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Christmas Recipes Recycled
By Hilary Williamson
December 2000

Here are some recipes from a little earlier in the millennium, taken from A Christmas Book, published in 1928. If you make them please send us an e-mail to say how they turned out; let us know where you obtained Harts Horn and Isinglass and how the cow behaved; and by all means make the stick clene!

Hmm, think I'll try the Plumm Potage (plum pudding I suppose) ...

A Christmas Book: An Anthology for Moderns

by D. B. Wyndham Lewis & G. C. Heseltine
J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., Toronto, 1928.

A Dish of Snow (from A Book of Cookerie, 1594)

Take a pottle of sweet thick Cream, and the white of eyght Egs, and beate them altogether, with a spoone, then put them into your cream with a dishfull of Rosewater, and a dishfull of Sugar withall, then take a sticke and make it clene, and then cut it in the end foursquare, and therewith beat all the aforesaid things together, and ever as it ariseth take it off, and put it in to a Cullander, this doone, take a platter and sette an Apple in the midst of it, stick a thicke bush of Rosemary in the Apple. The cast your Snow upon the Rosemary and fill your platter therewith, and if you have wafers cast some withall, and so serve them forthe.

To Scorch Chesnutts (a dessert, XVIIth Century)

Take yor Chesnutts and put them in a close oven to take off the Husks, then take a little loafe sugar in powder and a little water, and boyle it to a Candy, take care it does not burn, then put in yor chesnutts and stir it about in the Sugar till it stick on yor Chesnutts, and put them on a stone. Almonds is done the same way only put a little Carmine in ye sugar.

To make Harts Horn Flummery (a dessert, XVIIth Century)

Take half a pound of Harts horn and an ounce of Isinglass steeped in rose-water all night, and boyle them till you make a strong Jelly will not make a quart, then straine it and put a little lemon juice and Cinamon and blade of Mace to it, boyle well together and put it in a China cup. When you use it turne it out and set it with Cream or white Wine or as you like.

Plumm Potage (Sussex Archaeological Society's Transactions, 1707)

Take of Beef-soup made of Legs of Beef, 12 Quarts; if you wish it to be particularly good, add a couple of Tongues to be boil'd therein. Put fine Bread, slic'd, soak'd and crumbled; Raisins of the Sun, Currants and Pruants two Lbs. of each; Lemons, Nutmegs, Mace and Cloaves are to be boil'd with it in a muslin Bag; add a Quart of Red Wine and let this be follow'd, after half an Hour's boyling, by a Pint of Sack. Put it into a cool Place and it will keep through Christmas.

Ale Syllabub (Traditional)

Place in a large bowl, a quart of strong ale or beer, grate into this a little nutmeg, and sweeten with sugar; milk the cow raidly into the bowl, forcing the milk as strongly as possible into the ale, and against the sides of the vessel, to raise a good froth. Let it stand an hour, and it will be fit for use. The proportion of milk or of sugar, will depend on the taste of the drinker, who will, after a trial or two, be able to make a delightful beverage. Cider may be used instead of malt liquor, or a bottle of wine.

To you and those within your home
This Christmas Day may blessings come,
And may good luck, good health, good cheer
Be guests of yours for all the year.

(Victorian Christmas card verse)

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