Apr 10, 2015

F.F.F Strawberry,Pear, & Rhubarb Pie

I LOVE Strawberry Rhubarb pie!  So when I saw some beautiful fresh Rhubarb in the produce section right beside strawberries on sale, I knew pie would be on the menu.

This pie is a step away from the traditional strawberry and rhubarb version.  It adds pears, fresh ginger, nutmeg, lemon zest and a pinch or two of cinnamon.  The result is amazing as long as you like strawberry and rhubarb pies.  Lucky for me, my daughter is the only other person in the house with any interest in this magically tart and sweet combination, so we had it all to ourselves.

Strawberry Pear & Rhubarb Pie
2 large stalks of Rhubarb with strings removed and chopped
1 lb Strawberries chopped
2 Pears chopped I used Asian Pears
Zest of one Lemon
1/4-1/2 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg I love nutmeg so I go for the full 1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp. freshly grated Ginger
1/4 -1/2 tsp cinnamon
Sugar to taste depending on the sweetness of your fruit. I used  3/4 C
Thickener of your choice.  I used 11/2 Tbs. corn starch and 1 Tbs. tapioca flour because it was what I had on hand
1 or 2 pie crust  I went with a store bought gluten free crust single crust to save calories over the traditional double crust version.  However, any crust recipe will do and a double crust could be used.

Prep ingredients and pie crust.  Mix first 9 ingredients well but gently.  Pour into prepared pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees til crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let cool and enjoy as is or add a dollop of whipped cream.  This pie is also excellent with a scoop of ice cream on top if you can wait til it cools, or on bottom with the pie as a gooey topping if you can't wait.

Mar 26, 2015

Victorian Vanities - Sea Foam Hair Cleanser

In case you didn't like Shampoo Cream, here is another hair cleansing option from The Era Formulary:  5000 Formulas for Druggists, printed in 1893.  This one for a "Sea Foam" and is found with other Sea Foam options on p. 194. FYI, Sea foams don't suds up like modern or not so modern shampoos, or soaps.  However, the ammonia and Alcohol are sure to cut any grease from ones hair whether natural or added.  They are also supposed to create a light foam when used.  I've gotten my nerve up to give this one a try if I can endure the fumes and will post my results later.  However for now, enjoy the recipe:

Sea Foam
Glycerine 1 ounce.
Ammonia 2 ounces.
Alcohol 16 ounces.
Water enough to make 32 ounce


General Observations:
The name is a bit misleading.  I got no suds, no foam.  Now maybe my hair was too clean and on "period styled" hair laden with fat rich products, some kind of saponification might take place, but I have my doubts. 

This stuff smells very strongly of ammonia and alcohol.  Not the most pleasant smelling stuff.

My hair seems very clean and soft (from the glycerin). 

My color treated hair is lighter than before the wash, so I'm guessing the ammonia strips some of the color.  It was time for a touch up anyway.

Would I use it again?
Probably not.  Unless I've used a heavy pomade and need to strip the waxes and oils from my hair.

Mar 22, 2015

Victorian Vanities - Shampoo Cream

The History
Compared to our Victorian ancestors, we wash the dickens out of our hair.  The idea of a daily washing would have seemed at best, ridiculously excessive, and at worst, dangerous to great great great grandma Flora.

In the 1850's and 60's, and to some extent, the 70's and 80's frequent washing was also counter productive to creating a fashionable style. That is because preferred hair styles were smooth and sleek. Wild frizzy hair just didn't cut it, and though there were plenty of styling aids available, natural oils from the scalp do a fabulous job taming one's mane at no additional expense.  During this time, you can find references that swear all one's hair needs for cleansing is careful brushing, a rinse in the purest of water, or if very dirty perhaps a homemade egg shampoo.  

As hairstyles change toward the end of the century and sleek styles give way to frizzy fringes and more pouf, oily hair can't keep up, and cleansing practices change.  We start to see more recipes for hair cleansers that contain soaps, or other oil cutting ingredients.  We also see beauty advice that recommends regular cleansing with gentle washes or the use of hair powders to absorb excess oil.

It is fun to note that even in the 1890's one can find druggists recipes for shampoos that are made with egg.  On page 193 and 194 of The Era Formulary:  5000 Formulas for Druggists, printed in 1893 you can find 4 different recipes using eggs.  Two call for the white, one calls for the yolk, and the last calls for the entire egg.  Depending on the formula, these egg shampoos contained additional ingredients like borax, ammonia, alcohol, rose water, fragrance, and even tincture of cantharides, an extract from the blister beetle which causes skin irritation.

The Recipe
For my Victorian Vanities presentation, I created 2 recipes from the above mentioned book.  Neither contain eggs, but both are unique in their own measure.

The sample recipe I'm sharing today is for Shampoo Cream and is taken from page 193 of The Era Formulary, mentioned above.

Shampoo Cream
Soap (fine, white. in shreds), 1/2 ounce,
rose water, 1 fluid ounce,
solution of ammonia, 1 fluid ounce,
alcohol or bay rum,1/2 fluid ounce,
rain water, 8 fluid ounces.

Dissolve the soap in the rain water by heat, and when nearly cool add the ammonia, rose water and alcohol, stirring constantly.

When I first made up this "shampoo cream", I went back and checked 3 times to see if I had missed something in the recipe because there was nothing cream like about it.  It had the consistency and appearance of water.  However, after standing for 3 days, the solution began to thicken.  After a week of resting with periodic shaking, it was definitely something one might call a cream, albeit a strangely congealed and gloppy one.

After a months time sitting on a shelf, it has separated, but a quick shake and it's back to it's gloppy self.  I have no idea how this works.  I'm still a bit hesitant to try it.