A few more 1890s-early 1900s chafing dish thoughts

First, in case it wasn't clear in my last post what a chafing dish is! or was, more accurately. There were variations, of course, in the design...

Thoughts from the 1890 On the Chafing Dish, compliments of the Rogers Smith & Co. Silversmiths -- who apparently made these gorgeous Art Nouveau silverware pieces:
and, of course, chafing dishes. Some interesting thoughts from them that remind one of how different homes could be in 1890:

In twenty minutes, or at the longest, half an hour, at a small table —set either in the pantry or in a corner of the dining room— upon which is placed the chafing-dish or the blazer, one can prepare any of the following receipts....The change from the cumbersome range in the kitchen to the petite silver Chafinor-Dish on the dining table illustrates forcibly the advance in civilization. The delectable dishes which can be prepared by host or hostess without trouble, discomfort, and with slight preparation are numerous....

And a return to the wonderful 1905  Cult of the Chafing Dish for an interesting look at lifestyles of the time:

To bachelors, male and female, in chambers, lodgings, diggings, and the like, in fact to all who "batch"; to young couples with a taste for theatres, concerts, and homely late suppers; to yachtsmen, shooting-parties, and picnickers; to inventive artists who yearn for fame in the evolution of a new entree; to invalids, night workers, actors and stockbrokers, the Chafing Dish is a welcome friend and companion....Our mitigated thanks are due to America for its comparatively recent reintroduction, for until quite lately, in Great Britain, its use was practically limited to the cooking of cheese on the table....[Even] if the Americans are vague in their French nomenclature, unorthodox in their sauces, eclectic in their flavourings, and over-lavish in their condiments, yet they have at any rate brought parlour cooking to a point where it may gracefully be accepted as an added pleasure to life.
The same wonderful writer gives a history:

It is quite erroneous to imagine that the Chafing Dish is an American invention. Nothing of the sort. The earliest trace of it is more than a quarter of a thousand years old. "Le Cuisinier Frangais," by Sieur Francois Pierre de la Varenne, Escuyer de Cuisine de Monsieur le Marquis d'Uxelles, published in Paris in 1652, contains a recipe for Champignons a l'Olivier, in which the use of a Rechaut is recommended. A translation of this work, termed " The French Cook," was published in London in 1653, and the selfsame recipe of Mushrooms after the Oliver contains the injunction to use a Chafing Dish; moreover, the frontispiece, a charmingly executed drawing, shows a man-cook in his kitchen, surrounded by the implements of his art; and on the table a Chafing Dish, much akin to our latter-day variety, is burning merrily. This was in 1653....
 Mrs. Rorer's 1896 (1898? it's hard to see) How to Use the Chafing Dish gives insights into meal planning -- and help! -- of the time:
To the housewife who keeps but one maid, [the chafing dish] is indeed a helping hand. The Monday lunch or supper is quickly gotten without the use of stove or kitchen; and so again on maid's day out; [and] the Sunday night supper; and the still more fashionable 12:00 Sunday breakfast. This latter, by the way, is the most sensible of all the recent fads....

Chafing Dish thoughts, 1890s style vs today

I was always intrigued by cookbooks such as these from the 1890s, when chafing dishes were actually useful cooking tools, apparently often employed for fun right at the dining table:
Chafing Dish Possibilities... by Fannie Merritt Farmer herself! from 1898

The Chafing Dish Supper by Christine Terhune Herrick (with an interesting attempt to look retro even for its date -- 1894 -- since the endpapers go with this look, I believe it is original to the book)

You can find a lot of free ebooks on chafing dishes through a search at archive.org: https://archive.org/search.php?query=chafing%20dish , where there are others by some of my favorite retro cookbook writers such as Mrs. S.T. Roper and Janet M. Hill,
and books from manufacturers of chafing dishes (which show an interesting change in culture).

Some I've checked out are also from the early 1900s, including this delightfully written one, available at https://ia800305.us.archive.org/27/items/cu31924000677223/cu31924000677223.pdf :

Alas, chafing dish at least in the US today has seemingly changed its meaning. I wanted some simple warming appliances for this American Thanksgiving, after the poultry and potatoes were cold by the time I got some last Thanksgiving, and I was excited to find "chafing dishes" at a department store's website, because I thought that they would be like the 1890s versions that would both cook and keep warm. They don't. In fact, they don't even come with pans suitable for cooking in a separate oven, let alone the stovetop, though they are designed to look like old-fashioned chafing dishes except with a short electric cord. I of course found very serviceable warmers from Cuisinart that utilize tea candles, which come with useable pans for both stovetop and even broiler use. However, if I find myself in need of any other warmers, I'm interested in trying something that needs neither candles nor electricity -- I saw a line of them at http://www.frontgate.com/stainless-steel-hot-2fcold-serving-trays-26-accessories/kitchen-entertaining/serving-accessories/stainless-steel-serveware/457659 . Even better, not only can you warm them in an oven (though you can't cook in them) and they'll keep your food warm for 2 hours on your table, but you can also chill them to keep things cool, like in the summer! They're not inexpensive, but hmm they're 30% off just today...

Back to the original chafing dishes (which really are original, aren't they, in that they're like truly ancient people used except over larger fires??) -- last year I made a few notes about how to adapt old recipes to them, while I was waiting for my disappointing not-really-a-chafing-dish to arrive, though then I added the note about not-cooking:

chafing dish dishes

The chafing dish was designed to work as a main event, to be served with say toasts and a simple salad. Was especially used for an easy Sunday supper in the 1890s. If doing as part of the dinner's entertainment have your bowls etc of prepped ingredients lined up.
There are recipes that sound more useable than the 1890s ones in books such as Culinary Arts Institute's Sunday Night Suppers pp7-19. NOTE modern ones do NOT cook though :-(

Dishes in a sauce/creamed type (already cooked meats, vegetables can work well in this) (inc curries if yours is fine against odors) (to be served over eg rice)

Stovetop casserole-y type eg New Orleans rice type

Thick stew type (already cooked meats, vegetables can work well in this)

Fondue and other dipping sauce/fancy dip type

Scrambled egg type inc w vegetables

Small-meatball type made with ground meat

Small appetizer-y meats etc eg livers with fruit and nuts

Would also work for a beverage if yours is large enough:
a fancy hot beverage eg spiced coffee

Would also work for dessert:
a cornstarch pudding (served with fresh fruit in separate serving bowls)

chocolate or other sweet dipping sauce

fancy fruit topping eg to put over ice cream

A couple 1939 recipes in my 2016 kitchen; or, thoughts on fresh herbs

As I explained at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2016/11/cookbook-countdown-november-2016.html , I'm joining the wonderful cooks over at http://starbakes.blogspot.my/ to post about my use of one of my cookbooks, in my case the 1939 Modern Meal Maker by Martha Meade.

It's my opinion that I should stick to using her menu ideas, and not use her recipe ideas so much. The recipes were fine but not amazing, though definitely not difficult, but I'd rather find recipes that taste a bit better. I wonder if her readers had less access than we do to fresh herbs, for example, which could make the below vegetables better. Similarly, adding berries to another recipe really made it tastier. Anyway, here are the recipes I tried before I decided not to try any more...

There was a recipe for Rice Muffins, which cleverly used leftover rice. I was excited because for the first time in years I had muffin tins -- my old ones had been lost in an international move, and it took me a long time to find stainless steel ones rather than nonstick ones -- I like to use paper liners. Here are the ingredients -- I added blueberries to some of the muffins (which turned out the best, by the way), and also substituted olive oil for the butter for which she called (which would've been fabulous, I'm sure) (the pasteurized eggs are because we've had 'way too much salmonella on local farms this year)...

The end result:
...and when I had them for breakfast (the blueberry ones were gone by then -- I also served these for dinner -- so I added blueberry preserves -- hmm, and obviously enjoyed a magazine on kitchen design -- and fresh herbs on my accompanying omelet):

...and for lunch (with fresh herbs, surprise surprise):
The next time I make muffins, though, I'll probably return to my old favorite Beatrice Ojakangas's Light Muffins, which taste amazing.

The other recipe I tried was for Baked Shredded Vegetables. It was basically grated vegetables arranged in ribbons then topped with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar, along with oil or butter, then in between them buttered breadcrumbs. I found that I needed to triple her time guess for cooking -- perhaps her vegetables were less fresh so less crisp/hard? All the vegetables were root vegetables, which she may have picked from her garden and kept in a cellar rather than a refrigerator. (I didn't have any problem with her muffin temperature and time, so I don't think it was her oven. Though, hmm, look at that temperature -- I usually roast vegetables at a hotter temperature.)

The beets were quite awful, but it wasn't the recipe's fault -- I used already-steamed ones from a brand I should avoid (the steaming is why I didn't shred them, as they were already tender).

Here is her suggested menu for with those vegetables, though I didn't use it:
Here's how I served those vegetables, for a lunch with some amazing eggs (with fresh parsley!) from Fern Green's Breakfast Morning Noon and Night, which so far is totally amazing:

But back to fresh herbs! I'd like to close with a quote from Pliny! which this cookbook has for this month! Pliny suggests that students wear a crown of mint while they are studying, because it "exhilarates the mind"!

May your time in the kitchen be exhilarating, dear friends!

My so-far by-far best meal planning sheet

I finally happened upon a planner that really works for me. It looks somewhat like the one I posted at http://favoritefoodthisweek.blogspot.com/2016/09/making-meal-planning-easier.html , including it's realistic for my time-for-cooking requirements, but this one has more specifics, and also has realistic time for grocery shopping and for cooking some foods ahead. I've always heard of the latter, and aspired to it, but I finally figured out that what I really wanted already-ready in the refrigerator was quite different from others' ideas. Anyway, in case there's another person or two who has similar tastes or needs, here's what I made up, in MS Word; feel free to adapt it for yourself. Hmm, Qk C refers to a healthy food doc on which I'm working; what I mean is if I would be helped by a particular food that day e.g. cherries for pain, there's a reminder about that..."Jamie" refers to Jamie Oliver's Save with Jamie. He's my favorite all-around recipe creator. This book has cook-a-big-piece-of-something recipes with leftovers...

A slowly evolving new site

...is over at http://perpetualcalendarhappydays.blogspot.com/ -- hope you enjoy it, though it has a long way to go! When it's farther along, I'll say more...

Mourning food

I am in the midst of mourning...and was wondering what foods, if any, are traditional comforts to mourners. I'm not talking about, say, the ancient Greek custom of giving the dead money to cross that river, nor about the kind casserole tradition in the American Midwest given to grieving families as a practical and kind provision...

I discovered a rich tradition for such times in Judaism: http://www.shiva.com/learning-center/what-to-bring-or-send/food-condolence-baskets/ . I recently saw Victorian funeral biscuits in New York's Merchant's House Museum, http://merchantshouse.org/ ; they are discussed at http://historiccamdencounty.com/ccnews153.shtml (not a read for the squeamish). I've not found a scholarly resource on other cultures' mourning foods, though someone has tried to compile such a book...

So how about foods recommended to help with sadness in general? Here's what I've seen listed over the years as comforting to most humans, though I wonder how much it's affected by one's culture:
  • a hot beverage you like
  • cardamom
  • vanilla
  • fatty fish
  • olive oil
  • foods rich in folate/folic acid (rich sources include beans, dairy, fruit, nuts, tea, vegetables)
  • if the mourning is from a traumatic event such as the unleashing of a foul misogynist: coriander, thyme, ginger, sage, oats, oranges

Cookbook Countdown, November 2016

I'm joining the ever-so-talented-and-kind cooks over at
in their use-your-cookbooks 2016 challenge -- for (I'm embarrassed to say) my first time. I'm planning to experiment with the retro

Modern Meal Maker: 

1115 Menus, 744 Recipes

Modern Meal Maker: 1115 Menus, 744 Recipes
by Martha Meade, from 1939
because though I've been inspired by her menus, I've never actually experimented with her recipes, and many sound good! or at worst will be very interesting!