Exploring Early 19th Century Lady Mags: Recipes

September 30, 2014 • Diet, Domestic Goddess

One of the most fun (to me, but I’m a huge history dork. Actually a history degree-haver, who happens to also be a dork, that’s why she has a history degree.) activities to do when you are bored or looking for a change in activity is to go on Google books and look up some of magazines they have on file that are from the early 20th century and before. You can find some of the best recipes, weirdest tips, and of course, firsthand accounts of the lives of women and men from over a century ago. Today, we are going to look at some recipes.

Remember that these are super old recipes and they do not usually include things like exact temperatures. What I’ve found is that finding a comparable dish and using that cooking time or temperature as a baseline, then checking it and tweaking it as you go works pretty well.

Palestine Soup

Palestine Soup actually has very little to do with Palestine; it is called that because it is made with Jerusalem artichokes.


3 lbs. of Jerusalem artichokes

3 turnips

1 head of celery

1 tsp. of sugar



Enough mutton or veal stock to cover the ingredients.

1/2 pint of milk or cream


1) Boil the vegetables, spices, and stock together for an hour, or until the veggies are tender.

2) Rub them through a sieve and put them back into the stewpan and boil them up once more.

3) Just before serving, add 1/2 pint of milk or cream and do not let it boil again.

4) Serve with fried bread.

(Found in Tasty Dishes; made from tested recipes (1880)


Whipped Cream Cake


1 cup heavy cream

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder


1/2 tsp salt


1) Beat the cream by itself

2) Crack the eggs into the bowl and whip them (do not beat them beforehand)

3) Add the sugar and whip well

4) Fold in the remaining ingredients

5) Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. (The original instructions from 1846 read “Bake in slow oven 1 hour,” but since I can’t recall ever baking a cake for an hour, I called up my cooking authorities and got their opinion–they said 350 for 30 minutes would probably be the equivalent.)

Pecan Rolls

Note: This recipe makes about 36 rolls and is made using muffin tins with no liners)


4 cups flour

2 cups pecans

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup water

5 tbs sugar

4 tbs butter

2 tbs water

1 tsp salt

1 yeast cake (For those who do not have access to yeast cake, 3 packets of Fleischmann’s yeast is the equivalent)

1 beaten egg


1) Scald the milk and add sugar, salt, and butter. Cool until the mixture is lukewarm

2) Soften the yeast in 2 tbs of water and add to the milk mixture

3) Add in the beaten egg

4) Stir in the flour

5) Turn out the mixture onto a board and knead lightly.

6) Boil the 1 cup of water and the 1 1/2 cup of brown sugar for 5 minutes (remember, this was on a stove in the 1800s, so watch it while you do it)

7) Grease up your muffin tins, and put 2 tbs of the water and sugar syrup into each, then place a pecan in with the syrup.

8) Form the dough into balls and put one ball in each muffin tin cup.

9) Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes (again, 1800s technology. Check it often to make sure you are not burning it. I cannot emphasize this enough. I’ve made stuff from recipes this old before and forgot about the technology difference. I regret it.)

10) When done, turn them out and upside down immediately to remove the balls.

Author’s notes: I think this recipe might be better if you mixed the nuts in with the batter, or if you processed them and added them in. It’s just a thought, though.

The last two recipes were taken from Random Recipes, a community cookbook by the Society for Seamen’s Children published in 1846.


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