WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Crowdy

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Crowdy

Oatmeal seems to be one of those love it or leave it foods.

I happen to love it, but I grew up with a father who made it so thick it would walk over from the pan to your bowl, and barely boiled it long enough to take the rawness out of the oat. That’s how I “cook” and eat it to this day. Add in some butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and occasionally chopped fresh fruits such as apples, pears, or grapes, and I’ve made myself a treat for breakfast.

Don’t even get me started on the treasure that is steel cut oats. Yum-o.

I feel sorry for people who think oatmeal should be purchased in a ‘Quick’ version, or come in tearable brown paper packages. Blech.

Crowdy

Oatmeal and water, or milk; a mess much eaten in the north.

If, after that tantalizing definition, you find yourself in need of a recipe for that historical treat, you’re in luck! According to a 1889 June entry in The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend, Volume 3, “Famous dishes are not always palatable at the first taste.”

Sounds like a warning to me.

Crowdy is further extolled as a “delightful food if the intelligent traveller…brings to it an appetite keen as the east wind–a zest that can be acquired by a twenty mile tramp over the breezy, heather-scented uplands.”

In other words, if you’re tired and hungry enough, you’ll shove anything in your mouth.

June, 1889 entry, The Monthly Chronicle of North Country Lore and Legend, Volume 3.

I love that one historical reporter called Crowdy a “nourishing winter dish, easily made and arguably a complete breakfast in itself, especially when prepared and eaten according to the approved receipt of my late reverend friend, the Author of Metres, addressed to the Lovers of Truth.” Those italics belong to the author of the quote, by the way. One wonders if the lateness of his friend might be due to poor preparation or improper eating the Crowdy. Which might have something to do with the next reporter’s account.

Another eyewitness to the wonder of Crowdy noted “Oatmeal well-stirred with boiling water was a ‘crowdie,’ [and] I am reported to have told my granny, ‘that’s what we feed our hens’ on the first time I saw it mixed!”

One man’s complete breakfast after a tramp through the heather is just another hen’s morning in the nesting box.

 

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Kitchen Physic

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Kitchen Physic

I married a Texan and, as such, he’s hard-pressed to consider a meal a real meal unless there is meat somewhere in the midst of it. And bread, too…but that’s another Word of the Week.

Kitchen Physic

Food, good meat roasted or boiled. A little kitchen physic will set him up; he has more need of a cook than a doctor.

I stumbled across a fun book that satisfies the home cook and Austenite in me: Cooking with Jane Austen (Feasting with Fiction). In it, author Kristin Olsen couples a quote from Emma and a related recipe. I love it.

Copyrighted material courtesy Cooking with Jane Austen by Kristin Olsen, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005.

Copyrighted material courtesy Cooking with Jane Austen by Kristin Olsen, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005.

And to make this recipe in the 21st Century:

Copyrighted material courtesy Cooking with Jane Austen by Kristin Olsen, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005.

 

I’m not including a recipe for applesauce. I figure we can use the Sauce recipe excerpted from the book above, Google a modern one for ourselves, or find our favorite brand at our local grocery store. If we are so inclined to roast our own stubble goose in the near future, that is.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Belly

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Belly

Food is the theme for September. I probably should have waited until November or December, but by that time, it will be all things harvest, and kissing boughs and sleighs. Better to get in the nibbles now.

John Bull taking a Luncheon; -or- British Cooks, cramming Old Grumble-Gizzard, with Bonne-Chere by James Gillray, 24 October 1798, National Maritime Museum.

And, of course, the political satire of James Gillray.

Belly

His eye was bigger than his belly; a saying of a person at a table, who takes more on his plate than he can eat.

Substitutes for Bread; -or- Right Honorables Saving the Loaves & Dividng the Fishes by James Gillray, 1795, British Museum. Right underneath the title, it reads ‘To the Charitable Committee, for reducing the high price of Corn, by providing Substitutes for Bread in their own Families, this representation of the Hard Shifts made by the Framers & Signers of the Philanthropic Agreement, is most respectfully dedicated.’ 24 December 1795.’

From the British Museum description:

Ministers sit at a round dinner-table guzzling guineas, while through the window is seen a hungry mob. Pitt, in profile to the left, sits on the right, a large fish made of guineas on a dish before him, of which he shovels huge lumps into his gaping mouth; he sits on a ‘Treasury’ chest which is closed by a padlock inscribed ‘WP’. Opposite him on the extreme left, seated on the woolsack, is Loughborough, indicated by an elongated Chancellor’s wig in back view; he clutches a large bowl of ‘Royal Turtle Soup’, holding a large ladle-full of guineas to his mouth. The others sit on the farther side of the table: Grenville, next Loughborough, Dundas in the middle, Pepper Arden next, Pitt. Grenville stoops, putting his mouth on the level of his dishful of guineas. Dundas, wearing a plaid, gnaws a fish which he holds in both hands. Arden, between Pitt and Dundas, holds a lump of coins on his fork. Between him and Dundas are three bottles labelled ‘Bur[gundy]’, ‘Champaign’, ‘Port’. On the table are sauce-boats and small dishes full of guineas. Before Dundas are two glasses of wine.

At the near side of the table, between Loughborough and Pitt, is a group of three sacks on each side of which is a large wine-cooler filled with bottles. The central sack is: ‘Product of New Taxes upon John Bulls Property’. On its mouth rests a small basket of potatoes inscribed ‘Potatoe Bread to be given in Charity’. The other sacks are labelled ‘Secret Service Money’. Behind (right), three steaming dishes are being brought in, held high by footmen (their heads obscured): a haunch of venison, a sirloin, and a large bird. They wear, not livery, but the Windsor uniform, and the symmetrical pair immediately behind Pitt are probably the two Treasury Secretaries, Rose and Long; this is supported by Gillray’s ‘Lilliputian Substitutes’ (1801). On the wall are two placards: ‘Proclamation for a General Fast, in order to avert the impending Famine and Substitutes for Bread Venison, Roast Beef, Poultry, Turtle Soup, Fish, boild in Wine, Ragouts, Jellies &c. Burgundy, Champaign, Tokay, &c, &c.’ The heads of men wearing bonnets-rouges are seen through the window; they hold up a loaf on a pole with a scroll inscribed ’14 Pence pr Quartern’ and two placards: ‘Petition from the Starving Swine’ and ‘Grant us the Crumbs which drop from your Table’.

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Elbow Grease (Revisited)

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Elbow Grease (Revisited)

I once heard a pastor say he always took his wife out to eat each Sunday so she wouldn’t have to work on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, a day of rest. It was evidently lost on him all the other people working in her place, from dishwashers to line cooks to patrol men keeping the streets safe for them to and from Cracker Barrel.

So, in honor of Labor Day in the USA, I’m taking a peek back at an earlier post for this holiday profiling portraits of the working class. Those who rarely had a day off, in honor of their labor or otherwise.

Young Woman Ironing by Louis-Léopold Boilly, 1800, Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Elbow Grease

Labour. Elbow grease will make an oak table shine.

The Chocolate Girl by Jean-Etienne Liotard, 1744-1775, Old Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden Germany.

A Lady’s Maid Soaping Linen by Henry Robert Morland, 1765, Tate Museum.

Her First Place by George Dunlop Leslie, late 19th century, Christopher Wood Gallery.

Apple Dumplings by George Dunlop Leslie, 1880, Hartlepool Museums and Heritge Service.

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sir Cloudesley

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sir Cloudesley

Sailors and drinking go together like peas and carrots or fish and chips. This week’s word fits that pattern, but it’s a bit of a sad, in memoriam sort of tale. This week’s post is less about the drink and more about its namesake.

Sir Cloudesley

Small beer, brandy, sugar, and lemon; a drink of sailors in memory of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, who used frequently to regale himself with it. Later to be known as a flip.

So who is exactly is this Sir Cloudesley?

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, 1650-1707, by Michael Dahl, 1702, National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich.

Norwich-born Cloudesley Shovell (1650-1707) rose from the ranks of cabin boy to Admiral of the Fleet before his untimely death at the young age of fifty-six. At seventeen, he was made midshipman on the Duke of York’s (the future James II) Royal Prince. He first saw action during the battles of the Third Anglo-Dutch War as a junior officer; as a captain, he fought at the Battle of Bantry Bay one week before the declaration of the Nine Years’ War in 1689. During the War of Spanish Succession, stories spread throughout the fleet of his swimming between ships, under fire, with dispatches clutched between his teeth to coordinate the fleet in the capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Málaga.

An Action of the English Succession at the Battle of Bantry Bay, 1689, attributed to Adriaen van Diest.

That’s how you become knighted and an admiral by age forty, by golly.

Working with the Earl of Peterborough, he commanded the forces that took Barcelona in 1705, and was named commander of the Navy thereafter. His final battle was one that failed to capture Toulon, the base of the main French fleet, in the summer of 1707, but caused the French so much damage they scuttled their own ships to prevent the combined English and Austrian forces from taking them.

So lost the battle but won the war, in this case.

Sir Cloudesley and the fleet sailed for home after the campaign at Toulon. Nearing Plymouth on 22 October 1707, the fleet were hit with westerly winds and a northern current that ultimately dashed several of them on the reefs and rocks of the Scilly Isles. Sir Cloudesley’s ship, HMS Association, struck Outer Gilstone Rock and was reported to have sunk in three to four minutes, with the loss of all 800 hands. Three other ships also sank: HMS Eagle, HMS Romney, and HMS Firebrand. With the deaths of nearly 2000 sailors, the Scilly Naval Disaster of 1707 is recorded as one of the worst maritime disasters in British history.

18th century engraving depicting the sinking of the HMS Association, during the Naval Disaster of Scilly (1707), artist unknown, National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich.

Sir Cloudesley’s body was temporarily buried on the beach at Porthellick Cove but was later exhumed by order of Queen Anne. The body was embalmed in Plymouth then carried in state to London, inspiring much mourning along the journey. Sir Cloudesley was interred in Westminster Abbey on 22 December 1707.

Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s Grave, Westminster Abbey. (I know I shouldn’t, but does anyone else hear, “Draw me like one of your French girls…” or is it just me?)

The epitaph above Sir Cloudesley reads:

Sr CLOUDESLY SHOVELL Knt Rear Admirall of Great Britain and Admirall and Commander in Chief of the Fleet: the just rewards of his long and faithfull services. He was deservedly beloved of his Country and esteem’d, tho’ dreaded, by the enemy who had often experienced his conduct and courage. Being shipwreckt on the rocks of Scylly in his voyage from Thoulon the 22d of October 1707, at night, in the 57th year of his age his fate was lamented by all but especially the sea faring part of the Nation to whom he was a generous patron and a worthy example. His body was flung on the shoar and buried with others in the sands; but being soon taken up was plac’d under this monument which his Royall Mistress has caus’d to be erected to commemorate his steady loyalty and extraordinary vertues.

There is an apocryphal story associated with the death of Sir Cloudesley that states he actually made it to shore alive at Porthellick Cove on St. Mary’s Island, only to be killed by a local woman (the Isles were a but untamed at this time) when she saw the emerald ring he wore. Supposedly, some twenty (or thirty, by some accounts) years later and on her deathbed, she made this confession to her priest, who then sent the ring to either one of Sir Cloudesley’s friends, the Earl of Berkeley, or the original gifter of the ring, Captain James Lord Dursley. No trace of the ring has been found in either of these gentlemen’s histories, however.

Memorial to Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Porthellick Cove, St. Mary’s Island, Scilly Isles.

Gilstone Rocks location at Porthellick Cove, Scilly Isles.

 

  • Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
  • For informational purposes, you will see Sir Cloudesley’s name spelled in myriad ways. I chose the spelling from his marriage lines and will. But it’s different on his epitaph, some of his citations, the occasional newspaper write-up. You name it.
  • The recipe for Sir Cloudesley can be found in Beverton’s Nautical Curiosities. Glance up at the Salty Dog recipe for a chuckle shiver on how to moisten the rim of the glass.
  • Sir Cloudesley Shovell was no doubt a man we’d have liked to sip some of his namesake drink with. Read more about him at History Today and Wikipedia.
  • There are surprisingly numerous letters about The Shipwreck of Sir Cloudesley Shovell on the Scilly Islands in 1707.
  • I had no idea there is a Find a Grave website. But there is and of course I think it’s cool. They had Sir Cloudesley’s temporary grave from Porthellick Cove.
  • Words from the grave inscription courtesy Westminster Abbey.
  • Last but certainly not least, not just a drink but a rock band, too. The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell are “the last of a dying breed of Grease Rock Bastard musicians who somehow, despite and in spite of the last 3 decades trying their best to kill off balls out, non-bulls— rock’n’roll music, somehow, against all the f—–g odds, still exist.”
WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Twist

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Twist

This week’s word is exactly what it sounds like – a combination of two other drinks. Much to my disappointment, I could not find a specific recipe for this specific drink. I admit to hoping for a discovery of coffee + tea + some random addition like reduction of parsnip or “stir with the branch of an elderberry.”

Alas.

So I’m left to an examination of the individual parts of the whole. And we’re on our own to mixing the following recipes.

Do let me know if you add parsnips.

Twist

A mixture of half tea and half coffee.

Tea

According to the Jane Austen Centre, by the time you take that first sip of tea, you should know it’s going to be perfect because you’ve planned it be so every step of the way. The instructions are extremely specific:

  1. Start with a preheated pot. This prevents the tea cooling too quickly. To warm, pour boiling water into the pot.
  2. Use freshly drawn, not reboiled water, for the tea. Bring this freshly drawn water to a rolling boil for approximately ten seconds. Remove kettle from heat. Don’t boil the water for too long as this will boil away the flavour-releasing oxygen.
  3. Pour out the water used to preheat the pot and add the freshly drawn, freshly boiled water. [emphasis mine]
  4. Wait until the water is just off the boil before pouring it onto the tea. This brings out the rich aroma and avoids scorching the tea.
  5. Start with three-fourths of a level teaspoon of loose tea for every six ounces of water.
  6. Steep for 3-5 minutes, according to taste. If possible, cover the teapot with a towel or tea cosy while steeping to retain heat.
  7. Place a strainer over each teacup before pouring tea. If you would like to add milk (milk, not cream) pour it in the cup before adding the hot tea as this will allow the milk to better blend with the tea without curdling.
  8. Sweeten as preferred or serve with a slice of lemon.

Still Life Tea Set by Jean-Étienne Liotard, circa 1781-1783, Getty Museum.

Coffee

Coffee has a colorful history and has aroused passions in its consumers since it first passed lips and delighted palates. The first coffee beans reached Venice in 1615; the first coffee house opened there nearly 70 years later in 1683. A European obsession was born. When coffee and its houses began booming in London about thirty years later, they attracted intellectuals, artists, politicians, bankers, and merchants. They were known as “Penny Universities:” for a penny, you could pick up coffee as well as useful information on a variety of topics.

I have a fever…and the prescription is more coffee…

Telling Fortune in Coffee Grounds, 1790, Lewis Walpole Library.

Remember when Elizabeth was assigned coffee pot duty at Longbourn when the gentlemen returned (and Jane was in danger of making Bingley fall more in love with her than ever?), and Elizabeth longed to speak to Mr. Darcy and thank him for his service to her sister?

Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. She followed him with her eyes, envied everyone to whom he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to help anybody to coffee; and then was enraged against herself for being so silly!
~Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

She needed to be serving some of this bewitching brew:

Regency era coffee recipe courtesy Jane Austen Centre.

And just when I thought all was lost, and that potions and syrups thrown into coffee were a modern-day invention, archaeological scholars at the University of Cambridge made a historical coffeehouse find: Calf’s foot jelly and a tankard of ale.

Researchers have published details of the largest collection of artefacts from an early English coffeehouse ever discovered. Described as an 18th century equivalent of Starbucks, the finds nonetheless suggest that it may have been less like a café, and more like an inn.

Customers today may settle for a flat white and a cinnamon swirl, but at coffee shops 250 years ago, many also expected ale, wine, and possibly a spot of calf’s foot jelly, a new study has shown. (Read the rest of the article here)

So the next time you’re shouting out your order at the coffee counter, make sure to enunciate clearly between ‘half caff’ and ‘half calf,’ or you may get something completely different.

Some of the 500 objects, many in a very good state of preservation, including drinking vessels for tea, coffee and chocolate, serving dishes, and 38 teapots from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit find.

 

  • Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
  • For recipes at the Jane Austen Centre, head here for Tea and here for Coffee.
  • There is a great post over at Spitalfields Life featuring The Map Of The Coffee Houses. Definitely take some time to go over and check it out. In fact, Adam Dant has compiled an entire book of Maps of London and Beyond for your wish list. I know. I have a book addiction. But at least it’s an addiction for excellent books. Check out this map!

The Character of a Coffee House, map compiled by Adam Dant from Maps of London and Beyond by Adam Dant.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Huckle My Buff

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Huckle My Buff

Why this slang term ever went out of style, I’ll never know, when it’s so much fun to say. I don’t care if people quit drinking the concoction. I really think I need to appropriate this term for my own purposes.

Bless Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty for heading down to Harveys Brewery and leading the charge to bring this drink back for the recognition and regular usage the name alone deserves. While we’re in the midst of the dog days of summer and it’s hard to summon the desire to drink a steaming hot beverage, just file this one away for the wintery months around the corner.

Well, around several corners for a few of us.

Harveys Brewery Lewes East Sussex.

Huckle My Buff

Beer, egg, and brandy, made hot.

This early 18th century drink combined the three ingredients above, but also sugar and nutmeg, if one had it to hand. A pint of beer was combined with an egg, then heated with a hot poker so that it wouldn’t boil but would come nearly to the scald. Another pint of beer was mixed in, plus sugar, nutmeg, and brandy to taste. And you definitely served it hot.

In true modern, chef de cuisine fashion, Oliver and Doherty have updated this old chestnut of a recipe with the addition of ginger juice and cognac, and by using nitrous oxide and a sous vide rather than the red-hot fireplace poker. To each his own, I suppose.

The 21st Century Huckle My Buff

Fresh Egg Yolk
150ml Harveys Porter
35ml Cognac
20g Muscovado sugar
30ml ginger juice/Liqueur
Nutmeg

Gently blend all ingredients on a slow speed, then warm in a saucepan, gently stirring with a whisk. Pour into a warmed glass and finish with freshly grated nutmeg.

To make it like Jamie and Jimmy, whisk one fresh egg yolk then slowly whisk in 20 grams of muscovado sugar, 35ml of cognac, 150ml of Harvey’s Stout Beer, and 0.8ml of ginger juice. Pour the mixture into a soda syphon; close and charge with nitrous oxide. Gently warm the soda syphon to 60°C in a sous vide bath. Discharge the warmed syhpon into a glass and finish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Jamie Oliver and his Huckle My Buff at Harveys Brewery in Lewes, East Sussex. Courtesy Harveys.