The term “coffee cake” started appearing in print during the 19th century, but it didn’t always refer to the type of coffee cake we would recognize today. Early coffee cake recipes could be for any type of bread, pastry, or cake that could be consumed with coffee…or, like in this recipe from 1877, they might actually be made with coffee.Read More »
Thomas Dawson’s 16th century recipe for custard is, like many recipes of the time, a little short on details.Read More »
This simple cat pattern was published in an Australian newspaper in 1929 and claims to make a “useful, lasting toy.”Read More »
The confusingly-named Welsh rarebit or Welsh rabbit contains no rabbit whatsoever and may not have originated in Wales. It usually consists of cheese melted and poured over toast, although there are many variations in the other toppings. The first recorded use of the term “Welsh rabbit” dates back to 1725, but similar toasted cheese dishes were popular as early as the 14th century. Lexicographer John Ayto suggests that the name “Welsh rabbit” came about in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries, when calling something “Welsh” was a derogatory epithet meaning “inferior” or “of poor quality.” Thus, the name “Welsh rabbit” was a joke – “Welsh rabbit” was inferior because the dish did not actually contain any rabbits.
Alternatively, the dish might have been attributed to the Welsh simply because they had a reputation for loving cheese.
Despite the debates over its name and origins, Welsh rabbit or rarebit remained popular for centuries. This particular recipe comes from 20th century media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who was passionately fond of Welsh rarebit. Various family members, friends, and guests of Hearst’s recalled that he frequently served Welsh rarebit as a late-night snack. Although he employed a large kitchen staff, he took great pride in always making the Welsh rarebit himself.Read More »
I was intrigued by the title of Amelie Langdon’s 1903 cookbook, Just for Two: A Collection of Recipes Designed for Two Persons. Many historic recipes I come across seem to be portioned for an army of twenty, forcing me either to reduce the amounts or to eat leftovers for days. It’s refreshing to see recipes sized for only two people.Read More »
“‘This wonderful invention, sir,’ said Mark, tenderly patting the empty glass, ‘is called a cobbler. Sherry cobbler when you name it long; cobbler, when you name it short.'” – from Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens, 1844Read More »
This is another version of syllabub from Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy. Although it contains the same basic ingredients as Whipped Syllabub, this version gives up all pretense of being a drink and commits fully to being a dessert. It’s basically alcoholic whipped cream, eaten with a spoon.Read More »
Macaroni and cheese was one of my favorite foods as a kid. Growing up, it never occurred to me that my favorite comfort food might have historic origins. However, macaroni and cheese dates back to at least the Middle Ages, and became popular in Europe and America during the 18th and 19th centuries. I decided to try Eliza Acton’s macaroni and cheese recipe from her 1845 cookbook Modern Cookery in all its Branches to see what historic macaroni and cheese would’ve tasted like.Read More »