Tagged ‘cinnamon’

Sweet! Potato Pie

November 24th, 2013 by KM Wall
Potato illustration from John Gerard The Herbal

Potato illustration from John Gerard The Herbal

To make a Potato Pie.
Boyl your Spanish Potaoes (not overmuch) cut them forth in slices as thick as your thumb, season them with Nutmeg, Cinamon, Ginger, and Sugar; your Coffin being ready, put them in, over the bottom, add to them the Marrow of about three Marrow-bones, seasoned as aforesaid, a handful of stoned Raisons of the Sun, some quartred Dates, Orangado, Cittern, with Ringo-root sliced, put butter over it, and bake them: let their lear be a little Vinegar, Sack and Sugar, beaten up with the yolk of an Egg, and a little drawn Butter; when your Pie is enough, pour in, shake it together, scrape on Sugar, garnish it, and serve it up.
- 1661. William Rabisha. The Whole Body of Cookery, Dissected. London.

John Gerard with potato flowers in the frontispiece of The Herbal

John Gerard with potato flowers in the frontispiece of The Herbal

Now, about this pie……

Although sweet potato pie is much more of a mainstay in the South, but pies made from potatoes go back to the 17th century in England.

And not a marshmallow to be found.

  1. Boil the potatoes. Last winter, in the Hardcore Hearth Cooking Workshop, we boiled five pounds of sweet potatoes. Boil them whole so that they don’t get waterlogged. Drain, cool, and peel.
  2. Slice them as thick as tour thumb…I took this to mean in one inch slices – larger chunks versus smaller bits. There’s still some cooking to come, and you don’t want paste.
  3. Powder your spices – nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, sugar – sounds an awful lot like pumpkin pie spice……
  4. Put the spices and sugared potato slices in a pastry lined dish, like this:
  5. Sweet potato, spices in pastry lined dish for pie - Debra Samuels  photo credit

    Sweet potato, spices in pastry lined dish for pie – Debra Samuels photo credit

  6. If you have marrow from marrow bones, add it now. If you do not have marrow, do not panic – add some generous dollops of butter.
  7. Add raisins of the sun without there stones (thank you seedless grapes that make seedless raisin!); quartered dates – it’s 5 pounds of potatoes, be generous.
  8. Orangeo, cittern and eringo root are probably not on your shelf…leave them out – a little grated orange rind or candied orange peel would not be amiss. Add a little more butter on the top to melt down   on the whole thing, put on the top crust and cut a vent in the center.
  9. Bake. Start at 450 and turn the oven down to 375 after 10 or 15 minutes (you know your oven better then I do). The top should be golden brown and the insides should smell GLORIOUS….but wait, we’re not done yet….this is the part that puts it over the top
  10. When the pie pan is cool enough to lift, beat and egg yolk with some sack wine, sugar, a little vinegar and drawn butter . Pour this lear into the vent hole, and shake it up . Another word for this is to shog it – sprinkle some sugar on the top, and serve.


Modern Sweet Potato Pie seems a little plain after the 17th century version...

Modern Sweet Potato Pie seems a little plain after the 17th century version…

Sweet Potato Pie - music to cook by?

Sweet Potato Pie – music to cook by?

Another group with an album Sweet Potato Pie

Another group with an album Sweet Potato Pie








Sweet Potato Pie - Brand New Day

Sweet Potato Pie – Brand New Day

National Indian Pudding Day

November 13th, 2013 by KM Wall

Sampe Fest wasn’t just about Jonnycakes….

It was also about Indian Pudding. Or as it was sometimes referred to:

Indian-meal Pudding

Samp Fest 2013

Samp Fest 2013

Big Batch Indian Pudding

3 Quarts milk

2 cups cornmeal (Plimoth Grist Mill cornmeal is the best!)

1 jar (12 ounces) molasses (non-sulphered or mild)

1 stick butter (1/4 pound)

6 eggs

4 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tsp ginger



Butter a large slow cooker and pre-heat on high.

Use a large heavy bottomed pan on the stove (so the milk doesn’t scorch). The milk will rise up when it heats, so give it plenty of room. When the milk is just under a boil (lots of bubbles forming), whisk in the cornmeal; keep stirring until the cornmeal thickens about 10-15 minutes. Add the rest of the butter, turn off the heat and cover the pan.

Beat the eggs with the molasses and the spices.

Add some of the hot corn/milk mixture to temper the eggs and then add that to the rest of the corn mixture. Blend thoroughly. Scrape into the buttered, pre-heat slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or light cream…..



Raisins, cranberries or chopped apples may be added into the slow cooker, either a little or a lot.

There’s a real divide with the fruit people – they love it or hate it!


It’s also good re-heated for breakfast.

 Cinnamon whipped cream is also pretty heavenly….

plimoth grist mill prodcut




Salletday – Carrots

October 19th, 2013 by KM Wall

“ In the two months of October and November, when you have leisure in drie weather, then provide a vessel or wine caske, or some other:  then lay on course of sand on the bottome of the vessel two inches thicke, then a course of carret rootes, so that  the rootes do not touch one another:  then  another course of sand to cover those rootes, and then another course of sand, and in this manner untill the vessell bee full to the top, and if you have a ground seller, you may packe them in some corner in this manner, you must cut away all the branches of the carrets close by the roote, and somewhat of the small endes of the Carrets, and they must be so packed in sand unwashed and about the last of December:  sometime when there is no frost, you must then unpacke them againe, and then the carret rootes will begin to spring in the top of the roote, then if you desire to keepe them untill a longer time, then you must pare off the upper ende of the roote, that they cannot spring any more in the top, and then packe them again in sande as aforesaid, so you may keepe them well till Lent or Easter.”

- 1603. Richard Gardiner of Shrewsberie. Profitable Instructions for the Manuring , Sowing and  Planting of Kitchin Gardens. Folio D2.

Here’s what Pilgrim garden carrots  look like this week:

Yellow carrot from the Alden House Garden - thank you!

Yellow carrot from the Alden House Garden – thank you!

Englsih carrots in most of the 17th century were yellow carrots or red carrots or sometimes black or violet carrots, but they weren’t orange carrots. Orange carrots were far more popular in the Netherlands and France. No less  an authority then John Aubrey said of orange carrots:

  “Carrots were first sown at Beckington in Somersetshire. Some very old Man there [in 1668] did remember their first bringing hither.”

Oliver Lawson Dick, ed. Aubrey’s Brief Lives. Edited from the Original Manuscripts, 1949, p. xxxv.

John Aubrey (12 March 1626 – 7 June 1697)

John Aubrey
(12 March 1626 – 7 June 1697)

Many sallets in the 17th century are boiled….some into dishes that seem familiar now, but we just don’t call them salads, we just call them ‘vegetables’ or ‘side dishes’  or just ‘sides’.

Boyled Sallets.

Scrape boyld Carrets, being ready to eate, and they will be like the pulp of a roasted Apple, season them with a little Sinamon, Ginger, and Sugar, put in a handfull of Currans, a little Vinegar, a peece of sweet Butter, put them into a Dish, but first put in another peece of Butter, that they burne not to the bottome: then stew your rootes in the Dish a quarter of an houre: if they beginne to drie, put in more Butter: if they be too sweete, put in a little more Vinegar. The same way you may make a Sallet of Beetes, Spinnage, or Lettuce boyled: beate any of these tender, like the pulp of a roasted Apple, and use them as before shewed.”[1]

[1] Murrell, John. The Second Booke of Cookerie. 1638: London: fifth impression. Stuart Press (tran) 1993. pp.24-5.

Once again, the secret 17th century English ingredient is vinegar. The raisins and vinegar together give a nice sweet/sour taste boost.

To make a boiled salad of carrots:*

  • Boil carrots.  Peel them (if you peel them first and then boil them, that will work out in the end).
  • They should be as tender as the pulp of a roasted apple – forget this crispy or al dente or to the bite modern nonsense – these carrots need to be good and cooked!
  • Season them with cinnamon, ginger – these should be in powdered or ‘beaten’  form, just like they come from the  box or jar.
  • A typical American spice shelf - there's some cinnamon and ginger in there somewhere. Notice how the herbs are tucked in with the spices and the sugar is nowhere to be found.

    A typical American spice shelf – there’s some cinnamon and ginger in there somewhere. Notice how the herbs are tucked in with the spices and the sugar is nowhere to be found.

  • Add some currents or raisins. Put some butter in a a heavy bottomed saucepan. Put in the spiced carrots. Add a little vinegar and a little sugar. Let them soak up the butter. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Serve.

Carrots, not English ones


September 22nd, 2013 by KM Wall

Ever since I asked a group if they knew how to make toast – and they all did – and then I asked if they had learned to make toast from a recipe – and none had – I felt I had made my point of how people learned to cook without cookbooks. Great example.
And then I started finding recipes for toast.
LOTS of toast recipes.

Which doesn’t even include the places where toast shows up as an ingredient – sometimes sops, sometimes sippets, sometimes toast….

A Marrow Toast

Mince colde parboiled Veale, and Suit very fine, and sweet Hearbes each by themselves, and then mingle them together with Sugar, Nutmeg, Sinamon, Rosewater, grated bread, the yolkes of two or three new layd Egges: open the minst meat, and cover it with the marrow. Then put your toast into a Pipkin with the uppermost of some strong broth: let it boyle with large Mace, a Fagot of sweer hearbs, scum them passing cleane, and let them boyle almost drye. Then take Potato-rootes boyld, or Chestnuts, Skirrootes, or Almonds, boyld in white Wine, and for want of Wine you may take Vergis and Sugar.

1615. John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press: 1989. p. 19.


marrow bones on toast - not quite the 17th century version

Marrow bones on toast – not quite the 17th century version of Marrow Toasts- it’s the centers of the bones that can be taken out and used in the recipe, that’s the marrow


Marrow the vegetable, which is a member of he squash family - also known as a pompion

Marrow the vegetable, which is a member of he squash family – also known as a pompion


Pipkins from Hamberg

Pipkins from Hamberg

Pudding Pie

August 31st, 2013 by KM Wall

To make the end of a month of pie, let us circle around to puddings. The Pudding Pie.

Which sounds like a cue for:

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry
When the boys came out to play,
Georgie Porgie ran away.

This little rhyme  has eighteenth century origins, possibly, and most definitely  nineteenth century provenance  BUT there is some speculation that the aforementioned Georgie was none other then

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham

His Grace George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham

28 August 1592 – 23 August 1628

The 1st Duke of Buckingham was most definitely a 17th century figure. Evidently, ‘Georgie’ was not only the favorite of James I, King of England, but (if novels are to be believed, the novel being The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas pere) also the Queen of France.

So that was a nice little side  trip to fanciful. Back to food.

Pudding Pie. Puddings, which had formerly been in guts, and then in guts and bags, are being moved into the oven, often with pastry. Hence, the Pudding Pie.

Pudding Pie – the best of both the pudding and the pie.

To bake a pudding pie.

Take a quart of the best cream, and set on the fire, and slice a loaf of the lightest white bread into thin slices, and put it into it, and let it stand on the fire till the milk begin to rise: then take it off, and put it into a basin, and let it stand till it be cold: then put in the yolks of four eggs, and two whites, good store of currants, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, mace, and plenty of sheep’s suet finely shred, and good season of salt; then trim your pot very well round about with butter, and so put in your pudding, and bake it sufficiently, then when you serve, strew sugar upon it.

1631. Gervase Markham. The English Housewife. Best ed. pp. 109-10


3 Musketeers candy bar, also good, but no Pudding Pie

3 Musketeers candy bar, also good, but no Pudding Pie

Eat Your Veggies ….in a PIE

August 29th, 2013 by KM Wall

Prithhee, mayhaps it be somewhat early for skirworts; they’re usually come round Michaelmas…. .

Sorry, I caught up in a little too much 17th century Englishspeak:

  • Skirwort. Skirret, skerwort, Skirret etc  are a root vegetable not  uncommon in early modern  English gardens and fairly uncommon in modern ones. (spellcheck wants to correct skirrets  to skirts; should you see skirts in the text, think skirret and tell me)
  • John Winthrop Junior brought seeds to grow them to the  Massachusetts  Bay Colony:  3 oz skerwort seed 3d. per oz
  • Skirrets are sometimes confused by modern writers with parsnips;  parsnips are often combined or used interchangeably with skirrets in the early modern period. Parsnips and skirrets are not the same thing.
  • The little cluster of rooty bits is the part you eat. For size, they’ve been compared to fingers. The neat thing is that you take the larger parts, and leave the rest to keep growing. And they will.
    from John Gerard  The Herbal

    from John Gerard The Herbal

    Skirrets a little larger then fingers - good loose soil and well separated when smaller

    Skirrets a little larger then fingers – good loose soil and well separated when smaller


    Parsnips - similar, but not the same with skirrets

    Parsnips – similar, but not the same as skirrets


  •  Michaelmas is the 29th of September, a quarter day on the Englsih calender and the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel.
    Guido Reni - 1636 - Saint Michael weighing souls - by the 18th century, many Protestant inages have him slaying evil in the form of a dragon.

    Guido Reni – 1636 – Saint Michael weighing souls – by the 18th century, many Protestant images have him slaying evil in the form of a dragon.

    A Skerret Pie.

    Take a quarter of a peck of Skerrets blanched, and sliced, season them with three Nutmegs, and an ounce of Cinnamon, and three ounces of Sugar, and ten quartered Dates, and the Marrow of three bones, rouled in yolks of Eggs, and one quarter of a pound of Ringo roots, and preserved Lettice, a sliced Lemon, four blades of Mace, three or four branches of preserved Barberries,  and a half a pound of Butter, then let it stand one hour in the oven, then put a caudle made of white Wine, Verjuyce, Butter, and Sugar, put into the pye when it comes out of the oven.

    1653. W.I. A True Gentlewomans delight. Falconwood Press. p. 57.

    Ringo root is preserved eringo root

    One flowering form of the Eringo or seas holly family

    One flowering form of the Eringo or seas holly family


    Ringo Starr - not to be confused with Ringo root - one is good IN a pie; one is good company WITH a pie

    Ringo Starr – not to be confused with Ringo root – one is good IN a pie; one is good company WITH a pie

“I’ll make mincemeat out of that mouse!”

August 26th, 2013 by KM Wall

is the famous cry of Klondike Kat, referring to his arch-enemy Savoir Fare.

Klndike Kat with a wanted poster of Savoir Fare

Klondike Kat with a wanted poster of Savoir Fare

Mouse is something I haven’t found in 17th century mincemeat. Beef, mutton, veale, neat’s tongue…but no mouse.

Thank goodness.

Mince pie has also become  associated with Christmas  by the early 17th century, so some of the other aliases are

Shred or Shrid Pie or

Christmas Pie (or allegedly by some Puritans – Superstition Pies – I just have this one on say so)

and then all the variations of mince/minced/minst/minc’d/mincemeat pies.

To make minst Pyes.

Take your Veale and perboyle it a little, or mutton, then set it a cooling: and when it is colde, take three pound of suit to a legge of mutton, or fower pound to a fillet of Veale, and then mince them small by them selves, or together wheather you will, then take to season them halfe an unce of Nutmegs, half an unce of cloues and Mace, halfe an unce of Sinamon, a little Pepper, as much Salt as you think will season them, either to the mutton or to the Veale, take viij (8) yolkes of Egges when they be hard, halfe a pinte of rosewater full measure, halfe a pound of Suger, then straine the Yolkes with the Rosewater and the Suger and mingle it with your meate, if ye haue any Orenges or Lemmans you must take two of them, and take the pilles very thin and mince them very smalle,   and put them in a pound of currans, six dates, half a pound of prunes laye Currans and Dates upon the top of your meate, you must take two or three Pomewaters or Wardens and mince with your meate, you maye make them ****** if you will, if you will  make good crust put in three or foure yolkes of egges, a litle  Rosewater, & a good deale of suger.

1588. The Good Houswiues treasurie. pp.7-8.


  1. This call for a leg of mutton or a fillet of veal. A Leg is quick a lot of mutton; I’m not sure how much a fillet of veal was, but pounds and pounds of meat. Mutton is  meat from sheep. Baa Ram Ewe. Lamb is fine.

    a ram from Edward Topsell History of Four-footed Beasts

    a ram from Edward Topsell History of Four-footed Beasts

  2. Suit is suet – that the fat you’ll be adding. Don’t cut too far back or it will be as dry as sawdust and tasteless to boot.
  3. Mincing would be done by hand, with a sharp knife, and it is easier to mince the meat and the fat separately because they cut differently. Then run though a second time to incorporate them. You might want to incite your friends and family and neighbors and maybe some total strangers to make a quicker go of it….. If you use a meat grinder, just don’t turn it all into mush. A little texture makes a world of difference.
  4. Unce  = ounce – this is a fairly conservative amount of spice. This recipe alone should put to rest the old “spice covered up the taste of rotten meat”, as if fresh meat were more expensive then the spicing….
  5. Hardboiled egg yolks (and why do they forever say yolkes of eggs as if they ever call for yolkes of anything else?? ) are a good medium to get the rosewater mixed into everything and not drip out the bottom while the pie bakes.
  6. Orange or lemon peel  – VERY GOOD.
  7. Pomewater is a kind of apple, warden is a sort of pear.
  8. ****** is a word I can’t for the life of me make out, between 16th century spelling and typeface, and photocopy  fuzzyness.
  9. ‘a good deal of suger’  – hard to go wrong.

Sorry for the earlier recipe re-call – so many buttons……

Some like it hot

August 21st, 2013 by KM Wall

And I don’t mean peas porridge.

Peas Porridge Hot

Peas Porridge Hot – still good!

Pies of venison  – as well as pies that can be made to taste like venison – are pretty standard in 17th century cookbook.

Since venison pie is one of the few documented dishes of the early years of Plimoth Colony, they beg a closer look.

What did Our English Housewife think when she thought of venison pie?

  1. She probably didn’t have venison all that often.
  2. In England the first question is: fallow  deer or roe deer?
  3. In New England (and Virginia and just about  everywhere else on this side of the pond) the deer is a white tail deer.
    Identifying deer from their backends - Life Histories of Northern Mammals (1909)

    Identifying deer from their backends – Life Histories of Northern Mammals (1909)

     Tails of  I)white-tailed deer, II) mule deer, III) black-tailed deer, IV) elk, V) red deer

  4. The next question might be – Hot or Cold? How is this pie to be served?


Another way to bake Venison to be eaten hot.

Raise a Coffin of hot butter past, it may be four square; put in your Beef suit smally minced in the bottom of your Pye, and having your Venison cut, slasht, and proportioned for your Pye, season your Venison with some Pepper beaten small, with Cloves, Mace, Cinamon, Ginger, and Nutmeg beaten, with a handful of Salt;  put it into your Coffin, with some butter on the top of it, to make it smooth for your Lidd, and close it;  when it is baked, take it  forth, cut it up, and put about a  quart of Gallerdine, or Venison sauce, more or less, as you see fit:  so shake it together;    this Pye ought to have six hours baking, because it ought to be very tender.

1661. William Rabisha. The Whole Body of Cookery, Dissected.p. 142

Some Like It Hot was also a great movieSome_Like_It_Hot_poster

Faux Pie

August 20th, 2013 by KM Wall

It’s not that the pie is a fake – it’s just pretending to be something that it’s not. And I’m not fully convinced that it’s purpose is to deceive as much as to recall, hearken, echo back to something that is otherwise unattainable, more like mock turtle soup.

The Mock Turtle form Alice in Wonderland - actual 19th century mock turtle was made form calves feet and heads...

The Mock Turtle form Alice in Wonderland – actual 19th century mock turtle was made form calves feet and heads…look closely, this illustration is very funny.

or Tofurky

Tofurky dinner - no turkey, just tofu

Tofurky dinner – no turkey, just tofu

To bake a Pig like a Fawne.

Fley him when he is in the haire, season it with pepper and salt, Cloves and mace, take Claret wine, Vergious, Rosewater, Sinamon, Ginger and Sugar, boyle them togither, laye your Pig flat like a Fawne or a Kidde, and put your sirup unto it and sweet butter, and so bake it leisurely.

1591. A.W. Book of Cookrye.

  • A pig is a young porker, a fawne is a baby deer.
  • fley him is to skin him (hence the hair – you do NOT  want to burn the hair on or off him, he will taste like burned hair smells. Really. You do not want this.
  • season with salt and pepper, cloves and mace.
  • Boil down a mixture of  claret wine, verjuice, rosewater, cinnamon, ginger and sugar.
  • lay your pig flat in the pastry, add the syrup and butter (you kinda know to just add butter, whenever, right?)
  • Bake in a moderate oven.

or you could just use the right sauce

Other meer Sauces to counterfeit Beef, or Muton to give it a Venison colour.

Take small beer and vinegar, and parboil your beef in it, let it steep all night, then put in some turnsole to it, and being baked, a good judgment shall not discern it from red or fallow deer.

Otherways to counterfeit Ram, Wether, or any Mutton for Venison.

Bloody it in sheeps, Lambs, or Pigs blood, or any good and new blood, season it as before, and bake it either for hot or cold. In this fashion you may bake mutton, lamb, or kid.

Robert May. The Accomplist Cook.


Chrozophora tinctoria or turnsole - a red coloring agent

Chrozophora tinctoria or turnsole – a red coloring agent



To Make a Foule Brauth

August 19th, 2013 by KM Wall


Take a Large foule & cut it in lems, & put it in a gallon of water, a pound or two of a Crage of Vell, a bunch of sweet earbes, & some Black pepper 7 mace. Let it boyle gentely 4 or 5 hours till it is all boyle’d to peeces. Then, straine it through a seve; then put in 2 spoonfulls of varmagely or saggo, sume Blanched sallerey & lettes cut in; if it is not theeck enough put in a little butter & flower Braded. Let it boyl up a lettle & then dish it up; some put in a Role Sliced; you must put in now Time; but a bay Lefe or 2 gives it a prettey flaver.

- The Receipt Book of Lady Ann Blencowe (1695). Christina Stapley, Heartease Books, (UK), 2004. p. 82.

  • large fowl = an old hen or old rooster


    Not this sort of Fowl

    Not this sort of Fowl


  • lems -???
  • crage of veall
  • earbes = herbs
  • seve = sieve
  • varmagely = vermicelli – that’s right, the little macaronis!

    Pasta -that's the paste....

    Pasta -that’s the paste….

  • sago =
  • saggo =???

    Pearl sago

    Pearl sago

  • ‘sume Blanched sallery & lettes’ -  some blanched celery and lettuce – celery makes a comeback at the end of the 17th century – wild celery or smallage is much more common in the 16th and 17th century



  • thicken with flour and butter – shades of an emerging trend
  • Role sliced is a sliced roll – a little manchet would be nice…..
  • Time (thyme) and there’s nothing like a bay leaf for a pretty flavor.

It is Sickness and Health Week in the 1627 Village. How balanced are your humours?

Fowl Broath piewise is (more or less)….

To bake Chickens with Damsons.

Take your Chickens, drawe them and wash them, then breake their bones, and lay them in a platter, then take foure handfuls of fine flower, and lay it on a faire boord, put thereto twelve yolks of Egs, a dish of butter, and a litle Saffron: mingle them altogether, & make your paste therewith. Then make sixe coffins, and put in euery coffin a lumpe of butter of the bignesse of a Walnut: then season your sixe coffins with one spoonful of Cloues and Mace, two spoonfuls of Synamon, and one of Sugar, and a spoonefull of Salt. Then put your Chickens into your pies: then take Damisons and pare away the outward peele of them, and put twentie in euery of your pies, round about your chicken, then put into euerie of your coffins, a hand full of Corrans. Then close them vp, and put them into the Ouen, then let them be there three quarters of an houre.

1594, 1597. The good Huswifes handmaide for the Kitchin.

Damson plum

Damson plum


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