Snow Cream, an 18th Century Delish Dish

To make snow cream

take a quart of the best cream and beat itt whith rose or orange

water sweeten itt and beat 2 whites of eggs with a rod and put them to

the cream beat all together and as the snow peses put itt in a dish

(Folger, MS W.a. 87)

Continuing our blog posting from  Dynamic Traditions in Literature class at the University of Texas, Arlington, we are writing about our transcription and cooking of  a recipe, “To Make Snow Cream” from the early 18th century in an English recipe book called Cookery and Medicine, (Folger MS W.a. 87).

Ice and cold temperature foods were once believed to be choleric for its consumers, according to the Galen. The cold was thought to cause coughing, blindness, madness, and even sudden death.  When the Galenic system stopped being used, regular consumption of ice became more acceptable. Ice desserts were typically reserved for the elite and wealthy until the 1800’s. Ice was kept all year round in insulated ice houses and was cranked out of a machine by hand.  While ice cream or ice-related- food products didn’t originate in Europe, they grew to be a popular treat all around the world. Recipes were inspired to make unique variations of the confection. The following is a snow cream recipe, inspired by older recipes that called for ice.

 

Snow Cream is a relatively easy recipe to follow. The recipe calls for the best cream, orange or rose water, two egg whites, and snow. Our group decided to use whipping cream as our “best cream.” We were able to purchase the whipping cream and eggs at Kroger. The “snow” was purchased at Bahama Bucks which is a snow cone store. Rose water was a little more challenging to find. After searching Kroger and Whole Foods, we decided to check out an international food store. We were able to find the rose water at Int. Food Land which is just down the street from University of Texas, Arlington campus. All together, the ingredients for snow cream cost around eight dollars.

The first step to making the cream was to mix a quart of cream with rose water. Our group decided to make a half serving a of the recipe so we used a pint of whipping cream. The recipe did not specify how much rose water to add so our group added about a teaspoon due to the strong flavor.

Then, we beat two egg white into the mixture. Although we were making a half recipe, we decided to use two egg whites to maintain the creamy consistency. The recipe also says to sweeten it, but it does not specify what agent to use so we omitted this step.

Finally, we poured the creamy mixture onto our snow.

We served the Snow Cream immediately after making it. We had a lot of additional cream mixture left even after pouring a good amount on top of the snow. The recipe does not specify how much snow to use which made it hard to figure out how much of the cream mixture we were supposed to add. We figured that the Snow Cream should not be a soupy consistency so we poured enough to cover and m the snow without making it runny. Snow Cream is probably a good summer treat that can be served at the end of the meal. The rose flavor is refreshing, but a bit overwhelming for those who are not used to that taste.

 

       Not only was Snow Cream  easy to make, it was cheap too! A majority of the ingredients are readily available at local grocery stores or food markets. You might have to go out of your way to get the rosewater, but that will be the only ingredient you have to search for. Snow Cream’s hard texture melts if it is warm for too long. If you are not accustomed to rose flavoring, you might find the flavor to be offensive or even bland. Snow Cream’s flavor could possibly be improved by replacing rose water with orange water. Another alternative suggestion would to pair it with something sweet like chocolate.

Transcribing the recipe- Danielle Wharram; Introduction- Iris Sosa; Recipe Blog- Monica Yamashiro (ingredients and cost, recipe steps, pictures, how it’s served or with what other food); Conclusion- Austin Jones (Review of final product)

University of Texas, Arlington; Students of Amy Tigner

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Early Modern “Almond Bisqets”

In the Dynamic Traditions in Food and Literature course at the University of Texas at Arlington, one of the most important (and fun) assignments we have to complete is that of recreating this recipe found on transcribe.folger.edu.

For the historical research, searches for “almond biscuits” and “almond cookies” led group one to Chinese almond cookies. Because a Chinese recipe wasn’t used for this project, the closest relative to almond biscuits is believed to be macaroons.   

Located on  the Folger’s Early Modern Manuscripts Online, Cookbook Wa87, the following recipe is for Almond Bisquets. We first transcribed the recipe, which reads as follows:

     To Make Almond Bisquets

     Take a pound of almonds blanched and beat them in

     a mortar putting a little Rose water that they torn not

     to Oile, put to them half a pound of sugar beaten

     very fine, the whites of 4 eggs well beaten, a little Rose

     water mash and ambergrese, beat them all together

     a quart of em home and & put them on papers of what fashion

     you please, be careful in baking them that they be not

     to much calloured

After the recipe was deciphered, the real work began:

The first step was to boil rose petals and stems in water for 15 minutes, steep them for 3 days and then strain out the petals and stems, leaving only the rose water.

The second step was to use a mortar and pestle to grind down the almonds, one of the main ingredients. We also used a mortar and pestles  to grind down plants and herbs for medicine during the early modern period – hard work!

The third step called for 4 egg whites. We used the eggs shells  to separate out the egg whites from the yolk, and then we whisked into a froth. In the early modern period, Italian Jews adopted the cookie because it has no flour or leavening (bisquets were leavened by egg whites) and can be eaten during the eight-day observation of Passover. It was introduced to other European Jews and became popular as a year-round sweet.

Finally, we mixed all of the ingredients  together. The wet ingredients were first – the frothy egg whites and double refined sugar. Because the group did not possess ambergris, and because exact quantities in the recipe weren’t specified, we used vanilla for flavor. Then, the ground almonds were added to the mix, and finally, rose water. We then stirred for ¼ of an hour, or 15 minutes.

The next step was to line a pan with parchment paper, and place globs of the dough on the paper “as you please”. The dough was cooked at 300 degrees, but because an exact cooking time wasn’t specified, the almond cookies had to be watched closely to ensure they didn’t burn. Once the cookies browned evenly, we took them out of the oven.

Finally, the almond cookies were done. Now, the last step is the least difficult – eat the cookies and enjoy!

 

This presentation was brought to you by:

Mark Butler– Writing and preparing the blog post

Kaitlyn Mae– Transcribing the recipe and editing the blog post

Joan Robinson– Cooking the almond cookies

Breona Gardner– Filming the cookie’s preparation and assisting Joan with the ingredients.

Joshua Luebke– Historical research.

 

Making 18th Century Chocolate Cream

We are a part of of Food and Literature class at the University of Texas at Arlington. transcribe recipes from an early eighteenth century cookbook (Folger W.a. 87); which means reading someone else’s handwriting (easier said than done).  And then we were tasked with making one of the recipes and writing about it for this blog. Figuring out this recipe proved to be an interesting endeavor, since there are no real modern measurements (1 cup, 2 teaspoons, etc.) provided, but it’s chocolate cream — nothing can be better than chocolate cream!

Transcription (in original spelling):

Boill a quart of cream till itt begins to be thick then putt

in 4 Sponfulls of sifted Chocolate and giv itt six boilings up

then strain itt through Tiffany, set itt open the fire a gain

an when ready to boill putt in the Yolks of 2 eggs beathen

with a Little orange flower water stir itt over the fire to thi…

ken butt boill itt not then take itt of and when almost

cold putt itt in a bason or glasses then take some cream with

a little white wine and sugar and whisk itt in a froth and

and put it on the Chocolate Cream and whith a little of the

Chocolate and putt th ffroth of it up and down amongst

the white froth and to serve itt up

Here is our modern translation and how we made the recipe;

  1. Boil 4 cups of heavy whipping cream in a pot on medium heat. Stir the cream every so often as it boils and begins to thicken.
  2. While the cream is boiling, finely grate about 4 teaspoons of milk chocolate onto a plate.
  3. Once the boiling cream thickens slightly, add the grated chocolate into the hot cream and stir slowly until it melts through.
  4. When all of the chocolate has melted into the cream, take the pot off of the heat until the cream is no longer bubbling. Stir the cream again, and put it back onto the heat until it boils. Repeat this process 5 more times, making sure to stir the chocolate cream every so often.
  5. Once the chocolate cream has been boiled 6 times, strain it through a metal strainer (although plastic is fine, as long as it won’t melt under the heat) and put it back into the pot.
  6. Add the pot back to the stove on medium-low heat and stir occasionally, making sure not to boil the chocolate cream.
  7. As the chocolate cream is rewarming on the stove, take the yolks of 2 eggs and beat them together in a separate bowl with a splash of vanilla extract.
  8. Once the chocolate cream is near boiling, slowly add the egg yolk mixture into the cream while stirring continuously. Continue to stir briefly after all of the yolks have been added to ensure that the egg does not cook inside the cream. Make sure that the chocolate cream does not boil.
  9. Take the pot off of the stove and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. As the chocolate cream is cooling, make the froth. In a bowl, add together ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream, 3 teaspoons of white wine, and ½ cup of granulated white sugar.
  11. Whisk them together until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches the ribbon stage, meaning that when the whisk is lifted over the mixture the froth falls slowly from the whisk and creates a ribbon on the surface which slowly dissipates.
  12. Once the chocolate cream has cooled and the froth has been made, divide the chocolate cream into separate glass jars (or whatever glass containers you wish to serve it in). Spoon the white froth in a thin layer on top of the chocolate cream, and either eat immediately or refrigerate for 2-8 hours. Enjoy!

The Recipe in Film:

Part 1 of 8:  https://youtu.be/Rm36mtZtUX4

Part 2 of 8: https://youtu.be/–g4uXZDQ6s

Part 3 of 8: https://youtu.be/oSdE3QfwXOw

Part 4 of 8: https://youtu.be/FDyWv4NGY2g

Part 5 of 8: https://youtu.be/PgqD7SWsGl4

Part 6 of 8: https://youtu.be/Q9pjN93nzN8

Part 7 of 8: https://youtu.be/PUj89YLZ_64

Part 8 of 8: https://youtu.be/GBFFWps8CM4

Even in the 18th century, chocolate was HUGE! The history of chocolate is a vast story that got its start when Spain first travelled to America. But the chocolate of that time was very different than what was used in this recipe.

A short history of chocolate :

From Cacao to Cocoa: A Short History of Chocolate in Britain by Finlay Greig

            Cocoa was first brought to Europe in the early 1500s when Christopher Columbus first  it back from the Americas to Spain; however it would be over a century later before it made its way to London. Britons first encountered cacao beans in 1579 when English pirates attacked a Spanish ship carrying goods; amongst these goods were cacao beans. The English pirates mistook the beans for “sheep droppings” and set fire to the ship. It would be nearly 80 years later until the New World product made its way back to Britain.

           In 1657, the first “Chocolate House” developed in London, operated by a Frenchman, where chocolate drinks were sold ready-made and available to drink in-house, or unmade and could be taken and prepared at home. Chocolate Houses caught on and became similar to pubs; however, the chocolatey drink was considered a luxury and the patrons of these establishments were rich and rowdy men. Francis White, owner of White’s Chocolate House, is credited as the first person to open a chocolate house in London.

“In Bishopgate St, in Queen’s Head Alley, at a Frenchman’s house, is an excellent West Indian drink called Chocolate to be sold, where you may have it ready at any time and also unmade at reasonable rates.”

            As chocolate drinks caught on, plantations were developed in the West Indies to produce more cacao beans to be brought back to London and sold by the pound. Over the next few years, the English would incorporate the cocoa powder into different recipes, like sauces and creams, but it would not be until the 1900s when the first chocolate bar would be made. Like the Spanish merchant ship carrying “sheep droppings”, chocolate spread like fire throughout England, and remains a significant part of British diet.

Sources:

WOW247.co.uk

Godivachocolates.co.uk

 

In Review:

 

This proved to be an interesting endeavor. For one thing, the recipe actually came out well; despite not having modern measurements. Our project was also a learning experience, mainly reading and understanding someone’s handwriting from several hundred years ago. But the experience was and is for educational purposes. Thanks for joining us on this fun cooking adventure!

-The Chocolate Crew

Alethia Nason, Ariel Robinson, Calvin Johnson, Emily Rogers, & Hannah Su

University of Texas, Arlington, Students of Dr. Amy Tigner

“To Preserve Rasberries”

This semester, our Dynamic Traditions in Literature class at the University of Texas, Arlington  is examining the use of, importance of, and writing about Food. To this end, one of our group projects is to transcribe a 18th century recipe from a Folger manuscript known as Cookbook Wa87 and to then attempt to make it. Kicking things off, our group decided to make the above recipe for raspberry preserves, found on page 16. Here’s the transcription, as best we could read it:

Take a pound and Quarter off loaf sugar finely beaten

and putt itt in a skellett wetting itt with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of

water, lett itt be as thick as you can stir itt then boil

itt to sugar again then putt in 6 spoonfulls off rasberies that

have been boild and straind then sett itt on the ffire and let

the sugar melt with that liquor, then putt in a pound

off great rasberries and lett em stand warming in the li

quor may rise all ofver them after they have boild softly

and the sugar be meltet boile em with a quick ffire

which will be in less than a quarter off an hour and which

is when the seeds boile owt into the liquor if you boile em

too much they will be hard pour em into a bason till cold

and putt em into glasses a pound off sugar is Enough

for this quantity

On the whole, this recipe is actually pretty simple – there are only three ingredients, and it’s not very complicated. That said, we were a bit surprised to see that the first ingredient listed was not raspberries, but sugar. In fact, the recipe calls for more sugar than raspberries! We had to do a little bit of research and digging to see why exactly this might have been the case.

The recipe calls for “loaf sugar,” which we had never heard of before. We looked it up, and it turns out that this was common in the days before sugar cubes and then granulated sugar were more easily manufactured and made available. Loaf sugar is made by taking refined sugar (where the molasses has been extracted), boiling it, and then pouring it into molds that look similar to cones. There the sugar would settle, and whatever syrup and other substances still remained would drain out of the bottom of the cone molds. Besides taste, obviously, it should be noted that the whiteness of the sugar was important, as well as the shape of the cone when it was pulled from the mold. Today, you can still buy sugar loaves from some stores or online, though this is no longer a popular way to utilize sugar and we decided to forgo this step in our version.

Of course, if we can’t rely on sugar to be what we expected, we knew we had to look into the raspberries as well. Though we usually think of raspberries as red, there are actually many different kinds: red, blue, purple/black, and even yellow. Found in mythology, and dating many centuries ago, both the fruit and its leaves have had different purposes over the years. Our recipe does not specify which type of raspberry, but a little research finds that the two most common types in the world are the American and European red raspberries, each native to their respective continent. Considering that we are working from an English manuscript, they most likely used European red raspberries. That said, we used whatever we could find in the store, which were probably American red raspberries, though it’s hard to determine what the taste difference is now, or even how different it may have been back then. And incidentally, if you wanted to make these yourself but try one of the other varieties, there are some flavors to note: red raspberries are the most common and have a sweeter feel to them, though they vary in tartness depending on the variety you choose; purple/black raspberries are hollow and rich in flavor; yellow raspberries are even sweeter than red and have no tartness to them.

When cooking, we scaled down the proportions a little, and used only one pound of sugar and ¾ of a pound of red raspberries. Some of the recipe’s measurements were antiquated and vague, such “6 spoonfuls off raspberries,” which does not specify the size or type of spoon to use. We decided to use a regular-sized dinner spoon. The first thing we did was fill a pot with water and bring it up to a boil.

Next we used our spoon to put in 6 spoonfuls of the raspberries. We waited until the raspberries started to simmer and we put another pot next to the previous one and put into it one pound of sugar along with 3 spoonfuls of tap water.

We stirred the mixture as the raspberries came to a boil. Then we added 6 spoonfuls of the liquefied raspberries to the sugar mixture and allowed the sugar to come to a nice boil. When the sugar mixture was of a thick consistency, we added the raspberries that were in the boiling water into the sugar, stirring as we mixed the two.

We then added the remaining raspberries, at the same level of heat. We let the mixture boil, gently stirring so as not to disrupt the shape of the raspberries. However, as they warmed up, the raspberries began to crumble apart. Maintaining the heat for approximately 15 minutes liquefied the remaining raspberries.  

Here is a video of the cooking

Finally, we moved the mixture into a 9”x7” cooling dish for about two hours. At this time, the preserves were ready to serve. However, the origin of this recipe is not just to make a tasty jam to serve up immediately – recipes like these were made at a time when fresh fruit was truly seasonal, and you couldn’t just pop down to the grocery store to get canned whatever. In fact, it’s all in the name – these recipes were made to preserve the fruit – to stretch it out further than using it fresh and to save the fruit to use later. That way, people had a much better chance of having these fruits and flavors when they were not in season, or even just keeping them from spoiling for a longer period of time. All things being equal though, we didn’t have the patience to wait that long. To taste our final product, each group member had a piece of toast the preserves and they were delicious.

-Arely Rivera, Hannah Monger, Jason Amaloo, Shyla Hatch, and Zack Delaney, Dynamic Traditions in Literature: Food, University of Texas at Arlington, taught by Dr. Amy Tigner.