Friday, October 31, 2008

Got (19th Century) Comfort Food?

Today's post is an autumnal treat from a 19th century Food Group I'm in. Comfort Food in a snap, if you will. Pies like this are good not only during the fall, but right through to New Year's. It's easier than apple pie from scratch, but gives you the same feeling of Autumn or winter. (The fact that it's from an Ohio cookbook from the 19th century makes it especially fun for me, since I live in Ohio now.)

Here is the recipe for Apple Butter Custard Pie. Enjoy!


Beat together four eggs, one tea-cup apple-butter, one of sugar, one level
table-spoon allspice, add one quart sweet milk and pinch of salt; bake in
three pies with an under-crust;(I suspect that a deep dish, one-crust shell, would do nicely.) and, by the way, never omit a pinch of salt in custard and lemon pie, and, in fact, many
kinds of fruit pies, such as green-apple, currant, gooseberry and pie-plant, are improved by it.

My suggestion is to bake this for 45-55 minutes at about 350F. and then test with a knife. This is how I'll be making it this weekend! I'll let you know how it turns out!

This recipe is from Buckeye Cookery, And Practical Housekeeping, the 1877

(special thanks to Susan Odom for posting this to the list)
As the Season of Christmas gets closer, I'll be sharing more wonderful Regency era 19th century recipes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Put Yourself in the Schedule

Have you noticed?
The season is coming, all right. My local stores are starting to fill up their Christmas aisles. My holiday senses are gearing up and getting ready! But are you feeling excited, like me, or are you dreading how quickly Christmas is approaching?

Gone are the days when I would dread the arrival of the holidays, with all its busyness and pressures. I look forward to Christmas all year, now, and you can, too.

How? Start by putting YOU in the schedule. When you anticipate relaxing times of soaking up the atmosphere and the spirit of Christmas, the busy hustle-and-bustle aspect fades away. At least long enough so that you can guarantee yourself and your family some real enjoyment.

How to do it? There are many ways. First off, however, just take the powerful move of SCHEDULING a "Do Nothing" night. Don't worry, it won't turn out to be a do nothing night, but scheduling it that way will ensure that it can be a "Do what you really want to do night." If you don't schedule it in, chances are something will come along--something you don't REALLY want to do--and fill it up. When all the weekends get filled up, either with "have to do's" or "should do's" (and we all know how easily that can happen), you won't have any time for "WANT to do's."

I'll talk lots more about how to enjoy the season, and lots of nineteenth century ideas will come into play. But for now, until next post, schedule a night or two (or three, if you're really brave) for "DO NOTHING" nights in December. They'll end up being the best nights of your holiday celebrations for the year.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bringing in the Yule Log!

In olde England, a huge part of the excitement of Christmas was bringing in the Yule Log. This was an event which was anticipated by keeping a small figment of last year's Log, safely stowed away where it would be secure, to use when lighting the current year's (new) log. We are not talking about a small log like the ones you see on TV screens on Christmas Eve in the US (which is fine if you don't have a fireplace of your own). But the special Yule Log was HUGE--it went in the main fireplace, usually in the kitchen, or, in a parlour if the fireplace could fit it. Think partial tree trunk, here. The tree or log was carefully picked out ahead of time so that when the time came for it to be brought into the house, (no sooner than Christmas Eve)it would already have been cut and dry enough to light well.

This log was traditionally supposed to last not only throughout Christmas Eve, to usher in the holiday, but all through Christmas Day, too. It was used to heat up the festive drinks, such as nog and wassail; and it was used for cooking Christmas dinner. If the log lasted, all was fine and dandy; if not, it was considered bad luck! And a charred piece of it was also to be kept as the fire-starter for the following year's Christmas fire. Know any other facts about the Yule Log? Post a comment! Soon I'll be picking one comment each week and rewarding a free copy of the Christmas book to the commenter! Comments on all posts from October through December count!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Christmas 2008! Excitement Coming!

Almost every day my five year old asks me to show her how long it is until Christmas. I hold up my hands and flash ten fingers, and we count by tens, 'til I reach the approximate number. It looks like forever to her, but we adults know all too well, don't we, that it's just around the corner!

I usually start shopping in September, and because of this I never have to make Christmas-Eve runs to the store for last minute items. Christmas Eve is far too important a night to "spend" it--literally--shopping! It's the best atmospheric night of the year for either a quiet Yuletide night before a fire, with family, around the tree, or at a party with a group. However you choose to spend it, you should be enjoying the night. Scroll down this blog to get a simple "Christmas Scent" recipe, set it brewing on the stove or in a crock-pot and take a few minutes, or heck, a few hours, to soak in the ambience of Christmas Eve.

I'll be talking a lot more about wonderful ways to "return to what it's all about," so stay tuned! And I'm preparing some fabulous Christmas-themed giveaways to commenters, so subscribe today! You might just win a free copy of Regency House Christmas, too! (Five will be given away.)