Tagged ‘onion’

Bag of Pudding

May 18th, 2013 by KM Wall

Not just any bag – the pudding bag! Pudding in a bag? Isn’t that messy? Not if you know how it’s done.

Possible the most famous bag pudding is the Christmas Pudding that Mrs Cratchit serves in Dicken’s The Christmas Carol:

“Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in… Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper which smells like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quarter of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.”



Christmas Pudding - IN A BAG

Christmas Pudding – IN A BAG

Often the bag is a linen napkin ……. bag is a verb as well as a noun…..

Bag Pudding (OED)

[f. BAGn.1 + PUDDING.]

1. A pudding boiled in a bag.
1598 in FLORIO. 1600HEYWOOD1 Edw. IV, Wks. 1874 I 47 Thou shalt be welcome to beef and bacon, and perhaps a bag-pudding.

1641W. CARTWRIGHTOrdinary II. i, A solemn son of Bagpudding and Pottage.

And if there’s bag pudding, could pudding bag be far behind?


Puddingbag (OED)

A bag in which a pudding is boiled. Also transf. and fig. Cf. pudding-poke.

c1597 T. DELONEY Jack of Newberie (1619) iv. sig. G3, The other maide..with the perfume in the pudding-bagge, flapt him about the face.

1626 in NARES (Halliw.), [A piece of Sail-cloth] about half a yard long, of the breadth of a pudding-bag.

And now for what very well be the most comprehensive pudding recipe in any English cookbook ever, no matter the century. I have added the numbered and letter divisions to help you keep track of the possibilities:

Oatmeal Puddings, otherwise of Fish or Flesh Blood.

Take a quart of whole Oatmeal, steep it in warm Milk overnight, and then drain the groats from it, boil them in a quart or three  pints of good Cream; then the Oatmeal being boyled and cold have Tyme, Penny-royal, Parslee, Spinnage, Savory, Endive, Marjoram, Sorrel, Succory, and Strawberry-leaves of each a little quantity, chop them fine and put them to the Oatmeal, with some Fennel-seeds, Pepper, Cloves, Mace, and Salt,

  1. boyl it in a Napkin,

  2. or bake it in a Dish,

  3. Pie,

  4. or Guts:

    1. sometimes of the former Pudding you may leave out some of the herbs, and add these, Pennyroyal, Savory, Leeks, a good bigg Onion, Sage, Ginger, Nutmeg, Pepper, Salt, either for fish or flesh dayes, with Butter or Beef-suet, boyled or baked in Dish, Napkin, or Pie

1661. William Rabisha.  The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected. p. 184.


Rag Pudding - a 20th century dish that may hearken back to the 19th century, but is a pudding in a pie

Rag Pudding – a 20th century dish that may hearken back to the 19th century, but is a pudding in a pie


You are he that did eat the pudding and the bag.

Proverbs Collected by J. H. Esqr. London 1659

Beet it

December 13th, 2012 by KM Wall

Beets (and a few weeds) photo taken November 30th – still have fresh garden sass

More beets….

A boiled salad sounds a little, um, how shall I put this : wicked Early Modern and a little too,too Historical Cooking.

But many of the boiled salads are things that we eat boiled anyhow – carrots, beets, spinach. The lettuce takes some getting used to, but if you have a garden, and have lettuce start to bolt and get bitter, a little boiling goes a long way to get the bitterness out. Which you’ll have to remember for next summer, because it’s too cold for anything to think about bolting now.

To Prepare All Kinds of Cooked Salads.

Take the hearts of Head Lettuce, cooked just a little, or Chicory roots or Beetroot or Beets or stems of Purslane or stems of Beets after they have been peeled properly or young Green or Pole beans cooked until done or shoots of Hops, shoots of Elder, Onion, or Leeks; also red or white Cabbage cut fine and cooked a little while, everyone to his appetite and all of it well done. (These salads are) prepared with Oil of Olives, Vinegar, Salt, Pepper; for some (salads) one also takes Sugar or Currents according to taste.”

-         Sensible Cook, Rose, p. 45.

Garden bed November 30th – beets and spinach still growing



“The great and beautiful Beet last described may be used in winter for a sallad herbe, with vineger, oyle, and salt, and is not onely pleasant to the taste, but also delightfull to the eye.”

-          Gerard, p. 319.


“The great red Beet or Roman Beet, boyled and eaten with oyle, vinegar and pepper, is a most excellent and delicate sallad: but what might be made of the red and beautifull root (which is to be preferred before the leaves, as well in beauty as in goodnesse) I refer to the curiouos and cunning cooke, who no douby when he hath made view thereof, and is assured that it is both good and wholesome, will make thereof many and divers dishes both faire and good.”

- Gerard, p. 319.


Sausages – the best that were ever eat

November 8th, 2012 by KM Wall

Still Life with Sausages

To make the best Sausages that ever were eat.
Take a Leg of young Pork, and cut off all the lean, and shred it very small, but leave none of the strings or skins amongst it, then take two pound of Beef-sewet, and shred it small, then take two handfulls of red Sage, a little Pepper and Salt, and Nutmeg, and a small piece of Onyon, chop them altogether with the flesh and sewet; if it is small enough, put the yolk of two or three Eggs, and mix altogether, and make it up in a paste if you will use it, rowl out as many pieces as you please in the form of an ordinary Sausage, and so fry them; this paste will keep a fortnight upon occasion.
-1671. The Compleat Cook. E. Tyler and R. Holt for Nath. Brooke: at the Angel in Corne-Hill, near the Royal Exchange: London . reprinted in The Compleat Cook and Queens Delight by W. M. Prospect Books: London. 1984 p.15.

Still Life with Susage

The Pidgeon, of which there are millions of millions

October 3rd, 2012 by KM Wall

The Passenger Pigeon (Audubon)

The pigeon of that country is something different from our dove-house pigeons in England, being more like turtles, of the same color. They have long tails like a magpie. And they seem not so big, because they carry not many feathers on their backs as our English doves, yet they are as big in body.

-1634. William Wood. New Englands Prospect. p. 50. Vaughn ed.

These turtles were the dove sort, not the Teen-aged Mutant Ninja type. All part of the pigeon/dove clan. The particular pigeon they were referring to in the 17th century were the  Ectopistes migratorius also known now as the Passenger Pigeon. The pigeons in the park are a different – and invasive – species. They are NOT good to eat.

These birds come in the country to go to the north parts in the beginning of our spring, at which time (if I may be counted to be worthy to be believed in a thing that is not so strange as true) I have seen them fly as if the airy regiment had been pigeons, seeing neither beginning nor ending, length or breadth of these millions of millions. The shouting of people, the rattling of guns, and pelting of small shot could not drive them out of their course, but so they continued for four or five hours together. Yet it must not be concluded that is thus often, for it is but the beginning of the spring, and at Michaelmas when they return back to the southward; yet are there some all year long, which are easily attained by suck as to look after them. Many of them build amongst the pine trees, thirty miles to the northeast of our plantations, joining nest to nest and tree to tree by their nests, so that the sun never sees the ground in that place, from whence the Indians fetch whole loads of them.

- 1634. William Wood. New Englands Prospect. p. 50. Vaughn ed.

Passenger Pigeons in flight (19th century engraving)

The Pidgeon, of which there are millions of millions, I have seen a flight of Pidgeons in the spring, and at Michaelmas when they return back to the Southward for four or five miles, that to my thinking had neither beginning nor ending, length nor breadth, and so thick that I could see no Sun, they joyn Nest to Nest, and Tree to Tree by their Nests many miles together in Pine-Trees. But of late they are much diminished, the English taking them with Nets. I have bought at Boston a dozen Pidgeons ready pull’d and garbidged for three pence.

-  1674. John Josslyn. Two Voyages to New-England. p.71. Lindholt ed.

Netting pigeons from 1826

John Josslyn was right to worry. The last passenger pigeon died in 1914. Her name was Martha (the penultimate passenger pigeon was a boy bird named George….) She’s been on display at the Smithsonian, and there’s a special mausoleum for her at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Martha the last Passenger Pigeon, while she was still alive

It seems more then a little heartless to offer a recipe here, but please note that this one is also good for woodcocks and partridges.

“In the Winter time I have seene Flockes of Pidgeons, and I have eaten of them…”

-         1630. Francis Higgonson.

To boyle Pigeons.

Parboyle your Pigeons with Parsley in their bellies, and Butter: put them in a Pipkin with strong broth, about a quart thereof, a ribbe of Mutton, large Mace, a little grosse Pepper, beaten Sinamon, a little Ginger and Sugar, a few Razins of the Sunne, a few Currens, Barberryes in bunches, halfe a pinte of white wine, boyle all together with a little Bread steeped in broath, to collour it: straine it with some of the broth, and put it into a Pipkin: let them boyle till they be enough, and so serve them in. This broth may serve to boyle Woodcockes, or Parridges in, with this difference, take some of the broth out of the Pigeon, and put in a minst Onyon. Let it boyl untill it be enough.

1615. John Murrell. A New Book of Cookerie. pp.28-9. Falconwood Press: 1989.


Martha - after death


Smored chickin

July 14th, 2012 by KM Wall

De Hoenderhof - Jan Steen - 1660

To smoore a Chichin.

Cut it in small pieces, and frye it with sweet Batter: take Sacke, or white Wine, Parsley, an Onyon chopt small, a piece of whole Mace, and a little grosse Pepper: put in a little Sugar, Vergis, and Butter. Then take a good handful of Clary, and picke off the stalkes, then make a fine batter with the yolkes of two or three new layd Egges, and fine flowre, two or three spoonfuls of sweet Creame, and a little Nutmeg, and so frye it in a Frying-panne, with sweet Butter: serve in your Chickins with the fryed Clary on them. Garnish your dish with Barberyes.

-                     1615, John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. p.30.


This dish will also be on the wedding table….marriage at 2 today – feasting to follow……

To boile Onions.

February 9th, 2012 by KM Wall

To boile Onions.
Take a good many onions and cut them in foure quarters, set them on the fire in as much water as you think will boyle them tender, and when they be clean skimmed, put in a good many small raisons, halfe a spooneful grose pepper, a good peece of Suger, and a little Salte, and when the Onions be through boiled, beat the yolke of an Egge with Vergious, and put into your pot and so serve it upon soppes. If you will poch, Egges and lay upon them.
- Thomas Dawson. The Second Part of the Good Hus-wives Jewell. London:1597.
Grose pepper means either large or grocer’s
Vergious is a liquid made from unripe grapes or apples, ie green fruit, therefore ‘green juice’. Vinegar as a good substitute.
Soppes are slices of bread that are either toasted or fryed.

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