Making Ice Cream in 1889

July 9, 2014

In June, we highlighted hand-folded ice cream containers. Because July is National Ice Cream Month, we decided to highlight another ice cream related item. This month we are highlighting an 1889 American Machine Co. trade catalog illustrating ice cream freezers.

Hand-Folded Ice Cream Boxes

June 11, 2014

Ice cream is a popular dessert. No doubt about that! It can be found everywhere, especially in the summer, whether at a 4th of July parade, the beach, or in your own backyard. Some of our past posts have featured ice cream recipes. But what about other things related to ice cream? How about ice cream freezers or ice cream containers?

I Scream, You Scream…

We all scream for ice cream! Without question, ice cream is one of the most popular treats in America, but do you know much about its history? According to Laura B. Weiss, author of Ice Cream: A Global History, iced drinks can be traced back to at least the ancient Greeks and Romans. But many historians believe that the emperors of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China may have been the first to eat a frozen milk-like confection — made with fermented cow, goat or buffalo milk which had camphor added to make it flake like snow. Italians generally are credited with inventing ice cream as we know it today, popularizing a concoction of sugar, flavorings (often fruit like lemon or strawberry), and ice or snow sometime in the mid-seventeenth century. Ice cream was particularly favored by the French aristocracy in the 1800s, and Thomas Jefferson is said to have gained an appreciation for the treat while serving as US ambassador to France from 1784-1789.

Happy Independence Day!

In honor of the patriotic spirit of the Fourth of July, plus the gardening season that is upon us, we take a special look at victory gardens! Though more known for their place in the Second World War, victory gardens (or war gardens as they were initially called) were first advocated during World War I. In addition to rationing other goods, citizens were urged to do their patriotic duty and grow their own vegetables, fruits and herbs at home in order to free up resources for the military. It was hoped that with more resources, the U.S. forces would have better success on the warfront.

Smithson’s Cookbook: English Curry

The origin of curry, the saucy, spiced dish celebrated in India and Great Britain, is not exactly known.   But it is now thought that similarly spiced dishes were developed concurrently, but independent of each other, in England and in India thanks to the spice routes that spanned from Asia and into Europe.   Exotic spices like turmeric and pepper made their way into England during the conquests of the Romans in 40 AD and the Moors in 711 AD, and came in handy during Middle Ages when highly seasoned meats could make aging meat more palatable.

Cooking from the Collections: National Soup Month

Did you know that January is National Soup Month? We didn't either but it gave us a great topic for this month's Cooking from the Collections feature! We whipped up two creamy, comforting vegetable soups that are sure to warm you up. We're happy to say that although they are the simplest recipes we've tried, they were also the most lauded by our SIL tasters (well, those without lactose issues, that is). Turns out you can't go wrong with butter and milk, flavored with a smidgen of vegetables. A cooking textbook from 1915 demonstrates that Paula Deen wasn't the first to hit upon that successful formula!     Green Pea Soup This recipe comes from the fascinating A text-book of cooking by Carlotta C. Greer, published in 1915. As the title indicates, it was designed as a textbook to accompany cooking classes and hidden in the "Body-Building Vegetables" chapter was this gem. Despite the healthy-sounding name, this soup was so very rich and creamy that one taster commented "That soup more »

Cooking from the Collections: More sweet treats!

Welcome to Part II of December's Cooking from the Collections feature! This month, our intrepid recipe testers tried their hand at old fashioned sweets.  The treats included Martha Washington’s recipe for sugar cookies, a boozy 1950’s  rum pudding, and a gingerbread cookie that might have been a favorite of James Smithson.  Who do you think would win a holiday bake-off? The founder of the Smithsonian, our very first First Lady or an aspiring June Cleaver?  Today we present the remaining two recipes. Click over to Friday's post to learn more about James Smithson's gingerbread. All three desserts ready for sampling.   Martha Washington’s Sugar Cookies Before there was Martha Stewart in the kitchen, there was Martha Washington. Thanks to a transcription by Karen Hess of Martha Washington’s Booke of cookery, anyone can whip up the the original First Family’s favorite treats for the holidays.  Not only does Hess dutifully transcribe Martha Washington’s personal cookbook, she also translates ingredients and cooking methods for modern times.  These basic cookies (callled "cakes" by more »

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