Thursday, June 9, 2016

How I'm organizing all my Historical Tidbits.

Some folks are wondering how to organize and collect all these tidbits before I remove them from blogger.
Below is an example of how I'm organizing. First, I copied all my posts and set them up by month and year. After that I started using the left bar of blogger and am in the process of working out year by year each of the posts.

1804 7 posts
Apr 12, 2010 Cane Ridge Revival (1801, Christian Camp Meetings, Places, Kentucky)
Oct 1, 2010 Louisana Territory (1805, 1806, 1809, Louisana, Travel)
Nov 10, 2010 Louisanna Purchase Significant Dates (1803, Timeline)
July 8, 2009 American Wars During the 19th Century (1803, 1812, 1815, 1817, 1835, 1846, 1861, American Wars, Houghtalings, Timeline)
Sept 11, 2009 Black Powder (history through the century) (1804, 1810, 1825, 1841, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1867, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1894, Weapons, Timelines)
June 1, 2009 Burr & Hamilton Duel (Dueling, People of Interest)
May 20, 2009 1804 Dexter Silver Dollar (Currency, Silver Dollar)

I'm doing all of to make more searchable and easier for the writer to locate the information they are looking for. Between the ( and ) is the list of how each post will be linked)

I hope this helps some of you. I'm hoping to opening my Research Website in the Fall. I'm still looking for the best software to handle the search and indexing features for this site.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Final Post

Hi all,

I started this blog in April 2009 and have decided to end it after 7 years. In that time I've have posted 1938 tidbit posts and have well over half a million page views. The posts will stay up for a while but I will be removing them. I've enjoyed searching and finding these tidbits with you and will miss it. In fact, I found a tidbit and was going to write a post but realized I couldn't because I had set the date to end this blog.

I am branching out into a new small business for writers. If you're in need of someone to help with some research for your 19th Century novel, I'm your researcher. The final name for my business and webpage aren't decided on yet but when I know I'll let all of you know.

I hope you've found this blog useful.

In His grip,

Friday, April 29, 2016

Castle Garden Opera House & more

Below is some information I found on Castle Garden Opera House. It's located in Battery Park, New York City, New York. The first image comes from The American Magazine ©1886. It ceased being an Opera House in 1855 and was the processing center for immigrants coming to America between 55-1890. Then it became an Aquarium from 1896 to 1841. Today's tidbit is about it's use as an Opera House and Immigration Center.

The garden had a fairly comfortable auditorium, where the summer heat was tempered by the sea breeze, but its stage was small, and the acoustic properties were poor; yet for several seasons it attracted fashionable audiences, and some of the best music ever heard in New-York was produced within its walls. In 1850, September 11, Jenny Lind made there her first memorable appearance before an American audience; there Parodi, Sontag, and Mario and Grisi sang, and there Jullien drew immense audiences to hear his famous orchestra. But its glory did not last long, for with the opening of the Academy of Music in Fourteenth street in 1854, music deserted it and moved with fashion northward.

Tour of the Harbor.—Emerging from either river into the harbor, the Battery and Governor's Island (see Military Affairs) are quickly left behind, and the massive commercial and office buildings at the lower end of the city group themselves into a magnificent mountain of stately architecture, supporting banners of sun-gilded steam and smoke, and bristling with gables, turrets and flagstaffs. Far above all tower the campanile of the Produce Exchange and Trinity's sacred spire. At the right, as you gaze stern-ward, the breadth of East River, the delicately arched line of the graceful suspension bridge and the looming heights of Brooklyn extend the picture grandly in that direction; while at the left are the broad level of the Hudson, and the tall elevators and green background of Jersey City, far enough away to take on an ideal beauty. The focal and foreground point of the splendid scene is the Battery—green with trees and lawns, marked by the quaint structure of Castle Garden, and fringed with white, where the gentle surf breaks against its curving sea-wall.
n 1847 Castle Garden began its career as a theatre, and here many of the greatest actors and singers of the last generation were seen and heard. The fort was remodeled inside, and shut in with a high roof. It was fitted up as luxuriously as any place of amusement in the country at that time. In August, 1847, the Havana Opera Company, the leading opera organization of the period, appeared there, and came again in 1850, many fine plays having been given in the interim. Then followed the wonderful introduction of Jenny Lind to the United States, under the management of P. T. Barnum, when seats were sold by auction for hundreds of dollars, and the town went wild over the Swedish diva.' In 1855 the dramatic manager's lease expired, and Castle Garden was leased to the State Board of Emigration to become an immigrant depot, and since then the name has become synonymous with its use. To this building all steerage passengers from Europe were brought in barges to make their landing; and every arrangement possible was made for their safety and welfare.while endeavoring to meet friends, preparing for a residence in the city or waiting to be forwarded to western destinations. Nearly ten millions of immigrants have passed through its halls and been placed upon the records. The United States has now taken the whole matter of immigration out of the hands of the State Board, has abandoned Castle Garden and is establishing a new depot on Ellis Island. What will be the future of the historic building is beyond conjecture at this writing.
The Battery park contains 21 acres, is shaded by large trees and provided with a broad walk along the sea-wall and with a great number of seats. There is no spot in the metropolis more cool and beautiful in warm weather than this, but for 35 years it has been almost entirely given up to the immigrants, lodging-house runners and other hangers-on at Castle Garden, whose presence has kept away all but the tenement-house population of the neighborhood, for no longer, as of yore, does any one of wealth or taste live near it. At its eastern end stands the Revenue Barge Office, a branch of the Custom House, surmounted by a tower 90 ft. high; and beyond that the group of ferries to Brooklyn known collectively as South Ferry. Anchored at the Battery is one of the free public baths which are provided at various suitable places along both river-banks.
Source: A Week In New York ©1893

This image is of when it was being used for Immigration.

On the water-front of the Battery is Castle Garden, a quaint-looking old building, which for years has been the chief gateway through which millions of self-exiled Europeans have made their entrance into the New World, and become acquainted with the metropolis of the Great Republic of the earth. Castle Garden is a circular brick structure, with a history of its own. It was originally erected under the title of Castle Clinton, as a fortress, in 1807 by the National Government, who gave it to the city in 1823; subsequently it was converted into a summer-garden and opera-house; hence its name Castle Garden. It has often been the scene of great civic "pomp and circumstance;" within its walls warriors and statesmen, now historic personages, were wont to be banqueted and have their glories fulminated; and within its gray interior the celebrated songsters of a past age discoursed sweet melody to the lovers of music. Here a great ball was held in 1824 in honor of the Marquis Lafayette; here, in 1832, President Andrew Jackson, and in 1843, President Tyler, were given popular receptions; and here, in later days, the grand voices of the late Jenny Lind, Sontag, Parodi, Mario, and of many another famous singer, were heard.
In 1855 it became the immigrant depot for the reception of incomers from Europe, and to here barges bring from the ocean steamships, as they arrive in the river, men, women, and children of all nations, in every variety of costume and of every tongue. Here the ethnologist may find for study groups of different types of mankind that he can nowhere else in the whole wide world meet with duplicates of. The last published records show that during the year ending December 31, 1886, 300,918 immigrants passed through Castle Garden. At one time the immigrants were the prey of sharpers, who, under pretence of taking a kindly and fatherly interest in them, fleeced them and left them destitute, for the public authorities to care and provide for. These scandals and abuses led to the appointment of a Board of Emigration Commissioners, to take charge of the immigrants when brought to Castle Garden. A register of all persons arriving here and of their intended destination was kept. Here they could be met by friends, have letters written, their money exchanged for American coin, be supplied with food at moderate prices, have their baggage weighed and checked, have medical attendance if sick, be forwarded by boat or rail to their destinations, or, if staying in the city, referred to boarding-house keepers, who are under the supervision of the Commissioners. Connected with the Garden is also a labor bureau.
Source: Illustrated New York ©1888

Here's a photo from 1906

Yesterday I posted a tidbit on another Opera House on Heroes, Heroines, and History. Check it out.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Waffle Iron

Below are various tidbits regarding waffle irons. Rather than copy lists of Essential Kitchen Utensils let me just say I saw the waffle iron mentioned in most lists. I also found they were sometimes listed under the heading of tin-ware for the kitchen, again a list of what most kitchens need. I've searched for an image of the waffle iron but haven't been able to find one from a 19th Century publication. My mom has one that is in much better shape than the picture I found on the internet but check this one out. It is made with cast iron and wooden handles. Here's the link to the photo.

A new waffle-iron is made of aluminum, and it appears to be one of the successes of that light and valuable metal, many of the possibilities of which are still a problem which the future must solve. This waffle-iron is upon the same principle as the fritter-mold, from whose products multitudes were fed at the German village in the World's Fair. The waffle-iron requires for accessories a pan of boiling lard on the stove, and a dish of batter conveniently close to it. The iron is dipped into the lard first, then plunged quickly halfway down into the batter, and immediately into the lard again. In less than a minute, with a slight tap on the back of the iron, the golden-brown, crisp and appetizing pastry is dropped on a plate.
Source: Home Furnishings Review ©1896

The wholesale price of waffle irons in 1884 was, No. 8, $7.20 per dozen; in 1890, $6.40; today they are sold at $5.60. Other goods have been reduced in the same ratio, and this reduction is not being checked by the McKinley bill being in force, which we expected would check the lower tendency. \Ve mean others thought so, not us, for it is as we expected.
Source: Bulletin-United States Congress ©1894

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

1861 Fashions





Children's Hat


Dinner Dress


Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Don't you just love when your traveling and the hotel has a breakfast bar with an waffle iron? Paul and I usually will have one when those moments occur. Today's post will center around the various recipes for making waffles. In a few days I'll share some information on waffle irons.

The first tidbit starts with a distinction between muffins and waffles then follows with several recipes. I skipped the Muffin Recipes for this tidbit and included the waffle recipes.

MUFFINS are baked in rings on a griddle, or in gem pans, over a quick fire. Waffles are baked in waffle irons, which inclose the batter and imprint both sides of the cake as it rises in the process of baking. Both muffins and waffles form a medium between bread and biscuits on the one side and griddle-cakes on the other. Muffinrings were formerly about four inches in diameter, but now, with better taste, they are used much smaller. The approved waffle-irons of to-day are circular, baking four waffles at once, and suspended on a pivot that permits them to be turned with a touch of the fork. Both muffins and waffles are suitable for tea, and with stewed chicken and such delicacies they are really delicious. They should always be served hot and with the best of butter. Waffles and catfish are a famous dish at some eating-houses.
Raised Waffles.—One quart of warm milk, one tablespoonful of butter, three eggs, one gill of yeast, one tablespoonful of salt, and flour to make a stiff batter. Set to rise, and bake in waffle-irons, which must be well heated before used.
Quick Waffles.—One quart flour, two teaspoonfuls Durkee's baking-powder, one teaspoonful salt; mix dry; then stir in one tablespoonful melted butter, two well-beaten eggs, and enough cold, sweet milk for a batter thin enough to pour; bake at once in waffle-irons.
Rice Waffles.—Mix a teacupful and a half of boiling rice with a pint of milk, rubbing it smooth over the fire. Take from the fire and adc! a pint of cold milk and a teaspoonful of salt. Stir in four well-beaten eggs with enough flour to make a thin batter, and bake as above. Waffles should always be served hot. Powdered sugar with a flavor of powdered cinnamon makes a pleasing dressing for them.
Source: The Latest and Best Cook Book ©1884

Mrs. S. W. S., of Montpelier, O., writes: "Will you kindly give me, through the medium of Table Talk, some good recipes for waffles?"
Dissolve one tablespoonful of butter in one pint of warm milk, add to it two beaten eggs and one-half of a yeast cake, dissolved in a little warm water. Stir in one-half a teaspoonful of salt and sufficient flour to make a drop batter. Heat the waffle iron, brush both parts of it with melted butter or suet, pour in enough batter to three parts fill it; close and cook until the under side is brown, then turn and brown on the other side. Send to the table as fast as baked, and serve with them syrup, honey or powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Waffles (2).
Cream three-quarters of a cupful of butter with two cupfuls of sugar, add three wellbeaten eggs, scant half of a teaspoonful of salt, half the grated rind of a lemon, a slight grating of nutmeg, one and one-half cupfuls of milk and sufficient flour to make a drop batter. Stir in one teaspoonful of baking powder, and cook at once in a hot iron.
Beat to a froth five eggs, add one pint of milk, one cupful of melted butter, one-half of a teaspoonful of salt, two tablespoon fuls of sugar, three cupfuls of flour and one yeast cake dissolved in a little lukewarm water. Let stand in a warm place until light—about three hours—and bake.
Source: Table Talk ©1897

Waffles.—Take a tea-cupful of fresh butter, put it into a large bowl, and beat it to croam. Add three cupfuls of sugar, a pinch of salt, half a nutmeg grated, a few drops of essence of lemon, three well-beaten eggs, half a teaspoonful of saleratus dissolved in a tea-spoonful of milk, and as much flour as will make a thick batter. Beat the mixture thoroughly. Heat the waffle-iron, rub it over with butter, and put into it one or two large spoonfuls of the mixture. Be careful to leave room for rising; •close it, and put it over hot coals. Let it remain for six or eight minutes, then turn it over, and leave it a few minutes longer: if on •opening it the cake iB nicely browned, and ■will leave the iron easily, it is done enough. Probable cost, Is. 6d. for this quantity.
Waffles (another way).—Dissolve half an ounce of butter in a pint of milk; beat two eggs in a bowl, and add to them gradually the "buttered milk and as much flour as will make a stiff batter. Stir in a wine-glassful of fresh yeast and a little salt. Let the batter rise till light. Heat the waffle-irons, and bake the waffles in the usual way. Butter them, and if liked serve with sugar and powdered cinnamon.
Waffles (another way).—Take a quart of milk, five eggs, a pound and a quarter of flour, half a pound of butter, and a spoonful of yeast. When the waffles are baked, sift pounded sugar and powdered cassia over them.
Waffles (a Danish recipe). — Take one pound of fresh butter, and beat it till it creams. Add the yolks of six eggs, a quarter of a pound of sugar, one pound of flour, a quart of warm milk, and lastly the whites of the eggs beaten to snow. Butter the waffle-iron each time before filling it, and heat it before using. When baked strew sifted sugar over the waffles. This quantity will make twenty-four waffles.
Waffles (a German recipe). — Mix one pound and a half of flour with the same quantity of clarified butter, add twelvo eggs one by one, then a little grated nutmeg, a few grains of salt, two handfuls of pounded almonds with a few bitter ones among them, four or five spoonfuls of yeast, nearly a pint of milk, and lastly the whites of the eggs beaten to snow. Mix and beat well together, then leave the mixture for two hours before proceeding further. Have ready the waffle-iron, heat it in the fire, and rub it over with butter; pour into it a ladleful of the batter, and bake of a fine yellow. The iron must be buttered each time before any batter is poured in. Strew pounded sugar and cinnamon over the waffles after they are done.
Waffles (another German recipe). — Mix together three-quarters of a pound of flour, seven eggs, a pint of milk, three good spoonfuls of yeast, a gill of brandy, and half a pound of butter beaten to cream. Beat the butter and •ggs first together, then add the flour, and, when smooth, the other ingredients; let this stand in a warm place for an hour to rise. Butter the waffle-iron before you pour in the
batter, and bake of a light yellow colour. Strew with pounded cinnamon and sugar before serving.
Waffles made with Yeast.—Boat three
fresh eggs to a light froth; mix with them a pint of lukewarm milk and a large table-spoonful of fresh yeast, and add half a nutmeg grated, a pinch of salt, an ounce of butter, and as much flour as will make a light batter. Put this in a warm place, and let it rise for two or three hours. Bake the cake in waffle-irons in the usual way {see Waffles).
Waffles made without Yeast or Soda.—Take a pint and a quarter of flour, and as much additional flour as will go into a wine-glass; mix with it half a tea-spoonful of salt. Dissolve two ounces of butter in a pint of hot milk, and let the milk cool. Beat the yolks of three eggs in a bowl, and add to them the milk and the flour alternately. Whisk the whites of the eggs separately to a firm froth, and stir them lightly into the batter. Bake the waffles immediately after the whites are put in, and do not beat the batter after the whites are added.
Waffles, Rice.—Boil half a pint of rice till soft; put it into a bowl, and add very gradually three-quarters of a pound of flour, half a tea-spoonful of salt, a pint and a quarter of milk, and the well-beaten yolks of two eggs. Beat the mixture thoroughly. Whisk the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, add them to the batter, and beat it again. Take a small quantity of this mixture in a cup, and pour it backwards and forwards from a good height for a few minutes; then bake immediately.
Waffles, Rice (a German recipe).—Wash half a pound of rice in warm wator, drain it, and boil in milk till it swells and becomes a thick mass. Take the rice off tho fire then, and kcop stirring it, adding by degrees one pound of flour, five eggs beaten up, two spoonfuls of yeast, half a pound of melted butter, a little salt, and a cupful of warm milk. Set it in a warm place to rise, and bake quickly in the usual way.
Source: Cassel's Dictionary of Cookery ©1883

Monday, April 25, 2016

19th Century Bedroom Furnishings Part 3

This is the final post on the Furnishings of the Bedroom. I hope you've enjoyed seeing what was a part of their design and thinking from the 19th Century.

For this excerpt I've inserted the illustrations as the writer mentioned them.

Fashionable Furniture.—Architect designing Furniture.

IN the illustration (Fig. 46)
we have several articles of bedroom furniture, modelled after the style of the seventeenth century, which recommends itself by its characteristic simplicity and honesty of treatment. The bed has a canopy framework, from which curtains are suspended, the cove being covered with stamped leather. The decoration in the panels may be inlaid, or painted simply in stencil pattern.
Fig. 47
shows a dressing-table of the same period, which, in some respects, answers the purpose of a bureau, being liberally supplied with drawers. There is, also, a corner cabinet, intended for a jewel-case, back of which a small burglar and fire-proof box may be inserted in the brickwork, and entirely masked by an inner door. Medicine-cases are often constructed in this manner.
Figs. 48 and 49
are a wash-stand and commode of the same school. Fig. 37
is a hanging cabinet, similar to the one in the library (Fig. 30).
(The hanging cabinet is on the left hand side of the image.)
One great difficulty in the way of introducing furniture of this description is, that people do not know where to find it. They usually go to a fashionable dealer, and are compelled to choose from what they see before them. It is true that several of our manufacturers have attempted to offer something better in the way of design, and with considerable success and profit. But their great mistake has been that, knowing they had the monopoly, they made their prices so high that few could afford to deal with them, thus confining the possibility of exercising good taste to wealthy persons alone. There is really no reason why this furniture should be more expensive than any other. That fashionable upholsterers should subordinate art to sordid and mercenary considerations indicates a short-sighted policy; for the wider the diffusion of art culture among the people, the greater will be the demand for furniture of artistic design. If one of their patrons desires anything new, they will usually prepare a design, and with it submit a price; but should he ask to retain the drawing in order to get further estimates, the privilege is promptly refused, and the statement usually vouchsafed that they are not in the habit of
allowing other manufacturers to profit by their brains. One is, therefore, compelled to take an inferior design from another establishment, or pay the price of the original estimate, exorbitant as it may be. There is a simple remedy for all this which, as I have mentioned before, is coming into practice.
Source: Modern Dwellings in Town and Country Adapted to American Wants ©1878

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tin Toys

Here are a couple Tin toys I've found that were produced during the 19th Century. I'm certain there were many, many more but these are the only two illustrations I could find.

The first is called "Artist" the six foot figure would draw an elephant, face, dog and court jester on a small piece of paper and small pencil. 1898

Horse & Buggy was actually made before the 19th Century.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Various Types of Hay

Naturally, where your story is set has a bearing on which kind of hay you would us but here's a short list of some of the types.

Clover hay has a higher feeding value ton for ton than meadow hay or corn-fodder. It is so much superior that I must be pardoned for illustrating it from Stewart's tables.
Source: The Breeder's Gazette ©1895
(I didn't include the table for this tidbit.)

Timothy hay is almost universally considered as the best of the long foods for horses. yet many hays from mixed grasses are used. and is some sections alfalfa hay. In recent years in some sections cut and shredded corn fodder has become very popular. and for many years corn blades have been preferred. in the South. by the keepers of race horses.

I prefer Orchard grass hay to timothy hay as it has more blades, timothy dies out in the course of a few years, while an Orchard grass sod will continue to get better each year for many years. One acre of Orchard grass will afford as much pasture as two of clover and timothy. I believe timothy to be an impoverisher of the land, while Orchard grass forms such an immense sod that for plowing under it is equal to a clover one.
Source Henderson's Handbook ©18 quote came from a man in VA.

Alfalfa hay is preferable to either clover or timothy for farm animals, and especially for swine, one acre being worth three of clover for hogs. It is also good for horses, and for oatile it is worth three times as much as red clover.
Source: Report of Kansas State Board of Agriculture ©1893

Oat Hay The results of the experiments indicate that the nutrients of oat hay are in the most digestible form when the heads are in milk. If cut in bloom there is a less yield of poorer composition and digestibility than when cut in milk. If the cutting is delayed till the oats are in the dough stage, the slightly larger yield is more than offset by the poor quality and lessened digestibility of the hay.
Source: Annual Report of Maine ©1898

Below is a list without descriptions of various hays:
Meadow Fescue Hay
Mountain Rye Grass Hay
Canary Reed Grass Hay
Salt Grass Hay
White Lupine
Wild Oats Hay
Wheat Hay
Red Top Hay

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

1879 Hat Fashions

Here's something a bit different with regard to Fashions, Hats.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Peanut Recipes

Peanuts seemed to come into their own during the 19th Century. Most folks used them for cookies and candy. The fourth tidbit is an article with a lot of different uses for the peanut. Enjoy! And start thinking what your characters would do with all their peanuts.

Peanut Cookies.
Cream one tablespoonful butter; add two tablespoons sugar, one egg, two tablespoons milk; mix with onehalf cupful flour, one-half teaspoon baking powder, one salt spoon salt, one-half cup chopped peanuts and onehalf teaspoon lacto-lemon. Drop by the spoonful onto nnbuttered tins; garnish with whole peanuts and bake about twelve minutes. Mrs. C. F. Crosby.
Source: Cook Book of Tried Recipes ©1897

Peanut Brittle.
Boil three cups of brown sugar, one cup of New Orleans molasses, half a teaspoonful of cream-of-tartar, and one cup of water to the hard-ball stage. (To test, plunge a skewer in cold water, then into the boiling mixture to the depths of about two inches, then back into the water; let it remain while ten is counted, then push off the candy with the forefinger and thumb; if it can be worked while held under water to a hard, solid ball, it is cooked enough.) Now add one pint of peanuts, and boil to the hard crack stage. Test as before, but, when the candy is taken from the skewer, drop it into cold water a second, then press the teeth on it, and if it leaves the teeth clean it is boiled enough; add one-fourth a pound of butter and let just boil in; remove from the fire, add two level teaspoonfuls of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in a little water and stir vigorously. When the mixture begins to rise, pour out upon a marble or platter and spread thin. When cold break or cut in pieces.
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science ©1899

Two small bags of peanuts—say, ten cents' worth—fresh roasted. Shell and chop fine in wooden bowl. Measure-, then take exactly the same amount of granulated sugar. Melt without water, and as soon as a liquid and without cooking, turn in the nuts; stir a moment, then put out on a dripping-wet breadboard, and roll with wet pin very thin.
Mrs. E. B. K. sends us the following recipe for peanut candy, which is simply made, very satisfactory, and for which we wish to thank her:
Source: Table Talk ©1897

WE take from the Philadelphia Evening Call a communication by May Forney on the peanut as an article of food and the various ways in which it may be prepared for the table. Some of our housekeeping readers will no doubt give one or more of the following recipes a trial:
The majority of people know very little about the peanut any more than that it is a palatable, though rather indigestible, article of food, and that a savory odor greets one pleasantly while passing by the corner peanut-roaster.
But the peanut has a mission far more important than to be eaten simply in its roasted state, .ind it performs it so well that it is raised extensively in all of the warm regions of the globe, and its cultivation grows constantly in proportion as the nut is found to be more and more useful. The peanut is presumably of American origin, and although the nuts raised on our soil are larger in size and finer in flavor than those grown in other countries, it is everywhere else more appreciated, its nutritious qualities more recognized and put to practical uses. In New Spain and some parts of Africa the peanut forms a staple article of food. It enters largely into the composition of some of the choicest European chocolates, and an oil is expressed from it said to be quite the equal of olive or almond oil for either h nip or table use.
Before war times, old "mammies," who were the presiding geniuses of plantation kitchens, made any number of niceties out of peanuts, only one of which ever to any extent became known to us. There was a time—not so very long ago, either— when every Philadelphia child was familiar with the peanut or groundnut cakes, as they were called. They were sold on the corners of streets by .old. colored: women wearing gorgeous-hued
I Madras turbans and spotless aprons. They w. on low stools and had their tempting wares neatly arranged on linen-covered trays. Likely the tmrbaned heads are laid low by this time, for we rarely see them and never see the groundnut cakes. They were very good, too, and fortunately tbc recipe for making them has been preserved. It was a savant who said that old recollections were revived more vividly through the taste than any other of the senses. For the benefit, then, of that who may care to recall the days when they bought groundnut cakes from their picturesque vendors, I append the original recipe for
Philadtlphia Groundnut Cakts.—Boil two pounds of light-brown sugar in a preserving-kettle, with just enough water to thoroughly wet it, and when this sirup begins to boil throw in the white of an egg to clear it. Let it boil until a few drops of the sirup put into cold water become brittle; it Lthen sufficiently done, and must be taken from the fire and strained. Have ready a quarter of a peck of groundnuts, roasted in the shell and then shelled and hulled. Mix the nnts thoroughly through the sirup while it is yet hot. Dampen with i brush a pasteboard or marble slab, free from all grease, and drop the hot mixture upon it in little lumps, which must be flattened with a spoon iato thin cakes the size of a tumbler-top. When coW take them off of the board with a knife.
The following recipes are no less good md somewhat more practical, and show that the peanut can be made into dishes that can be served with every course, from soup to dessert:
Peanut Soup.—Shell and hull carefully three pounds of roasted nuts; pound them to a smooth paste in a mortar. Put the paste into a saucepan, set it over a fire, and stir into it slowly two qua of boiling water; season well with salt and caj
pepper, and let it simmer gently until it thickens, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Serve very hot.
Peanut >'».'/' '"''•'' Oyttert.—Prepare three pounds of nuts aa in the preceding recipe; mix with the paste two tableepoonfuls of dour, smoothly blended with half a pint of cold water. Place the mixture in a saucepan over the tire, stir into it gradually a pint and a half of boiling water, or half milk and half water; add a email red pepper and a good pinch of salt, and boil fur fifteen minutes; then pat in one pint of fine oysters. Let the soup boil up on«e, taking care it does not burn, which it will do readily, and serve immediately.
thicken Stuffed with Peanuti.—Shell and hull two quarts of roasted nuts, pound them in a mortar, and take two-thirds for the stuffing, reserving the remainder for the sauce or gravy. Mix with the stuffing-paste one cup of fine cracker crumbs; season with a teaspoonful of salt and a sallspoonftil of cayenne pepper and a little chopped parsley; add one-third of a cup of melted butter. To make the peanut-sauce, remove the fat from the drippingpan after the chicken has been taken out, adding water sufficient to make nearly a pint. Thicken with floor, add salt, pepper, and the remainder of the plainest paste. Boil up once and serve.
Peanut Croguettei.—To make these, remove the shells and bulls from three pounds of roasted nuts; simmer them gently in good broth or gravy until they are soft enough to rub through a sieve with a potato masher. To each pint of this mixture add one ounce of butter and a-palatable seasoning of salt and pepper, and stir these ingredients over the fire until they are scalding hot, then place the saucepan where the eontents will keep hot without boiling; stir into them the yelks of six raw eggs, stirring the mixture constantly until the yelks thicken, taking care it does not boil, in which cafe the eggs will curdle. Cool the pur£e. Now wet the hands slightly with cold water and mold tablespoonfuls of the cold mixture into little pyramids. Boll them in cracker or bread-crumbs, dip them in beaten egg and then a tecond time in the crumbs, and drop them in boiling lard sufficient to cover them. When brown, take them out of the fat with a skimmer, lay them for a moment on coarse brown paper which will absorb the grease, sprinkle a little salt over them, and serve at once u a folded napkin.
Peanut Salad.—Have ready about three pints of freshly roasted nuts, carefully hulled, and place them in a dish of crisp, tender lettuce-leaves. Dress the salad with a plain French salad dressing made of one part vinegar, three parts oil, and highly seasoned with pepper and salt. The salad ahoild be eaten an soon as prepared, as it readily loeea its flavor and crispness.
Peanut Pattiet.—To one quart of roasted nuts pounded fine in a mortar, add ten well-beaten eggs, one pound of sugar, and a half a pound of batter. Line two dozen patty-pans with flaky puff-paste, and fill with the nut mixture. Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is done. Dust the patties with powdered sugar; they are equally good eaten either hot or cold.
Peanut Sovfflt.—Make a purge of roasted nuts by simmering them in a gravy and mashing them through a sieve; add to about three ounces six
ounces powdered sugar, two ounces of flour, a teaspoonful of salt, and stir in gradually a pint and a half of milk. Set the saucepan over the fire and stir ita contents until they have boiled two minutes; then set it to one side of the stove, where they will not boil, and stir for one minute. Separate the yelks of seven eggs from the whites and stir the yelks, one at a time, into the souffle' mixture, watching that it does not boil. Add the whites beaten to a stiff froth, stirring them in very lightly. Put the mixture very quickly into a twoquart tin mold lined with buttered paper that rises several inches above the top. Bake twenty minutes in a moderate oven, and serve the instant it is done.
Peanut Cakes.—Pound one pint of roasted peanuts to a smooth paste; mix in one pint of lightbrown sugar and the whites of five eggs, beaten stiffly. Put the mixture into small buttered pans, and bake in a fair oven to a light brown.
Source: Arthur's Home Magazine ©1884

Monday, April 18, 2016

19th Century Bedroom Furnishings Part 2

The first tidbit comes from a lecture given in England in 1880 by Edward Edis. The second comes from Ward & Lock's Home Book. In the book he continues on for an entire chapter so I've given a link.

The blinds of a bedroom should be of some soft toned colour, and not the vivid staring white and yellow to which we are so accustomed. I need not dwell further on this portion of my subject, as the cheerfulness and comfort of a bedroom is quite as much dependent upon the graceful taste of arrangement of the ladies of the house, as upon the upholstery and fittings with which it is furnished. There are innumerable small items of furniture which all tend to make up the general requirements of a bedroom, which with care and thought can be provided at comparatively small cost, in the way of hanging-glasses, jewel boxes, boot racks, bonnet cases, cases for medicine bottles, without lumbering up the generally small floor surface of the room, provided that they be thought of and arranged for, before any set or so-called ‘suite' of bedroom furniture is bought; for a few pounds all these necessary arrangements can be provided in suitable and useful form, in place of the usually extravagant, and ofttimes comparatively useless, articles of furniture which are generally considered necessary in the bedrooms of the house : chests of drawers should be so arranged that the lower portion may be adapted for clothes, while small flanking cup. boards may be provided on each side for the hundred and one small articles which are necessary in an ordinary family household, and which all help to make up the harmonious whole of a well-furnished house. In a small room the chest of drawers may be so fitted up that it shall do duty for a dressing-table with lookingglass complete, or the recesses formed by the chimney breast may be fitted with shelves and drawers, bonnet boxes and boot racks, all combined, with hanging spaces for clothes, at a much smaller expense than that of the elaborate and heavy articles which are sold as ‘wardrobes, and which all take up too much of the wall and floor space, in the usually cramped area, of an ordinary bedroom. The mantel-pieces may be fitted up with cupboards, shelves, and glasses, so as to add materially to the artistic character, as well as the general comfort of the room; and at a small expense a plain writing shelf or table may be attached to any of these pieces of furniture, and made to fold up or slide in, when not absolutely required for use. Often a bedroom is made to do duty as a private sitting-room as well, and too much care cannot therefore be taken to design the general furniture so that it may combine the necessary requirements for general use, as well as for the storage of clothes and linen, and so that the greatest amount of accommodation may be obtained in the smallest amount of space. Hanging book-shelves with cupboards on each side for medicine bottles are invaluable in a bedroom. I cannot too strongly advocate the desirability of all furniture being designed, in the general rooms of a town house, so that it may afford accommodation for the numerous requirements to which it has to be put, and cannot too strongly protest against the generally inconsistent and in great part useless articles, which are provided nowadays by ordinary upholsterers in the so-called ‘suite' of bedroom furniture. In my next and last lecture I shall endeavour to treat generally of the every-day articles of domestic USe. In decoration and furniture, it is above all desirable to avoid all eccentricity and seeming quaintness in design, with no particular use or object, to take care that everything in furniture shall be strong, serviceable, and fitting for its particular use, and to remember that elaboration and expense are really as unnecessary elements in the furnishing of a house as in dress and decorative.
Source: Decoration & Furniture of Town Houses ©1881

Bedroom Furniture—Necessary Articles—Bedsteads-Mattresses and BeddingBed Furniture-Bedclothes-The Washstand—Toilet Tables—The Toilet Glass —The Cheval Glass—Chests of Drawers^The Linen Press—The Lady s Wardrobe—The Gentleman's Wardrobe—Nfinor Articles—Invalid Furniture—lne Dressing Room—An Objectionable Habit—The Home Hospital.
268. BEDROOM FURNITURE. In treating of rooms used by day, it was necessary to regard each kind of reception room, and the furniture it contains, according to the use to which it is put. There will, however, be no occasion to do this in the present chapter, for the bedroom is the only kind of room used by night, and although bedrooms differ greatly from one another, according to the manner in which they are furnished, yet there is but one set of articles common to all, more or less of which articles are used. We will, therefore, glance briefly at the furniture that may be found in any well-appointed bedroom and its adjunct, the dressing-room.
260. DRESSING-ROOMS AND BEDROOMS. It is desirable that a dressing-room and bedroom should be immediately contiguous, and that there should be access to the dressing-room from the bedroom without having to go from the bedroom on to a landing to reach the dressing-room. In case of a married couple, for whom a dressingroom is far more necessary than for single persons, the dressing-room should be furnished with a view to the husband's use, and the bedroom for the special requirements of the wife. When the dressing-room is large enough, it should contain a bedstead at least 6 feet long by 2 feet 6 inches wide, which will prove of service on many occasions.

NECESSARY ARTICLES. In speaking of the furniture of the bedroom, we must notice the following articles:
1. The Bedstead, and its Palliasse, Mattresses, Bed, Bolster, and
2. The Bedclothes, consisting of Pillow and Bolster-cases, Sheets,
Blankets, Quilts, or Counterpanes.
3. The Washstand and its fittings, including Toilet-service, Toilet
pail, Can and Foot-bath, Water-bottle and Tumbler, Willow splash screen, frc.
4. The Toilet-table, with Toilet-glass, Toilet-cover, and Toilet-tailt
5. The Cheval Glass.
6. Chest of Drawers.
7. Lady's Wardrobe.
8. Bed-steps and Pedestal.
9. Towel Horse.
10. Bed Table.
In speaking of the furniture of the dressing-room, we need not notice more than —
1. The Gentleman's Wardrobe.
2. The Boot and Shoe Horse. All other articles that would find a place there having been mentioned with reference to the bedroom, we must then proceed to say a few words on— ,
Appliances for Hanging Clothes.
Source: Ward and Lock's Home Book ©18
The chapter continues, here's a link Chapter 14

Friday, April 15, 2016

Saw Horse

When I saw the image of the sawhorse in this children's primer I was surprised for a moment. Today most sawhorses that carpenters work with aren't in this shape. So, I thought it would make an interesting tidbit for writers. Enjoy!

There is another easy letter besides o and s. It is x. The letter x is easy, because it is shaped like a cross, or like the end of a saw-horse.
Look, now, at this picture, and see if you see any thing in it
that looks like an x.
It is a saw-horse. What is a saw-horse for? To saw wood. Each end of the saw-horse is formed of two bars crossing each other. The lower ends of the bars spread, and form the legs. Don't you see that the lower ends make legs?
The upper ends spread, and make places to rest the ends of the stick of wood in while the man" is sawing it.
Do you see the place where they put the stick of wood in this saw-horse when they saw it? Is there any wood in the sawhorse now? No, there is not. The sticks of wood are lying all about in the snow.
What a cold-looking place! The ground in the yard is covered with snow, and so is the roof of the house. Even the top of the chimney is covered with snow. See, too, how the snow is piled up against the windows, and against the door under the porch! The people ought to come out and shovel the paths.
But perhaps there are no people there. I think that if there were any we should see smoke coming from the chimney.
What is this picture put in here to show you? Do you think you shall know the x whenever you see it after this? Now we will turn over the leaf and see another picture.
Source: Learning to Read ©1856

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Rather than give you recipes for blueberries I thought these little tidbits from various states might spark some thoughts for some of your stories. Enjoy!

Blueberries and cranberries. The blueberries and cranberries, of which there are about eleven varieties in the state, include some well-known forms. Here are to be classified the bog huckleberry, the dwarf bilberry, the thin-leafed bilberry, the tall bilberry, the tall blueberry, the Canada blueberry, the low blueberry, the mountain cranberry or cowberry, the deerberry, the small and the large cranberry. Most of these are found only in the northern part the state, especially along the international boundary and the north side of Lake Superior, extending, as so many northern plants do, down the valley of the St. Croix, through which in early days Lake Superior drained into the Mississippi river.
Blueberries. The different kinds of blueberries or bilberries are to be discriminated by their foliage and by the flavor of the berries. The one most common is the dwarf or low blueberry, gathered in large quantities for the market. Its fruits are blue with a whitish bloom and are of very pleasant flavor, enjoyed alike by the Indians and the whites. The plant is a low shrub, with pale green leaves, not evergreen. Its flowers are vase-shaped, small, and white or pink.
The deerberry, which resembles the blueberry in some respects, is considerably larger—three or four feet in height. The berries, shaped like the blueberries, are greenish or yellow and not edible. This variety is also called the squaw huckleberry.
The Canada blueberry, found growing in much moister soil than the ordinary form, has smaller berries, of a blue color, with a bloom. It may be distinguished by the entire margins of the leaves, quite different from the notched margins of the low blueberry. The bog blueberry has pink flowers and small ovate leaves. The cowberry may be recognized by the sour red berries and the evergreen leaves. The flowers and fruits are in structure altogether similar to those of the blueberries.
Source: Minnesota Plant Life ©1899

New Hampshire
The Benton Range.
In the W. part of the town of Benton, and running nearly N. and S., is the chain of peaks which includes Owl's Head, Blueberry Mt., Hogsback Mt., Sugar Loaf, and Black Mt. Though not remarkable for altitude or mass, these summits are otherwise picturesque and interesting, and may be visited without great labor. The same town also contains the famous Moosilauke, another Black Mt. (now called Mt. Clough), and a part of the Blue Ridge. There are no accommodations for tourists here, and people who wish to explore the Benton Range must start out from Warren, Haverhill, or Newbury. The hotels at the latter points are better than that at Warren, and the difference in distance is small. Benton has but 375 inhabitants, and is famous for its quartz crystals and other minerals and ores.
Owl's Head is a spur of Blueberry Mt. to the S. W., and is faced by a fine preoipice, several hundred ft. high, of purple and other dark-hued rocks. Thousands of bushels of blueberries are gathered yearly on this ridge. The ascent is made from the highway, near Warren Summit, and is steep, but short. A vague path conducts through the lower thickets, and along the face of the ridge which looks off on the cliffs. Large crystals of epidote are found about the cliff.
Blueberry Mountain is the name given to the fine peak N. of and above Owl's Head. It may be easily ascended from Owl's Head in less thaii an hour, although a quicker route for tourists who do not care to visit the latter summit is to go up the N.-Benton road to a point about 7 M. from Warren, and then strike up the E. flank. For about 1 M. from the summit the mountain is free from trees and is covered with alternate bands of carpet-like moss and granite ledges moderately inclined. The work of ascent and exploration is thus rendered easy and pleasant. There is but a slight depression between Owl's Head and Blueberry Mt., the former being a bold spur of the latter rather than a detached mountain. On the highest point of Blueberry Mt. is a signal-beacon of the U. S. Coast Survey (2,800 ft. above the sea).
Source: The White Mountains ©1876

Dwarf Blueberry, Low Blueberry. Six inches to two feet high, usually forming straggling masses in dry woods and old fields. Common, and well known throughout the southeastern parts of the state. Fruit abundant, blue or black. The earliest blueberry of the markets.
Canada Blueberry. A straggling shrub, stouter than the preceding, which it resembles. Leaves and branches downy. Berries often oval, blue, somewhat acid. Probably never seen in the markets. Northern part of state.
Half-high Blueberry. Sugar Blueberry. Two or three feet high, with upright, slender, yellowish-green branches. Fruit harder, and keeps longer than that of any other species; usually very round, bright blue, and spicy. It has the most limited range of any of our blueberries. It is common on pine barrens, and sparingly found very near the Connecticut river as far north as the rapids at White River.
High Blueberry. A shrub ten to fifteen feet high, with stems sometimes two inches in diameter. It grows in moist lands and swamps. The wood is hard and very closeSgrained, useful for the handles of small tools. No attempts have been made to cultivate it, although it doubtless could be cultivated to advantage.
Male Blueberry, Stagger Bush. Shrub three or four feet high, with yellowish bark. In the same situations and much resembling the high blueberry, but the fruit a dry, globular pod instead of a berry. Sometimes poisonous to cattle. Southern parts of the state.
Source: The Forests of Vermont ©1886

The culture and improvement of the blueberry is also receiving attention. There are large areas in the State which at present are practically worthless but which with a little attention and the planting of a few hundreds or thousands of blueberry bushes might, in our opinion, be made to yield profitable returns. Again, if the little dry, unsatisfactory June berry is worthy of culture in the garden, and it is cultivated to quite an extent, there certainly seems to be a field for work in developing improved varieties of the much more promising blueberry.
Source: Agriculture of Maine ©1895

Wednesday, April 13, 2016