Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cooking like it's 1799

Last week's cool YouTube discovery: crafting tiny doll accessories. This week's has to be Jas. Townsend and Son's, 18th Century Cooking channel. I'm not one to watch cooking shows, but man, these pull me in. The original one that caught my interest was on making Portable Soup, thanks to this forum thread.

I love everything about these videos. Their production value is top notch, they're an excellent mix of history and practical cooking advice, and they give you a fresh take on what you can create when you have limited ingredients and cookware. Heck, I just love that someone can get dressed up in 1700's era garb and proudly tell me about what it was like to cook, eat and live in those times. Bravo! Talk about finding and sharing your passion.

But who wants to just watch someone else cook? As a nod to these videos, I figured I should at least try one of the recipes. And for that, I chose the simplest and most practical one I could find: making Ship's Biscuit. The recipe couldn't be simpler: combine flour, water and salt and bake till the biscuit is dry and rock solid. It takes just a few minutes to prepare them (and hours to cook):

They aren't much to look at, and they basically have the consistency of an art project. But that's actually the point. It's hard to believe that what I'm holding in my hand would be an essential part of a standard ration issued to sailors and soldiers. If I prepared them right, they should last for months, if not up to a year. My plan is to hold on to said biscuits and see if I can't put them to use in a few months. Yum! Right?

As an aside: this is, of course, the same ingredients for making matzo. No wonder that stuff has no problem lasting for years.

History, practical ideas and sweet looking hats. I'm telling you, this YouTube channel rocks.

Here's a few videos to get you started:

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