Thursday, August 30, 2012

Recipes from the 19th Century

Here are a few recipes straight out of the 19th Century -- remember that tastes back then were a little different than they are today.

"The Ladies" Candied Rose Leaves (women didn't cook professionally at the beginning of the century, so many cookbooks are by anonymous "ladies")

Select the desired quantity of perfect rose leaves, spread them on an inverted sieve, and let them stand in the air until slightly dried but not crisp. Make a syrup from a half-pound granulated sugar and a half-pint of water, and boil the mixture until it spins a thread, then lift the leaves  in and out of the hot syrup using a fine wire sieve. Then let the leaves stand for several hours on a slightly oiled surface (or waxed paper). If the rose leaves then look preserved and clean, they will not require a second dipping. Then melt a cup of fondant (use a basic vanilla icing) and add 2 drops of essence of rose and 2 drops of cochineal (herbal rose food coloring) to the melted icing. Then dip the rose leaves into the mixture one at a time. Dust with fine confectioner's or powdered sugar and place on oiled (or waxed) paper to harden. Then pick daintily and enjoy as you would candy drops.

Angels on Horseback

lemon juice
cayenne pepper
anchovy paste
toast, buttered

Mix in a saucer fresh lemon juice and cayenne pepper to the cook's taste. Add some anchovy paste and blend the ingredients well. Dip the shelled oysters in the mixture and then wrap them in bacon strips. Melt the butter in a skillet and fry the appetizers until the bacon is done. Serve on buttered toast. Adjust quantities to the occasion at hand.

Graham Muffins

Heat to the boiling point two cups of milk, add a tablespoon of butter and stir until melted. Sift two cups of whole wheat flour, one-half cup of white flour, two teaspoons of baking powder. Pour on the milk and butter, beat, add the yolks of two eggs well beaten, then the stiffly beaten whites. Bake in hot greased gem pans.

Roasted Calf's Head

1 Calf’s Head
1 1/2 lbs. Veal
1 1/2 tablespoon Sage
1 1/2 tablespoon Parsley
1/2 tablespoon Salt
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 lb. Bacon
1 pint Gravy
1/4 cup Oysters
1/4 cup Mushrooms
1/8 cup Capers
1/2 cup White Wine
WASH and pick the head very nicely; having taken out the brains and tongue, prepare a good quantity of forced meat, with veal and suet well seasoned; fill the hole of the head with this forced meat, skewer and tie it together upon the spit, and roast it for an hour and a half. Beat up the brains with a little sage and parsley shred fine, a little salt, and the yelks of two or three eggs; boil the tongue, peel, and cut it into large dice, fry that with the brains, also some of the forced meat made up into balls, and slices of bacon. Let the sauce be strong gravy, with oysters, mushrooms, capers, and a little white wine thickened.

Sheep's Brain with Onions

1 Sheep’s Brains
1/2 Pound Bacon
1/2 Cup White Wine
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1 Teaspoon Cloves
6 Shallots
4 Small Onions
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Take sheep’s brains. Soak in lukewarm water and blanch. Stew with thin slices of bacon, a little white wine, parsley, shallots, cloves, small onions, salt and pepper. When done arrange the brains on a dish, with the onions around; reduce the cause and serve.

Egg Balls

5 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Flour
Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon Parsley
Dash of Pepper
Boil four eggs for ten minutes, and put them into cold water; when they are quite cold, put the yolks into a mortar, with the yolk of a raw egg, a tea-spoonful of flour, the same of chopped parsley, as much salt as will lie on a shilling, and a little black pepper, or cayenne; rub them well together, roll them into small balls, (as they swell in boiling;) boil them a couple of minutes.

"The Ladies" Blackberry Shrub

2 quarts cider vinegar
4 quarts blackberries
1 quart sugar

Add the vinegar to the blackberries and let stand four days. Then strain the berries through a cloth without squeezing and add the sugar to the juice. Boil for 30 minutes. Cool and serve over ice in a tall glass. Will keep without sealing.

Plum Butter

To a gallon of plums, add half a gallon of molasses; boil them together, and as soon as the plums begin to soften, stir constantly with a large spoon or ladle, taking out as many of the stones as possible. Keep it boiling till entirely smooth, and thick enough to keep.

Rice Pudding in Milk

1/2 pound rice
1 quart water
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Egg Yolk
3 pints milk
Boil half pound of rice in a quart of water, with a little cinnamon. Let it boil until the water is wasted, taking great care it does not burn. Then add three pints of milk and the yolk of an egg. Beat up and sweeten to taste.


Four tablespoonful’s of any kind of sugar, one tablespoonful of cold water. Let it cook until it candies, more or less according to color. If you wish it to color a pudding, put it in the mold first, and then pour in your pudding. Another way is to add it drop by drop to a cream or custard. Or, if you like better, pour it over your pudding or cake.


  1. what great blog about the 19th century! its good to sit and look back at all the wondeful food that was cooked. nothing can take its place, not even the burger and fries or the italian pizza.

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