Boiled Rhubarb Pudding

One of my favorite things about Isabella Beeton’s 1861 cookbook, The Book of Household Management, is that she lists practical information about the cost, time to make, serving size, and season for each recipe. Knowing the season was especially important; although some fruits and vegetables could be grown in greenhouses all year, others were only available for short windows of time. Even today, that’s still the case with rhubarb, which in my area at least only appears for a few brief weeks in late spring. To make this recipe, I started haunting my grocery stores and local farmers’ markets at the start of April, checking constantly for the first sign of rhubarb’s bright red stalks. Somehow, the excitement of finally finding it after weeks of waiting feels much more gratifying than if I had been able to get it all year round.

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German New Year’s Cookies (Springerle)

Springerle are a type of traditional German cookie dating back at least to the 15th century. This particular recipe is from the 1861 American cookbook The Housekeeper’s Encyclopedia. Although the recipe is simply titled “German New Year’s Cookies,” several details such as the use of hartshorn, anise seed, wooden molds, and drying the cookies for 24 hours before baking clearly identify these as classic Springerle.

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