Tag Archives: Wicked WayBack Wednesday

Are you going to Marlborough Fair?

Not to be confused with Scarborough Fair….or the song of that name.

Marlborough Pie is a rich, enriched sort of custard and apple concoction that is far too easy and good, good, good to have ever fallen out of favor.

And now seems to be having a teeny-tiny rebirth.

First – there are various historic sites that keep it alive, thank you Old Sturbridge Village

Here’s Ryan Beckman on  pie

and then a story on Eater : what-is-marlborough-pie

…which could be why I’ve been fielding Marlborugh Pie questions all week…

Here’s a recipe from OSV

Marlbor pud RX

There;’s a certain (tasty) place where pie and pudding intersect. Pudding Pie is a real (GOOD) thing.

marlbor pud OSV

Tastes like a million bucks! Don’t skimp on the sherry…

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Filed under Autumn, Pie, Thanksgiving, Wicked Wayback

Stuffing? Dressing? Filling? Farce?

They’re all other ways to say:

‘Pudding in the belly’

Which is, as they say in the 17th century,

“Good Belly Cheer”

If it’s any comfort, even in the 1600’s they  sometimes called it stuffing and sometimes called it dressing….and had a few other variations just to cloud the issue even more.

There was not any Stove Top in 1620.

Larry is an actor and not an acual pilgrim - he's far too hipster for the real Pilgrim Crowd - and he's not really hip enough to be hipster, but that's another story

Larry is an actor and not an actual pilgrim – he’s far too hipster for the real Pilgrim Crowd – and he’s not really hip enough to be hipster, but that’s another story

Anyhow –

Om een jonge Henne te vullen.  (A young hen to farce)

Neemt geraspt Witte-broot/ en 3 harde doren wan Eyeren kleyn gewreven/ met wat geroockt Speck/ geroockt Vleesch/ wel kleyn gesneden/ dan gestoten Folie/ Peper/ Gember/ en een weinigh Saffaraen; en alles wel onder een gheroert/ de Hen daer mede gevult/ dan gestooft met Boter/ Wijn/ Water /gaer zijnde/ wat Verjuys en Saffraen in het sop gedaen/ dan opgerecht.

Rose, The Sensible Cook. p. 62-3.

and now in modern English

Take a grated White-bread, and 3 yolks of hard-boiled Eggs, mashed fine, with some (smoked) Bacon, and (smoked) Meat, chopped very finely, then ground Mace, Pepper, Ginger, and a little Saffron; all well stirred together, the Hen is filled with this, then stewed with Butter, Wine, Water.  When done some Verjuice and Saffron is added to the broth, and then it is served

The word “smoked” (geroockt) exists in this context in Dutch in 1627.  English meat, similarly prepared, seems to be referred to as “hung”; the term “smoked” isn’t used until the end of the 17th century.  Although the effect is the same, the intent, at least in England, was not to flavor, so much as dry, the meat. kmw

Sensible Cook in Dutch

The original

Translation by Peter Rose

Translation by Peter Rose

and now perhaps in modern English:

Stuffing recipes are really hard -most stuffing isn’t a recipe…..

6 cups of bread crumbs (I pulsed good bread through the blend, and kept some of it a little chunky, I like some texture)

3 hard boiled egg yolks (snack on the whites because the smells of this coming together may make you a little peeked

1/2 a pound of smoked bacon, diced

14 oz smoked kielbasa or other smoked sausage (14 oz is the size of the package – it’s not a magic number)

Mace – the spice:


It also comes in powdered form – it’s the outer casing of a nutmeg, so use nutmeg if you don’t have mace.

also Pepper and Ginger. Saffron if you can afford it. Total spice might be about a tablespoon. It should have some smell over the meat. The bread absorbs a lot of flavor, so don’t be afraid.

Because every other stuffing/dressing etc from the 17th century I looked at called for it, I added 3 whole eggs, beaten, a 1/2 stick melted butter and then some broth to moisten it. A little  wine would not be amiss at this point, especially  since I don’t know anyone who is boiling their Thanksgiving turkey….although……

The broth I bought that I’m loving this November

college Inn white wineand this cooking wine was convenient and not too salty

Goya Cookng wine

Put the whole batch in a buttered 9′ casserole and bake, covered for  1/2 hour at 350º and then 1/2 hour uncovered.

The First Thanksgiving probably looked a little more like this then what we're accustomed to seeing

The First Thanksgiving probably looked a little more like this then what we’re accustomed to seeing

This Turkey would taste great with this stuffing. Or Dressing. Or Pudding in it's belly or....

This Turkey would taste great with this stuffing. Or Dressing. Or Pudding in it’s belly or….


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

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

fawkes cartoon

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot….GunpowderPlot


That’s Guy, right in the center of things

In 1605, Guy Fawkes (the one who’s name became attached to the event) and others were found with gunpowder in the House of Parliament and seemed to be trying to blow up King and Parliament. This lead to

The Observance of 5th November Act 1605 (3 Ja. I, c. 1,) also known as the “Thanksgiving Act

The Bill was drafted and introduced on 23 January 1605/06 by Edward Montagu. It called for a public, annual thanksgiving for the failure of the Plot.

That ‘s right – November 5th was a Thanksgiving Day in 1606, which is years before 1621…. 1621 isn’t quite as First as it sometimes thinks it is. Just sayin’.

Guy Fawkes got a whole new life in the movies.


and thus begins a new life for the Guy – as the Mask

The Guy Fawkes Mask  - this one as origami

The Guy Fawkes Mask – this one as origami

Since bonfires are the constant celebration of this day of Thanksgiving

Bonfire in England for 5th of November

Bonfire in England for 5th of November

the foods most associated with this holiday are bonfire toffee plot toffeeand jacket potatoes.

Jacket potatoes?

Mr Potato Head as Indiana Jones with a JACKET

Mr Potato Head as Indiana Jones with a JACKET

But really, Jacket Potatoes are baked (the bonfire connection) with the skins still on….

These three lovely meals in a spud were feature in the New York Times recently

These three lovely meals in a spud were feature in the New York Times recently

The link to the story and the recipes are here: Jacket potatoes 

Don’t forget!

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Filed under Autumn, Holiday, Thanksgiving

The History of Corn is amazing

Or is it more properly ‘a-maizing’?
Either way, a few pictorial highlights – and a recipe – for a Wicked Wayback Wednesday from a talk I gave on a dark and stormy night for the South Shore Locavores.


The audience was all ears!

In a nutshell –

Corn has been around for thousands of years in the America, in Europe not so long. In the 16th century maize was new and fashionable, but since it was easy to grow, and grow well, it became more and more common and less and less fashionable…..case in point – polenta.

Murillo - the Polenta Woman -17th century - notice how she's not fashionable

Murillo – the Polenta Woman -17th century – notice how she’s not fashionable

Pietro Longhi - Polenta - notice that it's being pored onto a cloth, from which it will be eaten

Pietro Longhi – Polenta – notice that it’s being pored onto a cloth, from which it will be eaten. This is the 18th century when ‘The Poor’ become romanticized. Their romantic  image is fashionable, not the poor actual selves .

made in Italy Gio Lochetti

In Made in Italy Giorgio Locatelli describe making polenta that is right out of the 18th century painting. He also writes of the irony of cooking the food his family ate to stay warm and fed in Italy in  a high end restaurant in London for people to pay a pretty penny to try. Polenta is now fashionable!

Click here for the recipe of Polenta in Chains – Polenta with Beans and kale and spinach that I brought. It’s from Michele Scicolone  The Italian Slow Cooker Italian slow cooker book

Polenta in Chains bears an uncanny resemblance to 17th century English  pottage, which was made with maize instead of oats when Englishmen came to North America, changing things to keep them the same.

Esau and Jacob Mathias Stom, 1640's. That's a Mess of Pottage in the bowl

Esau and Jacob Mathias Stom, 1640’s. That’s a Mess of Pottage in the bowl. The bread is pretty great, too.

Almost all the pottage in 17th century images include Jacob and Esau

Almost all the pottage in 17th century images include Jacob and Esau

A re-created 17th century English Pottage by Elizabeth Pickard

A re-created 17th century English Pottage by Elizabeth Pickard


Filed under Autumn, Italian, Perception ways

I’m strong to the FINNISH Cause I eats my Spinnage

I’m Sarah the  Pilgrim Woman! Ta-da!

Hey, if it rhymes for Popeye it can rhyme for me! (Popeye rhymes ‘finnach’ with ‘spinach’ – same deal, different dialect) popeye w spinach

And by the Finnish….I mean actual people from Finland.

These guys…

American Food Battle

Henri Alen and Nicolas Thielon from American Food Battle

Nicolas loved his pilgrim clothes….he thought he looked like a Musketeer, as in Three. And, The Three Musketeers did take place in 1627. In France and not New England, but still,

Nicolas could jump right in with the 1974 Three Musketeers crowd

Nicolas could jump right in with the 1974 Three Musketeers crowd, right in between Michael York and Richard Chamberlain

And, spinnage or spinach, was one of the dishes I prepared. It looked like this:

Spinach with eggs; German School, 17th century. Notice also r0asted quails

Spinach with eggs; German School, 17th century. Notice also r0asted quails

Divers Sallets boyled.
Parboile Spinage, and chop it fine, with the edges of two hard Trenchers upon a boord, or the backs of two Choppin-knives; then set upon a Chafingdish of Coales with Butter and vinegar. Season it with Sugar and a few parboyld Currans. Then cut hard Egges into quarters to garnish it withal, and serve it upon Sippets. So you may serve Burrage, Buglosse, Endiffe, Suckory, Coleflowers, Sorrell, Marigold-leaves,Wintercresses, Leekes boyled Onions, Sporragus, Rocket, Alexanders. Perboyle them and season them all alike: whether it be with Oyle and Vinenegar, or Butter and Vinegar, Sinamon, Ginger, Sugar, and Butter: Egges are necessary, or at least very good for all boyld Sallets.”
-1615. John Murrell. A Newe Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood ed. p. 15.

Quick run through for this Wicked Wayback Wednesday

  • Spinage is, natch, spinach
  • These trenchers are a kind of a knife, as are the Choppin knives – when I first saw this I thought they were Chopin Knives , and I was pretty sure that Chopin wasn’t around in 1615…
    Frederick Chopin, 1835 at age 25

    Frederic Chopin, 1835 at age 25 – nope, he wasn’t around in the 17th century

    Anyhow, chop spinach. Because of what happens next, even better, start with frozen chopped spinach and save yourself the trouble. When it’s cooked, drain the spinach. In fact, put it on an old clean towel and wring it out over a sink. Seriously. Squeeze that moisture out. I added 1/2 pound fresh sorrel to the almost 2 pounds of spinach as it was almost cooked down.  Sorrel doesn’t need much cooking and it really perks up spinach. The New York Times has this story on sorrel in the spring. (click on the link ) I’m going to try keeping some indoors this winter…..more on that later…. and I’ve never had trouble keeping sorrel all summer and into the Fall. Keep using it!

    Sorrel - Rumex acetosa. Oseille in French; suolaheinä in Finnish; acetosa in Italian

    Sorrel – Rumex acetosa. Oseille in French; suolaheinä in Finnish; acetosa in Italian

  • Put some butter in a heavy pan. By some, I mean a lot…Add the drained, wrung  out chopped spinach/sorrel mass. Put more butter on top. Over low heat, let the green stew up in butter and what’s left of its own juices.
  • Add currants – not the fresh ones, the dried ones. Parboil them first (just put boiling water over them for a few minutes – dried fruit is not as dried as it used to be. And that’s a change in the last 30 years, not the last 400). Raisins are really too big – currants are much nicer in this.

    Raisins V. Currants . Sometimes, Size matters.

    Raisins V. Currants . Sometimes, size DOES matter.

  • Add a splash of vinegar. How much depends on how much and how lip puckering your sorrel is, if you’ve added any. Add a little more butter on top, put the lid on the pan and keep it on low heat, stirring it about every now and again so nothing sticks to the bottom and all the spinach soaks up all the butter. Add more butter if it seems dry. Don’t be afraid of butter!
  • Hard boil some eggs. You’ve got time. Keep the green a-stewing.
  • What? No spinach? No worries – use borage, bugloss, endive, chicory,cauliflower, sorrel, calendula leaves , cresses, leeks, onions, asparagus (let me note here that in my opinion it is a crime against Nature to puree asparagus) rocket or arugala, and alexanders . This recipe is a master recipe – a whole class of salad, for all seasons of the year, covered.
    Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) are a kind of wild celery, still found in the English countryside

    Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) are a kind of wild celery, still found in the English countryside


  • Taste and season with cinnamon, ginger, sugar, vinegar and butter – all to your taste. Make it taste good. Your opinion counts!
  • Pile up on a serving platter and garnish with those hard boiled eggs, quartered. Serve hot, or warm, or at room temperature. What the painting doesn’t show is sippets – slices  of bread toasted or fried in butter. You knew there’d be more butter, right?

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Filed under Autumn, Recipe, The 17th century, TV shows

First, Bolonia Sausages


Welcome to another Wicked WayBack Wednesday.

For years, and years, and even more years, when I saw the words

Bolonia Sausages

which are fairly common words in 2nd half 17th century English cookbooks, I thought


OM bologina

You know, like Oscar Mayer. Click Oscar Mayer, it’s the link to the song


And then one day I realized it was


Baloney, like  I was wrong.

Really wrong.

Wrong way, really and truly wrong.

Wrong country wrong.

Darn those 17th century English dialects.

Not Bolonia but Polonia. Not Italian sausage – Polish sausage.


Oscar Mayer kielbasa polska

A smoked Polish sausage…..like kielbasa

First, Bolonia Sausages.

The best way and time of the year is to make them in September.

Take four stone of pork, of the legs the leanest, and take away all
the skins, sinews, and fat from it; mince it fine and stamp it: then
add to it three ounces of whole pepper, two ounces of pepper more
grosly cracked or beaten, whole cloves an ounce, nutmegs an ounce
finely beaten, salt, spanish, or peter-salt, an ounce of
coriander-seed finely beaten, or carraway-seed, cinamon an ounce
fine beaten, lard cut an inch long, as big as your little finger,
and clean without rust; mingle all the foresaid together; and fill
beef guts as full as you can possibly, and as the wind gathers in
the gut, prick them with a pin, and shake them well down with your
hands; for if they be not well filled, they will be rusty.

These aforesaid Bolonia Sausages are most excellent of pork only:
but some use buttock beef, with pork, half one and as much of the
other. Beef and pork are very good.

Some do use pork of a weeks powder for this use beforesaid, and no
more salt at all.
Some put a little sack in the beating of these sausages, and put in
place of coriander-seed, carraway-seed.

This is the most excellent way to make Bolonia Sausages, being
carefully filled, and tied fast with a packthred, and smoaked or
smothered three or four days, that will turn them red; then hang
them in some cool cellar or higher room to take the air.

Robert May The Accomplist Cook

Robert May and the frontispiece of The Acomplist Cook

Robert May and the frontispiece of The Acomplist Cook

If you’ve made sausages before, you can see that this is actually a pretty good sausage recipe. A stone is 14 pounds so 4 stone is a LOT of meat. 56 pounds of meat. 17th century sausage making is not for those with dainty appetites. 20-30% fat. Water and spices. Good advice to get rid of the air pockets. This is not a starter recipe.  Smoking is easy if you have a smoker or know someone who has a smoker.

Either way, sausages in September seem completely more Autumn then sausages in August. The cold nights are only the coming attractions for the season ahead. It’s still not Fall, so all those Pumpkin Spiced  Lattes and doughnuts – not quite yet, thank you very much.

pumpkin spice lattes

All in due time.


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Filed under Recipe, The 17th century

May on June

Robert May, that is, another Bill Of Fare from The Accomplist Cook , 1677 for Wicked WayBack Wednesday….notice how this is a little heavy on the meat, and VERY light on the salad/veggie side of things. I’ve added a few notes for clarity

A bill of Fare for June.

1 A shoulder of mutton hasht
2 A Chine of Beef.
3 Pasty of Venison, a cold Hash.
4 A Leg of Mutton roast.
5 Four Turkey Chickens.
6 A Steak Pye.

A Second Course.

1 Jane or Kid.

Goat - Meat Milk Cheese - Mark Scarborou and Bruce Wein

Goat – Meat Milk Cheese -Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough – all you need to know once you get your goat!

2 Rabbits.

3 Shovelers.

Northern Shovler Anas

Northern Shovler Anas clypeata

4 Sweet-bread Pye.

Sweetbreads are the thymus and/or pancreas of cows or  sheep

Sweetbreads are the thymus and/or pancreas of cows or sheep

5 Olines, or pewit.

The Northern Lapwing is one bird also known as a peewit

The Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) is one bird also known as a peewit

6 Pigeons.

Passenger Pigeons were the most common pigeon in North America....until 100 years ago....

Passenger Pigeons were the most common pigeon in North America….until 100 years ago….

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Filed under Perception ways

Month of May

Robert May, that is.

RobertMayTheAccomplishtCookFrontispieceI somehow thought that I could write about food and not write about the 17th century….not true. The 17th century kitchen spends too much time in my brain for me to ignore.

Since I spend many of my waking hours in 1627…..dressed in a burlap suit doing menial labor, as it were, and get paid to play with fire….Wednesdays will have a Wicked-WayBack feature. Take that Throwback Thursdays!


Robert May’s bill of fare for the month of May:

A Bill of Fare for May.

1 Scotch Pottage or Skink.
2 Scotch collops of mutton
3 A Loin of Veal.
4 An oline, or a Pallat pye.
5 Three Capons, 1 larded.
6 Custards.

A Second Course.

1 Lamb.
2 A Tart Royal, or Quince Pye
3 A Gammon of Bacon Pie.
4 A Jole of Sturgeon.
5 Artichock Pie hot.
6 Bolonia Sausage.

To make a Tansie the best way.

Take twenty eggs, and take away five whites, strain them with a
quart of good thick sweet cream, and put to it grated nutmeg, a race
of ginger grated, as much cinamon beaten fine, and a penny white
loaf grated also, mix them all together with a little salt, then
stamp some green wheat with some tansie herbs, strain it into the
cream and eggs, and stir all together; then take a clean frying-pan,
and a quarter of a pound of butter, melt it, and put in the tansie,
and stir it continually over the fire with a slice, ladle, or
saucer, chop it, and break it as it thickens, and being well
incorporated put it out of the pan into a dish, and chop it very
fine; then make the frying pan very clean, and put in some more
butter, melt it, and fry it whole or in spoonfuls; being finely
fried on both sides, dish it up, and sprinkle it with rose-vinegar,
grape-verjuyce, elder-vinegar, couslip-vinegar, or the juyce of
three or four oranges, and strew on good store of fine sugar.


Take a little tansie, featherfew, parsley, and violets stamp and
strain them with eight or ten eggs and salt, fry them in sweet
butter, and serve them on a plate and dish with some sugar.

Tansy the best way is a whole lotta tansy…..but otherways, take 8 eggs, beat them;  a handful of parsley and put it in an old dishtowel and squeeze the juice out of it and add it to the eggs. Add some salt. Fry it up in butter. Slide it out onto a dish and flip it back in to cook both sides.

Sprinkle a little sugar on top and serve,either hot or at room temp.

17th century cooking ion a 21st century kitchen.

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Filed under Books, Influencers, The 17th century