to turn yellow, maybe with little brown spots like this, like a banana starts to get overripe, that’s when you know they’re getting ripe.

[Ivy] What do they look like on the inside?

[Jon] Well, on the inside, well, let’s cut this one open and we’ll find out. There we are, so look at that.

[Ivy] Wow, it’s yellow.

[Jon] Yeah, they’re very yellow on the inside and look at those seeds. Here you can pick one out.

[Ivy] They look kind of like beans.

[Jon] Definitely has an interesting fruity smell to it, like maybe some mango, that’s kind of what it looks like here, or apple flavor.

[Ivy] Mmm, that’s good.

[Jon] Is it like a sweet fruity flavor? Let’s see. Mmm, look at the texture though. It’s very soft and almost like a custard on the inside. A very soft and gentle flavor, but nice and sweet. You know they’re not very rare. They actually grow in most of the Eastern United States and all the way up into Eastern lower Canada, but the harvest season on these is very short. They’re really only ripe and ready to go for a couple of weeks, maybe only one week in the year and the forest animals can smell them and they’ll come and get them.

[Ivy] I can see why, they’re delicious.

[Jon] They do smell really good and you can tell how they could probably smell them from miles away. They also don’t travel well, so we’ll probably never find them in something like a grocery store. You might find them in a local farmer’s market or if you don’t find them there, you going to have to find them yourself in the woods.

[Ivy] Did people eat them in the 18th century?

[Jon] Actually they were eaten by the Native Americans and the settlers alike in the 18th century and you do find references to them, but you don’t really find them in any cookbooks, probably because they weren’t available all the time, so you never find a recipe until much later on in the 19th century. There’s also references to Louis and Clark feeding on these almost entirely at the very end of their journey’s in 1806. Louis and Clark were coming back and all their supplies were gone and so they had nothing but paw paws to survive on for a short period of time. So, let’s pretend we’re settlers and you’ve brought a whole bunch of paw paws to me, in fact you have brought a whole bunch of paw paws to me today and we can’t eat them all right away so what are we going to do with them?

[Ivy] I would find a recipe that I really liked that would preserve them.

[Jon] Right, but we don’t have any recipes that they had in the 18th century, so maybe we would…

[Ivy] I would adapt the recipe for something similar.

[Jon] And that’s exactly what they would have done in the 18th century. I’ve got a good idea for something that would probably cook up nicely. Hand me that little cookbook over there. So, this is Amelia Simons’ “American Cookery” cookbook. She did this one in 1796. It’s got a perfect recipe that I think will work with this. It’s called a pumpkin pudding. It’s really much what we would call a pumpkin pie, so we’ll adapt that recipe for these paw paws. Let’s get started.

[Jon] So, to get started, I’ve got a pie plate here with our pie crust in it and I’m going to set this aside and we’ll work on the filling. And the filling I’ve got here is about 1 cup of the paw paw flesh. We’ve got it taken out. I’m not sure if I got all the seeds, so I want you to mash that up and make sure we got all the seeds out.

[Jon] Good, that looks like we don’t have any seeds in there so go ahead and lift that out. I’m going to add in about 1 cup of milk. We’ll add that to it, and I’ve got 1 egg we’ll add to this. Pretty simple recipe. There’s our egg. And now we can whisk it. Now the trick with this is to get it ask smooth as we can. We don’t want it to be too lumpy. And this fruit can be a little stringy, you know, it changes its consistency, so we’re really going to have to get it mixed up well.

[Jon] Good, you’ve got that nice and smooth. We’ll add 2-3 tablespoons of this molasses and now we can add some spices. I’ve got a teaspoon of allspice and a teaspoon of ground ginger. We’ll add those in and keep mixing. Okay, it looks like you’ve got the consistency pretty well. There’s still a little lumpy but I don’t think it’s going to make any difference in this particular recipe.

[Ivy] It looks really runny.

[Jon] Well, you know, it is very, very thin, but I’ve made this recipe before and I thought at first, the first time I made it, that it was not going to work, but I baked it anyway, and it turned out perfect, so I’m going to trust that this will work out just fine, so let’s pour this into our pie plate, here we go.

[Jon] Okay, our pie plate is filled nicely. This looks good. It’s ready to go in the oven, so we’ll bake this at 350 degrees for maybe an hour and 20 minutes. I’ll put this in the oven.

[Jon] Before we slice this pie, we need to make sure that it’s cooled completely, probably even overnight.

[Ivy] I’m surprised how dark it is.

[Jon] You know, it is nice and dark. It looks very rich. Part of the color is going to be from the molasses and part of it’s just what’s happening with the paw paw. Let’s find out how it tastes.

[Jon] Well, boy, I’m really trying to find the flavor for this. It’s a wonderful flavor. It’s got a little bit of pumpkin pie in it but it’s much fruitier. It has an amazing little flavor to it. Boy, this is really good.

[Ivy] I can taste the allspice in it.

[Jon] Yeah, it’s wonderfully flavored. Thanks for bringing those paw paws in. They turned out to be tremendous in this dish and I want to thank you for coming along as we experiment. You never know what these things are going to turn out like, so as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century. And a special thanks to Jim Hoffman for his assistance in this episode.

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.

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Pound Cake

Pound Cake

This wonderful traditional pound cake comes from Amelia Simons’ 1796 cookbook, “American Cookery”. It’s a simple recipe that I think you’re going to find a little surprising. In fact, her recipe is too simple, it only has a few lines to put together this seemingly complex cake, so we had to play detective to figure out how to make this one.

  • 1 lb. Butter
  • 1 lb. Sugar
  • 1 lb. Flour
  • 1 lb. Eggs (9 large or 10 medium)
  • 1 jill Rose Water (optional)
  • ½ Nutmeg grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

With so little information in the original recipe, you might be tempted to throw all the ingredients together, mix them up, and toss them in the oven for the 15 minutes that it says, but then you would end up with a raw mess. By studying other 18th century cake recipes, we are given a bit more information on how to bring this cake together.

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We need to start with creaming our butter with our sugar. You want your butter soft but not melted. In the 18th century they would have mixed this by squeezing it together with their hands, but you can speed this process up by using a modern mixer on high for about 5 minutes.

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Next you can add in your spices. When it comes to spices, Amelia gives us basically no suggestions leaving this completely up to the cook. Many recipes like this in the 18th century would use caraway seeds, but for this recipe we’re going to be using some nutmeg and a little bit of cinnamon, both also very popular 18th century spices for this kind of a cake. Feel free to experiment with your own spices.

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This is also when you would add in your rose water if you are using it. Rose water was very popular in the 17th and early 18th centuries in cooking and we kind of think of it as a spice, but really it’s more of an aromatic, a perfume, that we use in these recipes. Another aromatic that was very popular is orange blossom water. You can find either one of these either online or in Mediterranean markets. They started falling out of favor in English cooking by the end of the 18th century. When we tried this recipe out on different people, some thought the flavor was intriguing while others disliked it. If you’re looking for a traditional taste, I suggest you experiment with this, but if you can’t find them, it’s okay to leave it out.

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The only clue as to the leavener in this cake that we are given are the eggs in the ingredients. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was popular to use eggs as a leavening agent by beating the eggs full of air and as the eggs cook the bubbles expand. If you are going to do this by hand, you’ll need to whisk your eggs for about an hour, however, if you would like to speed this up, you can use a modern appliance on high for not more than 15 minutes. Make sure that your whisk is free from all butter or the eggs will not whip up properly.

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Once your eggs are whipped up, carefully fold them into your butter mixture, then sift in the flour little by little. Try not to over work this as we’re trying to keep as much of the air in the eggs as possible.

When we look at the baking time in this recipe, it tells us to bake for 15 minutes, so we know that this is not meant to be cooked all at once. In the 1700’s the term cake was applied to anything from the size of a great cake which could be 40 pounds or more, such as the 12th night cake recipe we did earlier, or something much smaller. Something that today we would call a cookie.

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So there are several ways you could cook this. There is nothing wrong with cooking it as a cake. You can bake it in a bunt pan that is well buttered or a cake ring at about 325 degrees for about 1.5-2 hours. If you wish to cook it as Amelia Simons’ meant it, you will need a cookie sheet with paper or well buttered tart tins. If you are using paper, it won’t need to be treated at all. Once the cookies are completely cool, the paper will easily peel away.

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Bake at about 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Either way, make sure to preheat your oven.

These have a really nice soft cakey texture to it and an interesting flavor.

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If you would like to store these for long term, you can double bake them to dry them up and they will last for quite a while.

Transcription of Video:

Today we’re going to be making a wonderful traditional pound cake. This recipe comes from Amelia Simons’ 1796 cookbook, “American Cookery”. It’s a simple recipe that I think you’re going to find a little surprising. Thank you for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.

The term Pound Cake today generally refers to a cake that’s baked in a round form pan, like a bunt pan and they’re generally much more dense than, say, a typical cake. In the 18th century, however, the term pound cake really comes from the amount of ingredients that are in this recipe, so generally a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, and a pound of eggs and in Amelia Simons’ recipe, that’s exactly what we’ve got. Amelia also suggests a couple of other things. A jill of rose water and spices to taste.

So Amelia Simons’ recipe is too simple. It’s only got just a few lines, really, to put together this seemingly complex cake. I mean, we might be tempted to just throw the ingredients together, mix them up and toss it in the oven, but if you study other 18th century cake recipes from maybe a slightly earlier time period and books that have a little more information, we find out that we can’t do that with this recipe. We actually have to use these other techniques from other cookbooks to make this properly.

We need to start with creaming our butter with our sugar. Now this butter has been softened but not melted. Now in the 18th century they would have mixed this by squeezing it together with their hands. You can speed this process up by using a modern mixer on high for about 5 minutes.

When it comes to spices, Amelia gives us basically no suggestions. She leaves this completely up to the cook. Now many recipes in the 18th century would use something like caraway seeds. That’s very popular for something like this, but today we’re going to be using some nutmeg and a little bit of cinnamon, both also very popular 18th century spices for this kind of a cake.

Now that this is light and fluffy, we can add in our spices. I’ve got about a half a nutmeg here that’s grated up and maybe a teaspoon or a little bit less of nice ground cinnamon and if you’re going to be trying the rose water, now would be the time to add that in and then we’re going to mix this up for another minute or two.

So let’s talk a little bit first about rose water, and rose water is used in this or she mentions rose water in this recipe. Rose water was very popular in the 17th century, early 18th century in cooking and we kind of think of it as a spice but really it’s more of an aromatic, a perfume that we use in these recipes. Another aromatic that’s very popular is the orange blossom water and you can find either one of these still available either online or in Mediterranean markets. By the end of the 18th century, by the end of the 1700’s, these things were really falling out of favor in English cooking.

We tried this recipe out a number of times with the rose water and we tried this on different people and some people really thought the flavor was intriguing and others disliked it because it reminded them of the flavor of soap. If you’re looking for that kind of traditional taste, I suggest you go ahead and try to find some rose water or orange flower blossom water to experiment in this. If you can’t find those, it’s okay to leave them out.

Most modern cakes today use a chemical leavening to make them light and fluffy. Either baking soda or baking powder. In the 17th and 18th century, cakes most often used either a yeast leavener or an egg leavening. In other videos, we pointed out that Amelia Simmons uses a very crude version of a chemical leavening in some of her recipes. In other recipes, she uses yeast as a leavener. In this recipe, she doesn’t mention any leavening at all, but we have lots of eggs, so what we need to do here is beat a lot of air into these eggs. As it cooks, these air bubbles will expand. That’s going to give us our leavening.

If you wish to make this recipe as they did in the 1700’s, you’ll need to whisk this for about an hour, hand held, with a whisk. If you’re going to be using a modern appliance, you’re going to need to whisk this on high for not more than 15 minutes. If you’re using medium eggs, you’ll need 10 eggs. If you’re using large eggs, just 9 will do. Before you start to whisk these eggs, make sure your whisk is butter free or the eggs will not whip up properly. Carefully fold the eggs into your butter mixture and then sift in the flour little by little. Try not to over work this. We’re trying to keep as much of the air in the eggs as possible.

Now, you can bake this in a bunt pan if you would like. You’ll need to butter it very well and you’ll bake it at about 325 degrees for say an hour and a half to two hours. Other recipes we’ve found used a cake ring. Either a tin cake ring or a wood cake ring that was lined outside with paper and the inside buttered, but Amelia Simons’ recipe suggests baking this for just 15 minutes. Now this gives us another clue into how this version was made.

The word cake in the 1700’s could apply to a great cake and we covered something like the great cake when we did our 12th night cake recipe. Now these cakes were huge, sometimes they were 20-30-40 pounds or more, but the word cake can also refer to something much smaller. Something that we, today would call a cookie, and in fact, the first kind of reference, at least in American cookery and English cookery, is Amelia Simons’ reference to the word cookie here that she borrows from the Dutch, so if we take into account this 15-minute cooking time, there is no way that this could be baked as a big cake in a bunt pan or in one of these wooden forms. This most likely was baked as a cookie on a baking sheet, probably on paper. They might have baked them in small little tart tins that were buttered or even in a little paper tray or cup that we’ve seen some references to in 18th century cookery. We won’t need to butter the paper or treat it in any way. Once these cookies cool all the way off, we’ll be able to just peel the paper away.

If you’re baking these at home, they’ll bake for 15-20 minutes at a temperature of about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to preheat your oven. You’ll need to watch these closely so they don’t burn. Let them cool completely before you try to remove them from the paper.

Let’s give these a try. They look wonderful. It’s actually got a really nice soft texture to it.

They have a wonderful, simple yet complex flavor to them. Nice and sweet, again really, really good texture. Nice and soft. You can definitely taste the nutmeg and the cinnamon in there. It would be really interesting to have these with a little bit of that rose water. These are wonderful and really simple and can you imagine if you baked 4 pounds of these guys? It’s likely that you either had a really big crowd to feed or you would double bake these to dry them up so that they would last for quite a while, and let’s look at one of these little bigger ones, this cupcake version here, and I can break this open here and you can see the texture. It’s got a really nice cakey texture to it. This is not dense at all. Really, all that air whipped in there did a tremendous job of leavening this. It’s really good.

Mmm

Well, this one turned out great! I love these. In fact, I could eat them all day. I’m not going to. You should definitely try this one out. They are excellent! If you are interested in living history or reenacting, make sure to check out our getting started course. It’s really simple, you sign up for it on email, it’s free and you get special videos about how to get started with a little bit of in depth information. You’ll love the series. Also, make sure to check out our website and you can get one of our print catalogs from our website. This is really good. I want to thank you for coming along as we try these things out, 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.

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