Webster Museum

Happy Dan's Kitchen

A little Winter Fun

Melted Snowmen

Melted Snowmen Cookies

For the Cookies
  • 2 1/2 cups (375g) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7/8 cup (175g) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (165g) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy (about 5 minutes). Add in the vanilla and egg and mix.

Add contents of flour mixture to butter and sugar mix and combine.

The dough may appear to be dry and crumbly at first. Continue kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and well combined.

Put the dough into a sealed container and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350f.

Cover a cookie sheet with baking paper.

Roll out the dough to about 3/16" (5mm) thickness.

Use a circular cookie cutter or the rim of a drinking glass to cut out about 12 discs.

Place the discs on the cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

Repeat with remaining dough to make 12 additional cookies.

For the Icing
  • 1 cup (160g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk

Combine the powdered sugar and milk.

Place a spoonful of the icing mixture on top of each cookie, allowing the icing to spread irregularly to the edges of each cookie.

For the Fondant
  • 8 oz (226g) marshmallow fluff
  • 4 cups (640g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Place the marshmallow fluff and vanilla in large greased bowl. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until the fondant is pliable and no longer sticky.

Pinch off a small piece of fondant and roll it into a ball using the palms of your hands. Place the fondant ball about center top of a cookie.

Repeat the process for each cookie.

If you would like to skip the fondant, marshmallows can be used in their place.

For the Decorations
  • Gummy Worms
  • Writing icing (black or brown)
  • M&M’s Minis

Lay out a gummy worm as straight as possible. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the gummy worm in half lengthwise.

Carefully wrap the gummy worm around the fondant ball forming a scarf.

Using an orange gummy worm, cut 24 triangular "noses" using a sharp knife. Place the nose in the center of the fondant ball.

Place M&M’s Minis down the center of the biscuits to form buttons. Use the writing icing to pipe arms on each cookie.

Art of Cookery

Art of Cookery - Made Plain and Easy.

Mount Vernon's kitchen

One of two cook books found in the kitchen of Mount Vernon following Martha Washington's death in 1802 was The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. The book was originally published in 1747 and attributed to author Hannah Glasse, though it is possible the name is a pseudonym for a male author, Dr. John Hill. View the Book

The other cook book found was a handwritten volume that Martha Washington inherited from her first husband's mother, Frances Parke Custis and is currently in the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In 1996, author Karen Hess transcribed the recipes into a book titled Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery.

The Mount Vernon website has an extensive collection of period recipes available online.

The PBS program, A Taste of History, has filmed several episodes from the kitchen at Mount Vernon.

Communing with Nature

Pigeons in Fricandos

AFTER having trussed your pigeons with their legs in their bodies, divide them in two, and lard them with bacon; then lay them in a stew-pan with the larded side downwards, and two whole leeks cut small, two ladlefuls of mutton broth, or veal gravy; cover them close over a very slow fire, and when they are enough make your fire very brisk, to waste away what liquor remains: when they are of a fine brown take them up, and pour out all the fat that is left in the pan; then pour in some veal gravy to loosen what sticks to the pan, and a little pepper; stir it about two or three minutes and pour it over the pigeons. This is a pretty little side-dish.

From The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy, 1747, by Hannah Glasse, pdf

Squirrel Stewed

Skin them very carefully, so as not to allow the hair to touch the flesh; this can be done by cutting a slit under the throat, and as you pull it off, turn the skin over, so as to inclose the hair. Cut the squirrel in pieces (discard the head), and lay them in cold water; put a large table-spoonful of lard in a stew-pan, with an onion sliced, and a table-spoonful of flour; let fry until the flour is brown, then put in a pint of water, the squirrel seasoned with salt and pepper, and cook until tender. When half done put in some strips of nice puff-paste and a little butter.

From The Gulf City Cook Book, 1878, The ladies of the St. Francis St. Methodist Episcopal Church South, Mobile, Alabama, pdf

Possum Roasted with Sweet Potatoes

Dress; rub inside and out with salt and red or black pepper; place in a roasting pan with a teacupful of boiling water, a tablespoonful of butter, one of vinegar and a half dozen or more small potatoes, peeled. Baste the meat frequently; when tender, remove to a dish and garnish with the potatoes and parsley.

From The New Annie Dennis Cook Book, 1921, by Annie Dennis, pdf

Thick Hare Soup

Cut a good-sized hare into pieces, saving all the blood. Place the hare in a stewpan with 4 stalks of celery, 2 onions, 2 carrots, all sliced, a sprig of thyme, 1 bay leaf, a blade of mace, and 2 cloves, with 4 ozs. melted butter, and brown well. Sprinkle in 4 ozs. flour, toss well, and moisten with 2 large glasses of port wine. Now add 6 pints of good brown stock, and the blood, and simmer all for 2 hours.

Take out the pieces of hare, putting the best pieces aside and pounding the remainder to a pulp. Stir in the pounded meat, simmer 10 minutes, then strain. Re-heat soup, add some cubed meat from the pieces set aside, season to taste and serve.

Unless one can obtain a small hare and stew the best back pieces, using the forequarter only for the soup, it would be impossible to make this soup in small amounts. However, if the forequarter only is used and half the ingredients as given above, the yield would be 8 portions.

From The Master Book of Soups, by Henry Smith, pdf

Mushroom Catsup

USE the larger kind known as umbrellas or "flaps." They must be very fresh and not gathered in very wet weather, or the catsup will be less apt to keep. Wash and cut them in two to four pieces, and place them in a wide, flat jar or crock in layers, sprinkling each layer with salt, and let them stand for twenty-four hours; take them out and press out the juice, then bottle and cork; put the mushrooms back again, and in another twenty-four hours press them again; bottle and cork; repeat this for the third time, and then mix together all the juice extracted; add to it pepper, allspice, one or more cloves according to quantity, pounded together; boil the whole, and skim as long as any scum rises; bottle when cool; put in each bottle two cloves and a pepper-corn. Cork and seal, put in a dry place, and it will keep for years.

From The White House Cook Book, 1913, by Fanny Gillette and Hugo Ziemann, pdf

Union Oyster House

Union Oyster House

Dine where Daniel Dined

Not long before John Lett's opened his tavern to Webster's town founders, a restaurant called Atwood & Bacon opened in Boston, Massachusetts specializing in seafood. It soon became known as The Union Oyster House.

One of the restaurant's frequent customers was Daniel Webster who could often be seen sitting at the restaurant's semi-circle bar consuming oysters and sipping brandy.

John Lett's historic tavern is long gone, but on a visit to Boston today, it's still possible to sit at the Daniel Webster bar, eat oysters, and drink brandy at The Union Oyster House, one of the oldest continually operating restaurants in the United States and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On the Cheap

Lambs' Tongues with Artichokes

Take for preference, corned lambs' or sheeps' tongues of a good pink color, and boil them not less than 2 hours, which may be done the evening before they are served, if more convenient. Put them into cold water and peel off the outside and split them lengthwise in two. Having the halves ready in a dish when the roast meat is done, after taking it out lay the tongues in the fat and glaze in the baking pan for about 5 minutes,then take them out slightly browned and glazed and keep hot. Cook an artichoke for each dish, as directed further on, boiling them, that is to say, like summer cabbage or cauliflower, but cut them in halves instead of quarters; only scoop out the fibrous part before cooking. Drain them well. Serve half a tongue in the small dish and a half artichoke at each end, and a spoonful of brown gravy over the vegetable without covering the tongue. Tongue and spinach may be served the same way.

From Cooking for profit, 1893, by Jessop Whitehead, pdf

Tripe Fricassée

Wash and dry 1 1/2 lbs. of dressed tripe, cut in pieces 2 1/2 inches square, put in a saucepan and cover with equal parts of milk and water. Season with salt, bring to the boil and skim. Then add 2 chopped onions, a little chopped parsley and a few peppercorns. Simmer gently for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Twenty minutes or so before serving thicken the sauce with 1 oz. of butter kneaded with 1 oz. of flour. Stir till quite smooth. When done, put the pieces of tripe on a hot dish and strain the sauce over them.

From Entrées, 1935, by Countess Morphy, pdf

Bubble and Squeak

Cut some slices (not too thin) of cold boiled round, or edge-bone, of salt beef; trim them neatly, as also an equal number of pieces of the white fat of the beef, and set them aside on a plate. Boil two summer or savoy cabbages, remove tbe stalks, chop them fine, and put them into a stewpan with four ounces of fresh butter and one ounce of glaze; season with pepper and salt. "When about to send to table, fry tbe slices of beef in a sauta or frying pan, commencing with tbe pieces of fat; stir the cabbage on the fire until quite hot, and then pile it up in the centre of the dish; place the slices of beef and the pieces of fat round it, pour a little thin brown sauce over the whole, and serve.

From The Modern Cook, 1846, by Charles Elmé Francatelli, pdf


The New York Public Library has an excellent collection of restaurant menus from multiple decades that provide a glimpse into what people were actually eating when they dined in public.

Mart Ackerman's Wellington St. Toronto, ON - 1856

The Metropolitan Hotel, NYC - 1859

Revere House, Boston MA - 1865

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