Fish Pudding for Fearless Flyers

Some time before 1879 the peasants of the remote and mountainous district of Telemarken, Norway, grew tired of using their skies solely for traveling along snow-clogged highways. They set out to transform this dull wintertime routine into a competitive and pleasurable sport by devising wild races and stunts that tested participants’ powers of vaulting. News of these hyperboreal capers reached nearby towns and districts, creating such a stir that soon annual competitions came to be held outside Christiania (present-day Oslo). In his 1905 book, Ski-running, D.M.M. Crichton Somerville describes these meets as “very ludicrious, the hill being neither steep nor long, the competitors riding astride their poles down the track, and only jumping, if jumping it could be called, a few yards.” The decidedly unspectacular nature of these feats spelled the competition’s early demise.

Yet the competition did not die in vain. Norwegians felt themselves bitten by the ski bug. A few years later they once again took to the slopes, this time carrying “long, stout” staffs that imbued these new jumping contests with a comedic element. “Starting from the summit,” Somerville writes, “riding their poles … like witches on broomsticks, checking the speed with frantic efforts, they slid downwards to the dreaded platform or ‛hop.’” At that point they were supposed to leap, but, as Somerville observes, they instead “trickled” to a soft landing. These flaccid performances did little to diminish the competition’s appeal, however. Curious spectators who flocked to Christiania from far and wide were left with the impression that these displays represented veritable wonders of the world.

The trend sparked by this world wonder swept Christiania and environs. Somerville reports that the city’s youth abandoned their favorite haunts – “billiard rooms” and “ill-ventilated cafes” – for the slopes. Even women suffering “terribly from anemia” braved icy forests and their slick, precipitous terrain. Indeed, nary a brumal day passed without the sight of a hillside dotted with leaping and sliding Norwegians, “a race of robust men and healthy women” rescued from the wasting influences of urban life thanks to this salubrious newfangled sport.

Wholesome exertions require wholesome food. Exhausted from a day’s snowy recreation, Norwegians no doubt repaired to their homes for a hearty helping of fish pudding. Should you wish to make this signature Nordic dish part of your après-ski, this recipe, which appears in The Ann Arbor Cookbook
(1899), should leave you feeling stuffed to the gills.

Norwegian Fish Pudding

Scrape raw white fish to a pulp, add salt, pepper and a little grated onion; rub and beat most thoroughly, add milk little by little, mashing (with a potato masher) and finally beating to a froth with a spoon. Add now 1 or 2 eggs well beaten and a little butter, (when completed it should be about as thick as cream). Bake brown in bread tin or steam it thoroughly. Serve it sliced, hot or cold.

Bread to Make a Hungarian Rhapsodic

Today’s weight-obsessed gastronomes, ever mindful of carbohydrates and calories, generally demur when dinner rolls are passed their way. Yet history reveals that such reticence is unusual. Centuries ago, the attitude prevailed that a meal without bread was no meal at all. Even kings made a show of their baked goods. When in 1663 Transylvanian Prince Mihály Apafi invited the entire Ottoman army to dine with him after a battle, he rolled out, among other tidbits, two-score enormous boules. So impressed with this display was the Turkish world traveler, Evliya Celebi, that he recorded it in his journal. “The meadows were covered with Hungarian carpets,” he writes, “onto which forty giant loaves were placed.” The king’s means of conveying the loaves to the hungry soldiers Calebi found equally impressive. “Each one had to be drawn on an oxcart,” he continues, for “each … was twenty paces long, and five paces wide, and as high as a full-grown man.”

The bread of Eastern Europe impressed travelers with more than its size. Writing a hundred years later, another adventurer, Robert Towson, praised the bread of Hungary for its toothsomeness. “Nowhere else did I eat bread that was lighter, whiter, and tastier than this,” he declared. Baking such heavenly bread was no easy feat; this chore peasants performed but once a week, on Saturday, so a fresh loaf would be available for the Sabbath. It was an all-day event. Kneading alone took a good two hours and required considerable strength. The dough had to rise overnight, which meant that it wasn’t until the wee hours the next day that it entered the oven.

As difficult as this chore of baking was, Hungarian families considered it anything but. No peasant woman dared neglect her bubbling pot of sourdough, her bread’s leaven. In fact, each new bride was given a small lump of sourdough by her mother, which she used to bake the first loaf for her husband. So dear were these loaves that only the man of the house could slice them. In Catholic households, he would mark them with the sign of the cross before brandishing his bread knife. If any pieces fell to the floor, they were promptly picked up and kissed in apology.

Baking day wasn’t without its charms. A portion of dough was usually kept in reserve to be baked at the front of the oven, close to the flame. This imparted a smoky, tangy flavor to the resulting bread, which Hungarians call lángos. Some Hungarians still prepare this morsel, though they nowadays typically fry it and serve it with anything from chopped fresh dill to ewe’s milk cheese. The traditional recipe for lángos that appears below is taken from Culinaria: Hungary


5 oz mealy potatoes
1 3/4 cakes compressed yeast
3 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 2/3 cups milk
3 1/3 cups flour
3 1/2 tbsp oil

Oil for deep frying

Cooks the potatoes in their skins. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in a scant 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk, and stand in a warm place for 10 minutes. Peel the potatoes and mash while still warm. Sift the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the milk and yeast mixture. Adds the potatoes and the oil, and knead to a smooth dough with the remaining likewarm milk, adding a little salt. Sprinkle over a little flour, and cover with a dish towel. Leave in a warm place for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Pour some oil in a skillet of about 2 1/2 inches height. Tear off a piece of the risen dough, and shape it into a round flat cake about 3/4 inch thick. Fry in the hot oil (do not cover the skillet) until golden, then turn over carefully and fry the cake on the other side.

Season with salt, and eat while still hot. Delicious spread with sour cream or garlic juice.

Of Balloons, Bugles and Apple Butter

Washington Harrison Donaldson performed his greatest feats of derring-do while borne aloft by a large gas balloon. Or so discovered a crowd of curious onlookers one August morning in 1871 when the gymnast and self-styled aeronaut dressed in tights decided to take his big-top routine to the heavens. From the small town of Reading, Pennsylvania he set off at a quarter to ten in the morning. As dozens watched, his balloon, heavy with ballast, rose uncertainly at first, climbing thirty or so feet before its basket lurched against a house roof. Rope, grappling iron, coat, boots, hat and provisions Donaldson jettisoned, and the balloon resumed its ascent. A quarter of a mile above ground, he “skinned the cat” upon the hoop just above the wicker basket to the entertainment of any eyes cast skyward. On that maiden flight he drifted “some eighteen miles,” as M.L. Amick recounts in his 1875 History of Donaldson’s Balloon Ascensions, passing through clouds and over farms before coming to rest in a plow field.

This first journey Donaldson considered such a smashing success that he “resolved to abandon the tight rope forever” for greater heights. But his subsequent stunts, though amusing, were not always benign. He delighted in “trailing the drag rope,” a goof that lashed bushes, scourged sheep, thrashed fences, flailed chickens, and generally visited mayhem on the countryside. On one of these more sportive trips he observed a farmer and his wife stirring a large kettle of apple butter. An impish whim seized him. He resolved to “thicken the apple-butter for them” and did so by emptying a sand bag into the kettle as he passed over it. This promptly caused the farmer’s wife to have a fit. Her panic Donaldson answered with “a few terrible blasts on his bugle,” and some shouts about “Gabriel and the judgement.” The wife, her apoplexy now leavened with divine dread, fell down, rolled over two or three times, and then ran to fetch a broom and a butcher’s knife as her husband shook his ladle and hurled threats at “the man and the balloon.” Donaldson simply laughed as he floated out of hearing “of that man’s ‘chin music.’”
A kettle of ruined apple butter was perhaps a fair price to pay for such an aeronautic display as Donaldson was wont to make. Should you like to prepare a batch yourself, this recipe, which appears in an 1919 issue of the Farmer’s Bulletin, is sure to send your taste buds soaring. Just take care to prepare it indoors, in the event that any puckish balloonist should happen your way.
Apple Butter with Cider

Apple butter with cider.—Either fresh cider or commercial sterilized cider may be used. The usual proportion of peeled and sliced apples and cider is gallon for gallon, but from one-half to three quarters of a gallon of cider to a gallon of peeled and sliced apples will give a rich product if the apples are good cookers. Less than half as much cider as prepared apples is likely to make an apple sauce rather than a butter, unless it is cooked very slowly for four to six hours.

Continue the cooking until the cider and apples do not separate and the butter, when cold, is as thick as good apple sauce. Determine the thickness at frequent intervals by cooling small portions.

If sugar is used, add it after the cooking of cider and apples is about two-thirds done. About a pound of either white or brown sugar is the usual proportion per gallon of apple butter, but more or less (or not any) may be used, to suit the taste.

Apple butter is spiced according to taste, about half a teaspoonful each of ground cinnamon, cloves, and allspice being used for each gallon. These are stirred into it when the cooking is finished.

Vanilla extract added after the spices are stirred in improves the quality and adds to the snappiness of the butter. Use from 2 to 4 teaspoonfuls per gallon of butter, according to taste.

Thanksgiving Games to Cure Turkey-Induced Torpor

Guests lounge in armchairs and on the sofa, refusing to stir, perhaps even refusing to speak. If they do speak, their conversations are punctuated by hiccups, burps and farts so frequent as to constitute a fugue of digestive functions. They are all equally afflicted in this manner, regardless of age or species: children bulge with ill-advised fourth helpings of pie; the family spaniel, heavy with table scraps, wobbles to her favorite corner.

Such is the typical after-dinner scene on Thanksgiving day, a holiday during which syrupy yams, buttery beans, starchy russets, toothsome peas, and, of course, tender turkey and stuffing conspire to sap the vigor of the heartiest diner.

After prodigious eating, the suggestion of further exertion seems unwise and risks adding grumblings to those already issuing from swollen stomachs – unwise to any other hostess but Mrs. Florence Kingsland, that is, who combated the queasy lassitude of her visitors by devising games for them to play. Her 1904 book, In and Out Door Games, is a compendium of postprandial diversions sure to cheer the soul, aid digestion and dispel “the lethargy that is apt to follow the feast.” Her games are simple but do require some  preparation. One involves hollowing a pumpkin, wreathing it with leaves, counting its seeds, which have been first “preserved, washed, and dried,” before returning them to their original vessel. Guests are then invited to guess their number in a bid to win an altogether fitting prize, “[a]n Indian made of dried figs and raisins, threaded on wire.”

Should the pumpkinseed game prove too labor-intensive (or culturally insensitive) for you to handle, you can always resort to another guessing game that is decidedly less so. It involves giving each guest a card on which to compile a “list of objects suggestive of a feast.” Once this is completed, these cards are collected, shuffled and distributed among the group, who “write their guesses of what dishes are described.” Below is an example of Kingsland’s own:

1. Soup—Imitation reptile.
2. Fish—‟Collect on delivery.”
3. Roasts—The country of the Crescent, and Adam’s wife—served with a sauce of what undid her.
4. Vegetables—Two kinds of toes ne’er found on man or beast; a mild term for stealing; what your heart does.
5. Puddings—What we say to a nuisance, and exactly perpendicular.
6. Pies—An affected gait, and related to a well.
7. Fruit—A kind of shot. 

If Mrs. Kingsland happens to have stumped you, you can find the answers below. They appear in order and have attached to them recipes gleaned from various period cookbooks.

Florence Kingsland’s Feast-Game Dishes
1) Mock Turtle Soup

Take half a calf’s head, with the skin on; remove the brains. Wash the head in several waters, and let it soak in cold water for an hour. Put it in a saucepan with five quarts of beef stock; let it simmer gently for an hour; remove the scum carefully. Take up the head and let it get cold ; cut the meat from the bones into pieces an inch square, and set them in the ice-box.

Dissolve two ounces of butter in a frying pan; mince a large onion, and fry it in the butter until nicely browned, and add to the stock in which the head was cooked. Return the bones to the stock; simmer the soup, removing the scum until no more rises. Put in a carrot, a turnip, a bunch of parsley, a bouquet of herbs, a dozen outer stalks of celery, two blades of mace and the rind of one lemon, grated; salt and pepper to taste. Boil gently for two hours, and strain the soup through a cloth. Mix three ounces of browned flour with a pint pf the soup; let simmer until it thick.
2) Baked Cod
One and one-half pounds cod, one teacupful bread crumbs, one dessertspoonful chopped parsley, one teaspoonful dripping or butter, one-half teaspoonful salt, a little pepper, one teacupful milk, a little flour, one egg. Wash the cod, take off the fins, or skin it, which is better. A middle cut is preferable, where the opening of the stomach is. Dry the fish well outside and inside. Rub together the bread and dripping; add the parsley, salt and pepper; moisten the whole with the egg beaten up, and fill the opening in the stomach with the mixture. Dust the fish over with a little flour, and put it in a pudding dish; put in one teacupful of milk, and put the butter all over the top in little bits. Put it in the oven to bake about half an hour, basting it with the milk now and again. Fish contains gelatine, fibrine, albumen, and phosphorus. Take out the fish on a hot dish, and pour the sauce round it. This is a most nutritious dish of fish, seeing that all the substance is retained, making it both light and nourishing.
3) Roast Turkey
Dress, clean, stuff, and truss a ten-pound turkey…. Place on its side on rack in a drippingpan, rub entire surface with salt, and spread breast, legs, and wings with one-third cup butter, rubbed until creamy and mixed with one-fourth cup flour. Dredge bottom of pan with flour. Place in a hot oven, and when flour on turkey begins to brown, reduce heat, baste with fat in pan. and add two cups boiling water. Continue basting even fifteen minutes until turkey is cooked, which will require about three hours. For basting, use one-half cup butter melted in one-half cup boiling water, and after this is used baste with fat in pan. During cooking turn turkey frequently, that it may brown evenly. If turkey is browning too fast, cover with buttered paper to prevent burning. Remove string and skewers before serving. Garnish with parsley or celery tips.
Spareribs and Applesauce
Dredge the spare ribs lightly with salt and pepper, after having washed well and wiped dry with a coarse towel. Place them in the baking pan and dredge with butter; place them in the oven and cover with a piece of buttered paper. Allow twenty minutes to every pound in cooking. About twenty minutes before serving take off the buttered paper, dredge again, with melted butter, and let them brown nicely. Serve with a garnish of parsley and radishes.
lf it is desired to stuff the spare ribs, have the ribs cracked, crosswise, the entire length, in two places. Put a stuffing, as for roast pig, in the center, or a stuffing made of mashed potatoes and three hard-boiled eggs, mixed thoroughly. Close the ends of the ribs over this, tie well and roast as for a roast pig. Serve with an Apple Sauce or a Sauce Piquante. 
4) Boiled Potatoes, Baked Tomatoes, Stewed Cabbage and Roasted Beets
5) Sa-go Pudding
Boil a pint and a half of new milk, with four spoonfuls of sago, nicely washed and picked, lemon-peel, cinnamon, and nutmeg; sweeten to taste; then mix four eggs, put a paste round the dish, and bake slowly.
Plum Pudding
Ingredients.—2 lbs. of flour, 1 lb. of currants, 1 lb. of raisins, 1 lb. of suet, 2 eggs, 1 pint of milk, a few slices of candied peel. Mode.—Chop the suet finely; mix it with the flour, currants, stoned raisins, and candied peel; moisten with the well-beaten eggs, and add sufficient milk to make the pudding of the consistency of very thick batter. Put it into a buttered dish, and bake in a good oven from 2 to 2 1/2 hours; turn it out, strew sifted sugar over, and serve. For a very plain pudding, use only half the quantity of fruit, omit the eggs, and substitute milk or water for them. The above ingredients make a large family pudding; for a small one, half the quantity will be found ample; but it must be baked quite lh hour. Time.—Large pudding, 2 to 2 1/2 hours; half the size, 1 hour. Average cost, 2s. 6d. Sufficient for 9 or 10 persons. Seasonable in winter.
4) Mince Pie
Bake 3 large apples, and press them through a sieve to remove skins and cores; grate the rinds from 3 lemons, and add this and the juice of the lemons to the apple pulp; wash, pick over, and bruise in a mortar 1 cup of currants; stone 2 cups of raisins, and cut them in slices. Mix these all well together, chop into them 1 cup of butter (or cocoanut butter), a little salt, 4 cups of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of candied lemon peel, 1 tablespoon of candied citron, and 1 tablespoon of candied orange peel, all well minced, and after stirring well, add 2 tablespoons of orange peel, cover with wax or brandied paper before the jar is closed, and use for pies in two weeks.
Pumpkin Pie
Mix one cup of milk, one cup and a half of dry, steamed and sifted pumpkin, half a cup of sugar, two tablespoons of molasses, one tablespoonful of ginger, one egg slightly beaten, one teaspoonful of cinnamon, and half a teaspoonful of salt. Bake in a pie tin lined with pastry.
5) A bowl of fresh grapes

Buttery Muffins in Wet, Wintry London

Did the muffin boy trudging through London’s dark, dank streets ever curse the hot, buttery wares that forced him outdoors? Perhaps, though the thought of going penniless no doubt bedeviled him more. And perhaps as means of consolation his mind would settle on a remark made by Charles Dickens, who found that a cold night did wonders for the streets of London. Such wonder-working happened, he wrote, when “just enough damp” fell from the sky to “make the pavement greasy without cleansing it of any of its impurities.” If that falling damp also made the gaslights glow brighter and the small shops that lined the street “more splendid,” then so much the better.

It’s likely that the muffin boy did not notice this trick of light and vapor, but he was not insensible of the evening’s other, decidedly less oneiric effects. He did his best business on wet, chilly nights. Ensconced in the warm comfort of their homes, customers listened for his bell’s gentle report. Their muffins they preferred warm and slathered with butter. “I only wish good butter was a site cheaper,” one muffin seller complained. “That would make the muffins go. Butter’s half the battle.”

That battle went better in the suburbs, good butter or bad. There frowzy housewives hovered expectantly near doorsteps. Once the muffin boy’s approach was certain, they lit the kitchen fire for tea. His muffins they bought by the dozen to cheer their husbands bone-weary after a “dirty walk” home from the docks. Only for the “nine-o-clock beer man” would they open their door again.

If a cold damp winter’s evening has you hankering for a warm, buttery snack, and there’s no muffin boy in sight, try one of these recipes for the item in question, which appear in Mrs. Clarke’s Cook Book (1899).


Muffins.—Two eggs lightly beaten, one quart of flour, one teaspoonful of salt, three teaspoonfuls of Durkee’s baking-powder, one tablespoonful of melted butter, one pint of milk and two teaspoonfuls of vanilla extract, if liked. Beat up quickly to the consistency of a cake batter; bake in buttered gem-pans in a hot oven.

Muffins, No. 2.—One cup of home-made yeast or half of a compressed yeast cake, one pint of sweet milk, two eggs, two tablespoonfuls of melted butter, two tablespoonfuls of sugar. Beat the butter, sugar and eggs well together; then stir in the milk, slightly warmed, and thicken with flour to the consistency of griddle-cakes. When light, bake in muffin-rings or on a griddle. If wanted for tea, the batter should be mixed immediately after breakfast. Muffins should never be cut with a knife, but be pulled open with the fingers.

Rice Muffins.—Take one quart of sour milk, three well-beaten eggs, a little salt, a teaspoonful of soda, and enough of rice flour to thicken to a stiff batter. Bake in rings.

Hominy Muffins.—Substitute hominy, well cooked and mashed, for the rice, and proceed as above.

Bread Muffins.—Cut the crust off four thick slices of bread; put them in a pan and pour on them just enough boiling water to soak them thoroughly. Let them stand an hour, covered; then drain off the water and stir the bread to a smooth paste. Stir in two tablespoonfuls of flour, a half pint of milk, and three well-beaten eggs. Bake to a delicate brown in well-buttered muffin-rings.

Graham Muffins.—One quart of Graham flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking-powder, a piece of butter the size of a walnut, one egg, one tablespoonful of sugar, one-half teaspoonful of salt, milk enough to make a batter as thick as for griddle-cakes. Bake in gem-pans or muffin-rings in a hot oven.

Corn Muffins.—Mix two cupfuls of corn-meal, two cupfuls of flour, one cupful of sugar, half a cupful of melted butter, two eggs, and one teaspoonful of salt. Dissolve one teaspoonful of soda and two of cream tartar in a little milk, and beat it through. Add milk enough to make a moderately stiff batter, and bake in rings or gem-pans.

Parrot Pie for Paranormal Picnics

Only the pause of a train in their sleepy station lured the inhabitants of Woodend, Australia from their homes to consider the faces of passengers en route to larger cities. Not that Woodend lacked attractions; quite the contrary. Standing some 1,850 feet above sea level, the town enjoyed a climate moderate enough to recommend it as an attractive summer destination. Its eucalyptus forests hid within them health resorts and mineral springs. Its rich volcanic soil, the color of chocolate, made it a thriving agricultural district that trafficked in root vegetables, raspberries and currants. Its winds, which blew wholesome and tranquil, cooled those travelers disembarking at Woodend to eat, rest and recover their nerves.

Many also came to see an unusual prehistoric landmark, Hanging Rock. It sits five miles outside of town and rises 400 feet above the surrounding countryside. Narrow paths winding along slanted sides bring intrepid climbers to a flat summit strewn with huge boulders bearing such names as Whale’s Mouth and Alligator’s Jaw.  The summit affords an excellent view of the rich farmsteads stretching toward distant towns, which no doubt explains why picnicking among the megaliths remains a favorite way of beguiling a lazy summer Sunday.

One such outing serves as the subject of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 novel, The Picnic at Hanging Rock. A group of girls from exclusive Appleyard College take a trip to this famous formation on the afternoon of Valentine’s Day, 1900. There they nibble sandwiches and sunbathe. After lunch, four of the girls ask to go exploring. Granted permission, they wander off. A few hours later, only one of them returns. Hysterical and dumbstruck, she cannot recall what befell her friends, who have seemingly vanished without a trace. And so the mystery begins….

To discover what happened to those inquisitive young ladies that bright February afternoon, you’ll have to read Lindsay’s book – which you can enjoy with a slice of parrot pie prepared according to a recipe  in The Book of Household Management (1888). This Australian picnic dish does equally well without its main ingredient.

Australian Parrot Pie

Ingredients.—1 dozen paraqueets, a few slices of beef (underdone, cold
beef is best for this purpose), 4 rashers of bacon, 3 hard-boiled eggs, minced parsley and lemon-peel, pepper and salt, stock, puff-paste.

Mode.—Line a pie-dish with the beef cut into slices, over them place 6 of the paraqueets, dredge with flour, fill up the spaces with the egg cut in slices and scatter over the seasoning. Next put the bacon, cut in small strips, then the beef, seasoning all well. Pour in 6 paraqueets and fill up with stock or water to nearly fill the dish, cover with puff-paste, and bake for 1 hour.

Time.—1 hour.
Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.
Seasonable at any time.

Forest Trump: Hansel and Gretel’s Sweet Trick

South of Stuttgart and north of Basel spreads the Black Forest, so named by ancient Romans for the conifers populating it, which grow thickly enough to block the sun. Copses of white pine jut from rolling hills, and ancient oaks crowd deep valleys, sheltering strange fauna not found elsewhere. The Lumbricus badensis, an earthworm of record-setting girth and length, dwells there, as do rare Hinterwälderberg cattle and the tawny Sperlingskauz, an owl that nightly takes to the sky in search of mice and voles to eat.

The Black Forest also offers a gentler repast than the sort sought by owls. Autumn summons pert armies of golden chanterelles from carpets of emerald moss, and winter conjures a downpour of black chestnuts. Spring and summer are not without their peculiar bounty; earth dark with loamy vegetal decay incubates berries, ramps, and wild onions eager to burst from their seeds and papery bulbs. Indeed, anyone wandering this forest primeval would not want for sustenance.

Unless that wanderer should suffer an insatiable sweet tooth, that is. Two such wanderers are Hansel and Gretel, subjects of one of the Brothers Grimm’s most famous tales. It tells of a pair of children abandoned by their wicked stepmother in the Black Forest. There they tramp aimlessly, growing cold and hungry, until they happen upon a small house made of gingerbread. Tarts and delicate cakes festoon its lintel and roof. A warm light glows through barley-sugar windows. Famished, the children nibble the roof until its owner, a witch, coaxes them inside with promises of even more scrumptious treats. Once inside, the children are plied with fresh milk and pancakes (with sugar), nuts and large rosy apples. The witch observes that the boy and girl are too stuffed to stir, so she imprisons them for a gustatorial purpose of her own: She plans to eat them. 

The witch’s plan is thwarted by her would-be victims’ cleverness, however. Hansel and Gretel escape and find their way home, their pockets stuffed with sweet treasures plundered from their former prison. They learn that the stepmother has died and rejoice, the news sweeter to their ears than the richest of the witch’s pastries ever was to their palates.

Should you wish to trap any wayfaring children (or sweet-toothed adults), the recipes below for barley sugar, which appear in Cookery and Confectionery (1824), lend themselves to the construction of the very sort of windows adorning the witch’s cottage.

Barley Sugar Treats

676. Caromel Sugar, for sticking baskets or pastry tip, and for making covers. Rub the sides of a caromel-pan round with butter; put a quart of clarified sugar, (No. 675.) boil it ten minutes; add a table spoonful of white distilled vinegar, boil it down to caromel, as directed No. 674; when done, stand the pan within another, with cold water to keep it from colouring. The mould must be oiled well over; when the sugar is a little cool, and runs off the spoon as a thread, draw it over the mould what pattern you please; take care to have a good rim round the bottom of the mould to stand on; when done, warm the mould a little, and the cover will slip off; it may be done inside the mould, and ornamented with any dry sweetmeats, comfits, or gum paste flowers.
Note.—This sugar may be kept in a pan, when done with, and is ready on all occasions, as it will heat again repeatedly, and will serve to stick all kinds of pastry up.

677. Lemon Barley Sugar. Boil one pint of syrup (No. 675.) to a caromel;when done add twenty drops of essence of lemon, and pour it out in lengths on a marble slab, oiled; when nearly cold twist it.
Note.—Barley-sugar drops are made by dropping it on the slab, and wrapped up in papers with a little sifted sugar. If made in large quantities, it is poured on a slab made to hold the quantity, and when cold cut in lengths with scissors, and twisted.
Ginger barley-sugar is made the same as this, omitting the lemon, and adding a spoonful of the concentrated essence of ginger, when nearly boiled.

678. Lavender Barley Sugar. Boil a pint of syrup to caromel, (No. 676.) when nearly done add a tea-spoonful of prepared cochineal, to colour, and twenty drops of oil of lavender; let it boil half a minute in it, pour it in lengths on a marble slab, oiled, and twist it.