Category Archives: Cookery

Historical recipes and our attempts to adapt them

A Culinary Road Trip at AAS

We at AAS are excited to be embarking on a culinary road trip this summer! What’s a culinary road trip, you might ask? A culinary road trip is an AAS social media series featuring AAS staff members traveling back in time and across the country (we’re not really doing either, but it’s fun to imagine) by ...

The Summer of Smearcase

As we wind down a summer with limited travel and with conferences postponed or transitioned online, I can’t help but reminisce about a summer in the far distant past (last year) when two bright young AAS staff members, who really enjoy food (and sweet treats), descended upon the city of Baltimore in search of local ...

So you think you can bake? Nineteenth-Century Edition

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Kristina Bush is a rising senior at Mount Holyoke College. She majors in medieval studies and minors in public history, museums, archives, and digital humanities. Kristina is currently working at the American Antiquarian Society as a summer page in readers’ services. Being an avid book-lover and history nerd, Kristina has greatly enjoyed her time at ...

Cooking the Old Colony Cake

So the Old Colony Cake didn’t turn out too bad!  While the ingredients were identical to traditional cake recipes, the ratios were a bit different.  The result was very thick batter and a dense cake, but the lemon added a much needed bright flavor.  Not sure which way to add the lemon, I added both ...

A return to historic cooking, manuscript style

With winter upon us, and snow (finally!) on the ground, I thought it would be a good time to fire up the old hearth, so to speak, and return to some historic recipes.  This time around, I decided to explore our manuscript cookbook collection.  These handwritten recipes include as much variety as one would find ...

Recipe Squashed!

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving feasts!  Hopefully you didn’t overload too much on pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes.  If you can still stomach thinking about food, read on about the results of my historical pie adventure.  I chose to follow the pumpkin pie recipe (from The White House Cookbook, 1877), but to mix ...

Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, and Squash … Oh My!

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  So for all of you hosts and hostesses out there, I thought I’d share a menu to make your worries seem a little less overwhelming.  Perhaps you, like me, are already stressing about the big day, planning and shopping and worrying about how to ...

Turkey Time!

While Thanksgiving is still more than a month away, it’s never too early to begin planning.  And since this year I will be hosting my first Thanksgiving, and cooking my very first bird, I thought I’d begin to look for some advice from the past.  We all have our passed down recipes from family members ...

You scream, I scream…

Even though the calendar says September, fall seems to be the last thing on our climate’s mind.  Up here in Worcester, Massachusetts at least, we’re hanging onto to the summer weather, clocking a scorching 97 degrees last week!  While I was excited to finally break out the cinnamon and pumpkin, I think it best to ...

The Mince Meat Throwdown, Part II

The Mince Meat Throwdown was a success!  Unlike the chowder made from Mrs. Bliss’ cookbook, the mince pie actually held its own as a main course.  The recipe could have easily worked as a dessert pie, being as sweet as it was.  Even though there was beef in the pie, it certainly didn’t taste like ...

The Mince Meat Throwdown

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Per a suggestion on a previous post, my next adventure into historic cooking will be with a mince meat pie. (Thanks for the suggestion, David!) While I can’t say whether or not I would recommend this recipe, hopefully the results will speak for themselves. Having never had mince meat pie before, I feel I may ...

Fishy Chowder

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A few weeks ago, I spent some time with AAS’s cookbook collection. As promised in my earlier post, I whipped up a batch of fish chowder from Mrs. Bliss’ Practical Cook Book (1851). The overwhelming consensus was, simply put, “not bad.” It wasn’t great. I certainly wouldn’t entertain with this recipe. However, it was entirely ...

Consumed with Consuming

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Even with a month under my belt in my new job at AAS, I’m still happening upon new areas in the stacks.  I’ve traveled through every main corridor many times over by this point, but am still learning about new collections down individual aisles.  Just last week I learned we had a separate section just ...

The Question: Something Smells Fishy

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If Abigail Adams were planning an Independence Day feast what would she make? According to a 1964 New York Times article: “green turtle soup, New England poached salmon with egg sauce and apple pan dowdy.” In fact, the article claims she served this fine menu to John Adams on the very first Independence Day. Is ...