Historic Books for Cooks
He started the talk by showing us a number of books from the Guildhall collection. On my Mayfair walk I talk about Frederic Nutt’s “The Complete Confectioner” written in 1789 and I was amazed to see he had a copy of that book and at the first opportunity I was up leafing through it. The book includes recipes for 32 flavours of ice cream and 24 of water ice and I am still finding it hard to comprehend how this was achieved in the days before refrigeration. The ice was cut from lakes and ponds during the winter and stored either in a hole in the ground lined with straw or in a specially made ice house. The ice cream was made in a sort of double bowl; the interior bowl had the mixture and the exterior bowl had ice mixed with salt. The reactions between the ice and the salt water caused the ingredient mixture to fall below the freezing point of water and hence the ice cream was made. If you take a trip up to Ivan Day’s Historic Food cookery school in the Lake District you can even enrol on a course to make your own ice creams in this 18th Century style.
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