Bake a cake like it’s 1802!

You love cake. You also love the 18th century. What could keep you from baking a cake with a recipe from this era? It would make a great first-hand experience!
Well, I rather suck at baking. So I asked a good friend to help out: ‘Thunderbread‘, who is accomplished in all kitchen matters.
From a selection of 200 years old cake recipes, he chose the one for Savoy Cake from 1802.
Find out all about his 18th-century baking challenges such as dealing with measurements, making the best of scarce instructions and choosing the appropriate mixing techniques.

Continue reading

Behind a great dessert there has to be a great woman

Recent research shook food historians and the community of 18th-century enthusiasts alike: The beloved British dessert, Apple Charlotte, was not invented by the famous chef Marie-Antoine Carême! Credit for the sweet creation made of apples, white bread, butter, and sugar was given to a certain John Mollard. – But who was he?
Mr. Mollard was a leading chef and had run a number of prestigious restaurants catering to high-quality customers in the period from the 1780s to 1830. However, it is doubtful that he did indeed invent the Apple Charlotte.

Continue reading

As a time traveller to the Regency period, would you be able to enjoy coffee “to go”?

“Nobody, I fancy, can be fonder of Coffee than I am.”
– Count Rumford (inventor, soldier, statesman, spy, womanizer, and philanthropist)-

Today, we are used to enjoy coffee everywhere, and the caffeinated drink “to go” is an added delight to walking in the streets or riding on a train. In the late 18th century, there were, of course, coffee houses in the cities. But would you have been able to take coffee with you on a trip or on a campaign?

Thanks to Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753 – 1814), coffee could be prepared to be preserved for a considerable time, and you would have been able to reheat it, or to enjoy it cold wherever you wanted.  Find out here how one of the most eccentric and dazzling persons of the 18th century prepared his beloved coffee as a “to go” version. Continue reading

How to counterfeit tea: a guide for ruthless dealers in the 18th century

Let’s imagine you are a dealer of tea in London during the 18th century. Over the past decades, tea, once the luxury product for the super-rich, has reached the middle and lower classes. It is highly popular. This means a large target group for your product, but also a higher demand that must be met in times of war, trade embargos and economic depression. Tea leaves are expensive and there are heavy duties on it payable to government.
In short: Times are rough, life is hard – it thus seems rather pardonable to find ways to enrich yourself by certain methods one might call imitating tea (‘counterfeit’ is such a harsh word). Nobody will ever find out, and of course, you don’t mean to harm anyone. Plus, you are doing a favour to the lower classes that would not be able to enjoy a nice cup of tea at all if they had to pay the prices for genuine tea. Right?
Now, let’s see how tea was be imitated in the 18th century …

Continue reading

Smuggling Moonshine

Brandy, tea, salt – these products are famed-famous as objects of smuggling in the 18th century. Did you know that Scottish whisky was an object of the illegal trade, especially between 1780 – 1823? Whisky was called ‘moonshine’ then, as it was illicitly produced at night in small cottages in the Highlands, and secretly transported by smugglers to harbours for further distribution.

Continue reading