Sunday, March 12, 2017

BryonySeries Cookbook: Unfamiliar Terms

While reading the Victorian recipes in the BryonySeries cookbook, Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony," the reader might encounter unfamiliar terms or vague instructions for baking, ingredient usage, etc.

Unfortunately, since many Victorians cooked with wood in cast iron stoves, they had no precise way to control temperature control. Experience was the only means for determining cooking times. Moreover, because many vintage recipes do not offer exact ingredient measurement, the cook must rely on instinct rather than mathematics.

Below are definitions of some of the most commonly used ingredients and terms found in the Victorian recipes:

Blood warm: Body temperature. A finger stuck in the liquid should be comfortably hot to the touch, but not enough to burn.

Gill: A liquid unit of measurement equal to four ounces.

Lights: eyes

Liquor: liquid

Moderate oven: 350 degrees

Quick oven: 400 degrees

Sweet herbs: marjoram, parsley, rosemary, sage, summer savory, thyme,

Saleratus: baking soda

Saltpetre: potassium nitrate used for home-curing. Some online stores sell food-grade potassium nitrate.

All proceeds from the cookbook benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties.

Order "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from 'Bryony'" at

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