No Spice More Superior: Pepper

By Emily Miranker, Events & Projects Manager

The marvelous thing about libraries (well, one on an infinite list of marvels…) are the remarkable rabbit holes of investigation and imagination you fall into. Recently,  I ran into a kitchen staple in an old medicine book:

Black Pepper is a remedy I value very highly. As a gastric stimulant it certainly has no superior…

Black pepper as a cure for anything, except perhaps bland food, was news to me. The above passage comes from the 19th century John Milton Scudder’s 1870 book Specific medication and specific medicines. In the 19th century “specific medicine” referred to a branch of American medicine, eclectic medicine, that relied on noninvasive practices such as botanical remedies or physical therapy.[i] As an eclectic practitioner, Scudder’s work was not mainstream, regular medicine, so I wondered if perhaps that was why pepper should come up as a remedy. Surely, pepper only belongs in the pantry not the medicine cabinet. But doing more research, it turns out that black pepper, Piper nigrum, originally from India, has been used by people for medicinal purposes for centuries.

Black Pepper_Bentley_1880

A member of the Piperaceae family of plants, black pepper is a tropical vine. Its berries (the dried berries are the peppercorns we’re familiar with from the kitchen), were known to the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans long before it became one of the most sought-after spices in Europe during the Age of Exploration, the 15th-18th centuries. Depending on when it’s harvested, a vine produces four kinds of peppercorn. Green peppercorns are unripe berries that are freeze-dried. White pepper is almost ripened, the berries are harvested and soaked in water which washes off the husk leaving the gray-white seed. Red peppercorns are fresh, ripe berries. Black peppercorns are harvested when the spike of berries is midway ripe; these unripe berries are actually more flavorful than a fully ripe berry. The black peppercorns are blanched or left to ferment a few days and then dried in the sun. The drying process turns the husk black.[ii]

APICIUS_007peppersaucedetail_watermarked

A detail of a page of recipes calling for pepper by the Roman gourmand Apicius, the oldest cookbook in West. Author’s favorite: #31 Oenogarum in Tubera, a wine sauce for truffle mushrooms calling for pepper, lovage, coriander, rue, broth, honey and oil.

Pepper came to the tables and pharmacies of Europe via trade from the west coast of India. It was coveted enough to be part of the ransom demand Alaric the Goth made of Rome when he invaded in 408 C.E.[iii] With its strategic location on the Adriatic, Venice dominated the spice trade in Europe in the Middle Ages. The Portuguese were the first to break the Venetian hold by finding an all-ocean route to India. By the 17th century the Dutch and English were players in the spice trade. Innocuous-seeming dark grains in shakers on tabletops now, pepper was once more valuable than silver and gold. Sailors were paid in pepper. The spice was also used for paying taxes, custom duties, and dowries.[iv] In their quest for pepper, among other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, the Europeans brutally pursued spice monopolies regardless of the upheaval and violence they wrought on the peoples of India, Sumatra and Java.

 

Dating back to 6,000 B.C.E. the Materia medica of Ayurveda advocates using pepper for a number of different maladies, especially those of the gastrointestinal tract.[v] To this day in India, a mixture of black pepper, long pepper, and ginger, known as trikatu, is a common Ayurvedic medicinal prescription. Trikatu is a Sanskrit word meaning “three acrids.” In the Ayurvedic tradition “the three acrids collectively act as ‘kapha-vatta-pitta-haratwam’ which means ‘correctors of the three doshas of the human.’”[vi] Doshas are energy centers in the body in the Ayurvedic tradition.

Pepper figured in Western medicine from antiquity onwards as well. Writing in the 7th century, Byzantine Greek physician Paul of Aegina quotes the 2nd-century Greek Galen on pepper’s’ medical properties, “it is strongly calefacient and desiccative.”[vii] Warming and drying, thus very good for stomach problems in his estimation. Side note: Galen’s office was in the spice quarter of Rome, underscoring the connections between health, spices, and food. Peppers’ use as a “gastric stimulant” persisted through the centuries. In our collection’s The elements of materia medica and therapeutics (1872), Jonathan Pereira states pepper “is a useful addition to difficult-to-digest foods, as fatty and mucilaginous matters, especially in persons subject to stomach complaints.” The illustrations of pepper plants in this post come from Robert Bentley’s Medicinal Plants (1880) which includes their medical properties and uses along with descriptions of habitats and composition.

Black pepper medicinal properties_Bentley_watermarked

Scientific studies on pepper coalesce around its compound piperine. The stronger—more pungent—the pepper, the more piperine it contains. The argument of studies on pepper’s properties is that adding pepper to a concoction increases its efficacy and digestibility. Research suggests “this bioavailability enhancing property of pepper to its main alkaloid, piperine…. The proposed mechanism for the increased bioavailability of drugs co-administered with piperine is attributed to the interaction of piperine with enzymes that participate in drug metabolism.”[viii]

I hadn’t looked to black pepper for any health benefits. I look to it for that delicious heat and spicy pungency it brings to my meals. But that’s the great thing about researching in our library; you always find delights beyond what you’re looking for.

References
[i] Eclectic Medicine. https://lloydlibrary.org/research/archives/eclectic-medicine/ Copyright 2008. Accessed August 30, 2018.
[ii] Sarah Lohman. Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016.
[iii] Majorie Schaffer. Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013.
[iv] Schaffer. Pepper. 2013.
[v] Muhammed Majeed and L. Prakash. “The Medicinal Uses of Pepper.” International Pepper News. 2000. Vol. 25, pp. 23-31.
[vi] Majeed & Prakash. 26.
[vii] Paulus Aegineta. La Chirurgie. Lyons: 1542.
[viii] Majeed & Prakash. 28.

 

Announcing the March Madness Food Fight Club Winner

Drum roll please…

The winner of the 2016 March Madness Food Fight Club is…

Vegetable Curry!

Background image: Kirkland, The modern baker, confectioner, and caterer, c1907.

Background image: Kirkland, The modern baker, confectioner, and caterer, c1907.

Thanks to all who voted throughout the competition. If you decide to make this winning recipe, please tell us about it and share some photos.

Vegetable Curry recipe in Blatch, 101 Practical Non-Flesh Recipes, 1917.

Vegetable Curry recipe in Blatch, 101 Practical Non-Flesh Recipes, 1917. Click to enlarge.

The four recipes in this competition—from a pamphlet, a manuscript receipt book, and two printed cookbooks—don’t begin to scratch the surface of what our cookery collection holds. We acquired our Margaret Barclay Wilson culinary collection in 1929, and it now contains about 10,000 items. The collection includes manuscripts, menus, and pamphlets that demonstrate the way cookery changed over time, and a large collection of printed books, beginning in the 16th century. These include works by Scappi, Platina, and Carême, as well as many other milestones in culinary printing.

Our cookbooks offer aspirational recipes, practical recipes, and everything in between.  Our collections hold a snapshot view of what daily cooking was like in a range of households across the world. These recipe books also reflect the changes that occur when people have access to new innovations—refrigeration, for example, or the gas range. We also have strong collections related to diet regimens and cooking for health, as well as cookbooks published during wartime when resources were scarce.

Interested in researching historic cookbooks? Our library is open to the public. To make an appointment, call 212-822-7315 or email library@nyam.org.

Food Fight Club Final: Snail Water v. Vegetable Curry

It’s the Food Fight Club final! Snail Water won round 1 and Vegetable Curry won round 2. Now it’s time for these two tough competitors to duke it out once and for all.

Background image: Kirkland, The modern baker, confectioner, and caterer, c1907.

Background image: Kirkland, The modern baker, confectioner, and caterer, c1907.

This final bout pits a recipe from a manuscript recipe collection against one found in a printed cookbook.

From A Collection of Choise Receipts. Click to enlarge.

From A Collection of Choise Receipts. Click to enlarge.

The recipe for Snail Water comes from A Collection of Choise Receipts, one of 36 manuscript receipt books in our collection. These collections of recipes, dating from the late 17th through the 19th century, tell stories about the ways food was prepared in a range of households. In many cases, they incorporate source material from contemporary cookbooks in print, showing us the kinds of recipes households valued and relied on. These manuscripts often include personal information about the families who kept them. One noteworthy case in our collections is a recipe for “How to make coffy of dry swet aple snits (slices),” found in a recipe book kept by a German-American family in Pennsylvania-Dutch country between 1835 and 1850. Manuscript cookbooks can also show us the kinds of cooking technologies used by families. Repeated references to coals and the Dutch oven indicate that Pennsylvania-Dutch cookbook’s author was cooking at the open hearth.

Vegetable Curry recipe in Blatch, 101 Practical Non-Flesh Recipes, 1917.

Vegetable Curry recipe in Blatch, 101 Practical Non-Flesh Recipes, 1917. Click to enlarge.

Publishers of printed cookbooks responded to demand from readers. These books—and the number of editions that were published—can tell us a great deal about cooking trends. Our 1917 copy of 101 Practical Non-Flesh Recipes, for example, is the book’s second edition, the first published just a year before. Cookbooks could be aspirational, practical, or a combination of both. A 19th-century cookbook published in Milwaukee in German in multiple editions tell us that there was a demand for cookbooks written in the mother tongue for newly-arrived German immigrants. The mixture of German and American recipes in these books indicate a need for familiar recipes from the Old World, as well as instruction on how to prepare foods that were more typical of the New. A number of printed cookbooks in our collection have emended recipes or manuscript recipes laid-in to their pages, offering clues to how readers modified published recipes for personal use.

Which recipe should be crowned the 2016 Food Fight Club Champion? Vote for your favorite—be it the most appealing, least appealing, or one that just tickles your fancy more—before 5 pm EST on Monday, March 28.

Food Fight Club Round 1: Snail Water v. Pear and Tomato Chutney

Today we begin our March Madness competition, Food Fight Club.

This week and next, two recipes will go head to head, vying for your votes. The following week, the winners of the first two rounds will duke it out for the honor of being named the champion of our first Food Fight Club.

Background image: Kirkland, The modern baker, confectioner, and caterer, c1907.

The smackdown begins with Snail Water versus Pear and Tomato Chutney.

This lovely snail water recipe comes from A Collection of Choise Receipts, a late 17th-century English manuscript written in exquisite penmanship, perhaps written by a professional scribe. Snail water was thought to treat ailments including “sharpness in [the] blood” and appetite loss. Learn more about snail water in our blog archives.

From A Collection of Choise Receipts. Click to enlarge.

From A Collection of Choise Receipts. Click to enlarge.

It takes a bold competitor to go up against this beauty. But we have one: Pear and Tomato Chutney from the American Can Company’s undated Relishes from Canned Food pamphlet. As early as the 1850s, commercially canned goods—especially sardines, tomatoes, condensed milk, and fruits and vegetables—found an eager consumer audience in the Western United States. Their popularity only increased over time; by the 1930s, foods from supermarkets were increasingly prepackaged (learn more in our 2015 April Fool’s blog—the food history facts are true!).

Pear and Tomato Chutney from American Can Company, Relishes from Canned Foods, no date. Click to enlarge.

Pear and Tomato Chutney from American Can Company, Relishes from Canned Foods, no date. Click to enlarge.

Which recipe should move on to the next round? Vote for your favoritebe it the most appealing, least appealing, or one that just tickles your fancy morebefore 5 pm EST on Monday, March 14.

#ColorOurCollections, Day 2

#ColorOurCollections-bannerfinal

It’s the second day of #ColorOurCollections, a week-long special collections coloring fest we’ve organized on social media. Yesterday, the number of participating cultural institutions grew from nearly 60 to nearly 100—thanks to all who are taking part (see our growing list)!

Every day on our blog, we will feature #ColorOurCollections coloring sheets from our library, along with content from participants worldwide. You can also download our full #ColorOurCollections coloring book.

Today’s coloring pages come from Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera. Renaissance chef Scappi (ca. 1500–1577) cooked for six popes and was installed as chef at the Vatican while Michelangelo was completing the Sistine Chapel. His famous cookbook, first published in Venice in 1570, contains more than 1,000 recipes as well as charming and detailed illustrations showing the kitchens, implements, and culinary tools of a high-end Italian household. Here are two his illustrations; you can find three more in the full coloring book.

Scappi_Opera_cooking_1596

Coloring page from Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera, 1596. Click to download the PDF coloring sheet.

Coloring page from Bartolomeo Scappi's <em>Opera</em>, 1596.

Coloring page from Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera, 1596. Click to download the PDF coloring sheet.

Yesterday’s offering of #ColorOurCollections images was extraordinary. Today, we are thrilled to feature two coloring books and two image collections. The Massachusetts Historical Society’s book has fantastic images from its archives, including “Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Transparent Eyeball.”

"Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transparent Eyeball." Christopher P. Cranch journal, p. 10, 1839. Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

“Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Transparent Eyeball.” Christopher P. Cranch journal, p. 10, 1839. Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s coloring book offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to color a manticore.

Manitchora from The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpants by Edward Topsell. London, 1658. Courtesy of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Manitchora from The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpants by Edward Topsell. London, 1658. Courtesy of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

We also love the image collections from DPLA and the Folger Library. Here’s a favorite DPLA offering:

Illustration from The history of the Caribby-islands , 1666. Courtesy of DPLA.

Illustration from The history of the Caribby-islands, 1666. Courtesy of DPLA.

And a Hamlet illustration from the Folger:

Illustration by John Austen for a 1922 edition of Shakespeare's Hamlet (ART Box A933 no.30). Courtesy of the Folger Library.

Illustration by John Austen for a 1922 edition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (ART Box A933 no.30). Courtesy of the Folger Library.

In New York? Want to color with others? The New York Botanical Garden’s Mertz Library is hosting #ColorOurCollections coloring parties on Wednesday, February 3 and Friday, February 5, from 12pm–2pm.

Keep following #ColorOurCollections on your favorite social media outlets, and keep an eye on our Pinterest boards, where we are pinning images shared by participating special collections along with images colored by fans. On Friday, our final #ColorOurCollections post will include a list of all of the coloring books created and shared by participants.

NYAM’s Culinary Highlights

On Monday, The Recipes Project featured an interview with Curator Anne Garner about the print and manuscript historical recipe books in our collection. We’re delighted to republish the interview, conducted by Michelle DiMeo, on our blog.

Could you give us an overview of the print and manuscript historical recipe books in NYAM’s collection? Can you offer any search tips for finding them in your catalog?

At the heart of our culinary holdings is the Collection of Books on Foods and Cookery, presented to NYAM by Margaret Barclay Wilson in 1929. Wilson was professor of physiology and honorary librarian at Hunter College; she also advised the city of New York on food economy during wartime.

The Wilson collection includes about 10,000 items, including the Apicius manuscript (see below), menus and pamphlets that demonstrate the way cookery changed over time, and a large collection of printed books, beginning in the 16th century. Included here are works by Scappi, Platina, and Carême as well as many other milestones in culinary printing.  Especially exciting are the wide variety of everyday cookbooks we own that show what daily cooking was like in a range of households, across the world. Using our collections, you can also trace the changes that occur when people have access to new innovations—refrigeration, for example, or the gas range.

9th-century manuscript De re culininaria (sometimes De re coquinaria), attributed to Apicius.

9th-century manuscript De re culininaria (sometimes De re coquinaria), attributed to Apicius.

We have strong collections related to diet regimens and cooking for health, as well as cookbooks published during wartime when resources were scarce. More general texts on home economics and household management include much on cooking. Books on farming, viticulture and beer-making round out our strong print holdings.

The centerpiece of our food manuscripts is Apicius’ De re culinaria, one of two existing copies of an early Roman cookbook mixed with medical recipes, agronomical observations, and house-keeping advice. Our copy was penned at the monastery at Fulda (Germany) around 830 AD.

NYAM holds some significant early modern manuscript recipe books. Can you tell us more about these and give a couple of highlights?

Our library holds 36 manuscript receipt books, dating from the late 17th through the 19th century. The bulk of the manuscripts are German and English. The remaining manuscripts are American, Austrian, French, and Dutch. One of my favorites is the Choise Receipt book from 1680, which includes recipes for fruit preserves, baked goods, mead and beer, as well as hearty pudding and meat dishes. You’ll also find here a recipe ensuring a quick childbirth—central ingredient, baked eel livers!—as well as many other medical recipes. A tantalizing recipe for a “gam of cherries” is notable because the OED dates the earliest usage of “jam,” in any form, to 1736, almost sixty years after the date of this manuscript.

Index of late 17th-century manuscript A Collection of Choise Receipts.

Index of late 17th-century manuscript A Collection of Choise Receipts.

Elizabeth Duncombe’s manuscript offers recipes from a later period (1791). Food historian Stephen Schmidt has cooked several of these recipes, with delectable results! Highlights include a fish sauce more French than English in spirit (akin to today’s beurre blanc), and recipes for pigeon, hedgehog and potted mushrooms. References to milking and to cows suggest that this was the cookbook of a farm household, and not a city residence.

Could you tell us a bit more about the Pine Tree Manuscript Receipt Book Project?

The 36 early modern manuscripts described above were all in need of both conservation and cataloging. All items needed basic stabilization and dry cleaning; in some cases, the bindings needed to be replaced with historically and structurally suitable materials. All can now be used by the public without worry of further damage. They’ve also been cataloged, and can be found by searching online here.

Both the conservation work and the cataloging was funded by the Pine Tree Foundation, overseen by Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum. Szilvia is a bibliophile and a culinary enthusiast, and has been wonderfully generous to us.

I heard that “Food” is NYAM’s 2015 programming theme. Do tell us more! How will recipes be included?

We’re thrilled that our 2015 programming will focus on the history of food and food systems, working with historian and writer Evelyn Kim. Throughout the year there will be food-related events, culminating in our October Festival where we will offer a mixture of talks, demonstrations, and workshops, with noted chefs and writers. In April, we will also be participating in the Food Book Fair in Brooklyn. We will be drawing on our historical cookery collection for insights into changing ideas about food and health, nutrition, diets and more. Watch our blog for images, recipes and details of lectures and workshops to come.

NYAM’s Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health (which includes the Library) hosts the blog Books, Health, and History. Could you give us an overview of some blog posts that were related to historical recipes?

Food historian Stephen Schmidt did a wonderful post for us on a recipe for bread crumb gingerbread. The recipe can be found in a manuscript cookbook from the early 18th century but is adapted from a much older recipe for a contemporary audience. Schmidt writes about the evolution of gingerbread as a stomach settler in the 17th-century to its 18th-century incarnation as a sweet dessert cake, made with molasses. Our manuscript offers recipes for both the old and the new gingerbread. Schmidt speculates that the old was probably made at Christmastime, the new, in everyday cooking.

Another highlight includes a blog featuring a staff member’s photo-documented chronicle of her experiences making Mother Eve’s Pudding, featured in this recipe book, and a post on the recipe itself, which is cleverly—and sometimes cryptically—told in verse. Other highlights include posts offering recipes for an authentic 1914 Thanksgiving dinner and on a pamphlet, the “Canape Parade,” featuring a procession of winsome vegetables.

A recipe in verse for Mother Eve’s Pudding, late 18th-century.

A recipe in verse for Mother Eve’s Pudding, late 18th-century.

Thanksgiving, 1914 Style

By Rebecca Pou, Archivist, and Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

Still working on your Thanksgiving Day food planning? How about recreating a menu published 100 years ago?

In The Calendar of Dinners: A Daily Blessing to the Housekeeper, author Kate S. Teetshorn recommends a meal for every day of 1914, including Thanksgiving. Each menu is accompanied by a recipe or two. Recipes for some of the Thanksgiving menu suggestions are found on other days of the year, but unfortunately, she doesn’t include recipes to go along with all the recommendations (know how to make hot butter thins? Please tell us. They sound delicious). 

November 26, Thanksgiving Day

Below are additional recipes she provides, some that sound appropriate to the holiday or similar to the recommended dishes, and a closing poem.

 

Hungry for more? Check out this pumpkin pie recipe from 1804. We bet it would go well with ginger ice cream, as Teetshorn recommends.

There is Death in the Pot

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian

While in the stacks recently, we came across this intriguing cover.

DeathinthePot-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can you not open the book? The title page did not disappoint.

DeathinthePot-titlepageFood adulteration was a dangerous problem in 19th-century London. In 1820, chemist Fredrick Accum wrote A Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons, the first book of its kind to attempt to expose the dangers of the food, water, and beverage supply.¹

Among many other practices, Accum cautioned against alum in the bread supply, used to make bread whiter; fraudulent peppercorns, made of lintseed, clay, and a small bit of Cayenne; vinegar laced with sulphuric acid; red lead used to color cheese; and beer mixed with a poisonous narcotic plant, cocculus indicus.² Forty years after the book’s publication, Parliament passed the Food Adulteration Act.¹

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Library and Information Centre offers an excellent online exhibit on the life and times of Accum (including a career-ending scandal involving mistreatment of library books). Learn more here.

Edit: A reader recognized the artwork as that of Berkeley King and kindly provided us with the following image of the cover of Accum’s Plans of the Gas Works in London, which King also designed.

AccumPlansoftheGasWorksinLondon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The fight against food adulteration. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2013, from http://www.rsc.org/education/eic/issues/2005mar/thefightagainstfoodadulteration.asp

2. Accum, F. (1820). A treatise on adulterations of food, and culinary poisons exhibiting the fraudulent sophistications of bread, beer, wine, spirituous liquors, tea, coffee, cream, confectionery, vinegar, mustard, pepper, cheese, olive oil, pickles, and other articles employed in domestic economy, and methods of detecting them. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.

Mother Eve’s Pudding Redux

Image

By Erin Albritton, Head of the Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory

Last month, we kicked off National Poetry Month by sharing a rhyming recipe for Eve’s Pudding from our manuscript collection. Although charming, the recipe lacked the level of specificity to which most modern cooks have become accustomed. To solve this problem, cooking teacher and food historian Steve Schmidt (who will be delivering NYAM’s Friends of the Rare Book Room lecture on May 23rd) was kind enough to send along the following adaptation, together with a recipe for Cold Sweet Sauce that is scrumptious when drizzled over the top:

For the pudding:
3/4 cup (3 ounces) fine dry bread crumbs, plus a handful for coating the basin or bowl
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) sugar
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 medium (about 1 1/4 pounds) firm, dry apples, such as Golden Delicious
2/3 cup (3 ounces) currants
3 large eggs, beaten until light and frothy
6 Tbsp (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp strained fresh lemon juice

For the Cold Sweet Sauce:
1 stick of butter
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 Tbsp of brandy or lemon juice
A pinch of nutmeg

Very generously grease a 5- to 6-cup heatproof bowl or pudding basin with butter or solid vegetable shortening. Sprinkle the inside of the bowl with a handful of dry bread crumbs, tilt the bowl in all directions until coated and then tap the excess crumbs out.

Mix the 3/4 cup crumbs, sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Peel the apples and grate on the shredding plate of a box grater down to the cores. Stir the apples and currants into the crumb mixture, then the beaten eggs, then the melted butter and lemon juice. Pack the mixture into the prepared bowl, cover tightly with foil, set an upside-down plate on top of the foil, and steam the pudding for 3 hours in sufficient simmering water to reach halfway up the sides of the bow

While the pudding is steaming, make sauce by melting butter and whisking in sugar, brandy and nutmeg. Remove the pudding from the pot and let rest 15 minutes before unmolding. Drizzle (or drench!) with sauce and enjoy.

Below is a photo essay documenting one staff member’s kitchen adventure making this recipe (click to enlarge and open photo gallery). The next time you’ve got a couple of hours and find yourself craving a delicious dessert (with a bit of history), give Eve’s Pudding a try . . . you’ll be glad you did!

Mother Eve’s Pudding

By Rebecca Pou, Project Archivist

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing a poem from our collection each week during April. With the support of the Pine Tree Foundation of New York, we are currently cataloging our manuscript recipe collection, which is the source of our first poem. The rhyming recipe was in both English and American cookbooks through the end of the nineteenth century, but this particular version is most likely from the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

A recipe in verse for Mother Eve’s Pudding, late 18th-century.

To Make Mother Eves Pudding

To make a good Pudding pray mind what your taught

Take two penny worth of Eggs when twelve for a groat

Six ounces of bread Let Moll eat the Crust

The Crumb must be grated as small as the Dust

Take of the same Fruit that Eve once Cozen

Well pared and Chop’d at Least half Dozen

Six ounces of Currans from the Grit you must sort

Least they break out your teeth and spoil all the Sport

Six ounces of Sugar wont make it to sweet

Some Salt and a nutmeg will make Compleat

Three Hours it must boil without any Flutter

Nor is it Quite Finished without melted Butter