The Ladies' Tea Guild

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Some warm-weather recipes from Godey's, 1854.

California beach, ca. 1905.  Wikimedia Commons.
 Despite the weather forecasts of rain and showers in the next few days, it's only been sunny and humid around here, warming up the house quickly and not cooling down until late in the afternoon.  Those of us in older houses with no air conditioning try to get by with doing as much as possible in the morning and evening when it's a bit cooler, but sometimes you have picnics or barbecues to go to, where you're expected to bring some of the food.  Who wants to heat up the house even more by cooking something?  Luckily, there are tons of ideas in Victorian cookbooks and women's magazines for dealing with warm weather; even if you have to bring a dessert somewhere, you're not limited to fruit salad or ice cream if you use a recipe like one of those below:

              "STONE CREAM.—Put in the dish you mean to send to table three spoonfuls of the lemon-juice with a little of the peel grated, to apricot jam; boil together a pint of cream, half an ounce of isinglass, and some sugar; when nearly cold, pour it on the sweetmeat.  A few macaroons at the bottom of the dish is an improvement.  To be made a few hours before using. 

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)