Monday, April 21, 2014

1860 Tidbits Calendar Events

Below you'll find 3 charts. First is the Jewish Calendar for 1860, the second is the movable holidays for the Christian Church and the last is a chart for the seasons.
Jewish Calendar

Movable Christian Holidays


Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Luncheon

Hi all,

I hope this Easter holiday finds you have a great time with family and friends. And for those of you who believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, I pray God's blessings for you in the upcoming year.

Now in keeping with the holiday I found this interesting question asked by a reader in "Table Talk"©1895 and the answer below.

Mrs. C. P. W., Washington, D. C, writes: "Will you kindly give me an Easter luncheon menu, with decorations for same?"
Puree of Clams in Cups
Creamed Fish in Paper Cases
Sweetbreads with Mushrooms a la Bechamel
Asparagus with White Sauce
Lettuce Salad
Cheese Fondu

Ice Cream
An Easter luncheon would not alone seem to demand a profusion of flowers, but those most typical of the season. So the menu, decorations, etc., should be as white as possible, using green as the background color. For the centre pieces use a cut-glass bowl filled with lilies of the valley. Radiating from this as a centre lay the Easter lilies so as to bring a cluster of blossoms before each place. The long, spiky leaves of the stem fill the space between, making an effective decoration. White bon bons in cutglass dishes, so far as possible, and a white service, should be used. The candelabra should be of glass and silver, the candles white, and the shades, if green, should be white-lined to avoid the ghastly color thrown from the green. Ice-cream designs may be had of lilies, either in individual forms of the delicate lily of the valley or a large one of the Easter lily. Two or three years ago at an Easter luncheon one of Sherry's designs created great comment for its beauty. It was a large Easter lily composed of translucent sugar, and holding ice cream flowers of various colors. To the stem of the lily was tied by a delicate green ribbon a spray of natural lilies.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dyes and such

As I was working on my third book in the St. Augustine series, I was researching the historic use of how shepherds would mark which of his ewes have been with his rams. Today there is a harness to attach to the sheep but back then it was done differently. Which will be explained in my third book . In any case I did come across the dye red-ochre as part of the historical practice. This had me thinking about the various dyes and colors available for our 19th century characters.

Below is a link to a book The Manual of Colours and Dye Wares ©1870 that gives a great definition of each of the colors, and materials used for them. Such as this example about pomegranates.

Pomegranate Husks.—The husk or rind of the pomegranate fruit, though very rarely used in England, is a valuable astringent, containing about 32 per cent. of tannin of a fine quality. The blacks which it yields with iron have a peculiar softness and richness of colour. In Spain it is preferred to sumac.

However, this information from "The American Housewife" ©1841 is probably better suited to the needs of those writing in the American Historical time periods.

433. To Dye Black.
_ Allow a pound of logwood to each pound of goods that are to be dyed._ Soak it over night in soft water, then boil it an hour, and strain the water in which it is boiled. For each pound of logwood, dissolve an ounce of blue vitriol in lukewarm water sufficient to wet the goods. Dip the goods in—when saturated with it, turn the whole into the logwood dye. If the goods are cotton, set the vessel on the fire, and let the goods boil ten orfifteenminuieSjStirrin!-them constantly to prevent their spotting. Silk and woollen goods should not be boiled in the dye-stuff, but it should be kept at a scalding heat for twenty minutes. Drain the goods without wringing, and hang them in a dry, shady place, where they will have the air. When d ry, set the color by, put them into scalding hot water, that has salt in it, in the proportion of a tea-cup full to three gallons ot' the water. Let the roods remain in it till cold; then hang them where they will dry: (they should not be wrung.) Boiling hot suds is the best thing to set the color of black silk—let it remain in it till cold. Soaking black-dyed goods in sour milk, is also good to set the color. 434. Green and Blue Dye, for Silks and Woollens.
For green dye, take a pound of oil of vitrio1. and turn it upon half an ounce of Spanish indigo, that has been reduced to a tine powder. Stir them well together, then and a lump of pearl ash, of the size of a pea—as soon as the fermentation ceases, bottle it— the dye will be fit for use the next day. Chemic blue is made in the same mauner, only using half the quantity of vitriol, tor woollen goods, the East indigo will answer as well as the Spanish, and comes much lower. This dye will not answer for cotton goods, as the vitriol rots the threads. Wash the. articles that are to be dyed till perfectly clean, and free from color, if you caunot extract the color by rubbing it in hot suds, boil it out —rinse it in soft water, till entirely free from soap, as the soap will ruin the dye. To dye a pale color, put to each quart of soft warm water that is to be used for the dye.ten drops of the above composition—if you wish u deep color, more will be necessary. Put in the articles without crowding, and let them remain in it till of a good color—the dye-stuff should bo kept warm—take the articles out without wringing, drain as much of the dye out of them as possible, then bang them to dry in a shady, airy place. They should be dyed when the weather is dry—if not dried quick, they will not look nice When perfectly dry, wash them in lukewarm suds, to keep the vitriol from injuring the texture of the cloth. If you wish for a lively bright green, mix a little of the above composition with yellow dye. %
• 435. Yellow Dyes.
To dye a buff color, boil equal parts of arnotto and common potash, in soft clear water. _ When dissolved, take it from the tire; when cool, put in the gooda; which should previously be washed free from spots, and color; set them on a moderate fire, where they will keep hot, till the goods are of the shade you wish. To dye salmon and orange color, tie arnotto in a bug, and soak it in warm soft soap suds, till it becomes soft, so thai you can squeeze enongh of it throngh the hag to make the suds a deep yellow—put in trre articles, which should lie clean, anil free from color; boil them till of the shade you wish. There should be enongh of the dye to cover the goods—stir them while boiling, to keep them from spotting. This dye will make a salmon or orange color, according to the strength of it, and the time the goods remain in. Drain them out of the dye, and dry them quick, in the shade—when dry, wash them in soft soap suds. Goods dyed in this mauner should never be rinsed in clear water. Peach leaves, fustic, and saffron, all make a good straw or lemon eolor, according to the strength of the dyo. They should be steeped in soft fair water, in an earthen or tin vessel, and then strained, and the dye set with alum, and a little gum arabic dissolved in the dye, if you wish to stiffen the artiele. When the dye-stuff is strained, steep the articles in it.
436. Red Dyes,
Madder makes a good durable red, but not a brilliant color. To make a dye of it, allow for half a pound of it three ounces of alum, and one of cream of tartar, and six gallons of water. This proportion of ingredients will make sufficient dyo for six or seven pounds of goods. Heat half of the water scalding hot, in a clean brass kettle, then put in tho alum and cream of tartar, and let it dissolve. When the water boils, stir the alum and tartar up in it, put in the [roods, and let them boil a couple of hours; then rinse them in fair water—empty the kettle, and put in three gallons of water, and the madder; rub it fine in the water, then put in the goods, and set them where they will keep scalding hot for an hour, without boiling—stir them constantly. When they have been scalding an hour, increase the tire till they boil. Let them hoil five minutes; then drain them out of the dye, and rinse them, without wringing, in fair water, and hang them in the shade, where they will dry. To dye a fine crimson, take for each pound of goods two and a half ounces of alum, an ounce and a half of white tartar—put them in a brass kettle, with sufficient fair water to cover your soods; set it where it will boil briskly for several minutes; then put in the goods; which should be washed clean, and rinsed in fair water. When the goods have boiled half an hour, take them out, without wringing, and hang it where it will cool all over alike, without drying ; empty out the alum and tartar water, put fresh' water in the kettle, and for each pound of goods to be dyed, put in an ounce of cochineal, powdered fine. Set the kettle on the firo, and let tho water boil fifteen or twenty minutes; then put in sufficient cold water to make it lukewarm, put in the goods, and boil them an hour and a quarter—take them out without wringing, and dry them in a shady place). The blossoms of the Balm of flilead. stooped with fair water in a vessel, then strained, will dye silk a pretty red color. The silk should be washed clean, and free from Coit, then rinsed in fair wator, and boiled in the strained dye, with a small piece of alum. To dye a fine delicate pink, use a carmine saucer—the directions for dyeing come with the saucers. It is too expensive a dye for bulky goods, but for faded fancy shawls and ribbons, it is quite worth the while to use it, as it gives a beautiful shade of pink.
437. Slate-Colored Dye.
To make a good dark slate color, boil sugar-loaf paper with vinegar, in an iron utensil —put in ahim to set the color. Tea grounds, set with copperas, makes a good slate color. To produce a light slate color, boil white maple hark in clear water, with a little alum— the bark should be boiled in a brass utensil. The dye for slate color should be strained before the goods are put into it. They should be boiled in it, and then hung where they will drain and dry.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1874 Fashions Part 2

Continuing with 1874 fashions we have these great images from 19th Century sources. Last week we highlighted the men's fashions. This week I'm concentrating on the Ladies. Note that each of the dresses had different size bustles.

And some Ladies hair combs

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Table Service

In this article from Good Housekeeping ©1897 you'll find some still standards with regard to service but you'll also find a "new" style of setting the chairs, as well as some other tidbits. Enjoy!

"To feed, were best at home;
From thence, the sauce to meat is ceremony:
Meeting were bare without it."

A WELL-TRAINED waiter is a necessary factor in the success of any formal dinner, however small, since it is due to him that the serving is done with promptness and precision, and with no attendant clattering of plates or jingling of spoons; but it is a wise mistress who makes assurance doubly sure by a little definite preliminary instruction to the waiter, thus insuring deft service and the avoidance of all confusion or of any embarrassing waits between the courses.
The temperature of the dining room should be about sixty-seven degrees when dinner is announced. Later on, if the room becomes too warm (as is likely to be the case with a number of persons present and the burning of many lights), the waiter should lower a window or two, and see that the room is kept at the proper degree for the comfort of the guests.
A new wrinkle in dining room arrangement is to place the chairs at an angle with the table—all turned the same way—thus allowing each person to stand between his chair and the table in such a way that the left hand may draw the chair into place. This mode is particularly favored by the feminine element
of a dinner party, since long skirts are more easily and safely managed when the chairs are so placed.
Cold or waiting plates—one for each person—are laid at first upon every well-spread table. Upon these are placed smaller ones containing raw oysters or other appetizers. These are brought in first before dinner is announced. If oysters are served the plates are first covered with crumbled ice and then on each plate are arranged five raw oysters and a quarter of a large lemon, or the half of a small one. The oyster fork is laid with its points resting upon the waiting plate and its handle lying across the knives at the right. This fork is removed with the oyster plates.
When soup is to follow the oysters, the soup plates should be placed where they will become warm before the time to send them to table. When the oysters have been eaten, remove the plates, leaving the under ones to receive those containing soup, and, by the way, a soup plate should never be more than half filled. The pile of soup plates is then set before the hostess, the tureen of soup, with its cover removed to a side table, placed in front of them, and the hostess then ladles the soup into each plate, while the waiter, having first folded a little napkin over his thumb, places the plate upon a tray, carries it at once to the right of the person designated and sets it down upon the plate already at the place.
The rules governing the passing of foods by a waiter, are quite simple. When there is no choice to be made by the person served, the waiter carries everything to his right side, and when the waiter is to remove anything from before a person at table, he should lift it while standing at that person's right side. But when a person is to help himself from a dish, the waiter should carry the dish to his left side and should hold it very near to, or upon the table, while the person serves himself with a fork or spoon, or both, which should be placed upon the side of the food next to him.
While the soup is being taken the waiter arranges the roast upon its platter (which should be of ample size and there should be a gravy spoon placed upon it), brings in the vegetables and gravy boat and places them upon a side table. Then he removes the soup plates, going to the right of each person, taking up the waiting plate with the soup plate upon it, and carrying both away together.
Hot plates for the meat are now brought in. For the hosts convenience, these plates should be placed at his left side, unless he occupies a carver's chair, in which case thev may be set directly in front of him. The host ascertains the preference of his guests for rare or well done cuts, and as soon as the first plate is helped the waiter, thumb napkin in place, lifts the plate and carries it to the person mentioned by the host.
Then, while more meat is being carved by the host, the waiter places upon his tray one vegetable dish and the gravy boat, and carries them to the left of the person who has been served to meat. After the person has helped himself from these dishes the waiter sets the tray upon the side table and carries another cut of meat where the host directs, following it, as before, with the vegetable and gravy. When all present have been thus helped, another vegetable is passed round, also upon a tray, and this is followed by a third, if there are so many, also served in the same manner.
Olives and like relishes are now passed, usually from one person to another at a table arranged for the service of one waiter. Often celery and grated cheese aie also offered to the guests, though celery is not usually passed until after the dessert. The cheese, with a spoon upon it, is first passed, each person helping himself to a spoonful of the cheese which he places in the tiny plate at the left of his place. Next comes the celery to be eaten with the cheese, into which the ends of its staiks are dipped. When celery, for decorative effect, is kept upon the table during the entire dinner hour a pretty effect is obtained by heaping it up on a canoe-shaped glass dish, having the bottom of the dish first covered with crumbled ice with sparkling lumps of the ice scattered through and weighting under the crisp white stalks.
When the meat course is finished the waiter places the carving knife, fork and gravy spoon securely upon the platter and carries it away. Then the plates (with the knives and forks laid securely across them), are deftly removed, one in each hand, and the salad next brought in. The mistress usually serves the salad and French dressing for the same should be prepared at the table.
After the salad course, the tray cloths are removed, all eatables (except fruit and nuts), are taken away and the table brushed free of crumbs. Finger bowls placed on little doilies upon dessert plates are now brought to the table. If these plates are to be used for the dessert, the bowls and doilies must be drawn away to the left; but if a pudding is served, the finger bowl and plate must be set at the left side of the guest by the waiter and the pudding set down from the right side.
Finger bowls should not be quite half filled and the water should not be perfumed; though, if desired, a slice of lemon or a sweet geranium leaf may be afloat on the top
Coffee is served last, in small cups brought in on a tray and passed about to the guests. The sugar and cream are placed near the hostess and passed to whoever needs them.
Sometimes liquors are offered in place of coffee. The tiny glasses are carried round the table upon a pretty tray, and there is just a sip in each of them, merely enough to leave an agreeable flavor in the mouth.
More than three wines are seldom served at a dinner, and the preference is often given to but one. When more than one is used, as a rule, sherry is served with the fish, claret with the meat, and champagne with the dessert. Wineglasses should never
be more than two thirds full. In serving it, the waiter stands at the right hand of each person and mentions the name of the wine in a low voice. The person addressed responds by a nod of acceptance, or by motioning the bottle quietly aside with the right hand if he wishes to refuse it; but the most approved course is to allow a little of the wine to be poured into the glasses even if one does not drink it—and surely no one needs to be reminded that it is in the worst possible taste to discuss the propriety of drinking wine at a table where wine is served. When only one wine is provided the preference is usually given to claret, and the glasses are filled by the waiter as soon as they are emptied.
All wines should be brought to a proper temperature before drinking, and claret especially (being, but chilly stuff when first brought from a cool cellar), requires gentle warmth to develop the bouquet. Only the coarsest wines will stand being suddenly heated, and to place a delicate wine before a hot fire is destructive of its refinement. Perhaps the best plan for claret is to bring the bottle up some two or three days beforehand, and to keep it for that length of time at a temperature of between sixty and seventy degrees. And in decanting all sediment must be excluded, even at what may seem an extravagant proportion of the wine.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oyster Plates

While these Victorian era plates are collectables now they were in everyday use for our historical characters who lived in the 19th Century. Below you'll find various images of oyster plate designs from 1885 but I also found a great question from a reader and the answer in the following month's publication.

Will you tell me in the February magazine if possible whether to serve raw oysters in their own shells on cracked ice, or to serve them on regular oyster plates? I read a few days ago about oyster plates going into disuse. If this is true I shall not get any new ones. I want to serve them in the best manner.
Raw oysters are much more palatable if served very cold, and yet it is not desirable to have the oyster in direct contact with the ice, which if melting dilutes the delicate juice of the oyster more or less. Therefore epicures prefer the shallow soup plates partly filled with finely shaved ice, in which the oyster shells can be embedded, thus enabling the oysters to be thoroughly chilled with the protecting shell to keep them from the melting ice.
True, this could be done in a regular oyster plate, by keeping the plates containing the oysters on the halfshell in the ice chest for some time before serving.
But where oyster plates are used, generally the oysters are removed from the shell and put into the imitation shells or cavities in the plates. While it may be necessary to do this in places where it is impossible to procure oysters in the shell, and there is the advantage that such plates enable one to keep each oyster distinct and in good shape; still, such a style of serving oysters always lays one open to the suspicion that her oysters are not as fresh as they might be. And freshness as well as coldness is desirable in raw oysters. When served in their own shell there is less question of this. Therefore, if I lived where I could procure oysters in the shell I should not purchase plates with imitation shells, not simply because they are out of style, but because there are good and sufficient reasons why the shallow plates with ice are to be preferred.
Raw oysters are sometimes served in a block of ice, either in a mass, or in individual blocks; but this method has more of novelty than of culinary taste in its favor.
Source: The American Kitchen Magazine ©1897

Oyster Plate Designs

Then we have this article written in 1890 from the China Decorator
THIS is not the oyster season, but as in time of peace a nation prepares for war, so the china painter prepares in summer the wares for winter use. Oyster plates are supposed to be no longer in the style, and if we are to follow the fashion set by some shallow pated designer we would discard the plate and us,e in its place the new oyster shell, which a dealer tells us is the latest style. The dish, or whatever one may call it, is shaped like an oyster shell, is made of fine china, and to be decorated with the usual subjects chosen for fish and oyster services. As one could not serve the guest with a single bivalve, two or more china shells would be required for each person, and a small tray or some flat object on which to place the shells. It is expected, we are told, that the shell be taken up in the hand when the oyster, which still remains in its own shell, is eaten. This is real picnic style; if the first course dishes are to be held in the hands why not the other course dishes, and thereby dispense with the table. We were, undoubtedly, misinformed. The shells are probably intended for baking purposes and from which to serve the many fanciful preparations of crustaceous food. The importer, or clerk in an importing house, is often at a loss for a name that will fit a shape, or even an idea of the use for which it was originally intended, so he supplies both to the best of his ability, and as often misses as he hits an appropriate one.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Vinegar you'll never know when your character might need some

Vinegar is one of the most common and yet a very important ingredient for folks during the 19th Century. Below are some recipes from Mackenzie's Five Thousand Receipts in A. the Useful and Domestic Arts ©1846 Many recipes call for using different types of vinegar but rarely do you find recipes to make it. You'll see many recipes listed below. Perhaps one of your characters might be making some vinegar and perhaps they might have a mishap with vinegar. Enjoy and use your imagination.

To make vinegar.
Vinegar is used principally as a sauce and to preserve vegetable substances; but it is employed externally when an over dose of strong wine, spirit opium, or other narcotic poison has been taken. A false strength is given to it by adding oil of vitriol, or some acrid vegetable, aspellitory of Spain, capsicum, &c. Tt is rendered colourless by adding fresh burned bone black, 6 ounces to a gallon, and letting it stand for two or three days to clear. Mix cider and honey, in the proportion of 1 lb. of honey to a gallon of cider, and let it stand in a vessel for some months, and vinegar will be produced so powerful, that water must be mixed with it for common use.
Another method.—Scheele, a celebrated chemist, has recommended the following recipe: Take 6 spoonsful of good alcohol; to this add 3 pints of milk, and put the mixture into vessels to be corked close. Vent must be given from time to time to the gas of fermentation. In the course of a month, this will produce very good vinegar.
Another.—Put into a barrel of sufficient dimensions a mixture composed of 41 wine pints of water, about 8 pints of whiskey, {Veau de vin de grain) about 2 wine pints of yeast, and 2 pounds of charcoal, and place it in a proper situation for fermentation. At the end of 4 months a very good vinegar will be formed, as clear and as wnite as water.
Common vinegar. This is made from weak mait liquor, brewed for 'the purpose: its various strength is, in England, denoted by numbers, from 18 to 24. Another.—To every gallon of water put 1 lb. of j coarse Lisbon sugar; let the mixture be bo!led and ! skimmed as long as any scum arises. Then let it be poured into proper vessels: and when it is as cool as beer, when worked, let a toast, rubbed over vith yeast, be put to it. Let it work about 24 hours, and then put it into an iron-hooped cask, fixed either n ar a constant fire, or where the summer sun shines the greater part of the day; in this situation it should not be closely stopped up; but a tile, or something similar, should be laid on the Dung hole, to keep out the dust and insects. At the end of about 3 months (sometimes less) it will be clear and fit for use, and may be bottled off. The longer it is kept, after it is bottled, the better it will be. If the vessel containing the liquor isto be exposed to the sun's heat, the best time to begin making it is in the month of April.
Wine vinegar. Take any sort of wine that has gone through fermentation, and put it into a cask that has had vinegar in it; then take some of the fruit or stalks of which the wine has been made, and put them wet into an open-headed cask in the sun, with a coaise cloth over the top of it, for six days—after which, put them in the vinegar, and stir it well about— then put it in a warm place, if in winter, or if in summer, put it in a yard in the sun, with a slate over the bung. When the vinegar is sour enough and fine, rack it off into a clean sour cask, and bung it up; then put it in the cellar for use. Those wines that contain the most mucilage are fittest for the purpose.
The lees of pricked wine are also a very proper ingredient in vinegar.
Sugar vinegar. To each gallon of water add 2 lbs. of brown sugar, and a little yeast; leave it exposed to the sun for six months, in a vessel slightly stopped. Gooseberry vinegar. Bruise the gooseberries, when ripe, and to every quart put three quarts of water; stir them well together, and let the whole stand for 24 hours, then strain it through a canvass hag. To every gallon of liquor add 1 lb. of brown sugar, and stir them well together before they are put into the cask. Proceed in all other respects as before. This vinegar possesses a pleasant tante and smell; but raspberry vinegar, which may be made on the same plan, is far superior in these respects. The raspberries are not required to be of the best sort, still they should be ripe and well flavoured.
Currant vinegar. This is made in the same way as that from gooseberries, only pick off the currant i from the stalks. Primrose vinegar. To 15 quarts of water put 0 lbs. of brown sugar; let it boil ten minutes, and take off the scum; pour on it half a peck of primroses; before it is quite cold, put in a little fresh yeast, and let it work in a warm place all night; put it in a barrel in the kitchen, and when done working, close the barrel, still keeping it in a warm place.
Raisin vinegar. After making raisin wine, lay the pressed raisins in a heap to heat, then to each cwt. put 10 gallons of water, and a little yeast Cider vinegar. The poorest sort of cider will serve for vinegar, in managing which proceed thus.—First draw off the cider into a cask that has had vinegar in ;.t before; then put some of the apples that have been pressed into it, set the whole in the sun, and in a week or 9 days it may be drawn off into another cask.—This is a good table vinegar.
Vinegar from the refuse offruits. Take the skins of raisins after they have been used in making wine, and pour three times their own quantity of boiling water on them; stir them veil about and then set the cask in a warm place,
[ close covered, and the liquor, in a week, when I drawn off from its sediment, put into another cask and well bunged down, will be a good vinegar for the table.
Vinegar from the refuse of bee-hives. When honey is extracted from the combs, by means of pressure, take the whole mass, break and separate it, and into each tub or vessel put one part ol-combs, and two of water; place them in the sun, ! or in a warm place, and cover them with cloths. Fermentatiou takes place in a few days, and continues from 8 to 12 days, according to the higher or lower temperature of the situation in which the operation is carried on. During the fermentation, stir the matter from time to time and press it down with the hands, that it may be perfectly soaked. When the fermentation is over, put the matter to drain upon sieves or strainers. At the bottom of the vessels will be found a yellow liquor, which must be thrown away, because it would soon contract a disagreeable smell, which it would communicate to the vinegar. Then wash the tubs, put into them the water separated from the other matter; it immediately begins to turn sour; when the tubs must be again covered w;th cloths, and kept moderately warm. A pellicle or skin is formed on their surface, beneath which the vinegar acquires strength; in a month's time it begins to be sharp, it must be left standing a little longer, and then put into a cask, of which the bung-hole is left open. It may then be used like any other vinegar. To strengthen vingar. Suffer it to be repeatedly frozen, and separate the upper cake of ice, or water from it.
All vinegars owe their principal strength to the acetic acid they contain; but the vinegar of wine contains also a tartar, a small portion of the malic i acid, alcohol, and colouring matter: that of cider I contains merely the malic acid, little or no alcohol, and a yellowish colouring matter. Vinegars from orange and elder fiotaers, clove, gillifloxvers, mush roses, &c. Dry an ounce of either of the above flowers, (except the orange flowers, which will not bear urying), for two days in the sun; then put them into a bottle, pour on them a pint of vinegar, closely stop the bottle, and infuse 15 days in moderate heat ol the sun. Vinegars of any other flowers, as tarragon, etc. may be made in a similar manner. To prepare ice vinegar. Saturate 3 or 4 pounds of purified potash with wine or beer vinegar, which has been distilled over charcoal powder; evaporate the saturated liquor to the consistence of a d. y powder, of which put 3 lbs. accurately weighed, when still warm, into a glass, previously heated, and shut it with a glass stopper. Then pour 3 lbs. of sulphuric acid into a retort, provided on its upper part with a pipe, and join to it a receiver, large enough for containing about 20 pints of water. Begin to add to the sulphuric acid the above salt in small portions: shaking and stirring it frequently. After having mixed all the salt, add by degrees 1 lb. more of sulphuric acid, and shut the pipe with a wet bladder: suffer the whole to stand quietly one night. The next morning place the retort into the sand-pot of a furnace so deeply, that the sand between the bottom of the pot and the retort be oiAy about half an inch thick; put the receiver into a refrigeratory filled with very cold water, after which apply a gentle fire. About an hour after, the distillation commences by white fumes appearing in the vessels, at which time the fire must be very carefully managed. The drops that go over may succeed one another quickly, without any danger of the vessels being cracked: but be very careful that no coherent streams run over, and likewise take care that the thick ana
white fames only lodge in the lowest part of the receiver; and when they begin to rise, particularly with a whirling motion, take the tire immediately out of the furnace. It is, besides, necessary to refrigerate often the upper part of the receiver with cold water, or, which is still better, with snow or ice. The ending of the distillation is known by the disappearance of the white fumes, by the drops running over much slower, and particularly by the liquefaction of the residuum to a black frothing fluid, that goes easily over into the receiver. At the moment of the liquefying and frothing of that substance, the receiver ought to be taken off, and another put on, into which 5 or 6 dr. of a much weaker and disagreeably smelling acetous icid will go over; that, however, may be used for purifying the ice vinegar from the adherent sulphurous acid; when, after having diluted with water, it is saturated with barytes, filtrated, and evaporated to dryness. The residuum is ground to a fire powder, and, together with charcoal powder, added to the ice vinegar; after which the mixture ought to be rectified over a gentle fire, to the dryness of the residuum. Of 3 lbs. of acetate of kali, 22 oz. of ice-vinegar were obtained by this method. To make guass.
Mix rye flour and warm water together, and leave it till it has turned sour. Th-s vinegar is much drank in Russia; it loooks thick and unpleasant at first, but becomes agreeable by use. Distilled vinegar. This is obtained from vinegar by distillation, rejecting the 4th or 8th part that comes over first, -find avoiding its acquiring a burnt flavour.
Distilled vinegar is weaker than the common, but is used sometimes in pickles, where its want of colour is an advantage.
Improved distilled vinegar. Obtained from wood distilled in large iron cylinders for the manufacture of charcoal for gunpowder; when rectified it is used for all the purposes of distilled vinegar. To deprive vinegar and otlier vegetable liquids of their colour.
To take away the colour of vinegar, a litre of red wine vinegar, cold, is mixed with 45 grammes of bone-charcoal, in a glass vessel. Shake this mixture from time to time, and in two or three days the colour completely disappears. When the process is to be performed in the large way, throw the charcoal into a cask of vinegar, which must be stirred from time to time. The highest coloured red wines treated in the same manner become perfectly limpid. Ivory black possesses the same property as bone black.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1874 Fashions

These historical fashions are taken from 19th Century resources.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

1885 Dish patterns

Below are some images from The Art of Interchange ©1885 with various designs on the newest service wares.
The first image is for an After Dinner coffee cup

After Dinner Coffee Cup and Saucer Japanese Design

Plate Design

Japanese Sugar Bowl

Teacup and Saucer

Oyster Plate with Depression in the middle

Another Oyster Plate

And yet another Oyster Plate Design

Monday, April 7, 2014

Piano & Table Scarfs

Below is a description of the various types of scarfs for use on the piano or table. Various colors and fabrics are noted for specific locations.

The scarf, as its name indicates, is a long and comparatively narrow covering or adornment, that has grown in favor and almost entirely superseded the ordinary covers formerly in use. There is no rule as to their width, or length, or manner of adominga piece of furniture; some are laid across the width of the table, some down the length, with ends hanging: some are used diagonally. They are made variously of silk, cotton, and linen momie, of plush, velvet, felt, satin, pongee, and in fact of any textile of good color, weave and substance. Painting in oil, water-color, dyes, iridescent colors, and colored bronzes, silver and gold; embroidery, appliques in velvet, leather, satin, beads, plush and metals; drawn work, lace, and ribbon work are among the forms of scarf decoration.
For ordinary wear in bed-chambers and sitting-rooms, washable fabrics are mostly in use for table-scarf making, and for use in summer rooms, whether parlor, drawing-room or chamber. A great variety of embroidery stitches may be seen on one scarf, take. for example, a cream white linen exhibited by the Decorative Art Society. On the soft ground is embroidered in button-hole stitch in linen floss, a border of bold arabesques outlined in Kensington stitch in dark blue working cotton with very pleasant effect. Basket stitches of various kinds. lace stitches, feather, coral. and herringbone in linen floss figure in this border. On either side is a band of herringbone in linen floss, between lines of blue stitching. The finish of this lovely scarf is a deep antique lace enlivened by dark blue filling-in in various stitches. A second scarf is composed of a cream tinted linen on which is embroidered an all-over design of boldly outlined poppies. worked in dark blue cottons outlined by linen flosses, the foliage putlined and partially filled in, as the flowers are, in soft olive-greens. A deep, ravelled fringe, with a knotted heading, is the finish of this pretty garniture. Kensington crepe forms the ground of a third small table scarf on which are embroidered, in colored silks, outline disks irregularly grouped, some enclosed geometric ornament, others a spray of blossoms. A very handsome scarf also shown is composed of Italian toweljng, showing abird's-eye figure and a border charmingly conventionalised from the blue corn flower, which is shown worked in dark blues. the foliage and scrolls in olives. A handsome scarf in linen momie is effectively bordered by appliques from the washable “dimity cretonne," a new fabric showing very bold designs and soft colorings. Madras, in anotherinstance, is made to do duty very effectively by being laid over another material as a border. the flowers being worked to the ground by outline stitch in colored silks; in this case the web of the Madras is almost invisible, and the effect is like that of needle work and painting. Old-gold and pale blue narrow ribbons, run through drawn work at the ends of finer linen scrym, make a dainty scarf for a small polished table.
Piano scarfs for summer cottages may be charmingly made of dyed Bolton sheeting, which has a heavy body and soft surface, rendering it suitable for the purpose. On a width of dull blue Bolton sheeting may be applied a broad band of deep cream tinted velvet, couched to the sheeting by a heavy blue silk cord. A pomegranate conventional design is shown on the soft surface done in triple coaching of heavy blue and red silks with a slender gold cord. The finish of this scarf is composed of a deep fringe of heavy blue silk, with occasional threads of gold. This scarf is to hang across the top of a cottage piano and show the velvet border and fringe at the front of the iano. For the ordinary iano the scarf is laid engthwise and must have oth ends finished. For a grand piano the scarf is often thrown across the front part of the body, that is to say, behind the music rack. A band of velvet, embroidered
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with some bars of song music in gold is a pretty decoration, applied to scarf of gray linen. Tassels and fringes are employed on these scarfs in ways to suit individual taste.
The richer table and piano scarfs employ all sorts of beautiful silken fabrics. Gold couching and appliques seem to be the leading favorites in decoration. They have this in their favor, so much is accomplished by comparatively little labor and the results are often exquisite. One of the most effective scarfs shown is composed of the deepest shade of 01d~gold silk Turcoman. On a broad band of deep old-gold velvet are scattered irregular groups of disks in golden bronze plush, on these are painted in cream white and gold great whitemagnolia blossoms. the large leaves in tawny browns and golds. The bottom of this scarf is simply finished by a very deep fringe of the ravelled Turcoman with a few gold threads twisted in effectively. A second scarf for a piano is somewhat similar, being composed of sagegreen silk Turcoman bordered by deep bands of sage velvet, on which are painted in bronzy browns and golds bold groups of autumnal oak leaves. Kensington painting decorates with fine effect a scarf of peacock-blue velvet. The design, conventional in character, shows a border with irregu‘ar network enclosing nasturtium-like flowers in orange, red-olive and silver-green bronzes. A handsome border of half diamond figures in red and olive bronzes encloses the main design on either side. A deep edging of Cluny lace painted in colored bronzes finishes this sumptuous scarf, lined with soft peach-blossom pink Chinese silk. A very striking table scarf is composed of silvergreen plush, showing a deep border of ivorywhite satin darned in heavy gold silk, throwing up an outlined design of flowers and leaves in gold couching. Another piano scarf for an upright piano, or suitable for a table, is composed of pale purple silk momie The decoration is formed by a broad band of white linen momie, the ground of which is darned all over with a sort of honeycomb stitch in pale crimson. Thrown up on the white momie is a beautifully arranged pomegranate design in gold and red outline and partially filled in with button-hole and basket stitches. The finishing fringe is composed of the raveliings of the purple momie and the pale, silver-green lining silk.
Perhaps one of the most unique scarfs is one composed of a lovely salmon colored domestic silk, on which is thrown up a bold horse-chestnut design in pink. The worker utilising this pink design for a border has outlined it in gold couching, and filled in portions of the great nut~forms with solid darning in deep, dull pinks and olivegreens. The ravelled pink and salmon silk makes a charming finish. Wheeled disks, rayed disks and solid disks in gold thread form the striking ornament of a deep garnet scarf in felt We must not omit lastly to mention a very delicate scarf of the palest peach-bloom plush lined with peach colored silk. Across the ends are applied Oriental arabesques in silver thread, pale lavender, green and pink silks. The fringe, composed of pale pink saddlers’ silk, is enlivened by silver threads, the whole forming a lovely piece of decoration for a drawing-room table.
Source: The Art of Interchange ©1885

Friday, April 4, 2014

Egg Collecting

Here's an interesting hobby you're historical characters might participate in. Or they might be on the opposite side that felt egg collecting was wrong, taking away future generations of the birds. The article below is about the process of collecting and storing the eggs. But I did find several articles that did not favor the art.

Collecting Eggs.—In connection with a collection of nests, each nest holding its own lawful and original contents, a good collection of birds' eggs possesses much interest and beauty.
In collecting and preserving eggs, the most difficult feature of all is to remove the embryos successfully. In the days when I diligently collected eggs in many lands, it seemed to me that out of every dozen eggs I gathered, about thirteen contained from one to two embryos each 1 But there are ways in which this difficulty can be successfully overcome.
The full set of eggs laid by a bird for one brood is called a "clutch," and in collecting it is of scientific importance that whole sets should be collected and always kept separate, and the number of eggs in each set taken should be recorded.
Eggs are always blown through a small, round hole in the middle of one side, preferably in each instance on the poorest side of the egg, if it has one. Of course, the smaller the egg, the smaller the drill must be, and the greater the care in handling. It is often a good plan to pierce the shell with a needle in order to furnish the drill a point of attack. If an egg is cracked, or happens to be of such value that it must be saved at all hazards, reinforce it by pasting narrow strips of goldbeater's skin or court-plaster across the line of fracture.
Having drilled the hole, insert the end of a small wire, having a small portion of the end bent at a right angle, and if the embryo has not begun to develop, or happens to bo quite small and soft, twirl the wire rapidly between your thumb and finger, to thoroughly break up the contents of the egg. Having accomplished this, insert the tip of your blow-pipe (the best in the world consists of a tube of glass bent at a right angle and terminating in a fine point, with the large end set in the end of a rubber bulb, which saves the mouth and lungs all trouble) and with gentle and gradual pressure blow in air. Hold the egg with the hole downward, of course, so that the contents will run out freely. Go slowly and carefully, even coaxingly, for too great pressure will burst any ordinary egg in two parts very neatly. If the embryo is small and disposed to be accommodating, help it out by inserting the point of your smallest scissors, snipping it to pieces, and then drawing out the parts, one by one, with your smallest forceps.
Having emptied the egg of its contents, introduce some clear •water by way of the blow-pipe, wash out the inside thoroughly, and in case the egg is in a clean, healthy condition, it can now be laid away on cotton or corn-meal, with the hole downward, to drain and get dry. Observe this point, however. The thin, membranous lining of an egg, which the point of the drill pierces but cannot cut away, often closes together inside.the hole so closely as to retain, for some time, whatever water might chance to remain. For this reason it was my custom to cut away this membrane around the edges of the hole. Captain Bendire remarks that "eggs that have been thoroughly cleaned will retain their original color much better, and insects or mice are not so apt to trouble them."
Eemoving Lahge Embryos.—It often happens that eggs are taken quite near the hatching point, containing embryos so lusty in size, and so "very fillin'" that their successful ejectment seems impossible. Nil desperandum. The way out of the difficulty is through a very small hole. On this point I appealed to the highest authority, Captain Bendire, and he kindty gave me, in general substance, the following directions:
In the first place, make up your mind to go slow, and take plenty of time. If the egg is valuable and the embryo is large, reinforce the egg all over with strips of gold-beater's skin or court-plaster. Having drilled a fairly large hole, then insert the head of a needle in a small stick for a handle, and with the point pierce the embryo in twenty or thirty places. The egg sac, which is always present, should be taken out, if possible with the forceps, to give room for water.
Having cleared out the egg as far as possible, fill it up with water to assist in the decomposition of the embryo. Cover the bottom of a box with a layer of cornnleal or saw-dust; lay the egg on this, with the hole upward (still full of water), cover the box, and place it under a stove or in any other place warm enough to hasten the process of decomposition. Work at the egg a little about every alternate day, but without hurrying matters, and keep this process in operation until the embryo softens, falls to pieces, and is ready to be drawn out piecemeal. In removing a large embryo, try to get hold of the tip of the mandible with the small forceps, so that it can be drawn out, point foremost, without splitting the shell.
Eggs that emit an offensive odor after they have been blown need to bo rinsed out with carbolic acid and water, or some equally good disinfectant.
It is, of course, to be understood that eggs must be clean on the outside before they are fit for the cabinet. Usually soap and warm water is sufficient to remove dirt and stains, but occasionally a particularly hard case calls for the addition of a little washing soda in the water. The last washing, however, should always bo iu clour water.
Inasmuch as a label cannot bo attached to an egg, the data necessary to give the egg a respectable position in the oological world must be written on the under side of the egg itself, either in lead pencil or India ink, which is capable of being erased at will.
The following are the data that should be recorded on every egg collected and kept:
1. Name of species, or number in A. O. U. check list, if North American.
2. Collector's number, which belongs to every egg of a given set, and refers to his catalogue and field notes.
3. Number of eggs in the set, or "clutch."
4. Date in full.
In packing eggs for shipment, a great many small boxes of wood or tin are absolutely essential, and in these the eggs must be carefully packed in cotton, each one separated from the rest of the world by a layer of cotton. It is an excellent plan to wrap every large egg separately in cotton, as oranges ore wrapped in papers. Captain Bendire recommends the making of divisions, one for each egg, with strips of pasteboard, like the crates in which egg producers pack eggs for shipment to market. This gives each egg a compartment by itself, with a bit of soft cotton cloth at top and bottom. If produce dealers can afford to take such care of eggs worth only thirty cents per dozen, surely oologists can do the same when they are within the pale of civilization, and can get the materials.
At the National Museum the duplicate eggs are stored in small, rectangular, shallow pasteboard trays, or half boxes, each of which has its bottom covered very neatly and exactly with a section of cotton wadding, which gives a soft, springy cushion for the eggs to lie on without the undesirable fluffy looseness of ordinary cotton batting.
Source: Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting ©1897

Thursday, April 3, 2014


It's that time of year down here in Florida when we fire up the grill as often as possible. Georgia made Barbecues popular and the excerpt below comes from The Strand Magazine ©1898 at the end of the 19th century when Barbecues had traveled the country and large groups gathered to enjoy the feasts. After the pictures is an excerpt from Current Opinion ©1895 that gives a great description of a Georgian Barbecue.

By John R. Watkins.
O one who has had the good fortune to attend a barbecue will ever forget it. The smell of it all, the meat slowly roasting to a delicious brown over smoking fires, the hungry and happy crowds waiting in patience until the spits are turned for the last time, and the clatter of thousands of dishes as they are set upon the long tables before the hungry multitude—all this lingers in the memory, and makes one long to see a '"cue" again.
For " "cue " is what they call it in Georgia, where it has been famous for many, many years. England has'its roast beef and plumpudding dinners, Rhode Island its clambakes, Boston its pork and beans, but Georgia has its barbecue which beats them all.
And the article continues Here

However there are some great pictures of these barbecues in the magazine which I'm posting below:
Georgia Barbecue
New York Barbecue

Just as the Creole Kitchen represents the living of the Southern coast country, so the Georgia Barbecue gives an insight into a true open-air Southern feast. Whoever first thought of a barbecue, and why it should be strictly Southern, is not on record. It is just as easy to make a pit, fill it with coals, and roast meat over it in New Hampshire as it is in this State, and yet barbecues are associated exclusively with the life of the South. Perhaps it was the art of Southern cooking that established their fame and made it noted as one of the royalest of feasts. The inner Georgia man longs for the barbecue. About the first of June you will hear the male folks around the dry-goods boxes in Southern towns expressing their longing for the barbecued meat, with the longing for gore of the giant in Hop o' My Thumb, and the result is that a feast of this kind is quickly planned to be held on the farm of one of the hungry parties. The barbecue is in the Exposition grounds, on the left side of the entrance, in a shady nook with a spring near by—for no barbecue is complete without this rock-incased living stream of water. Neither is it perfect without the long tables rudely made of boards beneath the trees. The Georgia Colonel who has charge of this feast is a famous cook; he is from Wilkes County, Ga., the place where barbecues first originated, and has inherited his talents from past generations. The process of barbecuing sounds barbarous, and it is one of the relics of barbarity that it will take a long time for Georgians to cultivate a dislike for.
The night before the roast, Col. Calloway had his men make a fire of pine bark in the pit. This fire is kept up all night, and in the morning the earth is red hot, through and through, for several feet. In another pit another fire is kept constantly burning, so as to replenish the roasting pit with hot coals. The carcasses are speared through by hickory limbs, and laid across the fire, to be turned from time to time until done. Some barbecue authorities baste the meat as it cooks, but Col. Calloway's method is to cook the meat without basting, and then lay it, when done and cut, into great dishes of gravy made of butter and highly seasoned with pepper, salt, and vinegar. The genuine barbecue begins at 12 o'clock, and, though you may not be hungry, you begin to be so when you sniff the savory odors from afar. There is something indescribably delicious about meat cooked in this way, and delicious, too, are the other things that go with it. There is a succulent stew made of corn, tomatoes, ochra, onions, carrots, green peppers, and meat boiled to shreds, which forms an important part in the barbecue menu; and another stew is made of the tongues, heads, and feet of pigs whose carcasses have been roasted. This is good, but very rich, and likely to make one see the dreams that little boys see the night after Christmas. The strangers gather in crowds to watch the roasting over the pit, and they seem to enjoy the life about it quite as much as the culinary part, for the genuine little negro of the Topsy type, the country cracker with his weary, forlorn wife, his swarm of children, and their yellow dog, can be found here in their natural state.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

1866 Fashions Part 2

It's Historical Fashion Wednesday and were continuing with 1866 emphasizing women's outfits.