I’m so pleased to be the first Filly to kick off 2018! I hope each of you had a great holiday and the coming year will be even better.
Yesterday, as I wrote my blog for today, I began to think…”What in heck am I going to do with the leftovers from the holiday? Be it candy and goodies, that I sure don’t need, to great food like ham and turkey with all the fixin’s.” It made me wonder what and how the holiday season was celebrated during the 1800’s. So, I pitched what I had planned to write and began checking
out the idea. I’m thrilled to share with you some thought provoking ideas.
What kind of beverage who the pioneers drink to welcome in the New Year?
- Champagne: used throughout the 1800’s
- Ale cocktail: a mixed drink comprised of ale, ginger, and pepper beginning in 1838;
- Apple brandy a/k/a Apple Jack: a liquor distilled from apple cider;
- Brandy sour: brandy, lime or lemon juice and carbonated water, from the 1860’s;
- Brandy toddy: brandy mixed with hot water and sugar;
- Cocktail: got its name by 1806 for any mixed alcoholic drink;
- Martini: comprised of gin and vermouth also briefly known as a Martinez; and
- Syllabub: a drink I’d never heard of. It’s similar to eggnog, but made with white wine, brandy, sugar, and whipped cream. It was traditionally served at Christmas early in the century, especially in Charleston.
Tea: The first Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, or A&P, opened in 1859 on Vesey Street in NYC. Its rows of tea bins contained teas from around the world. By 1880, there were 95 A&P stores from Boston to Milwaukee.
Coffee: Although tea was the preferred beverage until the Civil War, coffee was lightened with Borden condensed milk as early as the 1860’s. Yes, you read that correct, the condensed milk we use today. Chase and Sanborn coffee was sold in sealed cans around 1878. Maxwell canned coffee followed the following year.
Now, what would the kids enjoy, in the way of candy?
Pretty much the same as today…peanut brittle, fudge, pralines and popcorn balls. After the mind 1800’s, gumdrops and jujube paste became available. Penny candy came in later. Chocolate was available throughout the century; with milk chocolate being invented later.
Christmas dinner was just about the same as today, depending on the part of the country you came from and your wealth. Turkey, chestnut dressing, roasted pig, celery, hot rolls, cranberry sauce and potatoes. Desserts ran today’s gamut…mincemeat pie, pumpkin pie, and one of my favorites being a Texas girl with a Southern mother, sweet potato pie. We enjoyed mincemeat because of my Ohio born and raised Daddy.
One of my favorite items, which I’ve never tried, is beaten biscuits. Eaten in the South for breakfast prior to the Civil War, the name was derived from the dough, which had to be repeatedly pounded with a hammer or mallet to knead it.
In my story No Time for Love in the anthology Give Me a Cowboy, which was my first published work with Kensington, with fellow Filly Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, and the late DeWanna Pace, I used this for a scene. Here is the back blurb: “Newspaperman Quinten Corbett wasn’t expecting his new apprentice to be female. Boston-born Kaire Renaulde is far too refined for a rough-and-tumble frontier town—and far too pretty for his peace of mind….’ It was fun to write and I hope you enjoyed if you’ve read the story.
I could write the rest of the day on interesting foods for the holiday in the 1800’s, but I think I’ll leave you to ponder over what I’ve tossed your way. After all, I have eggnog left over and is waiting for me before an open fire, while my darlin’ hubby watches football.
In my neck of the woods, the Texas Panhandle, we celebrate New Year’s Day with a larrupin’ serving of black-eyed peas and cornbread. When I was growing up, we also had corned beef and cabbage. Now, I confess that Mama won out. Daddy, being from the North, said black-eyed peas were thrown to the hogs, but I guess to keep peace she added mincemeat pie to the holiday menu. Such wonderful memories.
Is there any special meal you serve for New Year’s Eve or Day?
To two readers who leave a comment, I will be giving away their an autographed copy of Give Me a Texan or if you already have read it, I’ll offer an eBook of your choice.