Wednesday, April 30, 2014

1867 Fashions Part 2

Continuing with 1867 Fashions today on Historical Fashion Wednesdays.

Walking Dresses

House Dress

Carriage Dresses


Everyday Clothing


Past Historical Fashion Posts

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

1871 Bread Factory

Over the years I've heard people think that there weren't manufactured goods in America until the late 19th Century. This is not the case. Today's post is a picture from the Evening Telegraph a Philadelphia, PA newspaper dated March, 11, 1871. In the picture you'll see a sketch of the interior of a bread bakery. You'll notice on the right hand side a table for kneading the bread, on the center table you'll see lots of loaves of bread. You'll also note a lot of pulleys and belts to move the baking pans through the ovens as well as mixing the dough. It's a great picture of an example of some of the earlier factories in this country.

If you'd like to read a little bit more about aerated bread check out this article in Wikipedia

Monday, April 28, 2014

Perserving Pears

Preserving fruit and vegetables was one of the things that our 19th Century characters had to do, especially if they lived in a rural setting. Below is some information from "Mackenzie's Five Thousand Receipts" ©1846

To preserve pears.
Having prepared a number of earthen-ware jars, and a quantity of dry moss, place a layer of moss and pears alternately, till the jar is filled, then insert a plug, and seal around with melted rosin. These jars are sunk in dry sand to the depth of a foot; a deep cellar is preferable for keeping them to any fruit room.
Another method.—Choice apples and pears are preserved in glazed jars, provided with covers. In the bottom of the jars, and between each layer of fruit, put some pure pit-sand, which has been thoroughly dried. The jars are kept in a dry airy situation, as cool as possible, but secure from frost A label on the jar indicates the kind of fruit, and when wanted, it is taken from the jars, and placed for some time on the shelves of the fruit room. In this way colmarts, and other fine French
Jears, may be preserved till April; the terling till une: and many kinds of apples till July, the skin remaining.

To preserve apples and pears. The most successful method of preserving apples and pears, is by placing them in glazed earthen vessels, each containing about a gallon, and surrounding each fruit with paper. These vessels being perfect cylinders, about a foot each in height, stand very conveniently upon each other, and thus present the means of preserving a large quantity of fruit in a very small room; and if the space between the top ol one vessel and the base of another be filled with a cement composed two partsof the curd of skimmed milk, and one of lime, by which the air will be excluded, the later kinds of apples and pears will be preserved with little change in their appearance, and without any danger of decay, from October till February and March. A dry and cold situation, in which there is little change of temperature, is the best for the vessels; but the merits of the pears are greatly inci cased by their being taken from the vessels about ten days before they are wanted for use, and kept in a warm room, for warmth at this, as at other periods, accelerates the maturity of the pear.

To preserve various sorts of fruit. By covering some sorts of cherry, plum, gooseberry, and currant trees, either on walls or on ushes with mats, the fruit of the red and white currant, and of the thicker skinned gooseberrytrees, may be preserved till Christmas and later. Grapes, in the open air, may be preserved in the same manner; and peaches and nectarines may be kept a month hanging on the trees after they are ripe.
Arkwright, by late forcing, retains plump grapes on his vines till the beginning of May, and even later, till the maturity of his early crops. In this way, grapes may be gathered every day in the year.
Another method.—But the true way to preserve keeping-fruit, such as the apple and pear, is to put them in air-tight vessels, and place them in the fruit cellar, in a temperature between 32 and 40 degrees. In this way all the keeping sorts of these fruits may be preserved, in perfect order for eating, for one year after gathering.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Steak some recipes and other tidbits

There's nothing quite like a good steak, unless you're a vegetarian and steak doesn't cut it for you. Most folks have their own way of cooking steak. Below are some recipes from various sources about cooking steak during the 19th century. I love this tidbit quote that comes from the first recipe "It is better to have the gentleman of the house wait for his steak than have the steak wait for the gentleman—be snubbed for having a thing good rather than have it poor."

To Cook a Steak.
The choice of cut varies with the taste of a family—porterhouse, tenderloin, round or rump; the two latter require more beating with the steak beater to break the tougher fiber. Break somewhat the fiber of the meat by beating with the steak-beater; lay the gridiron over bright but not too hot coals; place the steak on it, turn in two minutes, then again in two minutes. Take up the steak and press it into some soft butter on a warm platter; turn and press the other side; now lay again on the gridiron and finish by turning once or twice. A folding gridiron expedites and simplifies the cooking of steak. When sufficiently cooked place the steak on a warm platter on which is some soft butter, considerable salt and a dash of pepper; turn and press. Serve instantly. It is better to have the gentleman of the house wait for his steak than have the steak wait for the gentleman—be snubbed for having a thing good rather than have it poor. We decline to give a receipt for frying steak.
Source: The Home Messenger Book of Tested Receipts ©1878

To Cook a Beefsteak— Put a frying-pan over the stove till it becomes quite hot. Have your steak well pounded or mangled, — a sirloin steak is very good for this purpose, — lay it on the hot, dry pan and cover it instantly as tightly as possible. When the meat touches the heated pan it will seethe and adhere to it, but in a few seconds it will become loosened and juicy; turn the steak every half-minute, but be careful to do it as quickly as possible, so that it may not be long uncovered. When nearly done, sprinkle on pepper and salt, lay a small piece of butter on the steak, and add a table-spoonful of strong coffee. This makes a delicious broiled steak. Or, if you wish much gravy, shake a little flour over the steak when just done, and pour in three or four table-spoonfuls of cream, let it just boil up, under cover, and when the meat is done, take the pan from the fire, remove the meat, stir in quickly the well-beaten yelk of an egg, and serve hot. If cream is used, omit the coffee. Mutton or ham may be cooked in the same way, only they should be over the fire longer than beef.
Rump Steak, with Oyster Sauce. — Broil the steak nicely ; put four even table-spoonfuls of butter into a frying-pan, add pepper and salt to your taste ; shake in a table-spoonful of flour, and add the juice of half a lemon ; when it begins to boil up, put in as many oysters as can be used in this preparation ; let them heat through and just boil up once, taking care to shake the pan and keep its contents stirring all the time it is over the fire. When the oysters are done,—a pint to one steak is about the right quantity, —- pour all over the steak, and serve.
A French BroiL— Select a spider or saucepan with a smooth, clean bottom, set it over the range or stove till really hot, then lay on a good tenderloin or sirloin steak ; keep the spider very hot, and turn the steak as often as every two minutes, — no longer ; when half done, sprinkle over salt and pepper to suit the taste of those who are to eat it ; continue to turn the steak often till sufliciently done ; just as you are ready to take up and dish the steak, dust a little flour over it, spread on a table-spoonful of butter, or, if a large steak, 8. little more; turn it over, dust on more flour, and spread on the butter as on the first side; turn again, set the saucepan back from the hot fire, take the steak on to the platter, and set in a heater or oven to keep hot, but not to cook any more ; shake more flour into the butter in the saucepan, set again over the fire, and as soon as the butter bubbles up through the flour, rub it smooth with a spoon and pour in a few spoonfuls of boiling water ; stir constantly, and as soon as it thickens, pour over the steak, and serve hot.
Source: Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepers ©1873

This little tidbit is interesting:
If, friendly Reader, you wish to entertain your mouth with a Superlative Beef-Steak, you must have the inside of the Sirloin cut into Steaks. The next best steaks are those cut from the middle of a Rump, that has been killed at least four days in moderate weather, much longer in cold weather,—when they can be cut about six inches long, four inches wide, and half an inch thick: do not beat them, which vulgar trick breaks the cells in which the Gravy of the meat is contained, and it becomes dry and tasteless.
Source: Cook's Oracle ©1836

Beef Steak.
The tender loin is the best piece for broiling—a steak from the round or shoulder clod is good and comes cheaper. If the beef is not very tender, it should be laid on a board and pounded, before broiling or frying it. Wash it in cold water, then lay it on a gridiron, place it on a hot bed of coals, and broil it as quick as possible without burning it. If broiled slow, it will not be good. It takes from fifteen to twenty minutes to broil a steak. For seven or eight pounds of beef, cut up about a quarter of a pound of butter. Heat the platter very hot that the steak is to be put on, lay the butter on it, take up the steak, salt and pepper it on both sides. Beef steak to be good, should be eaten as soon as cooked. A few slices of salt pork broiled with the steak makes a rich gravy with a very little butter. There should always be a trough to catch the juices of the meat when broiled. The same pieces that are good broiled are good for frying. Fry a few slices of salt pork, brown, then take them up and put in the beef. When brown on both sides, take it up, take the pan off from the fire, to let the fat cool; when cool, turn in half a tea cup of water, mix a couple of tea spoonsful of flour with a little water, stir it into the fat, put the pan back on the fire, stir it till it boils up, then turn it over the beef.
Source: The American Housewife ©1841

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Florida Lynx

As an author of historical fiction, I come across information that is not commonly known. The Florida Lynx is such a tidbit. While working on a proposal someone questioned about a Lynx being in Florida. Their understanding was they were more common in northern states. Now, had I put the term "Florida Lynx" how the animal is actually referred to, perhaps I wouldn't have had the question asked of me.

I share this because, one, my manuscript will include the term Florida Lynx and not simply a Lynx. Two, because I think it is something for all historical authors as well as other writers, to keep in mind what the reader may or may not assume when reading our work.

Below is an excerpt from “The Land Mammals of Pennisular Florida and the Coast Region of Georgia” ©1898 concerning the Florida Lynx.
Lynx (cervaria) Ruffus Floridanus (Raf.).
Lynx floridanus Raf., Amer. mon. mag., 1817, vol. 2, p. 46 (based on the Lynx or wild cat of Bartram).
Lynx rufus var. floridanus Baird, Mam. N. Amer., 1857, p. 91, in text. Allen, Bull. Amer. mus. nat. hist., 1893, vol. 5, p. 32, in text.
Lynx ruffus floridanus Rhoads, Proc. Acad. nat. sci. Phila., 1897, p. 32, foot-note.
Type locality. Florida.
The Florida lynx is a common animal all over Florida and extends west to Louisiana and most probably north throughout eastern Georgia. It is a matter of great regret to me that Mr. Brown failed to secure specimens of lynx in Georgia, but undoubtedly L. floridanus is the form found there.

And this tidbit comes from "Birda & Nature" ©1899
Different writers have classified several species of the American lynx, including the Texas lynx, which is found in Texas, and southern California; the Oregon lynx, which inhabits northern Oregon and Washington. There is also a Florida lynx. It is believed there is not much justification for these divisions, which Brehm says are based principally upon the different markings of the fur, and that in a general way it may be said that the specimens obtained from southern climates have shorter fur, which is more brightly colored and more distinctly spotted than-those from the northern regions; but otherwise these animals do not differ in their habits and characteristics, which are those of the lynx group in general.

And finally this description of the Florida Lynx from "Encyclopedia Metropolitana ©1845
F. Floridana, Rafin.; Florida Lynx. Smaller than the Bay Lynx; ears not tufted; coat greyish, the sides varied with yellowish brown spots, and waving black rays. Native of Florida.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1867 Historical Fashions

It's Historical Fashion Wednesday and today's post is of 1867 clothing.

Historical Fashions Posts List

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Etiquette on Visiting Places of Amusement

When I see the word 'amusement' in terms of public settings I'm thinking Amusement parks with roller coasters and other fun rides. However, when our 19th century characters or ancestors mentioned the word it has a different connotation. During the 19th century they were generally meaning the theatre, opera, lectures and concerts.

Do Not accept an invitation to visit any place of public amusement, with a gentleman with whom you are but slightly acquainted, unless there is another lady also invited. You may, as a young lady, go with a relative or your fiancee, without a chaperon, but not otherwise.
Having received an invitation which it is proper for you to accept, write an answer immediately, appointing an hour for your escort to call for you, and be sure that you are ready in good season. To arrive late is not only annoying to those near your seat, whom you disturb when you enter, but it is ill-bred; you will be supposed to be some one who is unable to come early, instead of appearing as a lady who is mistress of her own time.
If the evening is cloudy, or it rains, your escort will probably bring a carriage; and let me say a few words here about entering and leaving a carriage.
How to get in is difficult, but of less importance than getting out; because if you stumble in, no one sees you, but some one who may happen to be in the carriage; but how to get out is so important, that I will illustrate it by a short diplomatic anecdote:—
"The Princess of Hesse-Darmstadt," says M. Mercy d'Argenteau, an ambassador of the last century, "having Deen desired by the Empress of Austria to bring her three daughters to court, in order that her Imperial Majesty might choose one of them for a wife to one of her sons, drove up in her coach to the palace gate. Scarcely had they entered the presence, when, before even speaking to them, the empress went up to the second daughter, and, taking her by the hand, said, 'I choose this young lady.' The mother, astonished at the sudlenness of her choice, inquired what had actuated it. 'I watched the young ladies get out of their carriage,' said the empress. 'Your eldest daughter stepped on her dress, and only saved herself from falling by an awkward scramble; the youngest jumped from the coach to the ground, without touching the steps; the second, just lifting her dress in front, so as she descended to show the point of her shoe, calmly stepped from the carriage to the ground, neither hurriedly nor stiffly, but with grace and dignity: she is fit to be an empress; her eldest sister is too awkward, her youngest too wild.'"

The Theatre.—Here you must wear your bonnet, though you may throw aside your cloak or shawl, if you desire it. Your escort will pass to your seats first, and then turn and offer his hand to lead you to your own. Once seated, give your attention entirely to the actors whilst the curtain is up—to your companion when it is down.
Do not look round the house with your glass. A lady's deportment should be very modest in a theatre. Avoid carefully every motion or gesture that will attract attention. To flirt a fan, converse in whispers, indulge in extravagant gestures of merriment or admiration, laugh loudly or clap your hands together, are all excessively vulgar and unlady-like. Never turn your head to look at those seated behind you, or near you.
If you speak to your companion while the curtain is up, lower your voice, that you may not disturb others interested in the conversation on the stage.

The Opera.—Here you should wear full dress, an opera cloak, and either a head-dress, or dressy bonnet of some thin material. Your gloves must be of kid, white, or some very light tint to suit your dress. Many dresp for the opera, as they would for the theatre; but the beauty of the house is much enhanced by each lady contributing her full dress toilette to the general effect.
If you go to the dressing-room, leave your hood and shawl in the care of the woman in waiting, whom you must fee when she returns them to you.
If you do not wish to go to the dressing-room, allow your escort to take off your shawl or cloak, and throw it over the back of the seat. As your opera cloak must be light enough to keep on all the evening, though you may throw it open, you must wear over it a heavier cloak or a shawl. Throw this off in the lobby, just before you enter your box. Your gloves you must keep on all the evening.
Avoid handling the play bills, as the printing ink will soil your gloves in a few minutes, making your hands appear very badly for the rest of the evening.
You should be in your seat at the opera before th« overture commences.
Never converse during the performance. Even the lowest toned remark will disturb a real lover of music, and these will be near you on all sides. Exclamations of admiration, "Exquisite!" "Beautiful!" or "Lovely!" are in the worst taste. Show your appreciation by quiet attention to every note, and avoid every exclamation or gesture.
In our new opera houses there are rooms for promenade, and between the acts your escort may invite you to walk there. You may accept the invitation with perfect propriety. He will leave the box first and then offer his hand' to you. In the lobby take his arm, and keep it until you return to the box. If you have taken your cloak or shawl to your seat, leave them there during your promenade. Return to your seat when the gong sounds the recall, that you may not disturb others after the next act commences.
In walking up and down in the promenading saloon, you may pass and repass friends. Bow the first time you meet them, but not again.
If you meet your gentlemen friends there, bow, but do not stop to speak. They may join you for once round the room, then allow them to leave you. Your escort will feel justly offended if you allow any other gentlemen to engross your attention entirely when he has invited you to the entertainment.
Concerts—Here, as at the opera, you may wear a bonnet or not, as you will. Go early to the hall, unless you have secured a seat, and then, be in time for tho first song. If you are unavoidably late, enter quietly, and take a seat near the door. It is very rude to push forward to the front of the hall, and either crowd those upon the tenches, or force some gentleman to offer you his place. If the hall is so crowded that even the back seats are full, and a gentleman offers you his place, you should thank him before accepting it.
Again, I repeat, do not converse, or disturb those around you by exclamations or gesticulations.

Lectures—Two ladies may attend a lecture, unaccompanied by a gentleman, without attracting attention.
The dress, bonnet, and cloak, worn in the street, should be worn in a lecture-room, as these are, by no means, occasions for full dress.
If you return at an early hour from any place of amusement, invite your escort into the house upon your arrival there, and lay aside your bonnet and shawl. If you keep them on, he will conclude that you expect him to shorten his visit. If it is late when you reach home, he will probably decline your invitation to enter. If, however, he accepts it, do not lay aside your shawl, and he will soon leave you.
If he asks permission to call in the morning, you must, unless prevented by an imperative engagement, remain at home to see him.

Upon your way home from the theatre, concert, or opera, speak warmly of the pleasure of the evening, and, at parting, thank him for that pleasure. Show by your manner that you have heartily enjoyed the entertainment you owe to his civility. If you are weary, do not allow him to see it. If disappointed, conceal that also. You will be able to find some good points in the performance; speak of these and ignore the bad ones.
If at the theatre, opera, or in a concert-room, you see an acquaintance, you are not expected to recognize her, unless near enough to speak. A lady must not bow tc any one, even her own sister, across a theatre or concert room.
Source: The Ladies' Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness:©1872

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.