Friday, December 12, 2014

Plum Pudding

As promised in my December 12 blog post over at ... a recipe I honestly cannot imagine taking on. If "beat thirty minutes" didn't ward me off .... "boil seven hours" would! My hat's off to the cooks of old!

Plum Pudding, No. 1
from Manual for Army Cooks, 1896

Note: The above recipe is enough for thirty men.The ingredients of this pudding, with the exception of the eggs and milk, should be prepared the day before the pudding is to be made.

2 qts. sifted flour
2 qts. bread crumbsa
four pounds suet, freed from fiber and chopped moderately fine
four pounds raisins, picked, seeded, chopped, and dredged with flour
sixteen eggs, whites and yolks beaten separately
two qts. sweet milk (or equivalent of condensed milk)
1/4 lb. citron, cut fine and dredged with flour
grated rind of one lemon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves

Into a deep pan or dish put the ingredients in the following order, incorporating them thoroughly: First, the beaten yolks of the eggs; then one-half the milk; then the flour, bread crumbs, suet, spices, and lemon rind; then the remainder of the milk, or as much of it as will make a thick batter; then the beaten whites or the eggs; and last the dredged fruit.

Beat the mixture for thirty minutes, put it into the prepared bag or bags, and boil seven hours. Serve hot with sauce. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Historic Ferguson House in Lincoln, Nebraska

Located just across the street from the Nebraska State Capitol Building, the Ferguson House was built between 1909 and 1911. William Henry Ferguson came to Nebraska from Illinois in 1879 by covered wagon. He helped introduce winter wheat and alfalfa to Nebraska. He owned grain elevators and farms, a creamery, a brick company, and an amusement park (Capital Beach). At a time when an average two-story, three bedroom house cost $3,000-$4,000, the Fergusons' mansion cost about $38,000. It would be the family home until Mrs. Ferguson passed away at the age of 103. Today, the home is a working office for the Nebraska Environmental Trust. I visited this past Sunday for a Christmas Open House and was totally entranced by the grandeur that is still evident in every room. Here are a few photographs.
Welcome to the Fergusons!
The stairs that lead up from the foyer just inside that lovely front door.
Stained and leaded glass windows frame the fireplace in the large formal living room.
Mahogany in the formal dining room.
One of two Mission (or Craftsman?) style bedrooms
Architectural details fascinate me.
This is in the master bedroom.

Up and Up and Up to the third floor ball room.
What secrets might have been shared between couples
having a little tete-a-tete in those cozy little niches?

My mother was a maid, so I'm always
interested in the servants' areas of
a grand home. This is the servants'
staircase. Two maids had rooms up on the
third floor. A docent said that the butler
had quarters over the carriage house.
I didn't get a photo of the carriage house,
but it's still there--and beautiful.
And the inner front door. Look at that "bent" wood framing the
glass panels. So graceful.

The north side of the house. The door opens into the formal parlor.

Next door to the Ferguson House is the Kennard House, an Italianate style mansion built in 1869 for the first Secretary of State in Nebraska. Photos forthcoming!