Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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The annual symposium on Entertaining in the Canadas in the 18th & 19th centuries

Wonderful Things we have Eaten and Drunk «

Note: Modern adaptations of historic recipes are by Bridget Wranich, program officer at Historic Fort York and used here with permission. For more recipes and information on period cooking at Fort York contact her at bwranich@toronto.ca or (416) 392-6907, ext 225 .

Mulaga-tawny Soup

Dr. William Kitchiner, The Cook’s Oracle, (London: John Hatchard, Picadilly, 2nd edition, 1818), page 335, number 249.

Original Recipe: “Take two quarts of water, and boil a nice fowl or chicken, then put in the following ingredients, a large white onion, a large chilly* , two teaspoonsful of ginger pounded, the same of currystuff, one teaspoonful of turmeric, and half a teaspoonful of black pepper: boil all these for half an hour, and then fry some small onion, and put them in. Season it with salt, and serve it up in a tureen. Obs.- It will be a great improvement, when the fowl is about half boiled, to take it up and cut it into pieces and fry them and put them into the soup the last thing.”

For Your Modern Kitchen:

4 – 5 lbs chicken, whole or jointed 2 – 2.5 kg
6 – 8 quarts water 6 – 8 L
2 large cooking onions 2
¼ tsp cayenne pepper 1 ml
2 tsp ginger 10 ml
1 tsp cumin 5 ml
1 tsp coriander 5 ml
1 tsp mustard seeds, crushed 5 ml
2 tsp turmeric 10 ml
½ tsp black pepper 2 ml
¼ cup butter 50 ml
2 tsp salt 10 ml

Boil chicken in water about half an hour if jointed or more if still whole. Add one chopped onion and spices. Simmer for about half an hour. Fry other chopped onion in butter until transparent. Remove chicken from broth and let cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Cut meat from bones into bit-sized pieces and discard bones and skin. Fry chopped chicken with the fried onions for 5 – 10 minutes. Return the chicken and onion to broth. Add salt and simmer for 10 minutes more.
Yield: 15 large (1 ½ cup / 375 ml ) servings.

Historic Background:
This recipe reflects the influence of Indian cooking on British cooking of the 18th and 19th century. Currystuff was a mixture of spices, of which there are many recipes in the old British cookery books. The work curry is derived from the Tamil word kari. Mulaga means pepper and tawny (tanni) means water or broth, hence “peppery broth” is a good translation. To get the freshest taste, prepare the spices only when you need them. To powder the ginger and turmeric, use a fine grater; pound the other spices in a heavy mortar and pestle. This is what we do at Historic Fort York because these are the methods the cooks would have used. You can also use a coffee grinder specially kept for spices.

Dr. Kitchiner was a physician and a gourmet who, in his preface, claimed to “endeavour” to hold the balance even, between the agreeable and the wholesome, and the Epicure and the Economist” throughout his career, including in this cookery book.

All rights reserved. Permission is required to reprint. April 2001.

Kit-cat Pie

Source: National Trust, Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire. Sara Paston-Williams.

8 oz. (225 g) shredded suet 2 cups
¼ pint (150 ml) boiling water 2/3 cup
1 lb (450 g) white flour 3 ¾ cup
good pinch salt
12 oz. (350 g) minced lamb
8 oz. (225 g) currants 1 cup
8 oz. (225 g) brown sugar 1 cup
5 ml salt 1 tsp
5 ml pepper 1 tsp
beaten egg and milk
to glaze

Make the hot-water crust by boiling the suet in the water for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the flour and salt, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until the dough leaves the sides of the saucepan clean. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and as soon as it is cool enough to handle, roll out to ½ inch (1 cm) thickness. Using two-thirds of the pastry, line as many greased individual soufflé dishes as possible. Spoon alternate layers of mutton, currants and sugar into the pastry cases, then season. Roll remaining pastry out to make lids. Place on the pies and brush with beaten egg and milk. Bake in a fairly hot oven (375ºF, 190 ºC ) for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pies. Serve hot.

To Make An Onion Pie

Cookbook: Glasse, Hannah, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, facsimile of the 1796 London edition, (Hampden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1971, introduction by Fanny Craddock), page 259.

Original Recipe: Wash and pare some potatoes and cut them in slices, peel some onion, cut them in slices, pare some apples and slice them, make a good crust, cover your dish, lay a quarter of a pound of butter all over, take a quarter of an ounce of mace beat fine, a nutmeg grated, a teaspoonful of beaten pepper, three teaspoonfuls of salt; mix altogether, strew some over the butter, lay a layer of potatoes, a layer of onions, a layer of apples and a layer of eggs, and so on till you have filled your pie, strewing a little of the seasoning between each layer, and a quarter of a pound of butter in bits and six spoonfuls of water; close your pie and bake it an hour and a half. A pound of potatoes, a pound of onion, a pound of apples and twelve eggs will do.


3-4 potatoes, small, peeled and sliced
3-4 onions, small, peeled and sliced
3-4 apples, small, peeled and sliced
12 eggs, hardboiled
250 ml butter (1 cup)
15 ml mace (1 tbsp)
15ml nutmeg (1 tbsp)
5 ml pepper, black (1 tsp)
15 ml salt (1 tbsp)
90 ml water (6 tbsp)

For your Kitchen: Cover the bottom of your dish (13 x 9) with preferred crust. Dot with 1/2 the butter. Mix spices, salt and pepper together and sprinkle over butter.
Layer potatoes, onions, apples, and eggs, sprinkling with spice mixture between each layer. Dot top of layers with remaining butter pour in water and top with crust. Cut hole in top for steam. Bake at 350 F for about 1 hour.

Everlasting Syllabubs

Cookbook: Martha Bradley, The British Housewife, facsimile of 1756 edition (Devon: Prospect Books, 1997) Volume II February, March pages 198-199.

Original recipe: This is a sort of whipp'd syllabub, that will keep a week or ten days, and be all the while as good as at first; and it is a very rich and well-tasted kind. Put into a very large bowl half a pint of sack, and the same quantity of Rhenish; squeeze in three large Seville oranges, and add a pound of the finest sugar beaten to a powder, stir these well together; then grate in the fine upper yellow part of two large lemons; stir it once again together, and then pour in a quart and half a pint of rich cream; beat it about with a whisk for an hour, or mill it with a chocolate-mill, which is the best way and when it is well frothed put in one spoonful of orange-flower water; beat it again, and when it is enough fill the glasses with a clean silver spoon.

Modern adaptation:


250 ml
250 ml
500 ml
1.25 l
5 ml

sherry, sweet
white wine
Seville oranges
sugar, white
lemons, grated
whipping cream
orange blossom water
1 cup
1 cup
2 cups
5 cups
1 tsp

For your kitchen:
Stir sherry, wine, juice of oranges, sugar and grated lemon until sugar dissolves. Add cream and beat mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Add orange blossom water and continue beating. Spoon into glasses and allow to stand until cream separates from alcohol mixture (about 6-8 hours).
Yield: 15 4 oz servings.

All rights reserved. Permission is required to reprint. April 2001.

Fried Sausages

Cookbook: Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, London: facsimile of the 1796 edition, (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1971, with an introduction by Fanny Craddock), page 141.

Original Recipe: Take half a pound of sausages, and six apples, slice four about as thick as a crown, cut the other two in quarters, fry them with the sausages of a fine light brown, lay the sausages in the middle of the dish, and apples round. Garnish with the quartered apples.
Stewed cabbage and sausages fried is a good dish.

For Your Modern Kitchen: (doubled)

1 lb sausages (454 g)
12 apples

Slice 8 apples. Quarter 4 remaining apples. Fry sausages until lightly browned. Add all the apples and sauté with sausages until just tender. Remove sausages and place on centre of serving dish. Place apple slices around sausages and garnish with apple quarters.

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