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Recipes for an 18th Century Dessert

May 24, 2013

There is a great website from Michigan State University that is being promoted in genealogical circles called Feeding America. I have enjoyed reading through some of the historic recipe books they have put online and imagining my ancestors cooking and eating in ways similar to those in the cookbooks.

One of the very first American cookbooks–one that had recipes made especially for the young nation’s ingredients and eating styles rather than brought over from the “old country”–is one published in 1798 with the rather expansive title of American Cookery: or the Art of Dressing Viands [“viands” means “food” or”provision”], Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Baking Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards, and Preserves And All Kinds of Cakes from the Imperial Plum to the Plain Cake. Adapted to This Country and All Grades of Life.

The book is authored by “Amelia Simmons: An American Orphan.” I will share more of her recipes as time goes on, but wanted to offer a couple of her recipes for “Syllabub” which is a dessert made from milk and wine or cider, sweetened and served with whipped cream. Have fun with the slight difference in the old small case “s” as you read her recipes.

Amelia Simmons’ recipe for “A Fine Syllabub from the Cow”:

From "American Cookery" published in 1798.

From “American Cookery” published in 1798.

For those who preferred “Whipt Syllabubs”, she offered this recipe:

From the American Cookery cookbook.

From the American Cookery cookbook.

Finally, for those who wanted to top their Syllabub with cream, they could use this recipe:

A recipe for Cream from the American Cookery Cookbook.

A recipe for Cream from the American Cookery Cookbook.

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