White House Confections from the Past




 From my previous post of Christmas sweets from the kitchen of a Smokey Mountain mama, today we join the cooks of  the White House in 1887, when the President of the United States was Grover Cleveland.Today’s confection is included in the menu for Christmas Day 1887.

Thanks to my sister-in-law, I was loaned a copy of The Original White House Cook Book 1887 Edition. This book was co-authored by Mrs.F.L.Gillette and Hugo Ziemann and was reprinted in 2003 by Media Solution Services.

 I chose the recipe for French Vanilla Cream, an easy way to make an uncooked candy. This way of making candy is traditional and lends itself to many variations. Here is the recipe as found in the  The Original White House Cook Book, 1887 Edition. 

                                                    French Vanilla Cream 

“Break into a bowl the white of one 0r more eggs, as the quantity you will require;add to it an equal quantity of cold water, then stir in XXX powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar until you have it stiff enough to mold into shape with the fingers. Flavor with vanilla to taste.  After it is formed in balls, cubes, or lozenge shapes, lay them upon plates or waxed paper, and set them aside to dry. This cream can be worked in candies similar to the French cooked cream. “

The 1887 Christmas Day menu is included in this book. It is a grand feast and the confections (candies and sweets) are included in the dessert course of Christmas Plum Pudding and Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream, Mince Pie, Orange Jelly, Delicate Cake, Salted Almonds, Confectionary, and Fruits. 

This fascinating cook book also includes recipes “for the sick” ,”toilet tips,” and a chapter entitled, “Small Points on Table Etiquette”.

The first sentence in the Etiquette section reads, “Delicacy of manner at the table stamps both man and woman, for one can, at a glance, discern whether a person has been trained to eat well-i.e.to hold the knife and fork properly, to eat without the slightest sound of the lips, to drink quietly, to use the napkin rightly, to make no noise, with any of the implements of the table, and last, but not least, to eat slowly and masticate the food thoroughly.”

For just a moment, close your eyes and imagine yourself among the silver, crystal and candles of the White House, as you dine on these sweet treats this holiday season. Then open your eyes and appreciate your home and family, wherever you live.



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