Category Archives: Victorian

The Victorian era of the United Kingdom refers to Queen Victoria’s rule which began in June 1837 and concluded in January 1901. Under the rule of Queen Victoria, the British people enjoyed a long period of prosperity.


Jell-o is one of those treats that went through quite the transition. Savory salads were all the range pre-19th and early 20th centuries. Here are some samples of Jell-o ads that go through a range of ideas as to what one can do with Jell-o, especially since we all are looking for cool foods for hot summer days.

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Success in Entertaining

With the holidays starting to wind down, I came across this fantastic article on how to entertain successfully.  Since some of you might still be planning New Years Eve Parties, 12 night and perhaps some other holiday party, this article might help you along the way.

Ward McAllister (1827–1895) was the writer of this article, and this was originally published in Society As I have Found it (1890). Ward McAllister, a Gold Rush millionaire who married an heiress, “the Mrs. Astor,” Caroline, whose husband, William, had inherited the vast estate of his brother John Jacob Astor III.

Read the article here (and download the PDF) from The Library of America.

Here is also another quick link to a description of who Ward McAllister was.

Ward_McAllister_caricatureCaricature of Ward McAllister as “an ass”
telling Uncle Sam to imitate “an English
Snob” (Source: WikiCommons)

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat

Happy times to everybody!  I have some really retro recipes to make your dinners merry and bright.  Caution:  you might receive compliments like “this is how my grandmother made it!”

Curtis & Lee Family Recipe, c. 1760, from Chester, Virginia
[Collected in THE WILLIAMSBURG ART OF COOKERY, Copyright 1938]

Simmer two Pounds of Beef slowly until tender; cool and chop fine. Mix with it two Pounds of stoned Raisins; two Pounds of seedless Raisins, two Pounds of cleaned Currants; one Pound of finely cut Citron; one and a half Pounds of finely cut candied Lemon-peel; four Pounds of Apples which have been peeled, cored and cut fine; two Pounds of finely chopped Beef-suet; two Pounds of light brown Sugar; one Tablespoon each of Cloves and Mace; two Tablespoons of Cinnamon; two grated Nutmegs and one Teaspoon of Salt. Mix all together well, add one Pint of Brandy. Store in a covered stone Jar in a cool Place.

Mrs. Beeton’s, 1859; Recipe No. 1329

Ingredients.– 1 lb. of suet, 1 lb. of currants, 1 lb. of stoned raisins, 8 eggs, 1/2 grated nutmeg, 2 oz. of sliced candied peel, 1 teaspoonful of ground ginger, 1/2 lb. of bread crumbs, 1/2 lb. of flour, 1/2 pint of milk.

Mode.– Chop the suet finely; mix it with the dry ingredients; stir these well together, and add the well-beaten eggs and milk to moisten with. Beat up the mixture well, and should the above proportion of milk not be found to make it of the proper consistency, a little more should be added. Press the pudding into a mould or tie it in a floured cloth, and boil for 5 hours, or rather longer, and serve with brandy-sauce.

Note.– The above pudding may be baked instead of boiled; it should be put into a buttered mould or tin, and baked for about 2 hours; a smaller one would take 1-1/4 hour.


Modern Cookery for Private Families, Eliza Acton, 1845 facsimile reprint with an introduction by Elizabeth Ray [Southover Press:East Sussex] 1993 (p. 359)

Give a good flavour of lemon-rind and bitter almonds, or of cinnamon, is preferred to a pint of new milk, and when it has simmered a sufficient time for this [10-20 min.], strain and mix it with a quarter of a pint of rich cream; sweeten it with four ounces of sugar in lumps, and stir it while still hot to five well-beaten eggs;
throw in a few grains of salt, and move the mixture briskly with a spoon as a glass of brandy is added to it.  Have ready a thickly-buttered dish three layers of think bread and butter cut from a half-quartern loaf, with four ounces of currants, and one and a half of finely shred candied peel, strewed between and over them; pour the eggs and milk on them by degrees, letting the bread absorb one portion before another is added; it should soak for a couple of hours before the pudding is taken to the oven, which should be a moderate one. Half an hour will bake it.
It is very good when made with new milk only; and some persons use no more than a pint of liquid in all, but part of the whites of the eggs my then be omitted. Cream my be substituted for the entire quantity of milk at pleasure.


New milk, 1 pint;
rind of small lemon and 6 bitter almonds bruised (or 1/2 drachm of cinnamon
– call it a heaping quarter-teaspoon, although I like more)
Cream, 1/4 pint;
sugar, 4 oz.;
eggs, 6;
brandy, 1 wineglassful.
Bread and butter, 3 layers;
currants, 4 oz.;
candied orange or lemon-rind, 1-1/2 oz.