Tag Archives: beginnings

National Coffee Day


I went to the Coffee Club and heard very good discourse… ~Samuel Pepys, diary, 1660 January 17th

Coffee beans in the shape of a coffee cup. Stock Photo

Coffee beans in the shape of a coffee cup. Stock Photo

A fig for partridges and quails,
ye dainties I know nothing of ye;
But on the highest mount in Wales
Would choose in peace to drink my coffee.
~Jonathon Swift


      Chardin, Glass of Water and Coffee Pot, 1760, Carnegie Museum of Art


No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostrils.

~Henry Ward Beecher


Coffee Pot -Pierre Auguste  Renoir

A cup of coffee — real coffee — home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all. ~Henry Ward Beecher



“There was a special Nolan idea about the coffee. It was their one great luxury. Mama made a big potful each morning and reheated it for dinner and supper and it got stronger as the day went on. It was an awful lot of water and very little coffee but mama put a lump of chicory in it which made it taste strong and bitter. Each one was allowed three cups a day with milk. Other times you could help yourself to a cup of black coffee anytime you felt like it. Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee.

Neeley and Francie loved coffee but seldom drank it. Today, as usual, Neeley let his coffee stand black and ate his condensed milk spread on bread. He sipped a little of the black coffee for the sake of formality. Mama poured out Francie’s coffee and put milk in it, even though she knew that the child wouldn’t drink it. From time to time, she’d smell the bitter sweetness of it. That was better than drinking it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink

Mama had two sister, Sissy and Evy, who came to the flat often. Every time they saw the coffee thrown away, they gave mama a lecture about wasting things.

Mama explained: “Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it away than to drink it, all right. I think it’s good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be to have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging.

This queer point of view satisfied mama and pleased Francie. It was one of the links between the ground-down poor and the wasteful rich.  The girl felt that even if she had less than anybody in Williamsburg somehow she had more.”


Popular Library ed. pp. 15-16

Harper edition published August 1943; 29 printings.



Filed under Autumn, Perception ways


  1. to make waffles
  2. to fail to make up one’s mind


First- here’s a link on how to make waffles out of just about everything from Food Network Magazine

 Waffle iron to the rescue


Which I saw last month and thought, ” More Waffles, More Often!” and wondered briefly if I could, if I should, if I would…..but because it was November AND I’m a pilgrim – a Foodways Pilgrim, no less – I didn’t actually get further then that on that thought.


Pilgrim me – from Food Network Magazine

And then I moved.

Which is actually another story, but a part of this one.

Because it’s not the first time I’ve moved. In this century.

It’s the third time.

And there were the three previous moves with my son….

And the three moves when I was single.

Except some of them were winter rentals and I moved home each summer….. so I’ve had some experience with the planning/picking/packing…

With the help of brothers, trucks, nephew, son – lots of help from the son – sister, mother, even a cousin who sent housewarming plants, I’m about 95 % moved in  and in the unpacking stage. Because of the time lag between when I put things in boxes, and that I wasn’t the only one putting things into boxes, it’s a little bit of a surprise every-time I open another box. Like an endless game of  Let’s Make A Deal…..with myself.

letsmake a deal

Monty, please don’t ZONK me!

Because the new space is small, some things just need to go, go, be gone.

Is the waffle iron one of those things?

Does it get enough use to justify, to pay for it’s space? Is it space worthy?

My son and I have a long history of waffles……and since waffles are a part of our New Years Morning traditional breakfast, the iron is on the safe list until then.

I also need to curate my cookbook collection. Marion Cunningham is safer then safe, for one.

Also clothes, cleaning supplies, pencils…you name it, it has to earn a place.

But all of this THINKING about place made me think maybe Michael  Pollan


and so many other food wise gurus  are wrong, wrong wrong  about why people got out of the kitchen. They generally say something about woman going into the workplace in the ’60’s, which is a little late for the exodus as far as I can see. I think it’s people on the move. Every time you move, all systems are GONE. When you have to think about where every spoon might be, when don’t know if the dishes are in the cupboard or in a box, when the counter is now to the right instead of the left and the trash is around the fridge which is near the sink…..anyhow, I think Americans on the move have more to do with people eating out then woman entering the workplace. More on this later.

Warning to family: There will be an extra box under the tree at Christmas, of things that no longer fit in Auntie’s Pantry.



Waffles as eargear AND playing chips – SWEET


Filed under Books, Holiday, Uncategorized

Flat Bread Journal

A year of baking flatbreads – on the griddle. That’s what I want to do this year.

English Muffins are probably the flat-bread that has most recently been on your plate

English Muffins are probably the flat-bread that has most recently been on your plate

Part of my inspiration was the reading this

52 loaves

He bakes every week for a year, trying to perfect one recipe – but I’m looking for range, not just depth

And that inspired me to pick up this….

The Bread Journal

The Bread Journal -A Year of Weekly Baking CHART YOUR PROGRESS toward baking the perfect country loaf in this weekly baking journal. Lists, check boxes and prompts provide a satisfying record of every decision. That’s what it says, I kid you not.

Which begs the questions:

  1. When did bread become perfect?
  2. When did the country loaf become the ideal?

But I digress…

I’ll start with English muffins and move on to oatcakes and farls, to tortas and testa and spend some time with Johnnycakes – these are my jumping off points,  the beginning, so  it’ll be interesting to see where this will go.

I’m starting with English muffins because I’ve made them before, and I have a variety of recipes for them. Some call for more of a batter and muffin rings, which I’ve pretty much left behind, and others call for rolling and cutting with a biscuit cutter, which I can easily live without, and most of the rest are a dough that is cut into pieces that are rolled into individual little loaves that are them cooked up.

And then there’s the griddle issues…..

mine is cast iron

cast iron griddle - 12 " - I bought this either at Charlie in North Plymouth or at the Bradlee's that was in Kingston - it was over 30 years ago, so it all blends together

cast iron griddle – 12 ” – I bought this either at Charlie in North Plymouth or at the Bradlee’s that was in Kingston – it was over 30 years ago, so it all blends together

Even if it weren’t perfectly fine and familiar, the temptation for a soapstone griddle…

Isn't this pretty?

Isn’t this pretty? How much would this weigh? I could lift griddles instead of kettle-balls as a get-fit program…

is tempered by the expense of something new, and expense in time as trying to figure out how it works, and how to make it work better, as well as the cash outlay – and then there’s whatever the shipping would be to move a hunk of stone to my doorstep….all expenses I can well do without for the now, and for a good piece of now to come.

And this is the first English Muffin recipe I”ll be trying. It may be the first English muffin recipe I ever tried.

The Better English Muffin

1 C milk

2 Tbl and then 1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

3 Tbl butter

1 ¼ C warm water

2 packets dry yeast

2 ½ C whole wheat flour

2 ¼ C AP flour

¼ C wheat germ


  1. Scald the milk and add 2 Tbl of brown sugar, the salt and the butter. Put aside and cool to lukewarm.
  2. Stir the 1 tsp of brown sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir again and wait for it to bubble and froth.(about 5 minutes)
  3. Mix the flours together with the wheat germ in a large bowl.
  4. Gradually mix in the lukewarm milk mixture and then the yeast mixture.
  5. Knead until it forms a soft dough. If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour.
  6. Put the dough in a covered bowl and let it rise in a warm place 15 minutes.
  7. Punch the dough down and divide into 16 pieces.
  8. Roll each piece into a ball.
  9. Place each little dough ball on a cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet.
  10. Press down on the dough to flatten them, about 3” diameter circles. Cover and let rise for another ½ hour.
  11. Heat a griddle on high and grease lightly with butter.
  12. Place dough circles on hot griddle and cook for 5 minutes each side.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.
  14. Before serving, split each muffin in half with a fork, toast thoroughly and butter.

Ruth Ann Manners and William Manners. The Quick and Easy Vegetarian Cookbook. M. Evans and Co: New York. 1978. Pp.118-9.


Filed under Bread, Journal, Recipe

100 posts of food on the WALL…

musical-note-3-clip-art_114295_Musical_Note_3_clip_art_hight100 posts of food…

Oh, wait, the song was 99 bottles of beer….and they get fewer and fewer, while posts on the wall will become more and more…..

Yes, they will. Because when I first started making pies, the advice I got from my great Aunt Eileen, who I have no memory of having ever baked anything that even got on any table that I may have ever been at. Or near. But who had opinions like nobodies business.

Apple not falling far from that part of the family tree? apple tree with apples underneathAnyhow, she said, that with pies, the first 500 don’t count. In short, practice makes perfect. No doubt she’d say the same thing about blogs. Which sounds an awful lot like Malcolm Gladwell’s

10,000 Hour Rule :

“achievement is talent plus preparation.”


Malcolm Gladwell

More on talent and lucky breaks and angels later.And pies, more on pies later.

When I began this, some 99 post ago, I hadn’t done much preparation. In fact it was pretty darn spontaneous. I wanted to write about food, my son wanted my recipes; he set up a blog page and a Facebook page, and I was off and running.

Running into all sorts of walls, many of my own making.

I could have spent more time considering my naming options


  • Off the Wall off the wallor
  • Fly on the Wall (OK – that’s a little creepy) Fly-on-the-Wall-Logo-Sketches-592x418and then there’s
  • Wall Nuts ….brickwall1Or
  • Wall Papers.

    This is brick wall wall paper. At one point we had texture brick wall paper in the kitchen....and it was wicked cool. Until it started getting dented....

    This is brick wall wall paper. At one point we had texture brick wall paper in the kitchen….and it was wicked cool. Until it started getting dented….

Another brick wall I didn’t see coming into this:

I did not live my childhood alone.

No clue. How to include or not include …..this is tough stuff. And it’s not just about the people I’m still in touch with – it’s also the memories of those who have gone before.

Still looking for the doorways.bricked doorway in vintage stone walland the other brick wall…

I don’t know how to write in Italian.

This makes it really difficult to write about the Italian people in my family, without making them sound like movie Italians, and I don’t mean Movie STAR Italians

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren

I mean Movie Stereotype Italians


“That’sa spicy meataballa” anyone?

  • and, I hadn’t counted on how much the historic food was a part my food thought processes.
  • Coming attractions;
    • Meatballs are not a recipe and other lessons from Nonna
    • Chicken soup, with and without rice
    • Pies
    • More chili
    • More breads
    • More cookies
    • and just generally more.

Thank you



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Filed under Perception ways

Onion sops and other stories

onion art design

I suffer from Stir The Onions Syndrome.

I admit it.
If someone is cooking anything – even just a few onions in the pan – I have an irresistible urge to take the spoon away from them and stir.

Even if the onions don’t need any stirring. I often have the spoon before I can think that maybe, just maybe, other grownups are perfectly capable of stirring their own onions. I’ve have done this totally unawares, until I find myself with the spoon, and no memory as to how it got in my hot little hand.
It’s not about the cook. Or the spoon. Or even about those onions, it’s about all onions.
Onions as the base of so much food.
Onions as the root of cooking.
Onions as the prelude smell.

What comes after the onions?
onion art

But onion sops.

Not sobs,

from Onion Tears, although I have cried me a river of onion tears,

but sops. Quick sops Biblical backstory – a piece of bread dipped into something

26Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

King James Bible

You know, like sippets,

Solomon's Sippets - available in Austrailia

Solomon’s Sippets – available in Austrailia

but larger


Yes, sippets. Sippets good.

Like tostes.

Toasting Fork - toasting old school

Toasting Fork – toasting old school

A sop of Onions

Take and slice your Onions, & put them in a frying panne with a dish or two of sweete butter, and frie them together, then take a litle faire water and put to it salt and peper, and so frie them together a little more, the boile them in a lyttle Earthern pot, putting to it a lytle water and sweet butter, &c. You may use spinnage in a like manner.

Thomas Dawson. The Second Part of the Good Hus-wives Jewell. Falconwood Press: 1988.p. 7-8.

(Thomas Dawson is soooo cool – how many different ways can YOU spell ‘little’?)

Meanwhile, Last Thursday……

Culinary Insights |  Plimoth Bread Co, Tani Mauriello and Kathleen Wall | 4:00

Join Tani and Kathleen under the Culinary Insights tent on Thursday for a glimpse of all that awaits us this weekend (Sept 25-28) when Plimoth Plantations reveals the renovated and expanded Craft Center and all-new bakery, Plimoth Bread Co! Their program, A Toast to Bread, introduces us to sippets, sops and toasts. Not sure what those are? Come to the market on Thursday and find out!

New Plimoth Bread Co. at Plimoth Plantation Craft Cent.
How do you #icrafthistory?
Drinking Peasants by Pieter   -notice the onions hanging by the fire - Those braids or plats are known as  Traces. Onion Traces.

Drinking Peasants by Pieter -notice the onions hanging by the fire – Those braids or plats are known as traces. Onion Traces.

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Filed under Autumn, Bread, Recipe, The 17th century

24 Carrot Gold

Exactly how  many carrots are to a pound depend on the size of the carrots, but if you have 24 lovely little carrots, or about 3 pounds (2 1/2 pounds for cooking and a 1/2 pound for snacking) you can make some carrot salad for the days that remind you that although the Dog Days are over, summer isn’t really over quite yet, and some carrot soup for the days can get chilly and tell you Fall is coming soon, just not as soon as all the pumpkin flavored everything that is available would seem to indicate.

More then enough carrots here to make both soup and salad

More then enough carrots here to make both soup and salad, and have a little carrot nosh in the interim


¾ cup dried chick peas or white beans

1 or 2 garlic cloves

1 ½ pounds carrots

1/3 cup olive oil

¼ cup vinegar –wine or cider

¼ – ½ cup chopped parsley

1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Scallions OR fresh cut chives or garlic chives (you might want to omit the garlic cloves if you go this route)

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin or ground coriander

Optional –

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

And/or 1/3 cup minced fresh dill

  1. Cook the chickpeas or the beans with the garlic. Drain well.
  2. Peel the carrots, or merely scrub them well if they’re very fresh and thin skinned. Cut them into thin, flat matchstick pieces, 1½ inches long by ¼ inch wide. Steam them for 5 – 10 minutes – just tender.
  3. Rinse under cold running water and drain well.
  4. Combine olive oil, vinegar, herbs and spices in a large bowl.
  5. Add cooked beans and mix well.
  6. Add cooked carrots and toss gently.
  7. Cover tightly and refrigerate.

4-6 servings

Adapted from Mollie Katzan. Still Life with Menu Cookbook. Ten Speed Press. 1988. pp. 157-8.Still life with Menu

Carrots come in many colors and can be used interchangeably

Carrots come in many colors and can be used interchangeably


2 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

4 cups broth

1 cup white wine

½ cup ricotta cheese

½ teaspoon celery seed or dill seed

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook onions and garlic in butter over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Add carrots and cook. Covered, another 5-10 minutes, until the carrots start to sweat (the juices start to come out of them).
  3. Add broth and wine, raise heat.
  4. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer until the carrots are soft.
  5. Puree mixture in a blender or a food processor.
  6. Put the puréed back in the pan over low heat and add ricotta, celery seed and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Heat thoroughly and serve.

Makes about 2 quarts.

From A Musical Treat: Good Food is Music for the Palate. Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra Volunteer League. 1995. p.49.This is a recipe I contributed. It’s an amalgam of several different recipes that finally became mine.

carrot blossom-Daucus_carota_May_2008-1_edit

Carrot in flower – Queen Anne’s Lace is really wild carrot. It used to be known as Bird’s Nest. Those little flower ends keep curling up as they form seeds

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Filed under Books, Recipe, Summer

Choclava, this time with the chocolate…..

In what can only be considered a glitch in the space/time continuation, I managed to post a recipe for chocolate baklava WITHOUT ACTUALLY INCLUDING THE CHOCOLATE. I have correct that glaring/mind-boggling/insane  omission in this re-post. This is also more – much, much MORE!  – to my personal baklava/paklava/choclava story, so stayed tuned for further installments.

In the 1980’s chocolate finally came into it’s own in a way that has stayed the course.

Choclatier Magazine, Vol 1, Number 1 - I've got that

Chocolatier Magazine, Vol 1, Number 1 – I’ve got that

It was a chocolate happy decade….like anything chocolate can be UN-happy! In this  premier, charter issue of Chocolatier Magazine was the first place I saw the words ‘chocolate’  and ‘baklava’ together, two great things are are even greater together.Was I a charter subscriber? Oh, YES I was. Do I have years worth of back issues that are now commanding fairly high prices on e-Bay? Hmmm, maybe some photocopying is in order, and then…….but first, back to


This is a word that has a happy sound.

The recipe I’m going to share is from the cookbook Caramel Knowledge, because the ’80’s gave us more then one version of the chocolate baklava, and although I remember making them, I never noted which one was THE ONE.  Sometimes there’s more then one, and that’s OK, too.


1 # frozen filo dough

1# walnuts

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

3 ½ sticks unsalted butter, divided

8 (1 –ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate (or 1-1/3 cups chips)


3 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Thaw the filo (take it out of the freezer the night before)
  2. Chop the walnuts very fine. Add sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. Trim the stack of filo sheets to the size of your raised edge baking pan – 11 x 17 or 11x 15, whichever you’ve got. Cover the stack of filo with a barely damp towel, and keep it covered while working. Dried out filo can get pretty messy……
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
  5. Melt the remaining butter with the chocolate.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°
  7. Brush baking pan with melted butter. Lay on one sheet of filo. Brush filo with chocolate/butter. Top with another filo sheet, brush with chocolate/butter. Repeat until you have 10 sheets of filo in the pan.
  8. After the 10th sheet is brushed with butter/chocolate, sprinkled evenly with the nut mix.
  9. Now filo with chocolate butter, and then a second one…
  10. Another ½ cup of nuts all around on top of the chocolate butter…
  11. Continue sprinkling ½ cup of nuts on every other sheet on top of the chocolate butter.
  12. The last 2 or 3 sheets should have no nuts, just chocolate butter.
  13. Chocolate butter on top of the top sheet.
  14. With a sharp knife, cut the cholava. Cut it before it’s baked or you’ll end up with a very large pan of really tasty crumbs. Really. A very messy pan of very tasty bits that can be served over ice cream, but will not look good at all on a serving plate. Make a series of parallel cuts one inch apart down the length of the pan, then make diagonal cuts 2 inches apart from the side to make the classic diamond shaped pieces. Or make squares.
  15. baklava-diagram

    This is a diagram on what the straight line/diagonal lines should look like. Or not. But if you want more then one GIANT serving, cut it before it goes into the oven and gets all crispy on you.

  16. Smooth out the top layer.
  17. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  18. Lower oven temp to 300° and bake for another hour.
  19. Make sugar syrup :
    1. In large saucepan stir together sugar, water and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved.
    2. Cook over high heat – without any more stirring – until mixture comes to a boil
    3. Lower heat and continue boiling for 20 minutes
  20. When the cholava is done and out of the oven and still hot, spoon about two thirds of the syrup over it
  21. About an hour later when the first part of the syrup has soaked in, spoon the rest on.
  22. Allow it to rest several hours before serving. If you didn’t cut it into pieces before you put it into the oven, go and buy some ice cream now and use the chocolaty/nutty/cinnamony/crispy/ buttery goodness as a topping…..
    1. “I am told that baklava will keep for several weeks if merely covered with plastic wrap and not refrigerated. It can also be frozen, I am informed. I don’t know. I didn’t have that much left.” Al Sicherman
    2. Ditto. KMW

Al Sicherman. Caramel Knowledge. Harper & Row, 1988.p.220.

Caramel Knowledge

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Filed under Books, Perception ways, Recipe, The 1980's

Caramel Knowledge

Caramel Knowledge is a cookbook from the 1980’s,Caramel Knowledge

not to be confused with the movie Carnal Knowledge,a product of the ’70’s….

Carnal Knowledge

Jack Nicholson, Art Garfunkel, Ann-Margret and Candice Bergen

I bought the book for the title. ANYONE who could get away with a title like that is a friend of mine, and I would support that friendship by buying his books. But since the author, Al Sicherman,

Al Siderman

Al Siderman

is in Minnesota, still working at the Star Tribune we’ve never actually met.

It was in Caramel Knowledge that I first learned of  The Theory of Cooking Relativity

But I remembered it wrong. So after I tell you what I actually read, the words that have remained on the pages all these many years, then I will tell you MY theory, with the words that have been in my head (and coming out of my mouth ) for many of these same many years.

It starts with popovers. Al has a a no-fail popover recipe that someone has all sorts of trouble making.

Popovers - I've only tried them once, and since they came out 'meh' I haven't tried them again, even though Al has offered me a fail safe recipe. Maybe someday, maybe never - either way, I,m OK with it.

Popovers – I’ve only tried them once, and since they came out ‘meh’ I haven’t tried them again, even though Al has offered me a fail safe recipe. Will I try again?  Maybe someday, maybe never – either way, I,m OK with it.

A reader of Al’s, Esme Evans, suggested

Evans Theory of Relative Competence: Every time you figure out how to cook something new reasonably well, you cease to be able to cook something you had thought you had mastered.” p. 43.

She has examples – fallen cakes after mastering baklava; good pie crust = unable to separate eggs (making a lemon meringue pie  becomes a  trail….)

There’s a certain amount of sense in this, which is how in my brain I came up with The Theory of Cooking Relativity.

The theory states: Each person has a set point of culinary competence, which varies with each person. Some people can be extremely good at lots of things  – think Bobby Flay or Julia Child – this is the high end of the relative scale. There are a few – a very few – who are not very good at most things . You know – the ones who are not up to the challenge of Campbell’s soup.

Open can. Dump and add water. Heat. Easy, yes and yet sometimes.....

Open can. Dump and add water. Heat. Easy, yes and yet sometimes…..when good soup goes rogue…

Most everyone else fall somewhere in the middle. Some people are extremely good at one or two things – signature dishes. Others are relatively good at lots of things – no blue ribbons, but no horror stories.  This is where Evans Theory of Relative Competence is most apparent.

What all this means is  – there IS a cooking gene, and not everyone has it. Some people are born to cook, and some are born to set the table. What’s important is knowing where you are in the spectrum, and that there IS a spectrum, and we’re not all at the same place.

The  band Swing Set just showed up at the Kiskadee Coffee Company…time to stop and smell the coffee – and listen to the jazz.


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Filed under Books, Perception ways

Muffings (English implied)

Wicked Way-Back Wednesday

English muffings from the 18th century.

For version for a 21st century cook, see Paula Marcoux’s Cooking with Fire

Cooking with Fire by Paula Marcoux

Cooking with Fire by Paula Marcoux

To make Muffings and Oat-Cakes.

To a buſhel of Hertfordſhire white flour, take a Pint and a half of good Ale-yeaſt, from pale Malt, if you can get it, becauſe it is whiteſt ; let the Yeaſt lie in Water all Night, the next Day pour off the Water clear, make two Gallons of Water juſt Milk warm, not to ſcald your Yeaſt, and two Ounces of Salt ; mix your Water, Yeaſt, and Salt well together for about a quarter of an Hour, then ſtrain it and mix up your Dough as light as poſſible, and let it lie in your Trough an Hour to riſe, then with your Hand roll it and pull it into little Pieces about as big as a large Walnut, roll them with your Hand like a Ball, lay them on your Table, and as faſt as you do them lay a Piece of Flannel over them, and be ſure to keep your Dough cover’d with Flannel ; when you have rolled out all your Dough begin to bake the firſt, and by that Time they will be ſpread out in the right Form ; lay them on your Iron ; as one Side begins to change Colour turn the other, and take great Care they don’t burn, or be too much diſcolour’d, but that you will be a Judge off in two or three Makings. Take care the middle of the iron is not too hot, as it will be, but then you may put a Brick-bat or two in the middle of the Fire to ſlacken the Heat. The Thing you bake on muſt be made thus:
Build a Place juſt as if you was going to ſet a Copper, and in the ſtead of a Copper, a Piece of Iron all over the Top fix’d in Form juſt the ſame as the Bottom of an Iron Pot, and make your fire underneath with Coal as in a Copper: obſerve, Muffings are made the ſame Way ; only this, when you pull them to Pieces roll them in a good deal of Flour, and with a Rolling-pin roll them thin, cover them with a Piece of Flannel, and they will riſe a proper Thickneſs ; and if you find them too big or too little, you muſt roll Dough accordingly. Theſe muſt not be the leaſt diſcoloured.
And when you eat them, toaſt them with a Fork criſp on both Sides, then with your Hand pull them open, and they will be like a Honey-Comb ; lay in as much butter as you intend to uſe, then clap them together again, and ſet it by the Fire. When you think the Butter is melted turn them, that both Sides may be butter’d alike, but don’t touch them with a Knife, either to spread or cut them open, if you do they will be as heavy as Lead, only when they are quite buttered and done, you may cut them acroſs with a knife.
Note, Some Flour will ſoak up a Quart or three Pints more water than other Flour ; then you muſt add more Water, or ſhake in more Flour in making up, for the Dough muſt be as light as poſſible.

(The intial transcript came from Celtnet – then I added the random caps and italics from the Prospect Books edition.

Read more at Celtnet: http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/glasse-wine-brewing-bread-17.php
Copyright © celtnet)

“First Catch Your Hare…” The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. A Lady (Hannah Glasse). Facsimile of the first edition, 1747. Prospect Books, 1995. p. 151.


Filed under Books, Bread, Recipe

Muffin Woman

Do you know the Muffin Man?

thomas_muffins_lgThe Muffin Man?

Muffin Man from 1759

Muffin Man from 1759

The Muffin Man?

Muffin Man 18

Muffin Man 18

Do you know the Muffin Man who lives in Drury Lane?

I can’t remember when I didn’t love English muffins. They were my absolute favorite breakfast for years.

English muffin pizza? Been there, done that.Thomas_recipe_PizzaMuffinEM

But making English muffins, the actual bread stuff, proved more problematical.

First, there was the ring or not to ring conundrum.

You can buy these, OR save tuna cans, which was easier before their shaped changed ever so slightly OR you can improvise with canning jar lids or tin foil....

You can buy these, OR save tuna cans, which was easier before their shaped changed ever so slightly OR you can improvise with canning jar lids or tin foil….

After a few attempts, I decided to go ringless….right around the same time I discovered Laurel’s Kitchen.

Laurel does not use rings.

This is the 1976 edition. For reasons I can no longer even imagine, I tossed it out when I got the NEW edition, along with my margin notes and inserts....

This is the 1976 edition. For reasons I can no longer even imagine, I tossed it out when I got the NEW edition, along with my margin notes and inserts….I probably got this at Paperback Booksmith at the Hanover Mall.

This is the NEW Laurel's Kitchen, from 1989, a copy of which now lives in my kitchen and has since  1991. Ummmm - I had a baby in 1991....suddenly the stupid has a  context

This is the NEW Laurel’s Kitchen, from 1989, a copy of which now lives in my kitchen and has since 1991. Ummmm – I had a baby in 1991….suddenly the stupid has a context

Laurel’s English Muffins

1 packet yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup buttermilk
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt

  1. This is also her basic buttermilk bread recipe. Hers also call for honey, which makes the muffins too easily overbrowned in the cooking, so I save it to put ON the muffins, not in them.
  2. Mix. Knead. Rise.
  3. Divide in half. At this point you can make 2 loaves of bread OR bread and muffins or LOTS of muffins.
  4. FOR MUFFINS: Take 1/2 the total dough and add 1 cup warm water. You are now making a slack, somewhat overworked dough. This is  were the nooks and crannies come from.
  5. Let it rise again.
  6. Sprinkle a surface with cornmeal (you can use plain flour if you don’t have cornmeal…)
  7. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape into droopy rounds and plop them on the corn meal.
  8. Heat a griddle or skillet as hot as for pancakes.
  9. Use a spatulas to transfer the dough blobs to the pan  . I can fit 4 at a time on my skillet. Cook until the bottom browns, flip and then brown some more. It will probably take about 10 minutes a side. The side of the muffins  should loose their dough look and just seem pale. Flip over again if it all seems too squishy,if you want to split one open to see how it’s doing, just remember to fork split so you can toast it and serve it later.
  10. Repeat until they are all brown on the outside and cooked on the inside.
  11. Split with a fork and toast and serve with butter and honey or whatever….

from The New Laurel’s Kitchen. Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders,and Brian Rupperthal. Ten Speed Press, 1986 pp. 74-5, 65.

Laurel, Carol and Brown

Laurel, Carol and Bronwen



Filed under Books, Influencers, Recipe