Posted by Caroline on August 04, 1997 at 22:16:26:
In reply to Any Regency cooks? posted by Margie on August 03, 1997 at 20:02:06
Is the poem the one that ends
"This pudding's without rhyme or reason" ?
If so,(and even if not) please put it up, and if you do make it, let us know what it's like!
If it is this pudding, then I think it is made with dried grapes, not with black or red currants. Here's the reasons why:
1. The tiny dried grapes,known as raisins of Corinth, from which name is derived "currant" have been a big import item in England since the Middle Ages.Apparently, in 1610, the Venetian Ambassador to London wrote home about the consternation in the court when Greece decided to restrict the import of "Corinth Raysins". So the Austen family would have been familiar with the term currant to describe dried grapes.
2.The poem I am thinking about describes a "wintery" or "all-season" pudding rather like a modern "Bread pudding", and that in itself, would require dried fruit. Fresh black/red/white currants have a very short season, and would probably be used in puddings which showed off their freshness and colour, something like "summer pudding," which is common in 18th century cookbooks. So why not use dried blackcurrants? I'm not sure you can dry blackcurrants without preservatives , especially in England's rather cool, damp, summer.
3.Martha's recipes which seem to refer to Black/red currants insist that they should be stripped from the stalks immediately before use. (These are jam and wine recipes.)There is no such instruction in the poem that I'm referring to.
Not entirely foolproof logic, but it makes me come down on the side of the dried grapes.
BTW, this poem, and more of Martha's recipes, can be found in Peggy Hickman's book in the bibliography.But she uses modern spelling. No "Currents" in there!
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