Archive | October 2016

National Chocolate Day ~ October 28, 2016

Today is National Chocolate Day! Here is a fantastic recipe from Mount Vernon for George Washington’s favorite morning beverage: Chocolate Cream.  This is very simple and can be made in your own kitchen this weekend – especially fitting with the cool temperatures 🙂


(Picture from Mount Vernon)


In the Kitchen Today…Johnny Cakes

It was a wonderful day in the kitchen.

My daughter in law, Alice, and I made Johnny Cakes. What exactly is Johnny Cake? It is kind of like a cornmeal flatbread and you might even be familiar with these other names used throughout history: hoecake, corncake, ashcake and pone.  Some think that the name Johnny Cake may have even be derived from  the term “journey cake” because the cakes could be taken along on long trips and baked on ones travels. Click here to read more about  the history of Johnny Cake.

The recipe we used today is here.

This was  very simple and easy recipe to make. It literally took minutes and you most likely have these ingredients right in your kitchen.

Some of our notes from today:

The cakes were savory than sweet. Salty. Very dense.  Kind of like a hush puppy.

Not fluffy. The exterior was very crispy.  Interior very moist.

Used unsalted butter. Skim milk.

Made a few small cakes (if you want to make a lot – recommend doubling or tripling the recipe)

It was interesting to make the Johnny Cake in a skillet. I imagine the soldiers would have made this the same exact way – except for over a campfire.  This recipe was so simple and so easy to make and if you get the chance, I highly recommending you making it in your own kitchen. It truly is so fun to make (and taste) foods that our ancestors once ate and enjoyed.

In the Kitchen Today…Molasses Cookies

We spent a wonderful time in the kitchen today with family and friends as we experimented with using an authentic Civil War recipe to make a batch of Molasses cookies. Did you know that one of the most popular foods of the soldiers were Molasses cookies? Sugar was very, very expensive during the war years as well as sugar was slowly processed.  Molasses was an alternative choice due to it being less processed (and less expensive).

Molasses Cookies

“A cup of brown sugar, one of molasses, one of lard, half a cupful of boiling water, one spoonful of ginger, one of saleratus (baking soda with impurities), one of salt and flour enough to roll. Beat the sugar, lard, molasses, saleratus and ginger together; then pour on the boiling water and mix in the flour. Roll about three-fourths of an inch thick and cut with round cutter. Bake in a quick oven (375 to 400 degrees)”

Our notes from today: The recipe called for a “spoonful” of a few ingredients and we had to decide whether to use a teaspoon or tablespoon (teaspoon won!) and because we did not have lard on hand, we used margarine in it’s place and seemed to work just fine.  We also used Self Rising Flour so that we didn’t need to add in the baking soda and salt. Also, the recipe said to “mix in the flour” and it was a fun time trying to figure out how many cups of flour to use (we used a little over 8 cups).  In the end, the cookies came out fabulous and we were very excited to have made an authentic recipe used in the Civil War era.

We used the recipe from Regimental Cooking


Celebrating Family

In 2001, Congress first passed the resolution introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, to designate each October as Family History Month.

“By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human family.” – Senator Orrin Hatch

Here is a photo of my grandparents on their wedding day in 1930. How will you celebrate and share your family history this month?


October is Family History Month

In honor of Family History Month (this entire month yay!) I wanted to share with you one of my most treasured books. It tells the true story of Robert E Lee’s great granddaughter discovering her family’s receipts (recipes) and household tips in an old scrapbook and her journey of making the recipes of Martha Washington to her own great-grandmother, Mrs. Mary Custis Lee. It truly is a treasure and perfect for #familyhistorymonth 14479745_514598055404296_8737841212129401793_n

Welcome to The Historical Homemaker

I have had this vision for a long time now on how I could potentially express my love and appreciation for American history. Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the stories of our founding fathers and of course, our founding mothers.  Their stories fascinated me, visiting the homes where they once ate and slept were so intriguing.  I will never forget how excited I was as a child to see the bedroom that George Washington slept (and died) in at Mount Vernon or be in the same room at Arlington House where Robert E. Lee wrote his resignation letter to the U.S. Army because he did not want to take up arms against his homeland in Virginia.

Throughout the years, I have been incredibly blessed to share my joy of American history with my two sons – we spent many days visiting civil war battlefields (most recently Gettysburg!) historic homes and monuments. In 1999, my oldest son and I had the chance to be at Mount Vernon for the reenactment of George Washington’s funeral.  For us to share this historic experience together was amazing. As their mother, I have always felt it was very important to share these stories of our past with them so that they, in turn, will pass these stories down to their own children someday and these stories will continue to be shared with the generations to come.

I am incredibly excited to share my journey with you – of all things and all aspects of American history.


Coleen, The Historical Homemaker