The Ladies' Tea Guild

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mid-Victorian sheer muslin dress inspiration

ca. 1850 fashion plate.
So, I'm slowly but surely working on my sheer dress for the GBACG Mid-Victorian Summer Picnic at the Fallon House at the end of next month.  Originally, I wanted to make my dress more ca. 1848 because I like the simple lines of Gold Rush-era styling, and I like the fact that not as many people do 1840s and 1850s costume as 1860s.  Not that more people shouldn't make the earlier Victorian styles, but I like being a little "different" from the majority, and with the popularity of Civil War re-enacting in the area, 1860s styles are much more frequently made.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Victorian recipe reborn -- summer pudding!

Summer pudding.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
It's "too darn hot" around here! Yet, there are festivities where sweet things are expected.  Ice cream and popsicles are always a good thing (I keep a box of popsicles or fudgesicles in the freezer all summer), but what if you want something a little more elegant, but you don't want to heat up the house?  Summer pudding is a refreshing, no-bake, party-worthy dessert.  Opinions differ as to the origins of the recipe; it seems to be a late-Victorian Trifle combined with a Charlotte.  No matter; it's delicious, and easy, and involves 2 minutes of simmering on the stove, so your house stays cool!  I made a summer pudding for a party on the 4th of July, and it went over really well.  Here is the recipe I used, based on a recipe from a book by Elizabeth David, posted to the Leite's Culinaria blog:

12 oz. frozen sweetened raspberries (thawed)
1 box fresh raspberries
1/2 lb. fresh sweet cherries (pitted)
2 Tablespoons plum jam (could use raspberry or strawberry)
1/4 cup sugar
1 loaf sliced white bread, day-old or dried slightly in the oven, crusts trimmed
heavy cream

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tips for a "Patriotic Evening Affair"

Image from

This information is from the Woman's Home Companion magazine from 1919:

“For a Patriotic Evening Affair”

Open Sandwiches, Allied Style
South Park Sweetbreads or Veal Souffle
Pineapple Mousse
Coffee or Shrub Punch

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)