Blog post alert: Food history and children's fiction are two of my hobbies, so I was delighted to stumble across an old post, Biscuits (Cookies) w/ Sugar Flowers | The Little White Horse, at Fiction-Food.com. As it happened, when I found this site, I had just reread A Wrinkle in Time and so was amused to see that the blogger's archive included a post on Sandwiches & Hot Chocolate. And her recipe for a Sugar-Topped Cake looks just right for Mr. Tumnus' tea in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. A good diversion when I was supposed to be doing something else.
Picturing a World
Blog post alert: One of my heirloom treasures is a wooden Runkel Bros. Sweet Vienna Chocolate box from my great-grandmother's kitchen. I have used it as an ornament in my own kitchen, as a computer stand, and as—oh, I don't know—a talisman of some sort. Looking at it in this season when chocolate becomes important sent me off on an internet search. It landed me on A Golden Age: Chocolate in New York, 1850-1900, which has a section on the Runkel brothers and lots more. Enjoy!
The reward of blog-crawling on a rainy day was a post on "Harlequin Foods" at Victorian Paris. I knew that "pot-luck" soups were sold by street vendors to the poor, but get this: There was an entire trade in leftovers or rogatons from the kitchens of palaces, noble houses, fine hotels, embassies, and so on. The cook or the footman sold them to a vendor or reseller who came to the back door, and they began a journey of sorting and distribution until they reached a stall in Les Halles, where they might end up on a patchwork plate of mixed scraps more or less artfully arranged. In that form, they were called arlequins, probably because their patchwork appearance resembled the costume of the Commedia dell'arte character, Harlequin.