The photos below were taken at Ft Toulouse, Wetumpka, AL on 3-15-14 as TheHistoricFoodie prepared a classic Pennsylvania Dutch soup with saffron grown and harvested in Lancaster County, PA, home of Martin’s ancestors who left Alsace, Upper Rhineland, and the Palatinate and settled there prior to 1730. The reader will notice the difference in color between the two photos of the soup – before and after the saffron was added. There are photos of the saffron threads and of the saffron steeping prior to putting it in the soup. Thank you for visiting and sharing in our adventures.
Welcome, Gentle Reader, today I’m sharing another look at the lives of the early Pennsylvania Dutch as part of my immersion into the lives and culture of Martin’s ancestors. I am enjoying learning about them and Martin says they’re my family too because I found them. That generosity is one of the reasons I love him.
Rev. F. J. F. Schantz, DD of Myerstown, PA wrote a book titled as above, published in 1900, in which he outlined the wants and needs of Pennsylvania’s earliest Germanic settlers. Naturally their first concern was shelter and those shelters were commonly made of logs with the cracks filled with a mixture of clay and grass or of stone. “Windows were of small dimensions. Doors were often of two parts, an upper and a lower, hung or fastened separately. The interior was frequently only one room, with hearth and chimney, with the floor of stone or hardened clay”. Stairs or a ladder led to the attic for sleeping quarters and storage.
“The pioneer’s house was not complete without the large fireplace, often in the center of the building and very often on one of the sides of the house, with hearth and chimney erected outside of the building, yet joining the same…
It was not difficult to make an inventory of the contents of the dwelling-house. The large hall had but little furniture besides a long, wooden chest, and a few benches or chairs. The best room of the house on one side of the hall contained a table, benches, and later chairs, a desk with drawers, and the utensils used on the special hearth in heating the room. In the rear of the best room was the kammer (bed-room) with its bed of plain make, also the trundle-bed for younger children and the cradle for the youngest, a bench or a few chairs and the chest of drawers. The room on the other side of the hall was often not divided, but when divided the front room was called the living-room (die Wohnstube), with table and benches or plain chairs, with closet for queensware and the storage of promiscuous parcels, with the spinning-wheel, with a clock as soon as the family could afford one, and with shelving for the books brought from the fatherland or secured in this country.
The kitchen contained the large hearth, often very large, with rods fastened to a beam [lug pole] and later an iron bar, from which hung chains to hold large kettles and pots used in the preparation of food; the tripod also on the hearth, to hold kettles and pans used daily by the faithful housewife; the large dining-table, with benches on two long sides and short benches or chairs at each end; another large table for the use of those who prepared meals for the family; extensive shelving for holding tin and other ware; benches for water-buckets and other vessels and the long and deep mantel-shelf above the hearth, on which many articles were placed. The second story of the house contained the bedrooms and often a storage-room. The bedrooms were furnished with beds, tables, large chests, and wooden pegs on the partitions. The attic was of great service for the storage of articles of the mechanism of man and the preservation of fruits of the field, the garden, the orchard and the forest.”
Once the home was finished, the family concentrated on building a barn, spring-house, wood-house and the large bake-oven and smoke-house. The latter two were often under the same roof.
“The early settler knew nothing of coal, coal-oil and burning gas. He had no matches, but used flint, steel and punk instead, or the sunglass on days when the sun shone brightly…” The fire produced light as well as heat, and at night was carefully covered over with ashes or a cover so that in the morning there would be enough coals to produce fire without resorting to such methods.
“Tablecloths were not always used. The first dishes were pewter and later of domestic earthen ware and pottery. Platters, plates, bowls and other vessels held the prepared food. Individual plates, cups and saucers, knives and forks were not wanting…”.
Unless they’ve visited an 18th century living history village, most Americans cannot envision a home like the one described in this post, but there may just come a time when we have to return to those ways. How will you fare if your electric appliances don’t work, store-shelves are bare, and fast food is but a distant memory?
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve researched the Mister’s family and I continue to dig even deeper into their lives, but knowing who they were has only left me wanting to know more about their daily lives. Long before I knew they were the progenitors of my beloved, I admired many of their churches, cemeteries, and quaint little towns with their odd-sounding names, places that have since taken on a profound significance for us through knowing his ancestors were instrumental in the settling of those places or in their worship in the newly-founded churches.
A foodie, especially a historic foodie, can’t help but gravitate toward the foods they prepared and lovingly placed on the tables for their families, and so now my journey is taking me down the paths of those culinary traditions and gardening practices of the people whose names now look up at me from ancient tombstone photos.
I put a great deal of work into the genealogy but unraveling the threads of culture and tradition won’t be nearly as time consuming thanks to William Woys Weaver and his two excellent books – “As American as Shoofly Pie” and “Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking”.
“Shoofly Pie”, like the books I write, is primarily a history of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine and culture with authentic recipes in the back. I found it especially nice that he has traveled extensively through the countryside interviewing average people about the foods they make, those their parents, and even grandparents made and providing variations of the dishes reflective of the countless ways each family prepared the same soup or dumplings.
Equally as important as the recipes are the ways they were served and shared. In doing my own research I was finding authentic recipes, and I was finding some discussion of cultural intricacies, but unraveling the traditions associated with the foods themselves was coming up flat. Mr. Weaver’s sharing of his personal interviews with hundreds of families whose ancestors traveled across the same ocean and then took the same paths during the same decade as Martin’s has added a depth of understanding I would never have gained on my own.
“Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking” is a real honest to goodness cookbook with all the glossy photographs and entertaining dialogue one would expect from such a book. I’ve enjoyed the photographs, taking a mental note of how many of the antique cookware pieces I have in my own collection as I flip through it. Seeing photographs of the prepared dishes allows my mind to wander back to the 1730’s when the family was gathered around the table talking about everything from crops to holiday festivities or putting up a year’s supply of sauerkraut and dried fruit with these very dishes on the table before them.
Just as I traveled extensively and ate my way through Scotland at every out of the way place I could find in order to compare my own preparation of the traditional dishes of my ancestors, with that of the country people whose families have prepared them for centuries, I find the photographs in Mr. Weaver’s book allow me to compare my own chicken and waffles to those prepared by farm women who have chicken gravy running through their veins.
I, with a completely different heritage, can stand in my kitchen or at the hearth and make the same foods as those of Catherine Strausbaugh, Anna Bewerts Staub, Susanna Weisensale, Catherine Swartzbaugh, Appolonia Buck Schonebruck, and the other ladies I’ve gotten to know by tracing their paths from places like Alsace, Flanders, and Lorraine to Goshenhoppen, Conewago, Paradise, Pigeon Hills, Nockamixon, Brickerville, etc. I suppose it takes a foodie with a passion for history to understand how Pennsylvania Dutch food with names I can rarely pronounce can transport me back through time to their kitchens and family circle as I season, stir, knead, and baste.
At the end of the day, the question of how authentically did I prepare the foods is clearly answered by the smile on Martin’s face as he enjoys the dishes he grew up with and shares bits and pieces of how they fit into his childhood – for example how his mom made “chicken” and waffles the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas with what was left of the holiday turkey. As always, Blissful Meals, yall, I think Catherine and Appolonia would smile to hear me say that as I immerse myself in the food regularly set upon their tables. ©
The top photo is the stew-stove at Jefferson’s Monticello, 19th century, the illustration is from Scappi, 16th century. In the illustration the stew-stove is placed against the wall on the right and pans sit on the openings.
Today’s post, like yesterday’s, is an exploration of an antiquated cooking term, i.e. a stew-stove or stew-hole. I first took notice of this term while perusing (for the millionth time) Hannah Glasse’s “The Art of Cookery”, and decided to investigate the era and frequency in which it was used.
Henry Neumann  defined stew-hole as, “a small stove in a kitchen-hearth on which anything is put to boil or stew”. It was still found in Edward Gray’s dictionary published in 1900. The stew stove or stew hole was in use by the 16th century, sometimes made of brick and clay, and at other times possibly stone and/or tile. The stoves allowed variance in temperature when cooking in multiple pots. They were first an adjunct to the fireplace, then free-standing, and eventually led to the creation of the cast-iron stove.
While some domiciles had multiple stories and multiple hearths, the stew-hole was always in the kitchen, probably the first or lowest floor as evidenced by this remark. “Fire-Hearths. On the kitchen floor, One kitchen grate, fire place, Stew-hole, Hot-hearth”. (1700’s England)
A stew-hole stove was a permanent fixture. It was a raised structure, usually brick, that allowed the cook to stand while preparing food instead of squatting or bending down to an open hearth at floor level. The stoves had openings a pot was set into and they were heated by a fire underneath. The stoves often had grates which the pots sat on and which held the pots steady over the opening. Some stoves had a grate upon which a fire was built, with the ashes falling below while others had hot coals from a larger fire at the bottom moved up to where they were needed under the pots. By the earliest part of the 19th century the openings in the brick stew stove could range in number from one to as many as eight as were used at Monticello.
One notation seems to have referred to a hole with a dirt bottom, possibly constructed much the same way as the bean-hole in America. “Feb. 10, 1844.—A large eel was found to-day in the stew-hole at Bottisham Hall, deeply imbedded in the mud. The weather this month has been very severe.” For the eel to burrow into the mud, the stew-hole had to be open to the ground underneath.
Several 18th century cookery books instruct setting soup or other dishes that needed long slow simmering, “over a slow fire or stew-hole”. Some of the books contained the same recipe, namely Crawfish Soup which called for the use of the stew-hole and it is possible those accounts may be more indicative of the freedom with which writers copied the work of others during that era than of the commonality of the stew-hole in 18th century kitchens.
John Perkins told the cook she could keep soup warm until it was served by setting it over the stew-hole. “…strain it, and toast some bread; cut it in small, lay the bread in your dish, and pour in the soup. If you have a stew-hole, set the dish over it for a minute, and send it to table”.
Boiled fish was another item that was kept warm until it was served by setting them over a stew-hole.
English/French dictionaries use the word potager to mean stove and that term was commonly used in Canada as well as France. (Yes I do know the word also referred to a garden)
Its efficiency while using less fuel was one of the attributes of the stew-stove, but having used such a stove, I can say that the distance between the grate that held the fire or coals and the bottom of the pot determines how effectively the stove performs. That distance was too great in the one I used and it took much too big a fire to get hot enough for cooking.
Neumann, Henry. “A New Dictionary of the Spanish and English Languages”. 1808. London.
Cotgrave, Randle. “A French and English Dictionary”. London.
Gray, Edward, Iribas, Juan L. “A New Pronouncing Dictionary of the Spanish and English Languages”. 1852 and 1900 editions. NY.
Glasse, Hannah. “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple”. 1784. London.
Perkins, John. “Every Woman Her Own House-Keeper”. 1796. London.
Farley, John. “The London art of Cookery, and Housekeeper’s Complete Assistant”. 1800. London.
“The Complete Family-Piece; and, Country Gentleman, and Farmer’s Best Guide. 1737. London.
Carter, Susannah. “The Frugal Housewife or Complete Woman Cook”. 1796. London.
“Outing” magazine. Vol. 47. Dec. 1905.
“The Angler’s Guide: Containing Easy Instructions for the Youthful Beginner”. 1828. London.
Carter, Charles. “The London and Country Cook”. 1749. London.
“The Statutes at Large Passed in the Parliaments Held in Ireland, From the Third Year of Edward the Second, A.D. 1310, to the Thirty-eighth Year of George the Third, A.D. 1798, inclusive.” 1798. Dublin.
Jenyns, Leonard. “Observations in Natural History: With an Introduction on Habits of Observing as Connected with the Study of that Science.” 1846. London.
Millars. “Letters from Italy”. Vol. II. 1777. London.
The Victorians continued the search for tasty ways to use maize and offering cash rewards for the best dishes made of corn meal was incentive enough for some of America’s best cooks to tweak a favorite recipe or create an altogether new one. The following account shows the enthusiasm garnered by such events.
“In order to call out information upon the best methods of cooking Indian corn meal, we proposed, in the December Agriculturist to have an exhibition of corn bread and corn cake, at our office on December 14th. Premiums of ten dollars, five dollars, and two dollars were offered for the best, second best, and third best loaves of bread, consisting mainly of corn meal; also an extra premium of four dollars for the best loaf of cake of any kind in which corn meal should be the chief ingredient…
The entries reached over two hundred (two hundred and nineteen). Several entries being for duplicated loaves, the entire number of specimens reached some two hundred and fifty! As will be seen below, these came from the distant West, from the Middle States, as far South as Maryland, and from the North and East. A space of seventy-four feet of wide table-room was closely filled with a most imposing display of loaves of all sizes, from nearly half a bushel down to patty-pan corn meal biscuits, and small corn-meal crackers—and not bad crackers either. There were pure corn-meal loaves, and loaves of ‘rye and Indian;’ loaves one part wheat or rye flour with three parts corn meal, and loaves apparently half meal and half flour, with loaves of every intermediate combination. There were pumpkin loaves, corn-meal dodgers, corn-meal pound cake, corn-meal pone, corn-meal crullers, corn-meal ‘nut-cakes,’ corn-meal baked puddings, and corn-meal whatnots. There were round loaves, square loaves, high loaves, and flat loaves—in short, loaves of every conceivable form and shape, for of the two hundred and fifty-odd specimens scarcely two were alike in form and mode of making. The sight was one to gladden not only the hungry, but to cheer the heart of every patriot, when he remembers that corn is our native cereal, that it grows everywhere and in abundance…” – Enfield, Edward. Indian Corn; its Value, Culture, and Uses. 1866. NY.
My next kitchen adventure is to produce these crackers. They are probably very similar to the ones submitted for judging in the New York event.
“Sift together one and a half pints of flour, a half pint of cornstarch, a half teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of baking powder. Rub in a tablespoon of lard, add a half pint of milk, and mix to a smooth dough. Flour the molding board, turn out the dough, knead it lightly until perfectly smooth, set aside covered for ten minutes, then roll it out very thin, cut in rounds, and prick them with a sharp fork. Lay upon buttered shallow tins, wash over with milk, and bake seven or eight minutes. Store in a tin box in a dry place until used. Sprinkled with grated cheese and heated in the oven the crackers are good to use with the salad course.” – Murphy, Charles Joseph. ©
I appreciate all of you who read my blog and just wanted to thank you for your interest and for the nice notes some of you send me. I’m always happy to know that someone has enjoyed and learned from my research. My books “Victoria’s Home Companion” and “Outdoor Recreation & Leisure Through 19th Century America” are listed on the store page of the blog, and blog readers may order at discount prices. Regular price for each is $25. but email me and tell me you’re a blog reader and you may have your choice for $15. or both for $25. Shipping costs are $3.50 each in the continental U.S.
“Soup Through the Ages” is sold by McFarland Publishing Co. and thus I cannot discount it, but you may order copies from their website.
Blissful reading, thehistoricfoodie©
I enjoyed co-hosting and visiting with everyone at the tea during the Ft. Toulouse F&I event (1760’s). The highlight of the day was watching William start to crawl so he could reach a piece of gingerbread. Soon he’ll be coming and going under his own power and mom and dad will be trying to keep up!
Deb’s tea selections included jasmine, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and a peach flavored tea which was especially nice. It may run a close second to Earl Grey as my favorite.
Food included Irish bread with violet jelly, gingerbread with orange curd, finger sandwiches with fresh herbs, and apple nut small cakes. The platters were all decorated in keeping with the theme of edible flowers and the violet jelly served with the Irish bread was an example of what can be made from flowers.
The gentlemen joined us for a bit of a repast and fellowship after the ladies finished their tea and the day was quite lovely. Until next time, I bid you Peace & Blissful Meals. – the Historic Foodie
This piece follows yesterday’s post which briefly mentioned brawn and will expound on what brawn was and how it was made.
Brawn is an antiquated term by today’s standards, but one easily defined using early dictionaries and cookery books. Samuel Pegge wrote in a compilation dating from about 1390, The Forme of Cury: A Roll of Ancient English Cookery, that brawn referred to boar, but by the time his book was published, brawn also meant rolls of Brawn or Boar. In earlier times he documented Brawn of Swyne as well as that of the Boar with notes on Brawn of Capons and hens.
I found sources for making sham, or mock, brawn which was made by removing the jowls from a cooked head and rolling them up as previously noted, but in a brief search I did not find receipts or instructions for pre-18th century brawn that instructed the cook to use the bits of meat as would be typical in making souse or headcheese, which was a different dish altogether.
In 1675, Bailey defined sousee as, “a jelly made of hogs ears and feet, sliced and stewed in vinegar and sugar”. Souse was the offal of a Swine, offal being “fragments of meat”.
In 1675, Nathan Bailey’s definition was, “the hardest or firmest part of a boar, hard flesh, sous’d meat or boar’s flesh”. Later, Samuel Johnson made no mention of pickled flesh and defined brawn as, “the flesh of a boar”. In 1795, William Butler wrote that brawn, “In the culinary art, signifies the fleshy or musculous parts of a hog, boned, rolled up, or collared, boiled, and lastly, pickled for winter use”. Canterbury and Shrewsbury were known for the superior quality of the brawn they produced. – Arithmetical Questions on a New Plan. 1795. London. Johnson, Samuel. A Dictonary of the English Language. 1768. Dublin.
Hannah Glasse said one could choose brawn and know if it were old or young by the thickness of the rind, if thick it was old. “If the rind and fat be very tender, it is not boar-brawn, but barrow or sow”. A barrow was, “hog, a male Swine gelt [castrated]”. – The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. 1784. London.
Instructions for making it were detailed enough by 1736 that anyone with a desire can duplicate it:
The Boars that were put up for Brawn, are now [December] fit to kill. It is to be observ’d that what is used for Brawn, is the Flitches [sides of a hog, salted and cured] only, without the Legs, and they must have the Bones taken out, and then sprinkled with Salt, and lay’d in a Tray, or some other thing, to drain off the Blood; when this is done, salt it a little, and roll it up as hard as possible, so that the length of the Collar of Brawn be as much as one side of the Boar will bear, and to be, when it is rolled up, about nine or ten inches diameter. When you have rolled up your Collar as close as you can, tye it with Linnen Tape, as tight as possible, and then prepare a Cauldron with a large Quantity of water to boil it: In this boil your Brawn till it is tender enough for a Straw to pass into it, and then let it cool; and when it is quite cold, put it in the following Pickle. Put to every Gallon of Water a handful or two of Salt, and as much Wheat-Bran; boil them well together, and then strain the Liquor as clear as you can from the Brawn, and let it stand till it is quite cold, at which time put your Brawn in it; but this Pickle must be renewed every three Weeks. Some put half small Beer and half Water; but then the small Beer should be brewed with pale Malt: but I think the first Pickle is the best. Note, The same Boar’s Head being well cleaned, may be boiled and pickled like the Brawn, and is much esteem’d. – Bradley, Richard. The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director. 1736.
Instructions were even more detailed by 1763 advising that for brawn the boar should be old; because the older he was the more “horny” will the brawn be. [Horny in this sense means a hard, tough, or callous area.] It was advised that the collar be boiled in a copper, or large kettle, till it was so tender, you could run a straw through it before putting it into the pickle. – A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. Vol. I. 1763.
In short, the cook was to tightly roll pork, boil it until it was tender, and then put it into a solution that would help keep it from going bad. Wine was used in the receipt from the Good Huswife’s Jewell, but vinegar would do well and probably be better as a preservative.
1 piece of boned pork such as shoulder or roast, or loin will work; Chicken stock; Dry white wine (The wine should be about half the total amount of the liquid); 3 bay leaves; ½ a nutmeg, chopped in coarse pieces; 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 of rosemary, and one of marjoram, coarsely chopped, or substitute dried herbs; 1 ½ teaspoons salt; Pepper as you wish
Roll the pork and tie it with cooking twine. Put the seasonings into a pot with the stock and half the wine. Once the mixture is boiling, add the pork roll, simmer until the meat is tender. Remove the meat to a plate, strain the stock. Return the stock to the pot with the remaining wine. Pour just enough of the liquid over the meat to cover it. Allow it to cool and once cold, cover and refrigerate for several days or a week, turning daily. To serve, dry it from the pickling liquid and slice it. Serve it with coarse mustard, or make your own.
If you’ve ever wondered how they got the logs onto the massive fireplaces in times past, this illustration is probably a pretty accurate representation. As we ponder on dragging in that huge yule log on Christmas Eve, we’ll have another look at Christmas customs the past including traditional foods.
“First acknowledging the Sacredness of the Holy Time of Christmas, I proceed to set forth the Rejoicings which are generally made at that great Festival.
You must understand, good People, that the manner of celebrating this great Course of Holydays is vastly different now to what it was in former Days: There was once upon a time Hospitality in the Land; an English Gentleman at the opening of the great Day, had all his Tenants and Neighbours enter’d his Hall by Day-break, the Strong-Beer was broach’d, and the Black-Jacks went plentifully about with Toast, Sugar, Nutmeg, and good Cheshire Cheese; the Rooms were embower’d with Holly, Ivy, Cypress, Bays, Laurel, and Missleto, and a bouncing Christmas Log in the Chimney glowing like the Cheeks of a Country Milk-maid; then was the Pewter as bright as Clarinda, and every bit of brass as polished as the most refined Gentleman; the Servants were then running here and there, with merry Hearts and jolly Countenances, every one was busy welcoming of Guests, and look’d as smug as new-lick’d Puppies; the Lasses were as blithe and buxom as the Maids in good Queen Bess’s Days, when they eat Sir-Loins of Roast Beef for Breakfast; Peg would scuttle about to make a Toast for John, while Tom run harum scarum to draw a Jug of Ale for Margery: Gaffer Spriggins was bid thrice welcome by the ‘Squire, and Gooddy Goose did not fail of a smacking Buss from his Worship, while his Son and Heir did the Honours of the House; In a word, the Spirit of Generosity ran thro’ the whole House.
In these Times all the Spits were sparkling, the Hackin must be boil’d by Day-break, or else two young Men took the Maiden by the Arms, and run her round the Market-place, ‘till she was ashamed of her Laziness. And what was worse than this, she must not play with the young Fellows that Day, but stand Neuter, like a Girl doing penance in a Winding-sheet at a Church-door…the Tables were all spread from the first to the last, the Sir-Loyns of Beef, the Minc’d-Pies, the Plumb-Porridge, the Capons, Turkeys, Geese, and Plumb-Puddings, were all brought upon the board; and all those who had sharp Stomachs and sharp Knives eat heartily and were welcome, which gave rise to the Proverb, Merry in the Hall, when Beards wag all.
There were then Turnspits employed, who by the time Dinner was over, would look as black and as greasy as a Welch Porridge-pot, but the Jacks have since turned them all out of Doors. The Geese which used to be fatted for the honest Neighbours, have been of late sent to London, and the Quills made into Pens to convey away the Landlord’s Estate; the Sheep are drove away to raise Money to answer the Loss of a Game at Dice or Cards, and their Skins made into Parchment for Deeds and Indentures; nay even the poor innocent Bee, who was used to pay its Tribute to the Lord once a Year at least in good Metheglin, for the Entertainment of the Guests and its Wax converted into beneficial Plaisters for sick Neighbours, is now used for the sealing of Deeds to his Disadvantage…
Then let all your Folks live briskly, and at such a Time of Rejoicing enjoy the Benefit of good Beef and Pudding, let the Strong Beer be unlocked, and let the Piper play, O’er the Hills, and far away.”
May we all be truly thankful for the joys in our lives and the love of Christ and may we strive to carry the merriment and good cheer of Christmas in our hearts all the year round. Thehistoricfoodie©
– Christmas Entertainments. Originally published in 1740. London. ©
These terms were probably used well before the 18th century, but I’ve labeled them as such since the primary sources I took them from were published in the early 18th century. They were used in both the New World and the old.
The baker’s work and prices were set by law allowing him a fair profit but preventing his taking advantage of his customers. “Poor are more at his mercy than the rich; small families more than great; for in Rolls, Two-penny and Three-penny Loaves, there is no Check upon him; in the Quartern and Peck Loaves, and such Families as take in the small bread are the chief support of the Baker.” Customers could run a tally with him rather than paying in ready-money unlike many others.
Bakers were generally strong, robust Men, and a lad could be bound at fourteen or fifteen when deemed strong enough to knead the masses of dough.
Butchers required more skill to learn their trade than any of the other victualling branches. They had to know how to kill, cut up, and dress their meat to advantage, and how to buy a bullock, sheep, or calf, standing. They knew how to judge its weight and fatness by eye, and without long experience were often liable to be deceived in both. Butchers were necessary, requiring great strength and a disposition no ways inclinable to the coward. A lad of fourteen or fifteen could be bound to a butcher.
In London, specific rules governed what a butcher could legally do within his trade. He was not allowed to kill any animal within his scalding-house or within the walls of the city. Selling meat at unapproved prices carried stiff penalties: ten pounds or twenty days imprisonment for the first offense, twenty pounds or to be set in the pillory for the second; and a third offense carried a penalty of forty pounds or to be set in the pillory, and lose one of his ears.
A butcher was not allowed to buy oxen, steers, heifers, or calves in a market or fair and then re-sell them while yet living. “No Butcher shall gash, or cut the hide of any ox, bull, steer, or cow, in flaying thereof, or otherwise, whereby the same shall be impaired or hurt, on pain of twenty-pence for every hide. No butcher shall water any hide, except in the months of June, July, and August, or shall offer to sale any putrified, or rotten hide…”.
“If any Butcher in London or Westminster, or within ten miles thereof, shall buy any fat cattle, and sell the same again, either alive or dead, to another butcher, he shall forfeit the value of such cattle”.
A cheesemonger was a retailer of cheese, butter, eggs, bacon, and sometimes hams. His skill consisted of knowing the prices and properties of the goods he sold. “It is pretty precarious, and liable to a great many accidents; their cheese lose in their weight, their hams stink, and their bacon rusts, notwithstanding all the care they are able to take; were it not for such accidents as these, their trade would be very profitable.”
His trade was often wholesale, he employing factors to buy and transport them to London. “He requires from twenty to fifty pound with an apprentice; and it will require several hundred pounds to set him up”.
Every kilderkin of butter had to contain 112 lb., neat, every pound to be sixteen ounces, besides the tare of the cask; every firkin fifty-six lb., neat, and every pot fourteen lb., neat of good and merchantable butter. No butter, old or corrupt, could be mixed or packed with new or any whey butter packed with that of cream.
Cheesemongers and tallow-chandlers were permitted to sell any quantity of butter or cheese for victualling ships, or for other purposes.
“In the Days of good Queen Elizabeth, when mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman’s Food; our Cookery was plain and simple as our manners; it was not then a science or mistery, and required no conjuration to please the palates of our greatest men. But we have of late Years refined ourselves out of that simple Taste, and conformed our Palates to Meats and Drinks dressed after the French Fashion: The natural taste of fish or flesh is become nauseous to our fashionable stomach; we abhor that any thing should appear at our tables in its native properties; all the Earth, from both the Poles the most defiant and different climates, must be ransacked for spices, pickles and sauces not to relish but to disguise our food. Fish when it has passed the hands of a French cook is no more fish; it has neither the taste, smell, nor appearance of fish. It, and every Thing else, is dressed in Masquerade, seasoned with slow poisons and every dish pregnant with nothing”.
The writer went on to say rich and poor lived as if they were of a different species of beings from their ancestors, and observe a regimen of diet, calculated not to supply the wants of nature. “But it is to no purpose to preach against Luxury and French cookery; they have too powerful a party in the nation: we must take the Cooks as they are, not as they ought to be; they are not to blame, but those that employ them.”
Cooks were of three sorts: the roasting and boiling cooks; the pastry-cooks; and those that kept chop-houses and confined themselves to dressing a beef-steak, a veal-cutlet, or a mutton-chop.
Boys at about age thirteen or fourteen could be bound, first learning to tend the fires. Salaries ranged from “a hundred a year” to five to fifty pounds a year depending on skill.
Coffee-houses were often taverns as well as coffee-houses that sold all manner of wine and punch and dressing dinners for gentlemen. Those found adulterating coffee or tea incurred a substantial penalty.
A fruiterer chiefly bought large quantities of fruit and retailed it out. Some bought whole orchards of fruit while yet on the tree. They were incorporated by James I in 1605.
A grocer imported himself, or purchased by wholesale of an importer, raisins, sugar, figs, and all manner of foreign fruit (except oranges and lemons) and frequently sells tea, coffee, and chocolate as well as soap, starch, blue, and other small articles.
“The pastry-cook is a very profitable business, requires a good palate and a disguising genius. He is nice at making all manner of Pyes, Pasties, Tarts, Custards, &c. is skilled in the architecture of paste and judicious at charging his pyes with all manner of sculpture and statuary. He deals in jellies and preserves, and in some few confections. A lad may be bound about fourteen years of age and generally sets up for himself, or enters into the service of some gentleman, in quality of Superintendant of his pastry work”.
“The confectioner is a sweet-tooth’d tradesman: He makes all manner of Sweet-Meats, preserves all manner of fruits, and is the architect of a desert. He builds walls, castles, and pyramids of sweet-meats and sugar-plumbs. ..He makes sour things sweet and sweet things sour; he covers the products of summer, and the hottest season of the year with artificial frost and snow, and delights the eye as much with the arrangement of his pyramids as the taste of the delicious flavor of his wet and dry Sweet-Meats. It requires no small knowledge to compleat a confectioner; though I never esteem him one of the most useful members of society. The trade is profitable to the Master, and the Journeymen have from fifteen to twenty shillings a week”.
The poulterer furnished tables with fowl and game of all sorts. “He has the secret of making them pay very dear for what they have of him…If they pay their bills, the nobleman is bit; but if they do not, as frequently happens, the poulterer is bit. The whole mystery of this trade lies in buying cheap and selling dear; a secret which may be learned in less than seven years”.
The fishmonger’s profits were without bounds, and bore no proportion to his out-layings. His knowledge consisted of finding the cheapest market and selling at the greatest price. His trade could be learned in less than seven years, “without any notable genius”. The fisherman is a laborious useful trade, perfectly well understood. It is fit only for robust lads.
The vinegar-maker made vinegar from white wine that had spoiled, or brewed it from raisins. The latter was the cheapest and most common.
“Chocolate is made of cocoa, the product of the West-Indies. It is stripped of its shell, or rather husk, and wrought upon a stone over a charcoal fire till it is equally mellow, and then put into moulds, which shapes it into cakes. To perfume it they mix it with Venello. It is a hot laborious business, but does not require much ingenuity. Journeymen’s Wages are from twelve to fifteen shillings a week, but are not employed much in summer. They require heat to work with, but cold weather is necessary to dry it.”
Those who ran an oil-shop sold oils, pickles, anchovies, soap, salt, hams, and, “several other family necessaries; he is a mere retailer, has enough profits, but is worth no lad’s while to slave seven years in this dirty shop for any knowledge he can reap from his Master or his Practice”. The author advised young men that going into an apprenticeship or indenture with any sort of retail shop keeper was not a way to gather wealth.
“Sugar is made of the liquor of the Sugar-cane, boil’d and made to granulate by mixing it with lime. The sugar-baker dilutes the raw sugars with water, boiling them and mixing them again with lime, till they are put into earthen molds of the form we see the Sugar-loaf; after which they are bak’d in an oven and clay’d. The boyler, who is the principal workman, earns 40 or 50 l. a year; the rest of the people employed in it are common labourers”.
Spelling left as found.