Trick or Treat: Candy, Please!

Happy Halloween! In honor of the sweet, sticky, and salty goodness that is candy, we have a brief post with recipes for some classic (and not so classic) treats: Caramel, candy apples, popcorn balls, and a few holiday characters…

Happy Halloween!

Oh, and Happy National Candy Apple Day!

(P.S. Don’t eat all that candy at once!)

1731 Book for Receipts (Or, You Want to Pickle WHAT?)

Acquired in 2005, the 1731 “Book for Receipts” includes handwritten recipes by at least two different people. In addition to extensive directions on pickling everything from walnuts to melons to pidgeons, there is also a large collection of baked goods, wines, and even a variation of cheesecake! Like many collections of the time, there are home remedies, too!

By the way, this is also the manuscript that inspired our “Snail Water” post several weeks back.

A finding aid (or collection guide) for this manuscript collection is available online. The entire book was digitized in 2005 for preservation purposes. A pdf version can be viewed, saved, and/or printed here.

Lettuce Sandwich–3 Ways?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mary Harris Frazer’s 1903 Kentucky Receipt Book contains not one, but THREE different recipes for lettuce sandwiches. The basic idea seems simple enough that one might not even need a single set of written directions, but this is clearly not the case. So, in case you’re entertaining this weekend—tailgaters, this probably won’t make you the hit of the party, but feel free to try—check out the recipes below…and enjoy? 

Lettuce Sandwich (aka “The Stack”)

Select tender crisp lettuce, wash and wipe dry. When ready to serve, have bread cut in thin slices, butter and place on lettuce leaf, spread lightly with Mayonnaise and add another slice of bread, press together and continue to add bread until a sufficient quantity has been prepared.

Lettuce Sandwich (aka “The BLT minus the T”)

Cut thin slices of bread, and spread with butter. Broil slices of breakfast bacon until crisp. Place 1 leaf of lettuce on bread, cover with a cooked mustard dressing, then add 1 slice of breakfast bacon and add another slice of bread, and press closely together. 

Lettuce Sandwich (aka “The Basic”)

Cut bread with round cutter, place on crisp lettuce and cover with mayonnaise dressing.

And if none of these appeal to you, how do YOU make a lettuce sandwich?

Snail Water? Did I read that right?

This Friday, I thought I’d try a little commentary on the home remedy aspect of the collection here (archivist Kira, again!).

One of the joys of working with a culinary history collection is that, no matter what you think you know, you’ll be surprised, sometimes a little disgusted…and ALWAYS inspired to learn when you are caught off guard. So, when perusing a handwritten manuscript receipt* book from England, c.1731, I did a double take. “Snail Water.” I read it twice, then kept going, just to be sure: “Take 6 Lbs of Garden Snails…” 

Reading further along, the receipt instructs readers to bruise the snails, shells and all. As the list on ingredients continued (16 eggs with shells, half an ounce of nutmeg, root of “liquorice,” to mention a few), I wondered what would actually cause someone to ingest this mixture. A little research later, it turns out “snail water” was a common treatment for consumption (tuberculosis) during the 17th and 18th centuries. Recipes varied greatly—at least one included ground up earthworms in addition to snails, as well as various combinations of herbs—but none proved to be a miracle cure. 

We invite you to view our recipe, though I wouldn’t suggest trying it, before you accuse me of cruelty to snails. The 1731 Book for Receipts is available online in pdf. The recipe for snail water is on page 23, but the whole item is worth a look (check out that handwriting!). If you want to pickle something, this is the manuscript item for you: walnuts, kidney beans, pigeons, muskmelons, and the list goes on…

*That’s the historical “recipe,” for those of you thinking I made a typo—and perhaps a good discussion for a future post