Friday, December 18, 2009

A Taste of Ancient Rome

I love cookbooks, especially A Taste of Ancient Rome.  It is a history of ancient roman recipes and the author has translated them so we can try to experience the taste sensations of ages past.  I especially found the chapter on meat fascinating.  Did you know that Romans kept dormice in clay jars?  Yep. And when Suetonius had a hankering for dormice stew, all he had to do was crack one open and slaughter the sleepy beastlet and throw him in a pot with some turnips.

If you have a Retro Food Kink, this book should be in your library.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Marrow pudding and what this blog is all about!

    This blog was inadvertently named by one of my Facebook friends, Amy.  She made a comment about one of my food thoughts and called my interests "Retro Food Kink".  Indeed it is.  I love old cookbooks and history.  My favorite cookbooks are 19th century cookbooks, but I really can't resist any cookbook.  I just love them, and always have. 

    So now you know why my blog is named Retro Food Kink.  I plan to capture my food adventures as I cook recipes from my "retro" cookbooks.  Although, some of my entries may not be from any cookbook, but  rather from my imagination, only based on old cooking techniques, ingredients, etc. Or it might be an answer to a question such as , " What would Mrs. Bridges do?" [Note: Mrs. Bridges was the cook on Upstairs, Downstairs].

    Beside individual dishes and cooking techniques I am also interested in how food was served.  One of my plans is to have a traditional 19th century/early 20th century full twelve course meal.  I have read about them, seen them in movies, but I dream of planning, cooking and serving one.  I have been working on my menu for over two years and I realize that I will need some help when I finally make it.  Have you ever cooked a twelve course meal? 

    Lets get on with a recipe.  This weekend I made Marrow Pudding.  I read about it on  So I looked through my cookbooks for  various recipes, one of which was in the Mary Randolph cookbook, and surfed around on the web.  I discovered that Marrow Pudding is Bread Pudding with marrow.  To be honest, when I first saw the recipe I was horrified, but then I became curious.  Why would someone think that it would taste good to add bone marrow to a sweet dish?  I had to taste it myself.

    This is what I did.  I combined several recipes and created a new recipe.

    1 quart of milk
    Lemon peel
    1 t cinnamon
    1/4 t nutmeg
    1/2 powdered cloves
    1/2 c sugar
    8 eggs
    1/2 t salt
    1/2 c of chopped bone marrow
    Loaf of day old bread
    1 c orange marmalade
    3/4 c raisins
    3/4 c chopped dried apricots

    1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
    2.  Butter a pan.  Spread the marmalade on the bread and lay it in the pan like roof shingles.  Spread the raisins, apricots and marrow evenly over the bread.
    3. Put the milk, salt, lemon peel and spices in a pan and scald the milk.
    4.  Beat the 8 eggs gently and carefully add the hot milk. 
    5.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Let it sit a few moments so the bread has been really soaked with egg mixture.  You can use a spoon to gently push the bread down.
    6.  Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 350 degrees and cook another 30-40 minutes until the top is puffed and golden brown.
    7. Remove from oven and let cool.  Sprinkle some brandy over the pudding.  Serve warm or cold alone or with cream, custard, whatever really.

Try it and let me know how it came out!