bowl of eggs

How to Preserve Eggs for Winter

Hens normally lay most of their eggs during the spring and summer when there is more natural daylight.  They slow down or stop laying eggs in the darker winter months. In the 1800s, people needed to preserve eggs that were laid in the spring so they would last through the winter. Today, poultry can be raised under artificial light and we have refrigeration, so we don’t have to worry about egg shortages. INFORMATION BELOW FROM […]

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molasses poured from a spoon

Making Candy With Molasses

Molasses (treacle in the U.K.) is a sweetener made from refining sugar cane or sugar beets. I’ve always loved the taste of molasses.  When I was young, my mother sometimes let me taste a spoonful of it.  It was good just like that, but of course, I like it when baked into cookies, too. GLOSSARY: angelica – a plant of the parsley family syrup spins a thread – syrup will form a brittle liquid thread when dropped into […]

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dumplings in soup

How to Make Different Types of Dumplings

Most of the recipes from old cookbooks are for rounded dumplings. Some recipes say to wrap the dumplings in cloth, like when boiling a pudding.  Others say to roll the dumplings in a ball or drop the dumpling mixture from a spoon into hot liquid. The only dumplings I’ve ever eaten were in a Chicken and Dumplings recipe.  Those dumplings were rolled out flat and cut into small rectangular strips.   GLOSSARY: Dripping / Drippings […]

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walnut fudge

Making Fudge by Hand

Fudge is expensive when you buy it in candy stores, but it’s easy to make. The hard part is beating the mixture because it gets so thick.  Electric mixers make the job easy for people today, but years ago, fudge was mixed by hand. Candy thermometers became available to household cooks in the early 1900s, but they were expensive.  Prior to that, people determined the temperature of their candy mixtures by dropping a bit of […]

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cracked egg

The Breaking of Eggs

I never thought much about cracking eggs, since I’ve never used a recipe where I needed to separate the yolk from the white.   INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS: TO SEE THAT EGGS ARE GOOD Whenever you break eggs, never mind what quantity, always break each egg separately into a cup first. See that it is good, and then throw it into a basin with the rest. One bad egg would spoil fifty. Supposing you […]

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Chestnuts in a bowl

How to Cook Chestnuts

I’ve only seen chestnuts in grocery stores during December.  I’ve eaten them roasted, but the recipes below show many other ways to cook them.   INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS: Chestnuts should always be roasted or boiled before they are eaten. SHELL AND BLANCH CHESTNUTS – BOIL Boil whole chestnuts rapidly for ten minutes. Leave in the hot water, shell, and remove the brown covering while warm. SHELL AND BLANCH CHESTNUTS – ROAST Score* each […]

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1916 Advertisement for Pure Lard

How to Make Lard

My mother never used lard when I was growing up.  She used Crisco shortening in a can. It was thick like lard or butter.  As an adult, I used both shortening and vegetable oils. But lately, I’ve begun using butter, or coconut and other healthy oils.  I haven’t tried using lard yet, but will when I find some that are not processed, and where the pigs are pasture-raised  INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS: THE FINE POINTS […]

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link sausages

How to Make Sausage

I love sausage and buy it often. One time I tried some sausage that was homemade, but didn’t like it because it was too coarse.   In the days before refrigeration, people had to make sure they preserved their sausage so it would last for several months. Words You May Not Know: chine – a cut of meat along the backbone. gill –  four ounces in the U.S. and five ounces in the U.K. saltpeter […]

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