books, domesticity, health, history lesson, lessons learned, michael pollan

Why I love historical recipes

I’ve been chronicling my adventures in historical cooking for almost two years now (!), but it wasn’t until recently that I began to wonder why. I love history, isn’t that enough? Well, yeah, but what’s the bigger picture? Why does it matter to cook from old recipes? Here are a few of the answers I’ve… Continue reading Why I love historical recipes


I was born and raised outside Cleveland, OH, where I spent my childhood making up stories with my sister and reading books while pretending to practice the piano. I dreamed of becoming the next James Herriot until I realized I didn’t want to become a veterinarian as much as I wanted to be a writer.… Continue reading About

19th century, lessons learned, ohio

Both Past and Present

What would it be like to live in two eras at once? Last week I read a beautiful and thought-provoking piece about working at a living history museum, by the blogger and historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman. “Living My Best 1848 Life,” posted at Lapham’s Quarterly blog, recounts Lohman’s experience working as a first-person interpreter at an Ohio… Continue reading Both Past and Present

18th century, activities, childhood, crafts, holidays, vacation, winter

Colonial Craft: Pomanders

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you’re settling into 2014. I spent Christmas with my family in Ohio, listening to my dad’s beloved Ray Conniff Singers and cooking up a storm. We spent many an evening by the fire and even processed maple syrup in one long day… Continue reading Colonial Craft: Pomanders

18th century, confusing recipes, dessert, disaster, fruit, hannah glasse, lessons learned

Apple pie

Sometimes you get old recipes right the first time: you decipher the flowery language, you make the right substitutions, you determine the correct proportions. And sometimes, well, you don’t. This is a story of when I got it wrong. We begin in apple season. I’ve been buying apples nonstop at the farmers’ market every Saturday,… Continue reading Apple pie

18th century, 19th century, books, britain, hannah glasse, history lesson

Colonial Cookbook: The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy

Meet Mrs. Hannah Glasse. By day, she is a plain English housewife, struggling to scrape by in the mid-1700s. By night, however, she works on her revolutionary new idea: a cookbook designed for the masses of untrained servants working in fine English homes. source: Wikipedia By 1746, when Glasse began to write The Art of Cookery… Continue reading Colonial Cookbook: The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy