Old-fashioned Molasses Candy

Candy Pulling
The Candy-Maker: A Practical Guide to the Manufacture of the Various Kinds of Plain and Fancy Candy. 1878

I found these recipes for Molasses candy in “The Candy-Maker: A Practical Guide to the Manufacture of the Various Kinds of Plain and Fancy Candy.” 1878. Please reply in the comments section if you try any of these and which you like best. Also, if you have any memories that involve molasses candy I’d love to hear them. At the end of the story, it is saying to “boil to the ball.” I did some research and this seems to mean that when you drop the molasses into cold water to cool it down it will form a soft ball.

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Overview of Vintage Candy Making Techniques

Candy Making
From one of my favorite vintage image sources, freevintageillustrations.com

This entry is the first in a series about candy making. With summer and salt water taffy season around the corner I thought this would be a useful starting point to find out the vintage way of making some favorite candies. I found this overview in “Scammer’s Universal Treasure-House of Useful Knowledge. An Encyclopedia of Valuable Receipts in the Principal Arts of Life,” compiled and edited by Henry B. Scammell. Assisted by Experts in Every Department. 1889. Keep in mind that when referring to “bladders” I found that this means small air bubbles. I also tried in vain to find a definition of what “flirt” means in terms of cooking. If anyone knows what this was referencing, please comment in the section below the story.

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Marble maintenance

Marble Mantelpiece
Design for a Chimney Piece in the Gallery, now Dining Room, Harewood House, Yorkshire (Elevation)

Everyone needs to know a little marble maintenance, right? Maybe. But you never know when this will come in handy. As taken from “The Household Encyclopedia; or, Family Dictionary of Everything Connected with Housekeeping and Domestic Medicine.” By an association of Heads of Families and Men of Science. Volume II. London: 1859

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Etiquette at the dinner table; also known as why can’t I eat my peas with a spoon?

Vintage table setting
Vintage table setting courtesy of freevintageillustrations.com

As Easter dinner approaches it is a good idea to keep these tips on etiquette as found in the 1869 book “Good Manners; A Manual of Etiquette in Good Society” close at hand.

A few of the tips I found interesting. In this time period, etiquette advised to start eating as soon as you are “helped.” It’s interesting how these habits have changed. I’ve always been under the assumption that you wait to eat until everybody is served. Murphy’s Law always states that the slowest eater at the table (usually me) is served last. I’ll also have to try to remember not to “bend the head voraciously over the plate.” I don’t want to convey a “shocking want of good breeding,” right mom?

These are for your enjoyment and in the hopes that you become “a very expert fruit eater.” If there is ever one out there, I’d truly like to meet them!

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Potato recipes for Easter as found in the “Home Queen” Cook Book from 1893

Easter Image
Vintage Easter image courtesy of thegraphicsfairy.com

In researching old-time potato recipes for Easter, I came across “The “Home Queen” Cook Book, Two Thousand Valuable Recipes on Cookery and Household Economy, Table Etiquette, Etc.” Contributed by over Two Hundred World’s Fair Lady Managers, Wives of Governors and Other Ladies of Position and Influence, edited by James Edson White (1893). The World’s Fair would be referring to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

I found the qualifications for submission interesting…

“In the preparation of the Recipe department of the “Home Queen” the plan has been to secure a few choice and well-tried recipes from each of hundreds of individuals scattered throughout every State and Territory in the Union… The recipes are not necessarily all original with the contributors, but are such as have become favorites by long use.

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A time to reap and a time to sow


Searching for some inspiration for a story idea, I ran across this e-book which was originally published in 1915. The publication is called The Craftsman: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine in the Interest of Better Art, Better Work, and a Better and More Reasonable Way of Living, Volume 28, United Crafts, 1915. It seems to cover a wide array of subjects, but one that seemed timely was how do you know when is the right time to plant your garden?

I found these practical tips worth considering.

When choosing a time to start planting in the Spring the soil should be dry, so that when you grab a handful, it slowly falls apart after being released. Heavy soils and clay should not be worked when wet. After these conditions are met, the upper 3 inches of soil should be worked and made fine by using a steel-tooth rake or hoe. All stone and debris should be cleared away, making an even surface that is sufficiently compact and level.

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