BUNDLING – Romantic, Scandalous Dating in Colonial America (Who would think?)

Way back when, well actually, way, way back when, in Colonial America, there was a common courting or as we call it now, dating, practice brought from Europe. Before you yawn and think prudish puritans, sit down and have a short read. Our predecessors were not as inhibited as we have been told. Perhaps there was a little truth to the farmer’s daughter jokes?

Many a weekend evening, a single young man and woman of marriage age could be found spending the night together, in bed, in the parent’s home. Yes, you read it right. Of course, there were proper precautions made. The participants must go to bed fully clothed. A little extra clothing was usually added to the young lady’s evening wear. The final “protection” was a board or pillows to act as a barrier between the two potential lovebirds.

The stated purpose was for the two potential mates to talk into the evening in private. To get to know each other better – through conversation. No hanky panky. Sorry, even if a chastity belt was used, those belts were rumored to be broken into. If the obstacles of a car backseat haven’t stopped couples in recent decades from a little smooching, surely a pillow or board didn’t stop any of those red-blooded pioneers.

How this practice contributed to shotgun weddings is a subject for another day. One can only imagine. . .

Want to know more? Here are some great references, two links and two books available on Amazon.

Colonial Williamsburg  https://www.history.org/foundation/journal/holiday07/court.cfm

Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundling_(tradition)


Little Known Facts About Bundling In the New World, A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. 1938   http://amzn.to/2phv1Vn

Bundling; Its Origin, Progress and Decline in America, by Henry Reed Stiles, May 17, 2012  http://amzn.to/2oMO8VM


Eggnog Cake

Looking for something new and different to serve over the holidays? Why just drink eggnog when you can eat it too?!  Try it and let this eggnog addict know what you think.


2 ¾ cups Sifted Cake Flour 2 Eggs
1 T Baking Powder 1 ½ cups Eggnog
¼ tsp Nutmeg 1 T Rum Flavoring
¾ cup Butter 1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
1 ¼ cup Sugar 1 tsp Salt


  • Sift flour and measure
  • Add salt, baking powder and nutmeg and sift again
  • Cream butter with sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy
  • One at a time, add eggs while beating each one
  • Add dry ingredients alternating with eggnog and rum
  • Beat until smooth
  • Take 10 inch pan, brush with oil and sprinkle nuts on the bottom of pan
  • Put batter in pan
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes
  • Cool for 10 minutes and remove cake from pan

I suggest decorating with buttercream icing or a cream cheese icing.


Medieval Christmas Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding is a delightful English Christmas tradition dating back to medieval England. Have you experienced such a delicacy on a Christmas past? Once you do, you will be a believer. Once you serve it to friends and family you will obtain fame.

Surprisingly, Plum Pudding does not contain plums. Nor is it a pudding. Raisins were called plums in medieval times and cakes were referred to as puddings. Words may have changed meanings, however, the enduring popularity of this dessert is all that matters.

You can purchase Plum Pudding for sale in specialty stores in the USA and online from England and USA. I have included a sample of options for you to check out.  Now once you try this decadent dessert you may find yourself a touch adventurous and want to make it yourself. You will find one of the recipes for Plum Pudding and Hard Sauce below. Savourer!

A Few Locations offering Plum Pudding for purchase

 Vermont Country Store (Hard sauce too) http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/

 English Tea Store  www.englishteastore.com

 Jolly Grub  www.jollygrub.com


Recipe for Plum Pudding


1 ½ cups sifted flour

½ t soda

¼ t salt

½ t cinnamon

¼ t ginger

¼ t nutmeg

¼ t allspice

½ c bread crumbs – dry

1 c brown sugar – pack firm

1 t lemon peel

1 t orange peel

½ lb. ground suet (Crisco / shortening may be a  good substitute)

1 c plumped currants

1 c plumped raisins

½ c chopped candied citron

½ c chopped candied lemon peel

1 c chipped apple

½ c chopped nuts

4 eggs

¾ c milk

1 t vanilla

1 t rum extract


  • Measure flour after sifting
  • Resift flour with soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice
  • Add and mix well – bread crumbs, brown sugar, lemon peel, orange peel, suet (or substitute) fruits and nuts
  • Beat eggs
  • Add to eggs milk, vanilla and rum
  • Stir moist ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix all well.
  • Pour into well-greased – one 2 quart mold (or two 1 quart)
  • Fill to 1 inch from top
  • Place lid on mold tightly
  • Place mold ion rack in a stock pot
  • Add boiling water to fill about ½ way up the mold
  • Cover the kettle and steam for 4 to 6 hours according to the size of the mold. Watch the water level and add as needed.
  • Remove from mold
  • Some people serve it hot. Others leave in the fridge for a week or more first.  Traditionally these cakes are made a year in advance to allow the flavors to mingle. Yummy!

How to serve

Plum pudding should be served hot. Add Hard Sauce on the side as people will have different tastes.

For a dramatic presentation, try to flambé. Drip some brandy or rum on the plum pudding and light it with a match. The alcohol will light and burn off. It is a pretty sight.

Hard Sauce

2 c Powdered sugar

10 T Butter (softened)

2 T Rum or brandy

¼ tsp salt

Beat the powdered sugar and the butter until fluffy. Then add in the salt and brandy (or rum).  Chill before serving.

12-14 servings

Abraham Lincoln Election Cake

Only a few more days until election day! The drama will be over. Or, will it only just begin. Either way, the Abraham Lincoln Election Cake may be just the thing to get us through it all.

The recipe was collected by my mother or grandmother without any history. Whether Mary Todd made one for Abe or perhaps a baker wanted to commemorate the day, this is a tasty and fun way to watch the votes come in. Savourer!

Abraham Lincoln Election Cake

Ingredients List

  • 1 cup currants, soaked overnight in 1/2 cup brandy (use closed container)
  • 1 T sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk, scalded
  • 1 yeast cake
  • 1/4 c warm water
  • 1 c unsifted flour
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 3/4 C sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp mace
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Add 1 tablespoon sugar to the scalded milk
  2. Cool the scalded milk
  3. Dissolve the crumbled yeast in the warm water and add to the milk
  4. Add the unsifted flour and beat until well blended
  5. Let rise in warm place until it has doubled in bulk (About 1 hour)
  6. Cream butter and sugar until very light
  7. Sift together flour, salt, mace and cinnamon
  8. Add egg to creamed mixture and beat until light
  9. Stir in lemon rind and lemon juice
  10. Add yeast mixture, beat
  11. Add drained currants, retain brandy
  12. Sift remaining flour and add to batter
  13. Add brandy and beat well
  14. Place better in well-greased loaf pan (9″ X 5″)
  15. Clover with cloth and place in a warm place
  16. Batter will rise until it doubles in size. May take 4-6 hours as batter rises slowly.
  17. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees
  18. Cool briefly and remove from pan
  19. Decorate with orange or lemon glaze. (Juice, rind and powered sugar)


Substitutions In Recipes – For When You Run Out Of…

Back in the day you might be busy cooking or baking one evening or Sunday afternoon only to discover, “Oh no, we are out of _____”. There was no running to the 24 hour Walmart, Seven Eleven store, or  a Quick Mart at the corner gas station. See, in our not so distant past, workers were home with their families at night and on Sundays. Never fear, you had a few ways to remedy the situation outside of delaying or scraping the project.

One, run over to a neighbors and borrow “a cup of sugar”. It works as they borrowed a stick of butter from you two weeks ago.  And, you actually know your neighbors by name.

Should your neighbor be out, the weather is bad or perhaps it is not a polite time of day to visit, a substitution may be available for the missing ingredient. Gathered below is a list of a few of the more popular substitutions.

Please send me other substitutions to add to our growing list. Avoiding the modern version of “running out to the store” is a good thing. Who wants to repeat a store visit you just made?! There is so much involved.

  • Pack up the kids in the car
  • Drive thru traffic
  • Find a parking space
  • Get a cart that is not stuck to others
  • Find your item
  • Buy items not on your list
  • Stand in line for 10 – 15 minutes to check out
  • Find where you parked the car
  • Drive home
  • Unpack car

Yikes! I need a nap after all that…..

Ingredient Amount Amount Substitution
Baking Powder 1 tsp 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Buttermilk 1 C 1 C milk and one of the following
1 T lemon juice
1 T vinegar
1 C yogurt, plain (use enough milk to make 1 cup
Cake Flour 1 C One cup sifted all-purpose flour after removing 2 T
Chocolate – unsweetened 1 oz. 1 T butter and 3 T unsweetened cocoa
Cornstarch 1 T 2 t all-purpose flour
Corn Syrup 2 C 1 C granulated sugar
Cream, light 1 C 1 C milk and 1 1/2 T to not equal more than 1 C
Cream, whipping 1 C 1 C milk and 1/3 C butter to not equal more than 1 C
Herbs, fresh 1 T 1 tsp dried herbs
Honey 1 C 1 1/4 C granulated sugar
Lemon juice 1 T 1 T distilled white vinegar
Milk, skim 1 C 1/3 C nonfat dry milk and 3/4 C water
Milk, whole 1 C 1/2 C evaporated milk and 1/2 C water
Molasses 1 C 3/4 C granulated sugar
Mushrooms, fresh 1 Lb. 12 oz. canned mushrooms
Mustard, dry 1 tsp 1 T prepared mustard
Sour cream 1 C 3 T softened butter and yogurt to equal not more than 1 C
Sugar, brown 1 C 1 C granulated sugar
Sugar, granulated 1 C 1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar – except in baking
Tomato juice 3 C 1 1/2 C tomato sauce plus 1 1/2 cups water
Tomato sauce 1 C 3 oz. tomato past plus 1/2 C water
Yogurt 1 C 1 C buttermilk





Gourmet Coffee – Pour Over Brew


It almost tastes, clean. Smooth. Less acid. For me, this is a truly great relaxing cup of coffee. A true ahhhhh experience.

Back in the day, Marshall Field’s Company had a gourmet coffee section featuring what is referred to as pour over coffee. My mother was in heaven. I on the other hand, was in highschool and mildly impressed with the project in the house. My friends though had another view. Not only did they like to chat with my mom, (Yes, really – she was remarkable.) they loved her coffee.

After a few decades of coffee makers, I returned to my roots. The coffee made by this method is not only the best tasting in my opinion, but less acidy. Less acid seems to agree with my stomach. The harsher coffee encourages a little heartburn and acid reflux issues for me.

There are always ways to dress up or fancy up a coffee making method and this one is no exception. Links below are to some sites that demonstrate different things you can do or add to impress guests with your coffee expertise. I will give you my mom’s simple method for those days when you just want to make some real ahhhh coffee and not fuss.

Tools to Gather

  • Tea kettle
  • Coffee pot or coffee thermos. I use an 8 cup pot.
  • Coffee filter
  • Measuring cup – large and prefer plastic that will handle heat. Mine holds 4 cups.
  • Funnel
  • Coffee beans
  • Filtered or spring water
  • Coffee cup and the desired fixings.

Thermos                                  Coffee Pot

Thermal Stainless 10-Cup                                               Gourmet 10 Cup


  1. Heat water in kettle. Take off the burner just before the whistle. You want the water hot, but not too hot.
  2. Grind your favorite coffee beans. I prefer medium grounds.
  3. Place funnel in the coffee pot or coffee thermos
  4. Place the filter in the funnel
  5. Place the ground coffee in the filter that is in the funnel. The amount is according to your preference. I use the same amount that I use in the coffee maker.
  6. Measure out 4 cups of water into the measuring cup
  7. Pour the water over the grounds slowly in a circular motion around the funnel. Do not just pour straight down.
  8. Refill the measuring cup half way.
  9. Repeat the pouring over the coffee once the water appears to have flowed thru the ground beans.
  10. Once the dripping is complete, remove the funnel and close up the pot or the thermos.
  11. Pour yourself a cup and enjoy.

A single cup system is also available. Once you have one cup, expect to want more.

I purchase my supplies and system from Miletta. They have fun systems in different sizes and styles. https://shoponline.melitta.com

Gourmet Coffee Sites to check out while drinking that smooth brew.

Serious Eats:   http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/06/make-better-pourover-coffee-how-pourover-works-temperature-timing.html

Starbucks 1912 Pike: https://1912pike.com/

Prima Coffee Equipment:  https://prima-coffee.com/blog/a-beginners-guide-to-pour-over-coffee-brewing

English Muffins – From Scratch

Bet you like knowing what is in your food, just as I do. I prefer to avoid all those nasty things on the label I can’t pronounce. My mom had a recipe for English Muffins which fulfills a desire for yummy food without the chemicals. Just think of all the great breakfast sandwiches and little pizzas you can make – now a little healthier. Watch for ideas on some of these recipes to be posted soon!

How old is this recipe? Note the reference to hand mixing or using a mixer. Don’t see that too much around here anymore. Enjoy!

English Muffins  – Serves 18


1 1/2 C Milk, 1/4 C Butter, 2 T Sugar, 1 Tsp Salt, 1 pkg Dry Yeast, 4 1/2 C Flour, 1 Egg, 1 C Flour, 2 C or so Corn Meal

  • Heat in a saucepan until very warm (130 degrees F) 1 1/2 C Milk and 1/4 C Butter (or margarine)
  • In Large mixer bowl, combine 2 T Sugar, 1 Tsp Salt, 1 pkg Dry Yeast, and 1 1/2 C Flour.
  • With mixer at low-speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients.
  • Increase speed and beat 2 minutes or beat vigorously by hand.
  • Beat in – 1 Egg and 1 C Flour.
  • With spoon, add 2 C Flour or enough to make stiff dough.
  • Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead just enough until well mixed, about 2 minutes.
  • Shape dough into a ball and place in greased large bowl, turning once.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Punch down
  • Turn onto lightly floured surface. Cover with bowl 15 minutes and let dough rest.
  • Meanwhile, place cornmeal in a pie plate.
  • Roll Dough about 3/8″ thick.
  • Cut into 3″ circles (18)
  • Dip both sides of each in the cornmeal and place on cookie sheets.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 min)
  • Brush large skillet with salad oil and heat to medium hot.
  • Cook muffins on each side or until brown.

English Muffins