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1891 Queen of the Household Archives

January 10, 2008

A Chat About Old Cookbooks

Queen of the Household - 1891

Call me a stickler for old cookbooks. I am really surprised I had not starting collecting these domestic books much earlier. Well, at first, I was only reserving myself to collect really old cookbooks dated sometime around 1800 - 1850s. But after finding them usually more expensive than I care to pay, I decided to broaden my horizons. So when I saw this one on ebay I could not resist getting it to add to my collection. None of my cookbooks are museum quality or anything. But I prefer the books to show they have been used. And for the meager ten dollars I paid for it, it is well worth it with over 700 pages of recipes and interesting odds-n-ends. It's much bigger than my Compendium of Cookery and much nicer too. The only odd thing I find is the three cookbooks I have do not have a name written in any of them. The oldest of my cookbooks dated 1824 even has recipes handwritten all over the endpapers. But no names to tell me who wrote all those lovely personal addenda's. I suppose it's because cookbooks were too practical to be sentimental about by writing one's name in it. Who knows.
You could peruse a later edition of The Queen of the Household which is found here: Queen of the Household published in 1901. However, it is quite a bit different from the 1891 edition.

Update: I just ran across this edition from Google Books, which is a lot closer to mine. It even has the same cover.

December 9, 2008

Plain Short Cake

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I made some shortcakes this morning and adapted the recipe from my 1891 edition of Queen of the Household Cookbook.

2 cups flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter {half a stick}
1 tablespoon lard
abt 3/4 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Then cut in butter and lard till mixture has a crumbly texture. Then pour over enough water to make a firm dough. Then flour your surface and roll the dough to about 1/4th an inch thick. Cut into squares and prick with a fork. Bake for 15 - 20 mins or until done. {I am using a toaster oven to bake so you may need to adjust the baking time for a regular oven}

The original recipe would make double the amount of the above recipe. I knew that so I cut the recipe in half. Here is the original recipe.
One quart flour, 1 saltspoon salt, 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder; mix thoroughly; then add 1/4th a pound butter 1/8th pound lard, and enough cold water to make a thick paste. Roll out about 1/4th inch thick, and cut into squares; prick with a fork and bake immediately.

Note: You probably can make this mixture {omitting the water} ahead of time and then freeze. I served over mine with some leftover strawberry mixture we had. My eldest hates strawberries so he dipped his shortcake into maple syrup. This is a good basic shortcake.

February 2, 2010

Taffy or Vinegar Candy

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Finished Taffy Candy wrapped in wax paper.

I think during the 19th century this particular kind of Taffy was known as Vinegar Candy. The old cookbooks keep pointing to that. For example, my old cookbook, Queen of the Household, has this recipe: Vinegar Candy - One quart sugar, I pint water, 4 tablespoons vinegar, butter size of an egg, I teaspoon vanilla. Boil 20 minutes and pull it. If you halve this recipe it brings me very close to what I used to make our Taffy. One 1870's cookbook has the same exact ingredient list except they add cream of tarter to it.

The steps, followed by the recipe:

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Stirring the syrup to dissolve sugar.

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Poured finished syrup onto well buttered marble slab.

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Worked candy into mound.

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Candy on the left has been pulled longer than that on the right. You can see the color and transparency differences beginning to emerge.

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Twisting two ropes of pulled candy together to form finished product.

Here is the recipe I used:

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

First combine sugar, water, vinegar and butter in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Cover and continue to cook 2 or 3 minutes to wash down crystals. Now uncover and cook without stirring until mixture reaches soft crack stage which is 270 degrees. When it reaches that stage remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Now pour syrup onto well buttered 15 x 10 x 1 inch jellyroll pan or marble slab. Cool slightly. Work candy into mound using buttered spatula, cut in half. With buttered hands pull, fold, and twist each portion until candy is opaque and begins to stiffen. Pull each section then into a rope and twist the two ropes together. Cut in pieces and wrap with waxed paper.

Enjoy the old fashioned way of things? Interested in the Victorian era? If so have a browse around our other site A Victorian Passage. Updated Regularly!

About 1891 Queen of the Household

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Hearth and Home in the 1891 Queen of the Household category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

1890 Compendium of Cookery and Reliable Recipes is the previous category.

1892 Agricultural Almanac is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.