Monday, March 25, 2019

Caroline makes Dolley Madison's Gingerbread

A soft gingerbread that's good for all seasons!

Continuing the trend of making recipes from cookbooks I've long wanted to test out is this unique gingerbread recipe from The President's Cookbook, a cookbook from the 1960's that features interpretations of recipes enjoyed by First Families past and present. As I've said before, Presidential cooking has long been something that's fascinated the American public, and food enjoyed at the White House can influence national trends and introduce new ingredients or dishes to the public. 

This recipe is a modern interpretation of a soft gingerbread Dolley Madison was famous for. The cookbook notes that Dolley herself referred to it as "Jefferson's gingerbread", and she gave the recipe to Martha Washington, who recorded it for her own use. That's the copy that made its way into this cookbook, so it's got a pretty long history and an association with quite a few of the Founding Fathers - and more importantly, their wives and slaves who would have been the ones actually planning and preparing these fancy meals. Read on to find out more about this historic recipe!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Emily's Lentil and Parsley Soup

An authentic WWII recipe that could have done with some workshopping...

One of my favorite things to pick up on my various adventures are historical cookbooks. I've acquired quite a number of them since I started this blog, to the point of where my cookbook shelf is overflowing and I can't bring myself to Konmari any of them because they're all such nice publications! 

This year, I'm doing my best to try and dust off a few of them, including the one I got today's recipe from: Victory in the Kitchen: Wartime Recipes. It was published by the Imperial War Museum, one of my very favorite museums. Visiting their impressive exhibits in the early 2000's helped get me really excited about World War II history, so I was eager to try something out. 

The results... weren't exactly what I was hoping for, but hopefully it'll be interesting for everyone to get a look at what kind of stuff you might run into when trying out another historic recipe.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Kaya's Seaweed and Mushroom Salad

An unusual salad that really brings the earthy flavors!

In 2019, I am trying my best to eat a little healthier. Trying is really the operative word there, because I still catch myself snacking on a lot of stuff I probably shouldn't, but I've been brainstorming ideas for blog posts that are a little more waistline friendly to share with everyone, and this one wound up being a very interesting experience indeed. 

This salad comes from the pages of the Cafe Mitsitam cookbook, one of the best resources for recipes inspired by the Native Peoples of North and South America. I've visited the cafe many, many times and have made a few recipes from the cookbook on the blog in the past - like these delicious pumpkin cookies - but I returned my borrowed copy of the cookbook to my aunt and uncle before I moved down to DC. I finally got my hands on another copy, and almost immediately decided to give this unusual salad a shot. Read on to learn about its connection to Kaya!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

First Chefs and a Seed Cake with Jane

A temporary exhibit that really brings you a sweet taste of history!

Last post, I mentioned an exhibit at the National Archives that I had missed out on years ago. Living in DC, such worries are a thing of the past, unless of course there's a cool exhibit going on at a non DMV area museum. Take the current exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library: First Chefs! 

First Chefs spotlights books, documents and artifacts from the library's collection, as well as a few other local institutions that help bring to life how and what people in Britain and North America ate in the late 1500's through the 1700's. The exhibit shines the spotlight on several interesting figures in culinary history, as well as showing the public that more extravagant food often meant exploiting the labor of enslaved people, women, servants, and laborers. Read on to see highlights from the exhibit and a recipe inspired by one of the personalities featured in the gallery!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Melody Makes JFK's Fish Chowder

A favorite of a fan favorite president!

Although warmer weather has been periodically making a comeback in my neck of the woods all month, it's still been chilly enough to want a nice warm bowl of soup after work. Being from New England, the idea of a rich, creamy chowder is definitely a comforting thought on chilly days, and I've always been interested in trying to make one from scratch. 

This dish isn't the New England clam chowder my home region's famous for, but it was a favorite lunch snack of a certain mid century president! I've been wanting to spotlight this recipe for a while, but never could quite work out the best time to give it a shot. This year, I decided I wasn't going to let another winter go by without sharing it with all of you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Julie's Pizza Fondue

A rediscovered family favorite straight out of the 1970's!

Family recipes are one of my favorite things to explore on my blog. So many of them are things I’ve grown up eating for so long, or hold such special places in our hearts that the idea of preserving them online, sharing them with everyone, and just plain learning how to bring them to life has a lot of appeal. Getting at the history behind them is a lot of fun too – I loved my maternal grandma’s story of how she realized her Lazy Jane Casserole is actually just an easier version of Julia Child’s famous beef bourguignon! 

This one is a little more enigmatic than most of the family recipes I’ve spotlighted in the past. Unlike the others, this recipe was actually lost for years, and many people figured they would never get to eat it again. Its history is still a little foggy, but at long last, I got to make and try my paternal grandma’s famous pizza fondue! And I’m very excited to share the recipe with all of you. Read on to see how you can make this 1970’s favorite of my dad and his four sisters!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Maryellen's Sweet Story Cake

A retro recipe due for some time in the spotlight!

Have you been wondering what to make for Valentine's Day this year? Look no further! This vintage cake is the perfect thing for a dessert that's just a little bit different, but in a way you're sure to love. 

At least, that was my experience with it. I know I'm often quick to say I have a new favorite dessert recipe after trying out a historical or historically inspired recipe, but this cherry and almond flavored cake had a really unique flavor that totally made it worth hand pearling the decoration. Read on to see how to make this vintage 1948 recipe yourself!