The Great British Bake Off has been back on our screens recently and last nights episode went back in time to look at forgotten recipes. Food and drink have, not surprisingly, been an important part of our past and recipes feature widely in the collections held here at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies. I’m going to share with you just a few of those that I have found in the archives. So…on your marks….get set…..BAAAAAAKE!
Baker (probably George Strong) baking bread for sale in Cheriton General Supply Store, c1905, ref: HPP5/4/07
One of my favourite discoveries is a wonderful recipe book and a bundle of loose recipes by E H Eggar of Bentley Green from the mid 19th century. Recipes cover everything from fish sauce, orange brandy, jams, marmalades, cheesecake, lemonade to the more unusual such as, wassail bowl (a traditional hot mulled drink), calves feet broth, arrowroot jelly (a lightly sweetened trifle) and mock turtle soup (a cheap imitation of green turtle soup often made using calf’s heads).
A selection of recipes by E H Eggar, ref: 2M82/F2
Lemon cheesecake recipe
‘Juice of 5 lemons 4oz of sugar 2oz of
butter, 4 eggs, two whites well beat
with some of the lemon peel in a
marble mortar till very fine, put
a little thin puff paste into your
patty pans & do not fill them too full
N.B. Do not put the eggs in till last’
E Eggar obviously loved cooking and even wrote a poem entitled ‘Paradise Pudding’
‘If you’re have a good pudding
Pray mind what you’re taught,
Take two penny worth of Eggs
When they’re twelve for a groat…..
Six ounces of bread
Let your maid eat the crust,
Six ounces of carrots and
Pray pick them clean
Or they’ll grate in your teeth
You know what I mean,
Six ounces of sugar,
Won’t make it too sweet
Some salt & some nutmeg
To make it complete
To this you may add if you’re
Willing and hardy
Some ground lemon peel
And a large glass of Brandy
Adam tasted this pudding
Thought it wondrous nice
So Eve gave her husband
Another large slice.’
A north-eastern Hampshire farm account book and general notebook, from the 18th century, contains recipes for custard and plain boiled puddings as well as how to burn butter. Ways to fry veal and mutton cutlets are also provided. Next to these are also recipes for cures for rheumatism and two recipes for curing piles. The rheumatism recipe was recommended by a ‘worthy Clergyman’ who ‘said it had to his certain experience, a very good effect, upon great numbers of people that made use of it’. One of the recipes for piles needed the juice from bruised bark mixed with cream and then to be used ‘according to discrection’ and that it was ‘recommen’d as an excellent oil for the piles and to be made in the May month’. Alternatively, you could burn a new cork and use the ashes with hogs lard as a remedy. Hopefully, nobody ever mistook a pudding recipe for a cure for piles!
Farm account book, ref: 2M82/F1
Recipes can be found in the most unexpected places, for instance in PC 49 David Teague’s notebook, dated 1842, one of the oldest police notebooks we hold. PC Teague, based in Lymington, patrolled the New Forest and he records his daily police duties and activities in the notebook. Unusually, you can discover several recipes written in the back of the notebook, including barley sugars, bulls’ eyes, boiled lozenges, rich pound cake, sponge biscuits, peppermint drops and lemon drops.
PC 49, David Teague’s Notebook, Ref: 200m86
‘Grate three large lemons with a pound of load sugar into a plate and a tea spoonful of flour, mix well and beat into a light paste with the white of an egg, drop in on paper with a large dropper, as in No.35. and put them on a tin plate in a moderate oven.’
Recipe books are also found within our regimental collections which perhaps isn’t a surprise considering an army marches on its stomach. Sergeant A Baker records numerous recipes in his Army School of Cookery notebook during a sergeant cooks’ course at Buller Barracks in Aldershot. There are various cake recipes from jam rolls, date pudding, fig pudding, Elizabeth pudding, Hobart pudding, schoolboy pudding and milk puddings and there is even a Christmas pudding recipe with its costs! Sergeant Baker also provides drawings of the stoves that would have been used to cook and bake the various recipes.
Pages from Sergeant A Baker’s recipe book, ref: 170A12W/D/2755
Recipes are also often found in letters with ideas being exchanged between family and friends. In a letter dated 1857 to Marianne Dyson, Anne Sturges Bourne provides some pudding recipes, including several for apple pie with the apple being ‘boiled before it is baked’. Marianne comments that ‘they are all very good for such as fare eat them.’
Why not try some of these old recipes for yourself and become a star baker! We’d be happy to taste them for you with a cup of tea.
Unknown group shot of 6 women and girls standing around two small tables with tea and cake, outside a house, with two small dolls on the floor.
Matthew Goodwin, Archivist