Friday, July 22, 2011

Seriously Old-Fashioned Recipes

I haven't been doing much cooking this week - okay, let's be honest, I've done no cooking this week - due to the heatwave the northeast (and apparently the rest of the United States) has been experiencing.  When it's 95+ degrees out, and your house is not equipped with any sort of air conditioning, firing up the oven is the very last thing you want to do.

But just because it's not physically comfortable enough to cook doesn't mean you can't look at recipes.

I love looking at recipes.

I particularly like looking at old-fashioned recipes.  And I'm not talking about stuff from the 1950s.  I mean historical recipes.  In April, I went to a seminar about the War of 1812 and was thisclose to purchasing a cookbook with recipes dating from the early 1800s.  You know, back when recipes were called "receipts".

As I was attempting to stay cool yesterday, I was poking around the internet and stumbled across a website that I'm dying to dive into:  The Civil War Interactive Cookbook.  Okay, I didn't stumble.  I deliberately did a Google search for Civil War era recipes.

I should probably inform all of you that, aside from my love of cooking and baking, I am a ridiculous history geek.  And the Civil War is kind of my historical area of expertise, if amateur study can lead to any sort of expertise.

I literally went "OOOOOOO" when I clicked on the link.

Now, aside from the various recipes out there for military hardtack, there isn't much in the way of recipes Civil War era soldiers would cook.  All of these recipes are from the home front.  What's really cool is that the editors of the website include some explanations about what some of the historical ingredients are (for example, crushed loaf sugar is nothing more than today's granulated sugar), and they also give sources for the recipes too.

My sweet tooth must be acting up this week because I spent the majority of my time perusing the sections regarding baked goods.  As soon as this heat wave lets up, I might have to try to whip up some authentic Boston creme cakes.

It may take some financial planning, however, before attempting one of the sponge cake recipes calling for 15 eggs.  (And you thought the 12-layer cake called for an obscene amount of eggs!)

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