Monday, 22 March 2010

The Country Kitchen 1850

This is the title of a little book I bought on Saturday for just £1. It is about American kitchens but very interesting all the same.

I loved this recipe for Metheglin:

"For half a barrel of metheglin, allow forty-eight or fifty pounds of fresh honey. Boil it an hour in a third of a barrel of spring water. Skim it well. It should be so strong with honey that when cold an egg will not sink in it. Add a small dessert spoonful of ginger, and as much of powdered clove and mace; also a spoonful of yeast. Leave the bung of the cask loose till the fermentation has ceased; then stop it close. At the end of 6 months, draw off and bottle it. It improves until three or four years old, and has a fine colour. It is a very healthful cordial."

Ye Gods, they must have kept a lot of bees, and I can't help thinking you could have still stood a spoon up in it after 3 or 4 years!

This sounds nice:

"Currant Ice Cream Take a gill of fresh currant juice, make it very sweet, and stir in half a pint of cream and freeze it. In the winter, or when fresh currants are not to be had, beat a tablespoonful and a half of currant jelly with the juice of one lemon, sweetened, and put to it half a pint of cream. A nice boiled custard is a very good substitute for ice cream, in the following way. When the custard has become cold, add lemon juice, sweetened , or the juice of bruised strawberries or raspberries, stirring it very fast till perfectly mixed to keep it from curdling, and then freeze it."


  1. May have to go and eat a choc ice after reading this - a poor substitute for the 1850 version, but better than nothing! Bet that book affords hours of reading pleasure, if not of the palate...

  2. I bet you could make the ice cream using neat Ribena! I might give that a try....

  3. It's just so amazing to think of people doing every single thing for themselves. If they want a food or drink they must make it. Sounds like a fascinating book.

  4. Had to look up what metheglin was interesting ... everthing from a folk medicine to spiced mead.