Saturday, August 13, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016 #17

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #17

Myths and Legends

The ChallengeMyths and Legends (August 12 - August 25) It’s time to make some legendary food! Pick a story from folklore (a myth, fantasy, legend, or fairy tale) that features food, and use a historical recipe to recreate it. 

Many myths and fairy tales feature pancakes of some sort. From King Midas, who eats hot cakes for breakfast, to Hansel & Gretl, whose witch makes pancakes for the children. There's also the "Runaway Pancake," the forerunner of the "Runaway Gingerbread Man". 

Pancakes seem to have originated in Ancient Greece, thus making them  historically accurate for King Midas. Greek pancakes, known as “Tiganites" were shaped like small medallions. They are thin pancakes,  slightly thicker than crêpes and can be sweet or savoury. Their main ingredients, then were wheat flour, olive oil, honey and curdled milk. Today they can be made with butter, milk and eggs. They are usually drizzled with honey and cinnamon and served for breakfast or dessert. These ancient Greek pancakes were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk, and were usually served for breakfast just as they are today. 

Historical documentation comes from  William Martin Leake, Travels in Northern Greecep. 254

"They received a farther annual gift from Venice of ...  pancakes made of oil eggs flour and honey ... It was at these two feasts [Christmas and Epiphany]  that the distribution was made of the tiganites."

I took my inspiration from the Norwegian folk tale the Pancake

"Once upon a time there was a good housewife, who had seven hungry children. One day she was busy frying pancakes for them, and this time she had used new milk in the making of them. One was lying in the pan, frizzling away -- ah! so beautiful and thick -- it was a pleasure to look at it. The children were standing round the fire, and the husband sat in the corner and looked on.

"Oh, give me a bit of pancake, mother, I am so hungry!" said one child.
"Ah, do! dear mother," said the second (through 6th children)
"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice, sweet, darling mother," said the seventh. And thus they were all begging for pancakes, the one more prettily than the other, because they were so hungry, and such good little children.

"Yes, children dear, wait a bit until it turns itself," she answered -- she ought to have said "until I turn it" -- "and then you shall all have pancakes, beautiful pancakes, made of new milk -- only look how thick and happy it lies there."

When the pancake heard this, it got frightened, and all of a sudden, it turned itself and wanted to get out of the pan, but it fell down in it again on the other side, and when it had been fried a little on that side too, it felt a little stronger in the back, jumped out on the floor, and rolled away, like a wheel, right through the door and down the road.

"Halloo!" cried the good wife, and away she ran after it, with the frying pan in one hand and the ladle in the other, as fast as she could, and the children behind her, while the husband came limping after, last of all.

"Halloo, won't you stop? Catch it, stop it. Halloo there!" they all screamed, the one louder than the other, trying to catch it on the run, but the pancake rolled and rolled, and before long, it was so far ahead, that they could not see it, for the pancake was much smarter on its legs than any of them.
Click the above link to read the rest of the story.

The Recipe: 

(Another way.)

Put in an earthen pan four whole eggs, a pinch of salt, one of sugar,three spoons of flour; beat with one quart of milk. The preparation must be very light. Bake the pancakes in a frying pan, very thickly spread with butter, turn them upside down on the table, put some currant or other jelly on one side; roll them; put them on a plate; powder them with sugar.

Fullständigaste Svensk-Amerikansk kokbok: Swedish-English cookbook. Chicago: Engberg-Holmberg; 1897. p. 23.

How did you make it? I tried and I tried to follow the recipe. I added extra flour to compensate for using 1% (lowfat) milk. I melted butter in a frying pan and poured the batter in and fried until brown on both sides.

 I spread blueberry preserves on one pancake and rolled it and sprinkled on some powdered (confectioners) sugar.

 I also drizzled some cinnamon honey on one, in honor of the ancient Greeks. 

Time to Complete:  Maybe an hour

Total Cost:  I had everything on hand. The most expensive part the cinnamon honey I drizzled on top for $12 a pound at the farmer's market.

How Successful Was It?: Not very! I had a tough time incorporating the flour into the milk and egg mixture. No matter how much I whisked  and stirred, I was still left with an eggy mixture that made something akin to an omelet. I found all the flour at the bottom of the bowl. The taste is OK but pretty bland. They do need some jam or honey to make them taste better. I usually use a modern recipe and add a lot of cinnamon.

How Accurate Is It?: 100% as possible using modern ingredients and not farm fresh.

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016 #14 and #16

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #14 and #16

Waste Not, Want Not 


Foods Named After People

I've been too busy with real life to keep up with HFF. I'm using the same recipe for two different challenges. I hope I can catch up and fill in the others later.

The Challenge: Waste Not, Want Not/Foods Named After People
14. Waste Not, Want Not (July 1 - July 14) Good housekeeping in any historic era included making the most of your food items. Pick a recipe that involves avoiding waste (maybe reusing leftovers, or utilizing things commonly thrown out) and show us how historically-green you can be!

16. Foods Named After People (July 29 - August 11) Beef Wellington? Charlotte Russe? Choose a dish named after a person (either fictional or real) to create. Bonus points if you tell us about the link between the person and the dish!

The Recipe: 

Blueberry Charlotte

found on and of course I have forgotten which cookbook!

This recipe fulfils both challenges because it uses up stale bread and leftover fruit from the summer harvest. It is also named after a person. According to, cooked Charlottes are related to bread pudding. Charlotte is said to be named after Queen Charlotte of Great Britain, wife of King George III, at the end of the 18thc entury. I'm not sure what the connection is or whether it was named to honor the Queen. This baked pudding usually contains apple baked surrounded by bread inside a round, deep mold. It can be made with any fresh fruit and variations appear in many cookbooks of the 18th and 19th centuries.

How did you make it?

I hate hate hate crusts of bread. I always cut them off and throw them out. The same with heels of bread. I used up my last remaining slices of white bread WITH the crusts still on and the two ends of the loaf for this recipe.

Stale bread

I substituted blueberries for raspberries. Raspberry season has just ended and raspberries are very expensive for only a tiny little container. Blueberries are fresh and plentiful still. I won a raffle for a gift certificate to the local farmer's market and promptly spent it on blueberries. 

I followed the recipe which is pretty vague. I don't have pudding molds so I greased two ramekins with butter. Then I broke up my stale bread into crumbs and sprinkled a layer on the bottom of each ramekin. 
Bread crumbs
Breadcumbs and butter

Then I added a bit of butter, some blueberries and a few teaspoons of sugar. 
Blueberry layer
I baked in the oven covered with foil for about 20 minutes and then uncovered for 10. 

The Charlottes were not quite sweet enough for my taste so I drizzled with some cinnamon honey I picked up at the farmer's market. I didn't have any cream but a smidge of leftover ice cream both moistened and sweetened this dessert. 

Time to Complete:  About 40 minutes plus cooling time.

Total Cost:  I had everything on hand. The most expensive part was blueberries $5.00 for two small containers at the farmer's market. Cinnamon honey was also expensive -$8 for a pound at the farmer's market.

How Successful Was It?: I burned the bread crumbs on the top and the berries were not sweet enough for me. Once I drizzled with cinnamon honey, however, the taste was much improved. This was an easy recipe and a good way to use up old bread.

How Accurate Is It?: The bread I used was not accurate for the period and I substituted blueberries and added honey. Blueberries and honey were of course available at the time. I believe my recipe is close to 100% accurate.