Tagged ‘ginger’

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




National Apple Dumpling Day

September 18th, 2013 by KM Wall

was September 17th, and apple dumpling were in my dreams. And dumplings in general.

In almost every internet blurb about dumplings or apple dumplings was

Apple dumplings are an ancient British food, described in print from the 17th Century. They were even more popular in the American colonies and Early American period because apples grew well here, dumplings can be made from dried apples as well, and vast boiling pots were the easiest form of cooking to tend and add to in the hearth cooking days.

This is a copy and paste sort of way of tossing some ‘history’ in without doing much heavy lifting. Sigh. and blah blah blah.

Now, since 17th food stuff in print is my bread and butter, as it were,  I know that dumpling recipes are few and far between. There are a few more  dumpling references, indicating that dumplings are the sort of thing that isn’t  likely to find it’s way into a book of cookery, like Capon in the French Fashion or Oxfordshire cakes , because dumplings  are, like their lowly sounding name, common and ordinary fare for the common and ordinary sort.  But there are some references and recipes…..

Very modern (and lovely) apple dumplings - worth having a their own day!

Very modern (and lovely) apple dumplings – worth having a their own day!

I would like to say right here, right now, that I haven’t properly researched dumplings – this is rather random information that a day of looking at apple dumpling images has led me to.

This is the earliest 17th century recipe for dumplings that I found (I haven’t referenced the earlier material). It was in the same section as paste for pies.

To make Paste for Dumplins.

Season your flower with Pepper, Salt, and Yest, let your water be more then warm, then make them up like Manchets, but them be somewhat little, then put them into your water when it boyleth, and let them boil an hour, then butter them.

1653. W. I.  A True Gentlewomans Delight. Falconwood Press: 1991. p. 43.

Essentially, it sounds like a plain dumplings that would be great with chicken….. . Easy, filling, and but no apples.

Chicken and dumplings - or dumplins.....

Chicken and dumplings – or dumplins…..

But, wait, there’s another dumpling recipe, and  it’s a little fancier…..


To make a Dumplin.

Take a pint of Cream and boyl it with a blade of Mace;  then take twelve spoonfuls of grated bread, five spoonfuls of flower;  then take six yolks of Eggs and five whites;  beat them very well with two spoonfuls of Rosewater and as much fair water, season it with sugar, Nutmeg and salt, mingle them altogether with the Cream, tye it in a cloth, and when your water boyles, put it in and boyl it one hour and half, and when it is enough, serve it in with Rosewater, butter and sugar.

1664. Hannah Wolley. The Cooks Guide. p. 34-5.

Still no apples, but this is richer, nicer, sweeter…..and it’s a dumplin in tied up in a cloth. Dumplin is a word we shouldn’t have shucked.

So what’s the difference between this dumplin and a bag pudding?


To boil a Pudding which is uncommonly good.

Take a pond and [a] half of Wheat-flour, three-quarter pond of Currants washed clean, a half pond Kidney-suet, cut it very small, 3 Eggs, on and half Nutmegs, grated fine, a little Salt, mix it with a little sweet Milk so dry that one kneads it like a Bread and tie it in a clean cloth rather close and throw it into a pot with boiling water and let it boil for two hours, then it is done.

Peter Rose, trans. The Sensible Cook. p.79.

This pudding IS uncommonly good. Because The Sensible Cook is a translation of a Dutch cookbook, among our Pilgrim selves we sometimes refer to this a a Dutch Pudding.  But the difference between the dumplin and the bag pudding……too close to call.

If you’d like to see this pudding up close and in person, join us this Saturday afternoon. This pudding is one of the dishes scheduled to be on the table for the Bride-ale feasting.  I should have photos after that to share.

But apples, where are the apples?


Another apple dumpling

Another apple dumpling


To make Apple pufs.

Take a Pomewater or any other Apple that is not hard, or harsh in taste: mince it small with a dozen or twenty Razins of the Sunne: wet the Apples in two Egges, beat them all together with the back of a Knife or Spoone. Season them with Nutmeg, Rosewater, Sugar, and Ginger: drop them into a Frying-pan with a Spoone, fry them like Egges, wring iuyce of an Orenge, or Lemmon, and serve them.

1615. John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood press: 1989. p. 21.

Not a dumpling, but very good and easy…..rosewater is a great enhancer of apple flavor, and the squeeze of lemon or orange juice (iuyce)  – genius.


Apple Dumplng Gang- the Movie

Apple Dumpling Gang- the Movie – looking for apple dumplings throughout history????



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



Fryday Pye

August 16th, 2013 by KM Wall


and what’s not to like about a FRY- day?

Bits will keep, it’s Fridbetter thing to make then a FRIDAY PIE?

A Frydays Pye, without eyther Flesh or Fish.

Wash greene Beetes cleane, picke out the middle string, and chop them with two or three well relisht ripe Apples. Season with Pepper, Salt, and Ginger: then take a good handful of Razins of the Sunne, and put all in a Coffin of fine Paste, with a piece of sweet Butter, and so bake it: but before you serve it, cut it up, and wring in the juice of an Orenge, and Sugar.
- 1615. John Murrell.  A Newe Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press. p. 7.

As for beets, if you’re thinking

This is beet-root

This is beet-root

thinks instead of

Beets - the leafy greens now known as Swiss Chard.

Beets – the leafy greens now known as Swiss Chard.


Take some leafy greens, wash,  cut away the stem (which is actually the chard part – cook’s note – toss them with some olive oil and Parmesan cheese and put them in the oven next to the pie for a tasty little side dish to serve either hot  or room temp); Chop a couple of tasty apples, season with pepper. salt and ginger. Add some raisins.  Enclose in a pastry coffin -  don’t forget the butter – Bake.

Open the top, wring in the juice of an orange (since it’s probably a sweet orange you’re wringing, use a little orange juice mixed with an equal amount of lemon juice). Sugar if you need it.


The other, OTHER Beets

The other, OTHER Beets – it IS a great name for a rock band

English Butter

English Butter



Lettuse stand half amazed…

August 14th, 2013 by KM Wall

…at these poor peoples humble condition….to paraphrase Governor William Bradford as he contemplates the condition of the colony in early 1621.  ‘Lettuse’ is part of the  paraphrase, which brings us to


Lettuce seeds - the first step of the plant - and the last step of the plant...all the tasy goodness is between these two points.

Lettuce seeds – the first step of the plant – and the last step of the plant…all the tasty goodness is between these two points.


To make a Lettuse Pye.

Take the best leaved Lettuse you can gett, perboyle and quarter them, then tak the yelkes of 3 hard egges mince them smale, and Reasons of the sunne, Currans Nutmege, sinamonde, suger and a little pepper, season your Lettuse with this and put them in the pye with a good peece of sweete butter, when the pye is baked make a sirrope of clarrette wine, suger, and vinegar with the yealke of an ege, beate it all together and put it into the pye and so sarve him to the boarde.

- The Complete Reciept Book of Elinor Fettiplace. Vol. 3, p. 6. Stuart Peachy

If you ignore the bread and cheese bookends, this sort of loose leaf mix could be right at home in a 17th  century lettuce salad

If you ignore the bread and cheese bookends, this sort of loose leaf mix could be right at home in a 17th century lettuce salad. It was harder then you would think to find an image of lettuce that wasn’t iceberg.

Continuation of the wedding feast of William and Alice Bradford….

If you’ve got deer, you’ve got to get humble……the humbles, or umbels or the numbels are the inward bits.

And a great name for a Rock Band.



To bake the Humbles of a Deere.

Mince them verie small, and season them with pepper, Cinamon and Ginger, and suger if you will, and Cloues and mace, and dates and currants, and if you will, mince Almondes and put vnto them, and when it is baked, you must put in fine fat, and put in suger, cinamon and Ginger, and let it boile, and when it is minced, put them together.

1596. Thomas Dawson. The good Huswifes Iewell.  p. 20.

Apple of thine (p)eye

August 12th, 2013 by KM Wall

Proverbs 7:2   Keep my commandments, and thou shalt live, and mine instruction, as the apple of thine eyes.

Apples. Apple pies. Pippin Pies. Codling pies. Tarts likewise. Hard to talk about English pies without apples.

Hard to imagine New England without them. And yet, that is exactly the landscape the Pilgrims entered in 1620. Within 20 years English colonist changed that landscapes. Consider that apples grow on trees which don’t quite  grow as easily as radishes…..

Apple trees so plentiful that a few generations down the road, a local born lad puts a mushpot on his head and goes west to plant more apples.

Johnny Appleseed 1862

Johnny Appleseed 1862

And has a song about apples and apple trees…

Jesus Christ and the Apple Tree

Jesus Christ and the Apple Tree

Back in England, a couple of generations later, Four Fab lads from Myles Standish’s old stomping grounds get together, sing a little, shake it up, baby,  all together now with Apple….

Apple Corps logo

Apple Corps logo


And yet, didn’t all the trouble in the world start because of an apple?

Duer (1507) Adam and Eve

Duer (1507) Adam and Eve


To fry Applepies.

Take Apples and pare them, and chop them very small, beat in a little Cinnamon, a little Ginger, and some Sugar, a little Rosewater, take your paste, roul it thin, and make them up as big Pasties as you please, to hold a spoonful or a little lesse of your Apples; and so stir them with Butter not to hastily least they be burned.

- 1653. W. I. A True Gentlewomans Delight.

Fried apple pies from North Carolina -the more things change.....

Fried apple pies from North Carolina -the more things change…..

From fruit of the sea to fruit of the tree…

August 11th, 2013 by KM Wall

Before you can be “As American as Apple Pie”  you need to

  1. have apples to make said pies from and
  2. be American.

In 1627 they’re neither appled nor American. Apple trees will first. Then Apples. Pies….and 149 years later….much ado  about a Tea Party.

I’m starting fruit pies with a fruit that is known in England and is being grown in North America – but not by Englishmen.

The Orange.

Florida Orange Tree

Florida Orange Tree

The orange isn’t an English fruit, although they’re might fond of it. The orange is from Spain (as far as most Englishmen are concerned) and Seville in Spain at that. These are bitter oranges.

Not mean and nasty, no good thing to say about anyone bitter, but not sweet.  These are not hand-fruit, after-school snack variety of oranges. These are oranges that need a little sugar in their lives.

Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, 1633 Francisco de Zurbarán Spanish, 1598-1664 Oil on canvas 24-1/2 x 43-1/8 in. (62.2 x 109.5 cm) The Norton Simon Foundation

Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose, 1633
Francisco de Zurbarán
Spanish, 1598-1664
Oil on canvas
24-1/2 x 43-1/8 in. (62.2 x 109.5 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation

The Spanish start colonizing in North America about 100 years before the Pilgrims arrive. And bring oranges to Florida. Which do so well that Englishmen in the 18th century (still not American) find them growing and assume that they are a native species. The oranges, not the Spanish, that is.

I rather have oranges on the brain because 1) I found three 16th century recipes for to bake orenges (a spelling I’m starting to prefer) and 2) I’ve seen Much Ado About Nothing twice in as many weeks and there’s a wonderful orange line in it.

Much Ado About Nothing quarto

Much Ado About Nothing quarto



Beatrice. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor
well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and
something of that jealous complexion.

The civil orange is the Seville orange.

Citrus aurantium - Bitter or Seville orange

Citrus aurantium – Bitter or Seville orange

Plimoth Cinema brought one Much Ado….Amy Acker was great as Beatrice

Much Ado - the movie

Much Ado – the movie

And The Plimoth Players are presenting Much Ado (Live) as part of The Summer Shakespeare Series. Repertory performances will begin on Wednesday, August 7th with Much Ado About Nothing at 8:00 p.m. Thereafter Much Ado About Nothing will be performed on Wednesday and Friday nights. As You Like It will be performed on Thursday and Saturday nights. The two plays run through August with a final performance of As You Like It on August 31st at 8:00 p.m. You can buy tickets online through the Plimoth Plantation website.

Back to oranges, civil and otherwise.

Oranges were among the foods available to people to eat while taking in a theater  performance in the 17th century. Orange wenches become somewhat common by the end of the 17th century in England – except for Nell Gwynne, who ends up with the King…..


Oranges and Pies. Of the three recipes, this is the simplest, the most direct and the most likely to be attempted in a modern kitchen.

How to bake Orenges.
Faire peele your Orenges, and pick away all the white that is under the peele, and so lay them in fine paste, and put into them Sugar, very little Sinamon or none at all, but a little Ginger and bake them very leisurely.
1591 .A.W Book  of  Cookrye


Oranges with blossoms

Oranges with blossoms


Other fish (pies) in the sea

August 10th, 2013 by KM Wall

There are several sorts of fish that are mentioned over and over again in recipes.










Oops – not THAT mullet….

Mullet - Mugil cephalus

Mullet – Mugil cephalus – that’s right – a Mugil




and then there’s the

Bace a/ka/a Bass

Bass, Striped

Bass, Striped

And also


Lamprey - parts labeled

Lamprey – parts labeled

That right, lamprey.



Henry I of England was said to have died from a surfeit of lampreys .

Henry I - 17th century portrait.....a little after the fact

Henry I – 17th century portrait…..a little after the fact, but this is how 17th century people ‘saw’ him

Queen Elizabeth II had a coronation pie made of lampreys for her in 1953.


Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II - ceremony first, then food

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – ceremony first, then food

I’m still stuck on the part where lampreys skeeve me out.

another lamprey

another lamprey

Lamprey mouth...this is the skeevey part

Lamprey mouth…this is the skeevey part

If the mouth doesn't get you, this might - lamprey in action!

If the mouth doesn’t get you, this might – lamprey in action!

And now for some recipes……thanks to Robert May The Accomplist Cook.

To bake a Lampry.

Draw it, and split the back on the inside from the mouth to the end of the tail, take out the string in the back, flay her and truss her round, parboil it and season it with nutmeg, pepper, and salt, put some butter in the bottom of the pie, and lay on the lampry with two or three good big onions, a few whole cloves and butter, close it up and baste it over with yolks of eggs, and beer 348 or saffron water, bake it, and being baked, fill it up with clarified butter, stop it up with butter in the vent hole, and put in some claret wine, but that will not keep long.

To bake a Lampry otherways with an Eel.

Flay it, splat it, and take out the garbidg, then have a good fat eel, flay it, draw it, and bone it, wipe them dry from the slime, and season them with pepper, salt, and nutmeg, cut them in equal pieces as may conveniently lye in a square or round pye, lay butter in the bottom, and three or four good whole onions, then lay a layer of eels over the butter, and on that lay a lampry, then another of eel, thus do till the pye be full, and on the top of all put some whole cloves and butter, close it up and bake it being basted over with saffron water, yolks of eggs, and beer, and being baked and cold, fill it up with beaten butter. Make your pies according to these forms.

pot pot

To bake a Lampry in the Italian Fashion to eat hot.

Flay it, and season it with nutmeg, pepper, salt, cinamon, and ginger, fill the pie either with Lampry cut in pieces or whole, put to it raisins, currans, prunes, dryed cherries, dates, and butter, close it up, and bake it, being baked liquor it with strained almonds, grape verjuyce, sugar, sweet herbs chop’t and boil’d all together, serve it 349 with juyce of orange, white wine, cinamon, and the blood of the lampry, and ice it, thus you may also do lampurns baked for hot.

To bake a Lampry otherways in Patty-pan or dish.

Take a lampry, roast it in pieces, being drawn and flayed, baste it with butter, and being roasted and cold, put it into a dish with paste or puff paste; put butter to it, being first seasoned with pepper, nutmeg, cinamon, ginger, and salt, seasoned lightly, some sweet herbs chopped, grated bisket bread, currans, dates, or slic’t lemon, close it up and bake it, being baked liquor it with butter, white-wine, or sack, and sugar.



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