Apr 17 2014

Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management

I was generously gifted a copy of Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management from a dear family friend. I was immediately drawn to the character of the tattered cloth cover, crayon marked title page and embossed spine. This book got a lot of use and as I flipped through each page, I knew I would treasure it along with other vintage cookbooks and collections of family recipes that have been passed down to me.

Foodiddy - Mrs. Beeton's Household Management

I started researching the book’s history and my curiosity continued with each new bit of information I gathered about Mrs. Isabella Beeton. God I love the Internet and yes, I do believe everything I read on it. 

While the 1970′s brown and gold World Book Encyclopedia set, placed front and center in my family’s library, seemed like the most exciting collection of information ever – so many websites now open doors allowing you to investigate the history behind just about anything. How could you not keep challenging and teaching yourself new things? Adventure awaits with every click.

The geek in me would actually like to revisit and rewrite some of the reports I did back in school using the unlimited resources now available online. Please note, rewriting reports from my childhood will NEVER happen… but it is something that I think about. Perhaps one of my fur children will be assigned a report at some point in their doggie lives. Ruff, ruff…Rosetta Stone…ruff, ruff.


So what did I learn? I learned that Mrs. Beeton’s husband Samuel, whom she married in 1856, was thought to be a publisher of considerable flair and brilliance, and that 20 year old Isabella immediately became immersed in editing, translating French novels and helping with Samuel’s business affairs.

In 1852 Samuel had launched The English Woman’s Domestic Magazine, the first magazine to be devoted entirely to the interests of women, which was a great success, much of it edited by Isabella. The Beetons invited readers to submit recipes, and so many poured in, that a selection of them were published in 24 monthly installments from 1859 to 1961. In December of 1861, the recipes were collected into book form under the title The Book of Household Management.


So began the major work for which Mrs. Beeton is known. Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management was a serious cookery book of mid-Victorian and early 19th century recipes – recipes which would help people, as she put it herself, to “live economically, tastefully and well.” The book was an immediate best-seller, selling 60,000 copies in its first year of publication and nearly two million by 1868.

Every recipe that was published was tried out in Isabella’s own kitchen. Only the successful ones made it into the book. She felt that each recipe should be economical, so the cost was always included at the end of each recipe, as well as how many people each dish would feed. I find this part to be rather interesting seeing as she had a full staff, including a cook and a kitchen-maid – uh yes, super economical.

I also learned that Isabella died in 1865 at the young age of 28, from puerperal fever after the birth of her fourth child, leaving Samuel to raise their children. Source: mrsbeeton.com and wikipedia.

In 1866, a year after Isabella’s death – Samuel sold the rights to Household Management to publishers Ward, Lock & Co. – they published the edition that I have. 

During my research, I stumbled upon a blog: Mrs. Beeton is 365 Days and couldn’t help but compare it to one of my favorite movies, Julie and Julia – where blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge was to cook all the recipes from Julia Child’s first book.

I don’t plan to showcase Mrs. Beeton only recipes on Foodiddy or anything like that, but I will from time to time highlight something from the book.


Perhaps I’ll host a dinner party using one of the five or six course dinner menus, I think that could be fun. While the thought of making roast saddle of mutton sort of frightens me, I think I could find other things like broiled salmon with mousseline sauce. It should be noted that I had to google “mousseline sauce” to learn that a mousseline sauce mirrors the smooth, flavorful elements of hollandaise sauce – but with the added benefit of the addition of rich whipped cream. Mousseline translates as “muslin” in French, so classic mousseline sauce needs to be served with other equally delicate textured foods, like fish. Probably why Mrs. Beeton suggests it with salmon. Smart lady that Isabella.


My 1930′s edition has many ads in the inside cover pages. The book contains 32 color plates and nearly 700 black and white illustrations – another thing for this graphic designer to geek out on.


Not sure what it means that my first thought on seeing the Chapter VII title “Marketing” was to immediately go to “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising” and not – getting my trolley/buggy ready for food shopping. I guess working at an ad agency and later for a marketing firm has stuck with me for good.


In Chapter I – The Mistress, Isabella made it clear that the mistress of the house was not expected to dirty her hands – the majority of Isabella’s instructions are designed to be carried out by servants. The book contains meticulously detailed advice on the duties of a wide variety of staff – cooks, dairy-maids, kitchen-maids, nurse-maids, valets, lady’s-maids, footmen and the like. Last note of this post: That ain’t happening at Palace de Foodiddy.

One last item from my search… I found a Mrs. Beeton post on Peak a Boo Vintage where Krissy blogs about her obsession with vintage cookbooks… she also shares images from episodes of Downton Abbey that showcase copies of Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management and Mrs. Beeton’s Family Cookery on the bookshelves of Downton kitchen. I have yet to watch any Downton Abbey episodes, but I know some of my readers are a tad obsessed with the show. Britt… Barbara… Bonnie…Gail…Kristen… I know my Mom and I would love it. I need to plan a day where we just start with season 1.


My gifted copy of Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management will continue to proudly sit in my entry way next to some strangers suitcase I picked up at my favorite antique store. Not a very romantic story – hmmm… proudly sits next to_____________  help me fill in the blank. I need a good suitcase story that matches the history and magic of the book… and go!


Well… it’s about that time. I need to head off to my not so “modern bedroom” for slumber. Until next time…

Permanent link to this article: http://foodiddy.com/?p=9737

Apr 15 2014

Broiled Grapefruit w/Honey and Bananas

Carolyn’s neighbor gave her two giant bags of yellow grapefruits from her tree and I jumped at the chance to take some home with me when she offered. Did you know that the grapefruit got its name from the way it grows in clusters (like grapes) on the tree? There is no mistaking a grapefruit tree, they are large with glossy dark green leaves and the fruit hangs in clusters. In California the peak season for grapefruit is January through June.


I immediately searched on Pinterest, Food Network and other recipe websites to find something to make. I kept finding recipes where they broiled the grapefruit with brown sugar or honey. I knew I had both, so I thought I’d give it a try. One of the recipes I came across suggested using ginger, cinnamon, bananas and/or strawberries as possible toppers.


I gave my grapefruit a nice water bath/scrub and then I sliced it in half. It was gorgeous…


I opted to go with bananas, ground cinnamon and honey as my toppers.


I used my makeshift grapefruit knife. I had accidentally slammed my Pampered Chef Quikut Paring Knife in the drawer a few months ago, creating the perfect curved blade for sectioning out the grapefruit. If you do a google search for “grapefruit cutting” you will find the many different ways people have perfected sectioning, segmenting and slicing grapefruit. I just used my knife to cut around the circle. I then traced each section with my knife and placed both halves onto a baking sheet.


Next up was drizzling the honey over each grapefruit half. I wasn’t precise with my measurements, I just kept squeezing as I drizzled a pattern across each half… while juggling my camera.


I then added sliced banana pieces and drizzled a second layer of honey. This might be where I would do a light dusting of brown sugar next time to help with the caramelization under the broiler.


I sprinkled ground cinnamon on top of the honey drizzled banana pieces and then I placed my baking sheet and grapefruit under the broiler.


I watched the grapefruit like a hawk. I am the queen of burning bread or anything else I place under the broiler. I find that I get the best broil results when the door is ajar. Leaving the door open helps vent the steam that generates, leaving the oven environment very hot and dry – this helps create a good crust on garlic bread or in this case, grapefruit, honey and bananas. Total broil time was just over 4 minutes.


I probably could have left the grapefruit halves under the broiler a little longer to help with the caramelization, but I didn’t want to burn them. I loved the cinnamon/banana combination and the sweetness of the honey helped with the tangy and slightly bitter flavor of the grapefruit.


Carolyn found a recipe for broiled grapefruit that included an oat crumble, that might be another option to try with one of the remaining grapefruits.


I tend to stick with my favorite fruit – an apple… so this was a great morning switch-up. I normally purchase Ruby Red Grapefruit because they seem to be a little sweeter. Way back when I was doing the fruit and vegetable challenge through my work, I learned that red grapefruit also has significantly higher levels of vitamin A. One cup of red grapefruit provides about 50 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A. In contrast, yellow (white) grapefruit only offers 2 percent of your daily recommended amount.


The rest of my grapefruits will go into the fridge. You can store grapefruit at room temperature up to a week, or up to 8 weeks in your refrigerator. Now I’m off to find more recipes to experiment with. I’m thinking grapefruit granita, a citrus salad or grapefruit cupcakes are next on my list.


Thanks Carolyn for supplying me with your neighbor’s wonderful grapefruit. Can’t wait to see what you end up making with your haul.




Permanent link to this article: http://foodiddy.com/?p=9730

Apr 07 2014

Vintage Trailer Show & Antique Flea Market

I attended Red Door Antique’s Vintage Trailer Show and Antique Flea Market in Old Town Elk Grove Plaza back on March 22. Things have been a little crazy, so I delayed blogging about it until now. General admission was $5 and a portion of the proceeds went to the Elk Grove Historical Society. The Red Door is one of my favorite antique stores and I was happy to support them and their effort to bring something new to the city of Elk Grove.

Elk Grove Vintage Trailer Show

Carolyn has had a fascination with vintage trailers for some time and from previous posts you know that we are also slightly obsessed with hunting for antiques and fun treasures. Carolyn and I started off the morning with a trail walk, we then hit up Starbucks and some garage sales before joining up with Aaron for a fantastic day of retro trailers, antique vendors and food truck eats.


I absolutely loved Barry and Faye’s 1964 Shasta Compact Trailer. The owners of the trailers were so proud of their projects and super willing to let you step into the trailers to check them out. We loved hearing stories of special trips and about groups they belong to.


I was a little obsessed with the level of detail in some of the trailer kitchenettes. From the dishes, to the salt and pepper shakers to the curtain fabric and custom pillows, lots of thought went into decorating. Carolyn, Aaron and I talked about how it compares to a club house, or doll house and I’m pretty sure that’s what drives these owners to be so creative and to have fun with their spaces.



Ha-ha! I just loved the propane tank apron detail…


And the bumper was pretty funny too…


The above 1966 Airstream Tradewind was completely customized by Airstream technicians at the Jackson Center, Ohio Factory. The owner and her neighbor referred to what they do as “Glamping” – we got a tour of all the “at home” glamour features. (Photo by Carolyn)


Leather booth seating with a Paris theme throughout… no vintage/retro going on here!


They even had lavender sachets hanging from the hooks over each bed.


The bathroom was a major upgrade and plus to them. Much better than camp site bathrooms or a hole in the ground, ha!  While this was a pretty incredible trailer, I’m guessing it probably cost more than my house.


This Cardinal Deluxe had an adorable retro kitchen…


(Above photo by Carolyn) The turquoise and yellow teamed with the natural wood was a cool look.


The sleeping space was pretty big too.


Next up was a 1966 Aloha Trailer with a western theme… lots of lace and burlap.


I missed the make and model of this trailer, but I loved the shabby chic interior, especially the chandelier and tea cup shelf.


I didn’t take photos of all the trailers, just some of my favorites. Next up was reminiscing and shopping for antiques while borrowing ideas for future craft projects.


Remember the game Cootie? I used to play with my BFF Denise and her sister Nicole ALL. THE. TIME. Also notice the vintage toy truck? Just like the one Aaron gave me… now I’m on the hunt for more, love that they planted cactus in the back bed… also think it would be fun to turn some bike wheels into a photo gallery in my office. I’m seeing more and more rusted out bed springs at every antique show – just like the ones I got in Placerville around Halloween.


I don’t have a need to make this many bread loaves, but I bet these vintage army pans could be used as display shelves for small collectibles.


4 banana breads at a time… now that would be magical.


Vintage postcards distressed on pieces of wood would make for some pretty cool table numbers or place cards. I also liked the vintage doctor’s bag with the plant. Turning spoons and photos into necklaces seems to be very popular too… I would love to experiment with some metal stamping.

By the time we made our way through the rows and rows of trailers and antique vendors, we had worked up quite the appetite. The Skinny Vanilla Latte I had earlier was not enough.


Aaron and I hit up Heavenly Dog for corn dogs.


Delicious! Nothing beats a good corn dog… I really need to try making the batter and deep frying them at home.


(Above photo by Carolyn) – Carolyn hit up Sacatomatoes. I’ve been wanting to try the truck, but the corn dog smells took over and there was no way I wasn’t going to get one. Sacatomatoes is a Sacramento based food truck that focuses on 100% locally sourced ingredients. Their menu changes with what is available.



Carolyn ordered the rabbit sausage breakfast sandwich… with a cheese skirt and fabulous bun. She said it was delicious!


Freshly squeezed lemonade was also enjoyed by Aaron from Costa’s Finest Kettle Corn out of Lodi. I was tempted to buy some Kettle Corn and regretted that I didn’t later.


We passed by these 1948 Doodle Bug Scooters on our way out and man were they adorable.



A traveling bar… now that’s genius.

We had a really fun day and enjoyed touring through the trailers. I can’t wait until Carolyn gets one so we can get started on our new club house. ;)

Thanks Carolyn for sharing some of your photos with me for this blog post – they would have looked fabulous on your own blog, hint…hint…



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