The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A January recipe and a knitting pattern

image from Grandma's Graphics.
It's been alternately cold, windy and foggy, and cool, windy and sunny for the past week or so. The wind has been really strong, and the sun -- when it's out -- doesn't really feel warm at all. Time for a nice dish of something warm and comforting, and something warm to wear.

How about a nice pot of bean soup? This is a compilation of several 19th century recipes, put together by a living history re-enactor of my acquaintance. It sounds like a really simple and tasty recipe!

Bean Soup.
1 lb. white beans
water to cover the beans
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small/medium onion, chopped
1 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
ham or well-rinsed salt pork, diced

Brown the meat and garlic in the soup pot, then add and brown the onions. Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Let boil until the beans are tender.

But it needs some nice warm bread to go with it, I think. Then again, I would eat warm bread with just about anything! Here are a couple of 18th century recipes from Hannah Glasse:

"To make a Scotch Rabbit. Toast a piece of Bread very nicely on both sides, butter it, cut a slice of Cheese, about as big as the Bread, toast it on both sides, and lay it on the Bread."

"To make a Welch Rabbit. Toast the bread on both Sides, then toast the Cheese on one Side, lay it on the toast, and with a hot Iron brown the other side. You may rub it over with Mustard."

"To make an English Rabbit. Toast a Slice of Bread brown on both sides, then lay it on a plate before the Fire, pour in a Glass of Red Wine over it, and let it soak the Wine up; then cut some Cheese very thin, and lay it thick over the Bread; put it in a Tin Oven before the Fire, and it will be toasted and brown presently. Serve it away hot."

As for something warm to wear, here is a pattern for a knitted Bosom Friend or Sontag, from Godey's Lady's Book, January 1860: I actually tried to copy this garment in crochet, since I don't knit, and produced a wearable sontag, but it doesn't look quite as neat as the illustration, or the one the lady at made!

Keep warm and hydrated with lots of tea!

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)