The Historical Homemaker Kitchen

Apple Toddy

(Photo Credit: The Historical Homemaker)

“From the middle of the eighteenth century to the dawn of the twentieth, the toddy, a versatile and resilient precursor of the cocktail, dominated the landscape of American drinking…Around the 1780’s, a variant of the toddy appeared, even more popular in the Chesapeake region than the original: the apple toddy…Maryland had a special fondness for the drink that stretched into the early decades of the 1900s” – “Forgotten Maryland Cocktails” by Nicole and Gregory Priebe

Historical Recipe 

Makes 6 Gallons 


48 Apples   

(preferably Newtown Pippins)     ½ Pint Peach Brandy 

2 Gallons Water                 ½ Pint Curacao 

6 Pints French Brandy             1 Bottle Champagne 

3 Pints Apple Brandy             4 pounds of powdered leaf sugar 

3 Lemons peeled and thinly sliced        


Roast and quarter the apples. Pour two gallons of boiling water over the apples and let all stand till cold. 

Press through a sieve to remove the skin and the seeds.  

Add six pints of French Brandy to the mixture  Continue to add three pints of apple brandy, a half-pint of peach brandy, a half-pint of curacao, three sliced thin peeled lemons, one bottle of champagne and four pounds of powdered leaf sugar. 

Modern Recipe 


1 tsp honey                    

2 ounces of whiskey or apple brandy    

5 ounces of apple cider (to taste)       


Heat up the apple cider in a pan.  While heating the cider, warm up a coffee mug or Irish coffee glass. 

Coat the bottom of the warm coffee mug with honey and add the whiskey or apple brandy. 

Fill the mug with hot apple cider. 

To top off with garnish, you may add a lemon wedge, cinnamon stick or 2-3 cloves.  

Jefferson Davis Pie

I absolutely love Southern food.  Southern culture.  Southern…everything!

Growing up in Virginia and having a stepmother who was a native Virginian as well, it was a special treat to always have biscuits and gravy…macaroni and cheese…fried chicken…fried okra…mashed potatoes…and the pies? They were amazing! It was funny when my dad decided that he needed to go on a healthier diet due to his cholesterol issues and my stepmother had to figure out how to cook without Crisco. How does one cook without Crisco?

When I came across the recipe for Jefferson Davis Pie it reminded me immediately of the comforts of home and growing up in the South. It is very sweet, rich and yummy – all things that are so sinfully delicious! I love the history of it as well and knowing that the recipe was used by Jefferson Davis’ family was really interesting.

You can read more about the history of the pie right here courtesy of Sweet Tea and Cornbread.

Hope you get a chance to make it in your kitchen and taste the yumminess! Enjoy!

Barbara Bush’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mamie Eisenhower’s Sugar Cookies

Thomas Jefferson’s Maninated Asparagus

It is so much fun being able to make (and taste!) things that our ancestors once enjoyed. To be able to eat something that Thomas Jefferson enjoyed? Well, this is way too cool!

Thomas Jefferson had quite an exquisite taste for all things – especially food and he really enjoyed the French cuisine when he was the Minister to France from 1785 to 1789. One of his favorites was this French style marinated asparagus.

To read more about the history of Thomas Jefferson’s love for asparagus and view the recipe you can click here.

We had a lot of fun making it in the kitchen. It was very simple recipe to make and would make a perfect side dish. The only problem I had was…I didn’t know how to boil an egg correctly! I can do many things but boiling an egg was an issue

The next time you host a party or have to bring something for a potluck make this wonderful recipe and let people know…oh this is just a little something Thomas Jefferson liked.


Spoonbread is so simple to make and I love simple recipes that are not complex.  As I always like to point out: I am not a Martha Stewart type (no offense to the “Martha’s” out there!) Here is a wonderful recipe from Mount Vernon and its so neat to think that maybe Martha Washington used this same simple recipe to make this special treat for George.  The history of Spoonbread goes all the way back to the Native Americans and it was a favorite of President James Monroe’s.  The first recipe in print was published in 1847 in a fabulous cookbook authored by Sarah Rutledge titled: The Carolina Housewife.

Here is what we came up with in the kitchen tonight. It was simple. Fun. Yummy!