Culinary History Collection


Current Editor: Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Issue 3 Summer 2002

Recipes from Mary Randolph's the Virginia Housewife

Recipes selected from The Virginia Housewife by Mrs. Mary Randolph with Historical Notes and Commentaries by Karen Hess. (A facsimile of the first edition, 1824, along with additional material from the editions of 1825 and 1828, thus presenting a complete text) . Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina Press. 1984. This book is part of the Culinary Collection--call number--TX 715 R215 1984.

Apple Fritters

Pare some apples, and cut them in thin slices, put them in a bowl, with a glass of brandy, some white wine, a quarter of a pound of pounded sugar, a little cinnamon finely powdered, and the rind of a lemon grated; let them stand some time, turning them over frequently; beat two eggs very light, add one quarter of a pound of flour, a table-spoonful of melted butter; and as much cold water as will make a thin batter; drip the apples on a sieve, mix them with the batter; take one slice with a spoonful of butter for each fritter, fry them quickly of a light brown, drain them well, put them in a dish, sprinkling sugar over each, and glaze them nicely.

Apoquiniminc Cakes


Put little salt, one egg beaten, and four ounces of butter, in a quart of flour; make it into a paste with new milk, beat it for half an hour with a pestle, roll the paste thin, and cut it into round cakes; bake them on a gridiron, and be careful not to burn them.


Soak them in cold water, wash them well, then put them into plenty of boiling water, with a handful of salt, and let them boil gently till they are tender, which will take an hour and a half, or two hours; the surest way to know when they are done enough, is to draw out a leaf; trim them and drain them in a sieve, and send up melted butter with them; which some put into small cups so that each guest may have one.

Bread Pudding

Grate the crumb of a stale loaf, and pour on it a pint of boiling milk, let it stand an hour, then beat it to a pulp; add six eggs, well beaten, half a pound of butter, the same of powdered sugar, half a nutmeg, a glass of brandy, and some grated lemon peel &endash;put a paste in the dish, and bake.

Chicken Pudding, a Favorite Virginia Dish

Beat ten eggs, very light, add to them a quart of rich milk, with a quarter pound of butter melted, and some pepper and salt, stir in as much flour as will make a thin good batter; take four young chickens, and after cleaning them nicely, cut off the legs, wings, &c. put them all in a sauce pan, with some salt and water and a bundle of thyme and parsley, boil them till nearly done, then take the chicken from the water and put it in the batter, pour it in a deep dish and bake.

Field Peas

There are many varieties of these peas, the smaller kind are the most delicate. Have them young and newly gathered, shell and boil them tender, pour them in a colander to drain; put some lard in a frying-pan, when it boils, mash the peas, and fry them in a cake of a light brown; put it in the dish with the crust uppermost, garnish with thin bits of fried bacon. They are very nice when fried whole, so that each peas distinct from the other, but they must be boiled less, and fried with great care. Plain boiling is a very common way of dressing them.

Potatoe Balls

Mix mashed potatoes with the yelk of an egg, roll them into balls, flour them, or cover them with egg and bread crumbs, fry them in clean dripping, or brown them in a Dutch oven. They are an agreeable vegetable relish, and a supper dish.

Raspberry Cream

Stir as much raspberry marmalade into a quart of cream as will be sufficient to give a rich flavour of the fruit, strain it and fill your glasses, leaving out a part to whip into froth for the top.

Shrewsbury Cakes

Cream one pound of butter, add a pound of powdered sugar, with a pound and a half of flour, six eggs, a grated nutmeg, and a gill of brandy; work it well, roll it thin, and cut it in shapes; put them on tin sheets, and bake without discolouring them.


Great care must be used in washing and picking it clean; drain it and throw it into boiling water--a few minutes will boil it sufficiently; press out all the water, put it in a stew-pan with a piece of butter, some pepper and salt, chop it continually with a spoon till it is quite dry; serve it with poached eggs or without as you please.

Sweet-Potato Pudding

Boil one pound of sweet potatoes very tender, rub them while hot through a colander, add six eggs, well beaten, three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar, three quarters of butter, and some grated nutmeg and lemon-peel, with a glass of brandy; put a paste in the dish, and when the pudding is done, sprinkle the top with sugar, and cover it with bits of citron. Irish potato pudding is made in the same manner, but is not so good.

Turnip Tops

Are the shoots, which grow out, (in the spring,) from the old turnip roots. Put them into cold water and hour before they are dressed; the more water they are boiled in the better they will look; if boiled in a small quantity of water, they will taste bitter; when the water boils, put in a small handful of salt, and then your vegetables; they are still better boiled with bacon in the Virginia style; if fresh and young they will be done in about twenty minutes; drain then in the back if a sieve, and put then under the bacon.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves

Take lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, and mint, of each a large handful; put them in a pot of earthen ware, pour on them four quarts of very strong vinegar, cover the pot closely, and put a board over the top; keep it in the hottest sun for two weeks, and then strain and bottle it, putting in each bottle a clove of garlic. When it has settled in the bottle and become clear, pour it off gently; do this until you get it all free from sediment. The proper time to make it is when the herbs are in full vigour, in June. This vinegar is very refreshing in crowded rooms, in the apartments of the sick; and is peculiarly grateful when sprinkled about the house in damp weather.

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Last modified on: 06.08.04 by Mark B. Gerus
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