With all of the advances in technology and quality of life we have the opportunity to experience, every once and awhile it is nice to “ground” yourself by looking to where you or the activity you are participating in came from. See how the goings on of the world in the past affected everything from food, clothes, mannerisms and life in general. With Christmas rapidly approaching and the seemingly endless ways people are trying to cook their meal to get a spot in the limelight, we decided to go in the opposite direction. Looking to the past for recipes is not always the best idea ( since they had a very limited understanding of health and sanitary practices), however with this collection of recipes feel free to cook for a little extra time (if you don’t feel safe eating as is) and experience the foods of different times. For some extra insight (and maybe fun), look into the time period that the dish is from and see why this dish was on the menu. Was it due to lack of supplies during a war? Was it a time that the economy was flourishing and decadence was the norm? The why behind the food may turn out to give some insight into the past and how mistakes can be avoided. Or not, either way, enjoy!

Plum Pudding

  Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse 1747

Plum pudding

Plum Pudding

Take a Pound of Suet cut in little Pieces, not too fine, a Pound of Currants, and a Pound of Raisins stone, eight Eggs, one half the Whites,the Crumb of a Penny-loaf grated fine, one half a Nutmeg grated, and a Tea Spoonful of beaten Ginger, a little Salt, a Pound of Flour, a Pint of Milk; beat the Eggs first, then one half the Milk, beat them together, and by degrees stir in the Flour and Bread together, then the suet, spice and Fruit, and as Milk as will mix it all well together and very thick; boil it five Hours.


Yorkshire Goose Pie

The Experienced English Housekeeper; Elizabeth Raffald, 1769

Goose Pie

A Yorkshire Goose Pie

Take a large fat goose, split it down the back and take all the bone out; bone a turkey and two ducks the same way; season them very well with pepper and salt, with six woodcocks. Lay the goose down on a clean dish with the skin side down and lay the turkey into the goose with the skin down. Have ready a large hare, cleaned well; cut in pieces and stewed in the oven with a pound of butter, a quarter of an ounce of mace beat fine; the same of white pepper, and salt to taste, till the meat will leave the bones. Scum off the gravy; pick the meat clean off and beat it in a marble mortar very fine with the butter you took off, and lay it in the turkey. Take twenty-four pounds of the finest flour, six of butter, half a pound of fresh rendered suet, make the paste thick and raise the pie oval; roll out a lump of paste and cut it in vine leaves or what form you please; rub the pie with yolks of eggs and put your ornaments on the walls. then turn your hare, turkey and goose upside down and lay them on your pie with the ducks at each end and the woodcocks at the sides, make your lid pretty thick and put it on. You may make flowers, or the shape pf folds in the paste on the lid, and make a hole in the middle of your lid. The walls of the pie are to be one inch and a half higher than the lid. Then rub it all over with the yolks of eggs and bind it round with three-fold paper and the same over the top. It will take four hours baking in a brown bread oven. When it comes out, melt two pounds of butter in the gravy that came from the hare and pour it through a tun-dish, close it well up and let it be eight or ten days before you cut it. If you send it any distance, close up the hole in the middle with cold butter to prevent the air from getting in.

Scotch Christmas Bun

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual: A Practical System of Modern Domestic Cookery, by By Mistress Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), 1847

Scotch Christmas Bun
courtesy of wikipedia

A Scotch Christmas Bun, from Mrs. Fraser’s Cookery

Take half a peck of flour, keeping out a little to work it up with ; make a hole in the middle of the flour, and break in sixteen ounces of butter ; pour in a mutchkin (pint) of warm water, and three gills of yeast, and work it up into a smooth dough. If it is not wet enough, put in a little more warm water : then cut off one-third of the dough, and lay it aside for the cover. Take three pounds of stoned raisins, three pounds of cleaned currants, half a pound of blanched almonds cut long-wise; candied orange and citron peel cut, of each eight ounces; half an ounce of cloves, an ounce of cinnamon, and two ounces of ginger, all beat and sifted. Mix the spices by themselves, then spread out the dough; lay the fruit upon it; strew the spices over the fruit, and mix all together. When it is well kneaded, roll out the cover. Cover it neatly, cut it round the sides, prickle it, and bind it with paper to keep it in shape ; set it in a pretty quick oven, and, just before you take it out, glaze the top with a beat egg.

These buns, weighing from four to eight, ten, twelve, and sixteen, or more pounds, are still sent from Edinburgh, from the depots of Littlejohn and Mackie, to all parts of the three kingdoms. Every country town, rural village, and neighbourhood in England, Scotland, and Ireland, has its favourite holiday-cake, or currant-loaf, under some such name as ” Lady Bountiful’s loaf,” ” Mrs. Notable’s cake,” “Miss Thrifty’s bun,” &c. &c. We do not pretend to give receipts for all these – the formula is endless – and they are all good. … That they be well raised and well fired is all besides that is of any importance. They should be baked in a dome-shaped fluted mould or Turk’s cap, but look still more imposing at holiday-times, formed like large, respectable, old- fashioned household loaves. Leavened dough should be bought for them.


 Christmas pudding made with snow (and potatoes)

The New Hydropathic Cook-book, Trall, R.T, New York, 1854

Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding

Mix together a pound and a quarter of wheaten flour or meal, half a pint of sweet cream, a pound of stoned raisins, four ounces of currants, four ounces of potatoes, mashed, five ounces of brown sugar, and a gill of milk. When thoroughly worked together, add eight large spoonfuls of clean snow; diffuce it through the mass as quickly as possible; tie the pudding tightly in a bag previously wet in cold water, and boil four hours.

“It is a singular fact that puddings may be made light with snow instead of eggs – a circumstance of some importance in the winter season, when eggs are dear and snow is cheap. Two large tablespoonfuls are equivalent to one egg. The explanation is found in the fact that snow involves within its flakes a large amount of atmospheric air, which is set free as the snow melts.” According to the book.


Australian Christmas Lollies

The Argus, December 12, 1931

Turkish delight


Most Fun Children enjoy making home-made sweets during the school holidays. It would be very jolly to make some for Christmas. If they are placed in attractive little boxes they make charming Christmas presents. Polly Parrot is sure that you will like the following recipes, which she recommends:-

Fruit Nougat

For this recipe you will need some dates, dried figs,raisins, and Maraschino cherries  and two cups of melted sugar. Chop the dates, figs, raisins, and cherries into small pieces, and arrange in alternate layers in a shallow buttered pan. Melt two cups of sugar over a quick fire, watching closely that it does not turn yellow. Pour it over the fruits evenly and slowly, using only enough to blend. Before the mixture is quite cold, cut it into small bars.

Turkish Delight

Soak one ounce of powdered gelatine in three-quarters of a cup of cold water for two hours. Put 2 lb. of sugar into a saucepan with three-quarters of a cup of water, bring to the boil, and add the soaked gelatine, a little citric acid, and a few drops of vanilla essence. Simmer for 20 minutes, skim well, and then pour on a damp dish.Leave for 24 hours, then cut into squares and roll in castor sugar. For colouring use cochineal.

Coconut Dainties

Here is some cooking which a small child could do. The ingredients needed are:

Four table-spoonfuls of sugar, 8 tablespoonfuls of desiccated coconut, and the whites of two eggs. Beat the whites of the eggs to a froth, add the sugar, and beat well again. Then stir in in the coconut.

Drop teaspoonfuls of this mixture on to a greased slide, and bake about 10 or 15minutes in a moderate oven.

(A Parrot Card is awarded to Jean Douglas, Coast Road, Mirboo  North, Gippsland.)



Old Farmer’s Almanac Recipe Contest, 1989

Stuffed Turkey

Roast Turkey


1 10- to 14-pound turkey

1/2 cup soft butter

salt and pepper, to taste


Remove giblets from the turkey. Massage well with the butter, then salt and pepper the turkey. Prepare stuffing as directed below.



1/2 cup butter

3 stalks celery, diced

2 large onions, diced

2 large cooking apples, peeled and diced

10 to 12 cups cubed bread

1 cup water

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 cups chopped pecans

uncooked strips of salt pork or bacon


In a large pan, melt the butter and cook celery and onions until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat; stir in bread cubes, water, seasonings, and pecans. Mix well. Stuff the turkey and sew cavity shut with needle and cotton thread. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with half of the strips of salt pork, then place the turkey breast side up in the pan. Place the remaining salt pork over the breast. Place in 450°F oven and cook for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and continue roasting until the turkey is done (juices run clear and legs move easily). Baste frequently with the liquid in the pan; add additional melted butter if necessary.

Join Us

As always, come back every day on the RVUSA blog for the RV Find of the Week on Monday, Travel Destination Tuesday, Featured RV Dealer on Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and RV Tips and Tricks on Friday. Leave us a message below if you have any thoughts, memories or comments. We’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to receive our daily blog posts directly in your inbox, click here to join our free email list.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.