Category Archives: Food, Glorious Food

A Present for You!

on December 2, 2020

It’s Holiday Season! Finally! Let the holiday baking (and deep-frying at my house) begin!

The Paper Lantern Writers–a collective of historical fiction writers–is excited to share HISTORICAL HOLIDAY DESSERT RECIPES, a collection of recipes that our characters might have eaten in the past, as well as recipes that we are baking now.

Download HISTORICAL HOLIDAY DESSERT RECIPES at PaperLanternWriters/store today! The .pdf is free, but you will need to enter your name/address.

Sweet wishes for a Happy Holiday season!


Eat, Drink, and enjoy the lagniappe*

on November 15, 2020

I hope you saw Friday’s PLW post where I shared historic holiday menus and recipes.

Not for the first time, I researched and wrote more content than I could include in that post. But in the spirit of holiday giving, today I’m sharing what I couldn’t include. Here goes…


Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861)

Although author Isabella Beeton was decidedly British and did not celebrate Thanksgiving (which became an official American holiday in 1863), she and other Brits (like Dickens’s fictious Scrooge) certainly celebrated Christmas with gusto.

“In December, the principal household duty lies in preparing for the creature comforts of those near and dear to us, so as to meet old Christmas with a happy face, a contented mind, and a full larder; and in stoning the plums, washing the currants, cutting the citron, beating the eggs, and MIXING THE PUDDING, a housewife is not unworthily greeting the genial season of all good things.”

Mrs. Beeton also recommends (at paragraph 1005) turkey for Christmas dinner: “A noble dish is a turkey, roast or boiled. A Christmas dinner, with the middle classes of this empire, would scarcely be a Christmas dinner without its turkey; and we can hardly imagine an object of greater envy than is presented by a respected portly pater-familias carving, at the season devoted to good cheer and genial charity, his own fat turkey, and carving it well.“

Perhaps the best part of Mrs. Beeton’s book were her glorious illustrations of 19th century dining, which I couldn’t resist sharing here.

*Hopefully, you know by now that lagniappe is New Orleans-speak for “a little something extra”.


Eat, Drink, and be Grateful!

on November 13, 2020

Still looking for the perfect recipe for your Thanksgiving feast?

Today on Paper Lantern Writers, I offer some online recipes and menus of the 19th and early 20th centuries that could give your Holiday Season a little more vintage flair.


Mom Brazil’s Crullers

on December 22, 2019

Makes about 55 Ping Pong ball-sized crullers.


  • 4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs plus 1 extra yoke
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil for the fryer (about 2 quarts)
  • Bowl of cinnamon sugar
  1. In a deep-fryer, heat the oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, & salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yoke, & sugar.
  4. Add the vanilla, melted butter, & milk to the egg mixture.
  5. Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture to make a dough.
  6. Chill the dough in the frig for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Remove the dough from the frig and use a tablespoon to create a ball of dough.
  8. Add 6-8 balls of dough into the deep-fryer.*
  9. Fry for 3-5 minutes until golden brown, flipping over in the oil half way through.
  10. Remove the crullers from the fryer and place on a paper towel.
  11. After 1 minute resting, roll the crullers in a bowl of cinnamon sugar.
  12. Place sugared crullers on a wire rack to cool.
  13. After they are entirely cool, store in a tin.

*For best results, at step 8., start by adding only one ball of dough to the deep fryer. At 4 minutes, cut into the cruller at 4 minutes. It should be entirely dry at the core. Adjust your fry time accordingly.


What’s cooking for Thanksgiving Dinner in 1889 New Orleans?

on November 28, 2019

Since it’s Thanksgiving week, right now I’m thinking about FOOD—smoked turkey, oyster stuffing, and gravy; sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce; and, one of my very favorites, fluffy ambrosia.

My food thoughts made me wonder what Fanny Newcomb and her friends (and even her enemies, since Fanny is hunting down the Irish Channel Ripper in 1889 New Orleans) ate for Thanksgiving dinner. And then I wondered—since it was President Lincoln who officially proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving—did New Orleanians actually celebrate Thanksgiving in the 1880s?

from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, c1888

Oh, yes they did. With morning church services and an evening family feast, New Orleanians joined the rest of the country in giving thanks.

And what a feast! The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book of 1901 provides a complete menu for Thanksgiving Day Dinner (or as the Creoles called it le Jour d’Action de Graces) for New Orleanians. If you look closely (because there are an amazing twenty-one courses), you’ll see that—just like today—turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce were served.

Interested in recreating some of these late 19th century dishes? Check out the online 1922 version of the The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book.

A Thanksglving Menu.

Menu Pour le Jour d’Action de Graces.


Oysters on Half Shell.

Cream of Asparagus Soup.

Spanish Olives. Celery. Mixed Pickles.

Radishes. Salted Almonds.

Baked Red Snapper a la Creole.

Mashed Potatoes.

Lamb Chops au Petit Pois.

Chicken Saute aux Champignons.

Cauliflower, Sauce Blanche.

Pineapple Fritters au Rhum.

Pates de Foies Gras.

Stuffed Tomatoes.

Turkey Stuffed With Chestnuts, Cranberry Sauce.

Endive Salad, French Dressing.

Pababotte a la Creole.

Plum Pudding, Hard or Brandy Sauce.

Pumpkin Pie.

Lemon Sherbet. Assorted Cakes.

Assorted Fruits. Assorted Nuts. Raisins.


Quince Marmalade. Crackers.

Cafe Noir.


Roast Turkey with Truffles from “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”

on November 22, 2017

Here’s the recipe directly from “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”:

And here’s the 2017 easier-to-follow version:

Roast Turkey With Truffles.

Dinde Truffle Rotie.

1 Fine Young Hen Turkey.
1 Pound of Lean Ham, Cut into Dice.
2 Pounds of Truffles.
1/4 Nutmeg.
1/4 of a Teaspoonful of Pepper.
1 Bay Leaf, Minced Fine.

1. Clean and prepare the turkey for roasting as directed in the above recipe.
2. Put a saucepan on the fire and put in the ham cut into dice.
3. When hot add two pounds of the very best truffles and the grated nutmeg, the pepper and a minced bay leaf.
4. Stir over the fire for about fifteen minutes.
5. Then take off and let cool.
6. When it is cold stuff the place at the neck of the turkey whence you take the craw, and sew up and arrange as indicated in the directions for dressing a turkey.
7. Stuff the body of the turkey with the remainder of the truffles and sew it up and truss it.
8. Set it in the oven and roast according to the above recipe, serving with a Sauce aux Truffles.
9. This is a very expensive dish.

Stuffed tomatoes from “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”

on November 21, 2017

Here’s the recipe directly from “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”:

And here’s a rearranged version:

Stuffed Tomatoes.
Tomates Farcies.

6 Tomatoes.
1 Tablespoonful of Butter.
1 Cup of Wet Bread, Squeezed Thoroughly.
Salt, Pepper and Cayenne to Taste.
1 Clove of Garlic (if desired.)
1 Onion.
1/4 Inch of Ham.

1. Wash the tomatoes, selecting fine, large, smooth ones for this purpose.
2. Either cut the tomato in two, or else cut one slice from the stem end.
3. Scoop out the inside of the tomato, and put it in a dish and save the skins.
4. Take one onion and one quarter of an inch of ham and chop very fine.
5. Put a tablespoonful of butter into a saucepan, and add the onion, letting it brown nicely.
6. Then add the ham. Let it brown.
7. Add the insides of the tomatoes, and then add, almost instantly, a cup of bread that has been wet and squeezed.
8. Beat all well together as it fries, and add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Let it cook well, and then take off, and stuff the tomatoes, cut in halves or whole. The former is the daintier way.
10. Sprinkle the tops with bread crumbs, and dot with butter.
11. Place in the oven for fifteen or twenty minutes, till brown, and serve hot with filet of beef or chicken, etc.

Pineapple fritters from “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”

on November 20, 2017

Here’s the recipe directly from “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”:

And here’s a rearranged version:

Pineapple Fritters.

Beignets d’Ananas.

½ a Pineapple.
Fritter Batter.
½ Cup of Sugar.
1 Gill White Wine.

1. Slice the pineapple, and cut the slices in halves.
2. Sprinkle with sugar and White Wine, and let them soak for an hour.
3. Then proceed as in Apple Fritters:

    a. Make a batter à la Créole and have ready a deep saucepan of boiling lard.
    b. Drain the pineapple.
    c. Dip the slices, one at a time, into the 
batter, lift out with a large kitchen
s poon, drop into the boiling lard, 
and fry to a golden brown.
    d. Then
 lift out with a skimmer, and set on
 brown paper, in the mouth of the
 oven, and drain.
    e. Sift powdered white
 sugar over them, and serve hot, piling high in pyramidal shape, and
 sprinkling again with powdered
 white sugar.

4. Or, simply sprinkle with sugar, let them stand one hour, add the juice to the fritter batter, and proceed as above.

Ana’s notes:
A Gill (sometimes called a “teacup”) is equal to a quarter of a pint.

Here’s the recipe for the batter à la Créole:

1 Cup Flour.
2 Eggs.
2 Tablespoonfuls Brandy.
14 Teaspoonful of Salt.
Cold Water.
1 Tablespoonful Butter, Melted.

1. Beat the yolks of the eggs well, and add the flour, beating very light.
2. Now add the melted butter and the brandy, and thin with water to the consistency of a very thick starch.
3. Add the whites of eggs, beaten to a stiff froth.


George Brookshaw (1751-1823)

From the pages of “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”

on November 19, 2017

Just in case you’re still looking for that perfect dish for your Thanksgiving table…this week, I’m going to be posting some of my favorite turn-of-the-century recipes from New Orleans!

First up, your appetizer–Cream of Asparagus Soup.

Here’s the recipe directly from “The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book”:

And here’s a rearranged version:

Cream of Asparagus Soup.

Creme d’Asperges.

1 Large Bunch of Asparagus.

1 Tablespoonful of Butter.

1 Quart of Milk.

3 Tablespoonfuls of Rich Cream.

2 Even Tablespoonfuls of Flour or Corn Starch.

Salt and Pepper to Taste.

  1. Wash the Asparagus, tie it in a bunch and put in a saucepan of boiling water.
  2. Let it boil gently for about three-quarters of an hour, or until perfectly tender.
  3. Take it from the water, cut off the tips or points and put them aside until wanted.
  4. Put the milk on to boil in a farina boiler.
  5. Press the Asparagus stalks through a colander, and add them to the milk.
  6. Rub the butter and cornstarch or flour together until perfectly smooth, and add to the boiling milk, stirring constantly till it thickens.
  7. Now add the Asparagus tops, salt and pepper.
  8. Serve, without Croutons, as the Asparagus tips form a beautiful garnish.

Ana’s Notes:

STEP FOUR requires a “farina boiler”, which I think is the same as a “farina kettle” which looks like this:

Although STEP SIX might sound like you’re making a roux, a roux is always made with exactly equal parts of butter and flour.