Friday, February 28, 2014

No Post today, sorry

Hi all,

I'm afraid my computer died last night so there will not be a post from me today and possibly for a few days. I'm hoping it is repairable at the very least my research material recoverable, sigh.

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wedding Reception Tidbits

Paul and I had a very casual wedding reception, held in my family home (which could easily handle over a hundred guests). Personally, I enjoyed a more casual event. However, our daughter had a sit down reception in a restaurant. Everyone does or has a reception based on what they want. Below are some tidbits from 19th century wedding etiquette books.

At the wedding reception the parents of the bride stand a little beyond the newly wedded couple and receive the guests as they pass beyond the bridal group. The parents of the groom, if present, are near them and are, of course, recipients of similar attentions on the part of the guests. Sometimes the bridal company are stationed in one room and the elder couples in another, this division being a wise one when a large number of guests are invited and there is liability of overcrowding the space about the bride, who is, of course, the centre of attraction.
The refreshments at a wedding reception may be as simple or as elaborate as desired. They are usually served from the buffet, and guests may go at any time during the reception to the refreshment room, where they are helped by the attendants, the ushers exercising surveillance over this part of the entertainment to the extent of seeing that ladies unattended by gentlemen are invited to go in. Tea and coffee or other hot drinks are not considered essential, but bouillon in cups is usually provided in winter, wine being offered or withheld according to the scruples of the entertainers. Salads, birds, ices, jellies, fruits, cakes, etc., contribute to the beauty and add to the satisfying qualities of the feast, slices of wedding-cake being put in small, dainty boxes and placed where each guest may take one ere departing.
Our terse American way of designating the style of service which does not include the regular seating of all the guests at table is to call it a "stand-up" affair, and this is by far the most general method of serving; but several small tables are usually spread, and at these the bridal party and special or elderly guests are seated by the ushers, whose duty it is to see that they are properly served.
Source: Good Manners ©1889

Brides and bridesmaids should wear their wedding dresses at the wedding-reception.
Dress Of Guests At Wedding-reception.
The guests at an evening reception should appear in full evening-dress. No one should attend in black or wear mourning. Those in mourning should lay aside black for gray or lavender.
For a morning reception the dress should be the richest street costume, with white gloves. If the blinds are closed and the gas lighted at the morning reception, then evening-dress is worn by the guests.
Source: Manners and Culture Dress ©1891

Wedding-reception Card.
Accompanying it is the wedding-reception card issued by the parents of the bride, which is in the usual form of ceremonious invitations, with the exception that "at the wedding-reception of their daughter" takes the place of the ordinary phrase relating to dinner-party or soiree. It also gives the hours during which the reception is held.
In the same envelope with the invitation and reception-card may be a card announcing the reception-days of the bride and bridegroom; their form
may be simply as follows:
Reception, Wednesdays in March. 1756 Arch Street.
Usually accompanying these are smaller cards bearing the names of the bride and bridegroom.
Upon the wedding invitations may be the letters R. S. V. P. (repondcz s'il vous plait), signifying that an answer is requested. In this case a prompt answer, accepting or declining the invitation, should be returned.
Still another card—a card of admission to the church—is now found necessary.
At the wedding-reception, held at the bride's parents, the guests offer their congratulations. On going forward to congratulate the happy couple they should address the bride first if they have had any previous acquaintance with her, then the bridegroom, then the bridesmaids, and after them the parents and family of the bride and groom. If they are acquainted with the bridegroom and not with the bride, let them address him first, when he will introduce them to his bride. They should congratulate the bridegroom and give their good wishes to the bride.
If there is a breakfast, dinner or supper, the bride does not change her dress until afterward.
The Wedding-feast.
The refreshment-table is made brilliantwith flowers. The wedding or bride's cake is an important adjunct of the feast. If there is no regular breakfast given, cake and wine are passed among the guests.
Dress At A Wedding.
One should not wear mourning at a wedding. Even when black is habitually worn, it should give place, for the time being, to gray or some neutral tint.
Weddings, parties,
If parties are given to the newly-married couple, the bridesmaids and groomsmen are also invited, and all may, if they choose, wear their weddingdresses.
Wedding-calls. Wedding-calls should be returned within two or three weeks by all who have received weddingcards.
Wedding-presents. It is customary for the bride to make her bridesmaids a present on the morning of the marriage. It is imperative that they shall make her a bridal-gift.
Source: The Ladies' and Gentlemen's Etiquette ©1877

At wedding receptions, friends who congratulate the newly married couple should address the bride first, if they have any previous acquaintance with her, then the bridegroom, then the bridemaids, and after that the parents and family of the bride and groom. They should give their good wishes to the bride and congratulate the bridegroom. If they are acquainted with the bridegroom and not with the bride, let them address him first and he will introduce them to his bride.
Source: Our Deportment Or, the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined ©1882

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

1865 Fashions

It's Historical Fashion wednesday and we're viewing 1865 fashions from publications from that year.






Riding Habit


Baby Hood


Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I'm not a huge fan of lamb but my characters seem to like it. At least the ones I'm currently working on do. This caused me to seek out some historical recipes for lamb. My story is set in 1871 and finding earlier recipes are a bit more difficult. However, taking into account where my character lives and what is readily available for her to make various rubs and sauces…well you get the idea. Below are some recipes for Lamb that perhaps your characters might want to make some day.

To Roast Lamb.—Lamb requires to be well roasted, as, if not sufficiently done, it will fail to acquire that delicate taste so peculiar to it. It is commonly dressed in quarters. Lamb should be well jointed or chopped by the butcher, as it is such a delicate sort of meat, that it becomes altogether disfigured, if the carver, is compelled to hack and pull it in pieces. In roasting, baste with its own dripping, and after pouring off all the fat, serve it up in a hot dish with the gravy that remains after the fat is poured off. In serving up a fore-quarter, the cook should divide the shoulder neatly from the ribs, and after squeezing the juice of half a.lemon on the ribs, cover the shoulder closely over again. It is usual to send up with lamb/mint-sauce in a tureen.

To Roast a Shoulder of Lamb (savoury).—Score the joint with cuts an inch deep, rub it over with butter first, then season it with pepper and salt, and sweet-herbs; rub over these the yolk of an egg, and roll it in bread-crumbs; roast it a light brown. When sufficiently cooked pour off the fat in the dripping-pan, and make a gravy of that which remains, seasoning with pepper and salt, tomato or mushroom-ketchup, the grated rind and juice of a lemon, thickened with a little flour. Put the lamb on a clean hot dish and pour the gravy over it.

To Boil a Leg of Lamb.—A leg of lamb Sb a delicate dish when nicely boiled. If whiteness is desirable, wrap it in a clean cloth; only the liquor will then be spoiled for broth. Boil one of five pounds gently for about an hour and a half. When you dish it, cut the loin into chops, fry them, and lay round it. Sauce, plain melted butter, or parsley and butter.

To Fry Lamb Chops —Lamb chops may be either simply fried in the same manner as mutton chops, or dressed with egg and crumbs of bread (but with no parsley), as in thecase of cutlets. Gravy made in the pan, as for fried steaks.

A very nice dish.—Take the best end of a neck of lamb, cut into steaks, and chop each bone so short as to make the steaks almost round. Egg, and strew with crumbs, herbs, and seasoning: fry them of the finest brown ; mash some potatoes with a little butter and cream, and put them into the middle of the dish raised high. Then place the edge of one steak on an other with the small bone upward around the potatoes.
Source: The American Home Cook Book ©1864

Boiled Leg Of Lamb.—Choose a ewe leg, as there is more fat on it; saw off the knuckle, trim off the flap, and the thick skin on the back of it; soak in warm water for three hours, then boil gently (time according to size). Serve with oyster sauce. (See Sauces.)
Roast Lamb.—Wash well, season with pepper and salt, put in the dripping-pan with a little water. Baste often with the dripping; skim the gravy well and thicken with flour.

Lamb Steaved In Butter.—Select a nice loin, wash well, and wipe very dry; skewer down the flap, and lay it in a close-shutting and thick stewpan, or saucepan, in which three ounces of good butter have been just dissolved, but not allowed to boil; let it simmer slowly over a very gentle fire for two hours and a quarter, and turn it when it is rather more than half done. Lift it out, skim, and pour the gravy over it; send to table with brown gravy, mint sauce, and a salad.

Saddle Of Lamb.—This is a dainty joint for a small party. Sprinkle a little salt over it, and set it in the dripping-pan, with a few small pieces of butter on the meat; baste it occasionally with tried-out lamb-fat; dredge a little flour over it a few minutes before taking from the oven. Serve with currant jelly and a few choice early vegetables. Mint sauce may be served with the joint, but in a very mild form. (See Sauces.)

Broiled Lamb Chops.—Trim oil most of the fat; broil over a brisk fire, turning frequently until the chops are nicely browned. Season with pepper and salt, and baste with hot butter. Serve on a buttered dish.

Breaded Lamb Chops.—Grate plenty of stale bread, season with salt and pepper, have ready some well-beaten egg, have a spider with hot lard ready, take the chops one by one, dip into the egg, then into the bread-crumbs; repeat it, as this will be found an improvement; then lay the chops separately into the boiling lard, fry brown, and then turn. To be eaten with currant jelly.

Lamb Steaks, Fried.—Dip each steak into well-beaten egg, cover with bread-crumbs or corn-meal, and fry in butter or new lard. Mashed potatoes and boiled rice are a necessary accompaniment. The gravy may be thickened with flour and butter, adding a little lemon juice; pour this hot upon the steaks, and place the rice in spoonfuls around the dish to garnish it.
Source: Mrs. Clarke's Cook Book ©1899

Monday, February 24, 2014

1875 Advertisements and Story Starters

From time to time, I'll be looking through historical newspapers and I love reading the advertisements for a variety of reasons. Below are a few. These all come from the Holt County Sentinel, Oregon, Mo. Dec. 17th 1875

Here's 1875 American Stock Journal That was mentioned in the ad.

Farm for Sale

Flour Advertisement

Train Routes East

Possible Story Idea

Friday, February 21, 2014


Below are a couple recipes for making ravioli. Enjoy!

Ravioli, Italian.—Make a little firm smooth paste (see the next recipe). Roll it oat as thin as thick paper, and sprinkle it with as little flour as possible. Make a forcemeat of fowl, veal, or fish, or take a godiveau; lay it in little heaps at equal distances on half the paste, and cover with the other half. With the fingers press the paste down between the little piles forcemeat to make it adhere, then cut the 1 into squares. Put these side by side in a dish and boil them in bouillon for five Serve with grated cheese in a plate.

Ravioli, Italian (another way) Make some nicely-flavoured forcemeat as follows:— Take two ounces of the flesh of roast chicken or game weighed after it has been freed from skis and sinew. Mince it finely, and mix with it a table-spoonful of borage which has been scalded, pounded, and passed through a sieve; failing this, use a table-spoonful of spinach greening. Add an ounce of pounded ham, four cleaned and pounded anchovies, a shallot, three hard and two raw yolks of eggs, a table-spoonful of grated Parmesan, and a little pepper and grated nutmeg. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Roll out half a pound of nouilles paste as thin as possible, cut it into rounds two inches a diameter with a fluted cutter, moisten the edges with water, and lay a small ball of the forcemeat upon each round. Fold the pastry over the forcemeat, and pinch it tightly together. Let the ravioli dry for a short time!1 Butter a saucepan, lay them in it, pour a little boiling stock over them, and let them simmer os£ tho pastry is dono enough. Drain Ukc lay them on a dish, sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over, and lay little pieces of butter here and there upon them. Put them in a brisk oven for a quarter of an hour, poor a little gmgi gravy round them, and serve very hot. To make the nouilles paste put half a pound of flour on a pastry-board, make a hole in tho centre, break two eggs into it, add half an ounce of butter and a pinch of salt, and mix all together to a smooth, firm paste; it is then ready for use. Time to simmer the ravioli, five minutes.

Ravioli Soup.—Prepare and poach the ravioli as in the last recipe. Drain them, and put them into a roup turain. Pour over them two quarts of good strong veal or game stock, add a glassful of madeira, and Berve very hot. Send a plateful of grated Parmesan to table with tho soup. Time, five minutes to poach the ravioli. Sufficient for ten or twelve persons.
Source: Cassell's dictionary of cookery ©1883

Ravioli: Prepare chicken forcemeat precisely the same as for chicken croquettes,— that is, chop your chicken as fine as sawdust; mix thoroughly with some- moistened crumb of bread (about one-third as much bread as chopped chicken), a lump of butter the size of a small egg, one pinch of ground mace, one tablespoonful of Parmesan cheese (grated), one tablespoonful of chopped parsley, and two egg yolks. Mix and incorporate these ingredients thoroughly; roll little balls like large marbles, and lay them separately on a plate. Have ready two sheets of nouille-paste (the recipe for which I will give below). Lay one sheet of the paste on your pasteboard, and place the little forcemeat balls on it, about an inch and a half apart. With your finger or a delicate brush moisten with water the spaces between the balls, and lay the top sheet of paste over them. Now take a little paste wheel,— or knife if you have nothing better,— and separate by cutting each of the ravioli. They appear like very little patties. Throw them into hard boiling salted water, and let them boil briskly twenty minutes without once removing the, lid while they are boiling. Unless they are kept "entirely closed while boiling the paste will be tough. So, for that matter, will pot pie, dumplings, or any boiled paste.
As these ravioli are of themselves so rich, I usually pour over them stewed tomatoes, strained, and cover with grated Parmesan cheese. I have seen them served with Italian sauce, Espagnole sauce, and many other rich sauces. But it has always appeared proper to me, not to have a rich sauce for ravioli.
Source: A Few Hints about Cooking, with Remarks on Many Other Subjects ©1887

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Below is just one of the images from the "Lanterns and Lamps Catalogue" ©1896. This helpful tool will be a great resource for your writing. Not only does it have images, names of manufacturers, etc. It also has sizes and dimensions. It's a great resource and will give you more information than you possibly will need while writing your historical novels.

Lanterns and Lamps Catalogue from Google books.

This quote is from the Ladies' Companion ©1841 gives a little insight about this handy tool earlier in the 19th Century.
I have often thought of the associations of a lantern. A common utensil:—it has witnessed many a queer and
many a severe joke—many a sad and many a glad tale. It is not of modern origin—whether Noah had one in the
ark or not, is not yet sufficiently ascertained to he affirmed: but, this much I do know, Diogenes had one
which he held in the fnce of every person he met with, while endeavoring to find an honest man on earth; and
the lantern of Demosthenes rests, somewhat opaque to be sure, upon the Acropolis of Athens, at the present
moment. Judas Iscariot, whose price was tho cost of a coat of the present day, betrayed his Saviour by
the light of a lantern. Guy Fawkes endeavored to blow up the parliament of England, King James and all, with
his lantern: and Sir John Moore was huried on the heights of Corrunna,...
"By the struggling moon-beam's misty light,
And the lantern's dimly hurning."

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1871 Fashions Part 2

Below is the second part of 1871 Historic Fashions. As I mentioned last week, this is the year in which I set my next book release "Winning The Captain's Heart." The images below come from 1871 sources.

Walking Dress

Walking Dress and Hats

Walking Dress and Bonnets

Carriage Dress

Everyday Clothing (these are harder to find)




Sewing Basket

Cap Basket

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Below are a couple of recipes for noodles. Today I use my pasta maker to roll out the noodles but the recipes below involved a rolling pin.

Put one cupful of flour on a meat platter or other flat dish, make a hollow in the centre and drop in one-half of a teaspoonful of soft butter, one-quarter of a teaspoonful of salt and the yolks of four raw eggs. Mix the eggs with the fingers, drawing gradually intothem the dry flour until the whole is mixed to a firm stiff paste which will not stick to the hands. Knead for several minutes, then divide into six or eight pieces; roll each out until as thin as paper, spread out on a board and let rest for fifteen or twenty minutes so as to dry the surface. Cut each piece into strips about two inches wide, lay several of these strips in a pile and with a sharp knife cut them down in fine slices. Shake apart and spread on plates to dry. They may be boiled and served in the same manner as macaroni or spaghetti. If thoroughly dried they may be put away in a cool dry place and will keep for several weeks.
Source: Table Talk ©1899

Beat up two eggs, add a bit of salt, a teaspoonful of butter and flour to make a very stiff dough, knead same as you would bread for ten minutes. Roll out as thin as possible, cut in squares and then into straws; or sprinkle with Hour and roll up tightly and with a sharp knife slice one-quarter inch slices from the end of the roll. Let them lie on the bread board nearly an hour to dry, then drop into the boiling soup. Stir with a fork to separate the noodles. The expert German noodle maker makes a batter of flour and egg and with a knife cuts it from the edge of a dish into the soup, which looks much better than the above way, and saves time.
Source: Second Edition of the Ellis Cook Book ©1898

NOODLE Soon-To one cup of sifted flour add two beaten eggs, mix thoroughly for five or eight minutes, and divide into four parts. Roll each part as thin as a knife blade and lay on a clean cloth near the stove to dry.
Do not allow them to become too dry, or they will be brittle and cannot be cut nicely. When dry enough so they will not stick together, take each piece separately, roll up into a roll, and cut into very narrow strips,— not more than one-sixteenth of an inch in width.
Shake these folded pieces out and allow them to dry still more. When quite dry, drop them into hot salted water and boil twenty minutes. Then add one quart of rich milk and one cup of cream. Heat thoroughly and serve. Salt may be added if desired. If you have rolled them thin, cut them fine,
and have not mixed them too stiff, they will be tender, and each noodle will be separate from the others; but if not carefully divided before putting into the water, they will adhere to each other.
Source: Good Health, Volume 27 ©1892

Noodle Soup.
Add noodles to beef or any other soup after straining; they will cock in fifteen or twenty minutes, and are prepared in the following manner: To one egg add as much sifted flour as it will absorb, with a little salt; roll out as thin as a wafer, dredge very lightly with flour, roll over and over into a large roll, slice from the ends, shake out the strips loosely and drop into the soup.
Source: The Dixie Cook-book ©1883

Monday, February 17, 2014

19th Century Romance Novels Descriptive List

I ran across this interesting book that lists the various romantic novels from the 19th Century. Below is the opening section followed by a link to Google Books where you can download a copy of this book. AS a writer of romance novels this could prove interesting for you as an author for the characters of novels.

Romantic Novels are divided into two classes,—those which are and those which are not, historical. This list is devoted to the latter, but a few historical tales, in which history is at a minimum, have been included. An excellent bibliografy of Historical Fiction exists in the L. H. catalog of the Boston Public Library.
"No author without a trial can conceive of the difficulty of writing a romance about a country where there is no shadow, no antiquity, no mystery, no picturesque and gloomy wrong, nor anything but a commonplace prosperity in broad and simple dayllt, as is happily the case with my dear native land. It will be very long, I trust, before romancewriters may find congenial and easily handled themes either in the annals of our stalwart republic, or in any characteristic and probable event of our individual lives. Romance and poetry, ivy, lichens, and wall flowers, need ruin to make them grow." [ Nathaniel Hawthorne.
4iFew'things are more conclusively established in this commonplace day and practical land than the utter abolition of the romantic element of life. People who read Mrs. Radcliffe and the Ledger—and there are those besides ourselves, we are credibly informed, who are in the habit of reading both—must often heave a si of regret for the vanished and delltful mysteries commemorated in those obsolete but fascinating pages. Not the subtlest effort of imagination can again people the prosaic walks of daily life with the weird shapes that haunted every nook and corridor of Otranto's enchanted and enchanting castle. The lonely wayside inn which was wont to be the very nursery and stronghold of romance has become disgustingly commonplace and safe. No ingenious trapdoor opens to engulf the slumber of the unsuspecting traveler; no horrent spectre with flaming eyes and hollow voice emerges from the wall to menace and dismay; no lovely and compassionate barmaid clambers in at the window to warn of the murderous landlord and to save from his sanguinary toils; no foe the chance sojourner has to dread more deadly than the susurrant mosquito or the insidious cimex. The secret doors and hidden stairways and subterranean passages, the unbodied voices, the irresponsible skeletons, and unaccountable knits who made beautiful and thrilling the ways of a preternatural past, have forever disappeared. That whole charming web of mediaeval romance the ruthless besom of modern enlltenment has swept into dust and oblivion. We are encompassed with an atmosfere of almost oppressive reality, and it is a genuine relief when some unusually ingenious murder or flagrant fall of unsuspected respectability gives us a brief respite from the tyranny of the commonplace." [ Round Table.

The object of this list is to direct readers, such as would enjoy the kind of books here described, to a number of novels, easily obtainable, but which, in many cases, have been forgotten within a year or two after publication. That the existence of works of fiction is remembered so short a time is a pity, since, for every new book of merit, there are, in most libraries, a hundred as good or better, unknown to the majority of readers. It is hoped that the publication of this and similar lists icill lessen, in some measure, the disposition to read an inferior New book when superior Old books, equally fresh to most readers, are at hand.
This list will be followed by others describing EUROPEAN, ECCENTRIC, and FANCIFUL novels and tales. The compiler would be pleased to have his attention called to any works deserving a place which have escaped his attention. It may be observed that the compiler has tried to include only such works as are ^i}ell-written, interesting, and are free from sensationalism, sentimentality, and pretense. But in a few cases, books have been noticed on account of the reputation of their authors, or their great popularity,»ather than their merit.
The selected "notices" here given are generally abridged.

Descriptive List of Romantic Novels1890

Descriptive List of American, International Romantic and British Novels1891

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Over the years I've had a few historical posts on Valentine's Day. Here are the links to past posts.

Valentine's Day 1833

ST. Valentine's Day 1898

Valentine's Day 1880
Valentine's Day Part 2 with links to another site with Historical cards

Dried Beans

I was searching for the various ways to dry the beans once harvested but what sources I found were difficult for me to understand. So, I proceeded with gathering dried bean recipes. Enjoy!

If you wish to make succatosh, boil the beans from half to three quarters of an hour, in water a little salt, meantime cutting off the corn and throwing the cobs to boil with the beans. Take care not to cut too close to the cob, as it imparts a bad taste. When the beans have boiled the time above mentioned, take out the cobs, and add the corn, and let the whole boil from fifteen to twenty minutes, for young corn, and longer for older com. Make the proportions two-thirds corn and one-third beans. Where you have a mess amounting to two quarts of corn and one quart of beans, take two tablespoonfuls of flour, wet itinto a thin paste, and stir it into the succatosh, and let it boil up for five minutes. Then lay some butter in a dish, take it up into it, and add more salt if need be.

Throw them into salted boiling water, and cook them from an hour to an hour and a half, according to the age. A little saleratus improves them when old ; a piece as big as a pea will do. If you put in too much, the skins will slip off.

Baked Beans.
Pick over the beans the night before, and put them in warm water to soak, where they will be kept warm all night. Next morning pour off the water, and pour on boiling water, and let them stand and simmer till the beans are soft, and putting in with them a nice piece of pork, the skin gashed. Put them into the deep dish in which they are to bake, having water just enough to cover them. Bury the pork in the middle, so that the top will be even with the surface. All the garden beans are better for baking than the common field bean. They must bake in a moderately hot oven from two to three hours
Source: Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book ©1871

Put two quarts of dried white beans to soak the night before you make tfcs soup, which should be put on as early in the day as possible.
Take two pounds of the lean of fresh beef—the coarse pieces will do. Cut them up, .and put them into your soup-pot with the bones belonging to them, (which should be broken in pieces,) and a pound of lean bacon, cut very small. If you have the remains of a piece of beef that has been roasted the day before, and so much under-done that the juices remain in it, you may put it into the pot and its bones along with it. Season the meat with pepper only, and pour on it six quarts of water. As soon as it boils, take off the scum, and put in the beans (having first drained them) and a head of celery cut small, or a tablespoonful of pounded celery seed. Boil it slowly till the meat is done to shreds, and the beans all dissolved. T* en strain it through a colander into the tureen, and put into it small squares of toasted bread with the crust cut off.
Soak over night one quart of black beans; next day boil them in the proper quantity of water, say a gallon, then dip the beans out of the pot and strain them through a colander. Then return the flour of the beans, thus pressed, into the pot in which they were boiled. Tie up in a thin cloth some thyme, a teaspoonful of summer savory and parsley, and let it boil in the mixture. Add a tablespoonful of cold butter, salt and pepper. Have ready four hard-boiled yolks of eggs quartered, and a few force meat balls; add this to the soup with a sliced lemon, and half a glass of wiue just before serving the soup.
This approaches so near in flavor to the real turtle soup that few are able to distinguish the difference.
Source: The White House Cook Book ©1890

Put the beans, which should be free from all bits of pod and washed in cold water, on to cook in boiling water. When using the cranberry or other dark beans turn off the water after ten minutes and add fresh boiling water. For some people it may be necessary to add half a teaspoonful or less of bicarbonate of soda to the first water to neutralize the acid in the bean. Do not add salt until the beans are nearly done. Let the water boil down to just enough to moisten them, as the beans will seem much richer than when a quantity is used and most of it drained off. And unless the beans are cooked soft enough to slightly thicken this little amount of liquid they will be rather insipid. Add a little cream or butter, salt and a half teaspoonful of sugar.
Lima Beans.
In using the large Lima beans as a vegetable, cook them in boiling water until the skins will slip off, then turn them into cold water and slip the pulp out of the skin. They will come out easily, and if you have never done this before you will be surprised at the toughness of this skin and not worfder that the stomach cannot digest it. Then put them over again in fresh boiling water to cover and cook until tender and nearly dry. Season with butter, salt and pepper and a little cream if you have it.
Shelled Beans, Baked.
The dark red varieties of shelled beans may be baked the same as the dried beans. Boil them ten minutes, add soda, drain and boil again until nearly tender and dry. Then turn them into the bean pot and to one quart of beans, add one teaspoonful each of salt and mustard, two tablespoonfuls of molasses, one small onion, one-fourth pound fat salt pork and water to fill the pot. Bake five or six hours. Try them some chilly September day, when we hunger for richer food, and you will find them satisfying.
Source: Everyday Housekeeping ©1896

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

1871 Fashions

It's Historic Fashion Wednesday again and we're highlighting 1871, the year of the setting for my next novel, "Winning the Captain's Heart" coming out in July 2014.

Below are images from 1871 sources.

House Dress



Man & Boy


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hot Air Balloons-Hydrogen Filled

Here's a little tidbit from Wonderful Balloon Ascents ©1870 about a hydrogen filled Hot Air Balloon.

The balloon is made of long strips of silk, sewn together, and rendered air-tight by means of a coating of caoutchouc. A valve is fitted to the top, and by means of it the aeronaut can descend to the earth at will, by allowing some quantity of the gas to escape. The car in which he sits is suspended to the balloon by a network, which covers the whole structure. Sacks of sand are carried in this car as ballast, so that, when descending, if the aeronaut sees that he is likely to be precipitated into the sea or into a lake, he throws over the sand, and his air-carriage, being thus lightened, mounts again and travels away to a more desirable resting-place. The idea of the valve, as well as that of the sand ballast, is due to the physician Charles. They enable the aeronaut to ascend or descend with facility. When he wishes to mount, he throws over his ballast; when he wants to come down, he lets the gas escape by the valve at the roof of the balloon. This valve is worked by means of a spring, having a long rope attached to it, which hangs down through the neck to the car, where the aeronaut sits.

The operation of inflating a balloon with pure hydrogen is represented in the engraving on the next page.

Shavings of iron and zinc, water, and sulphuric acid, occupy a number of casks, which communicate, by means of tubes, with a central cask, which is open at the bottom, and is plunged in a copper full of water. The gas is produced by the action of the water and the sulphuric acid upon the zinc and the iron: this is hydrogen mixed with sulphuric acid. In passing through the central copper, or vat, full of water, the gas throws off all impurities, and comes, unalloyed with any other matter, into the balloon by a long tube, leading from the central vats. In order to facilitate the entrance of the gas into the balloon two long poles are erected. These are furnished with pulleys, through which a rope, attached also to a ring at the top of the balloon, passes. By means of this contrivance the balloon can be at once lightly raised from the ground, and the gas tubes easily joined to it. When it is half full it is no longer necessary to suspend the balloon; on the contrary, it has to be secured, lest it should fly off. A number of men hold it back by ropes; but as the force of ascension is every moment increasing, the work of restraining the balloon is most difficult and exciting. At length, all preparations being complete, the car is suspended, the aeronaut takes his seat, the Words "Let go all!" are shouted, and away goes the silken globe into space.

The balloon is never entirely filled, for the atmospheric pressure diminishing as it ascends, allows the hydrogen gas to dilate, in virtue of its expansive force, and, unless there is space for this expansion, the balloon is sure to explode in the air.

An ordinary balloon, with a lifting power sufficient to carry up three persons, with necessary ballast and materiel, is about fifty feet high, thirty-five feet in diameter, and 2,250 cubic feet in capacity. Of such a balloon the accessories—the skin, the network, the car—would weigh about 335 lbs.

To find out the height at which he has arrived, the aeronaut consults his barometer. We know that it is the pressure of the air upon the cup of the barometer that raises the mercury in the tube. The heavier the air is, the higher is the barometer. At the level of the sea the column of mercury stands at 32 inches; at 3,250 feet—the air being at this elevation lighter—the mercury stands at 28 inches; at 6,500 feet above sea level it stands at 25 inches; at 10,000 feet it falls to 22 inches; at 20,000 feet to 15 inches. These, however, are merely the theoretic results, and are subject to some slight variation, according to locality, &c.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oneiromancy - Interpretation of Dreams

Here's a tidbit from The Bible Cyclopedia ©1841 on the Interpretation of Dreams.

DIVINATION, the art of foretelling future events by previously recognised signs. The word is derived from the Latin divinatio, and that again from divinus, forming an acknowledgment of the text—" Secret things belong unto God."
5. The fifth species of divination to which we shall advert, and in many respects the most important of all, is Oneiromancy, or as it has been sometimes called Oneirocriticism, the interpretation of dreams.
It will be quite unnecessary here to enter into the philosophy of sleep, because it will not be denied that in the periods previous to the Christian dispensation, God did speak to his people "by dreams and visions of the night;" and there are instances on record in the New Testament of similar interpositions. The truth, therefore, of the idea upon which oneiromancy is founded will account for its extensive prevalence. Oveipos, a dream, and fzavTeia, will give us the derivation of the word, and suggest to us also the remark of Homer, Kai ryap Tovap eic Aio<; eariv, "For dreams also come from Jove." Thus in the earliest records of profane antiquity, as well as in the Scriptures of truth, we find a recognition of the Divine will conveyed to man by means of dreams.
On reading the accounts preserved in the Sacred "Writings, we are struck with a circumstance which at once does away all suspicion of imposture on the part of the "interpreters of dreams." They were sent for on one occasion by Pharaoh, (Gen. 41. 8,) who related to them his dreams, and demanded an interpretation, "but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh." A similar case is found in the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar. Once he required the dream as well as the interpretation to be given him, and the case is not, therefore, an exact instance in point, but afterwards (Dan. 4. 7) we find the king himself saying, "Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldffians, and the soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof."
From all this we gather that the interpreters of dreams were not (in the ordinary sense of the word) impostors, for had they been such, they would not so frankly have acknowledged their inability to expound the dreams of Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar. To an impostor one dream is as easy to interpret as another. The nature of this case is obvious: they interpreted dreams according to a system; whatever could be reduced within the rules of that system admitted of an exposition, but when dreams, sent by the Supreme Being, and probably for that very cause not reducible to any rules with which they were acquainted, were proposed for their consideration, they were too wise to attempt any imposition, but at once acknowledged that the boundaries of their art did not extend to these visions. Many works have come down to us from ancient times on the art of interpreting dreams; the most remarkable is the Oneirocritica of Artemidorus, who gives instructions for explaining four hundred and nine species of dreams, many of them such as could never occur to a Christian educated in our day, and which exhibit, perhaps, the darkest picture of fioman morals anywhere to be found.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ice Harvesting, storage, etc.

Today I don't even have to open the fridge to get ice. In the 19th century lots of changes were made in the development of the ice industry. Ice played a vital part during the course of the 19th century and as purification and eventually refrigeration became more viable, the industry increased again and again. Below are some tidbits and an excerpts that will give you a glimpse into this industry.

An Outline of Ice History
Prior to 1805 no regular ice business in the U.S.A.
Winter 1805-1806 beginning of Ice business in Boston, the summer of 1806 sent ice to West Indies to help fight yellow fever. Sent by the Frederick Tudor
1825 only 50,000 tons of ice transported in and from U.S.
Next 30 years Ice consumption increased in U.S.
1855 Frederick Tudor started to be called the "Ice King"
Many New Uses for ice have exerted a marked influence on the demand during the succeeding years. During the war of the Rebellion, the Government was a large purchaser, on account of the hospital service. The brewers, who in earlier days, had suspended operations during the heat of the summer, now pursued their avocation continuously, with the aid of ice. Meat packers found in ice an agent for immensely augmenting their product, while the fisheries consumed many thousand tons.
The demand for ice creams and cooled drinks, together with the growing taste for luxuries, in our cities and towns, has stimulated the retailing of ice until, at this time, there is hardly a town or village, where ice privileges exist, that does not support a representative of the ice trade, and there are few large towns in the South which are not furnished with one or more artificial ice factories.
The Use Of Ice.—It is safe to say that, at this time, the users of ice, directly or indirectly, now include nearly the entire population of the United States.

Cutting And Storing Ice.
Care Of The Ice Field.—From this time until the crop is stored in the ice house, the ice dealer devotes his energies to the care of the ice field. Special situations develop special duties and requirements, which the alert dealer studies with care. If the ice is on a running stream, the possible pollution of its higher levels will be carefully guarded against, and also all rubbish removed from the surface of the field. Sticks and stones bedded in the ice hinder the work and damage the keen edges of the cutting tools. Motion in the water is necessary to promote the growth of the ice, and, when the ice is sufficiently heavy, traveling over the surface, or other jarring, is beneficial. It has been found that where a roadway has been opened across an ice field, and the travel over it considerable, the ice was thicker along the roadway than at other places on the field.
On inclosed lakes or mill ponds, a gentle current induced in the water promotes the growth of the ice materially. The air is expelled from the water during freezing, if opportunity is found for it to d<5 so. Unless this is done, the ice is cloudy. Agitation of the water assists the escape of the air; hence it is that ice from running streams is usually clearer and more brilliant than pond or lake ice. An outlet afforded to the landlocked ponds and lakes is often beneficial during ice-making weather. Too rapid a current, however, will retard growth, and a gentle motion diffused over the entire field produces the best results. The growth should be carefully noted under different conditions, attention being given to the atmospheric influences and other general effects, and the regulation of the motion, based on ascertained results at the locality where applied. As the ice thickens, its growth is slower at the same, or even a lower, temperature than that which at first made ice very rapidly. The earth at the bottom and sides of the ice field radiate heat into the water. The heat rays of the sun pass through the ice, if it is clear, into the water below, with very little effect upon the ice itself. The ice, being a poor conductor of heat, is, under these conditions, an obstacle to its own growth. It shuts in the water from contact with the cooler air, prevents agitation of its surface by passing breezes, and retards the escape of air and heat. On running streams, these conditions are much modified. In passing over shallows or rapids, where the current is swift, the water remains open and exposed to the air. At these points in its course it parts with its accumulated air and heat very rapidly, a thin vapor or mist being often perceptible in the air at such places, owing to the rapid radiation. The tumbling and turning of the water at rapid shoals materially assists the growth of ice at points below where the current grows gentle. Streams of this character, whose beds are free from accumulations of vegetable mold, or other sources which generate gases, produce clear and sparkling ice of greater thickness than is found on still ponds or lakes in the same vicinity, and exposed to the same temperature. The Usefulness Of Snow.—Snow, as it is well known, is a great impediment to the inroads of frost into anything enveloped by it. A covering of snow on an ice field is a great impediment to the escape of heat from the water, as well as protecting the ice from the direct action of the cold air, and greatly retards the growth of the ice. It is essential to remove this snow as early as practicable, as the ice harvester has always in view a possible thaw or rain, and endeavors to secure his crop at the earliest practicable moment. Snow, however, in the event of soft or warm weather, is an aid to the ice by protecting it from the direct heat of the sun, and the force of a rain is largely expended in melting the snow. The water and snow on the top of the ice freezes into snow ice as soon as the weather turns cold again. This snow ice is white, being very porous and filled with air, and detracts from the quality of the crop, its thickness depending on the depth of snow on the field, amount of water, and the temperature. At the top of this snow ice, where it merges into the snow, will be found a stiff, crusty layer, more or less firmly united to the ice below, which adds to the difficulty of removing the snow on top. An inch or two of snow ice will lessen the loss by breakage of cakes, in stowing, and the ice also comes out of the house in better shape, and will stand shipping better. It is not so brittle as clear ice, and is homogeneous in its structure, not being readily split in any direction. For further information check out: The Ice Crop

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sporting Lodge

From time to time as an author you need to describe a place and what is where within a room. Below is a Sporting Lodge from The Country House ©1883

Below is a chart to what is in each room.

The description from the source:
The following is entirely a ground-floor erection, in which warmth and ventilation, privacy and facility of access to all the rooms, have been carefully studied. It contains a general sitting-room, in which six or eight persons may dine with comfort; a bedroom, with wardrobes and toilet conveniences for a gentleman and lady; a library or gentleman's room, entered from the porch as well as from the hall, and fitted with bookshelves, gun and tackle closet, washing and boot closet, and ample space for a "shakedown" for a bachelor friend.
The hall separates the rooms from the offices, and in it are large closet for china, glass, and stores, a linen-closet, and water-closet, with porch entrance at one end, and a glass door to the garden at the other. The kitchen is sufficiently large for such a manage: it has a modern cooking range, hot plate, a convenient pantry, a larder or dairy, with stairs leading to two chambers in the roof over kitchen and hall, and to the cellar under tho hall, pantry, and china closet. A lean-to at the end of the kitchen provides a roomy washhouse and bakehouse, where most of the kitchen work may be done.
The out-offices, stables, kennels, &c, will be arranged according to the special requirements of the case.
The walls of the house and kitchen will be 9ft. to the eaves, and by nailing the ceiling joists of the library, sitting-room, and bedroom 3ft. up the rafters, a neat coved ceiling 12ft. high may be obtained. The materials will be those which are most readily obtained on the site, and the roof covering either of slate, tiles, or thatch of reeds or heather. The style of elevation must be left to the taste of the proprietor; it can be either simple or ornamental, domestic, Gothic, or Swiss; but it will be most desirable to assimilate it to the natural features of the surrounding scenery.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

1856 Fashions

It's Historic Fashion Wednesday and 1856 Fashions is the topic of today's post. Below are several images from 1856 sources.



Cloak & Jacket

Riding Habit



Baby Hood