Monday, January 29, 2018

Andrew Jackson's Great Cheese Levee

Jefferson was given a 1,600 pound cheese from Cheshire, Mass. Every farmer brought his curd to be poured into a large cider press to make the huge variegated cheese.  A large round of cheese from New York was given to President Jackson, kept in the vestibule of the White House and finally cut in 1837.  "The air was redolent with cheese, the carpet was slippery with cheese."

Monday, January 22, 2018

Queen of the Kitchen: a collection of old Maryland receipts by Miss Tyson

In 1870, a charity cookbook was compiled by "Miss Tyson" to fund a new church building for the Protestant Episcopal Church in Oakland (western Maryland).  The first edition was so successful that the church building was built.  Enlarged and no longer for charity, the cookbook went through three more editions by a publisher in Philadelphia.  So who was "M. L. Tyson"?

Monday, January 15, 2018

James Hemings turns down Thomas Jefferson

In 1801, newly elected Thomas Jefferson wanted his former (freed in 1796) slave James Hemings (1765-1801) as his presidential chef, but Hemings wanted Jefferson to contact him personally and said he was busy with an engagement with Mr. Peck, a "Tavern Keeper" in Baltimore.  William Evans, the owner of the Indian Queen, a block away on the same street as Peck's Columbian hotel, was the go-between for Jefferson and Hemings. James had accompanied Jefferson to France where he took lessons on French cooking. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Francatelli bombs

In last year's first season of the TV series "Victoria," chef Francatelli created a Bombe Suprise from ice cream and chocolate.  The real chef included a list of bombs in his Royal English and Foreign Confectioner, 1862.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Bonbons - gifts on New Year's Day in France

It was the custom in 18th & 19th cen. France for people to visit their relatives and friends with gifts of bonbons very early on New Year's Day. The containers varied from paper to elaborate hollowed vegetables, fruit, books, balloon even lobster made of confectionery.  These gifts could add up. "Parisian of 8,000 franc a year to make presents on New Year's Day which cost him a fifteenth part of his income."