Cooking

Recipes and Remedies in Her Own Hand

Vanilla Drops

This is the recipe I always use. Good.

Cream 1/2 cup butter and 2 cups sugar, add 2 eggs well beaten, 3/4 cup cold water, 2 heaping teaspoonfuls yeast powder, enough flour to make a stiff batter. Flavor with vanilla. Drop on well greased pans and bake in a moderately quick oven.*
This takes about 1 pt flour.

*about 375º

This recipe comes from a fascinating little book, Annie Flora Myer, Confederate Daughter of Fredericksburg: Recipes and Remedies in Her Own Hand, edited by her great grandniece Anne Ligon. It is available for reserve and check out through the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.

Hands-on Colonial Crafts

Chances are if you are studying colonial times, your teacher will assign a hands-on project. You could make a model of the Jamestown Fort or a copy of the Declaration of Independence-but why not try a craft that the colonists themselves would have done?

Every colonial family except for the very rich had to be able to make their own soap, candles, furniture, cloth, baskets, toys, and musical instruments. Below is one practical craft to try. Scroll down and check our lists of books and Web sites for more ideas.

Time for Tapas

You and your out-of-town guests have survived a blistering day of fun in the Virginia sunshine. Now comes the gracious hour to unwind in the shade. Something icy or relaxing to drink is certainly called for. And, as the conversation continues, your guests realize they are just a little bit hungry. Although it's too soon for dinner plans, this late afternoon sojourn is a perfect time for tapas. The light and delightful nibbles from Spain are memorable way to treat your guests—and yourself.

About Tapas

Plan a Perfect Picnic

The long, lazy days of summer aren't quite over, and in Virginia, picnic weather continues through most of the fall, to include tailgate season. The library's shelves are brimming with cookbooks of all kinds to suit most every taste. Come browse our shelves, and try out some new recipes for your next friendly get-together in the sweet sunshine.

Just Peachy!

Quick Jumps to Recipes
Peach Ice Creams: Low Fat or Organic | Western Slope Peach Salsa | The Duchess of Windsor's Spiced Peaches

No sodium. No cholesterol. Extremely low in fat. High in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin as well being sweet and juicy—what's not to love about a peach? Unless sugar is a concern, they are certainly one of summer's most delightful guilt-free treats, and they are in season locally.

Legendary Origins

Making the Most of Strawberry Season

Strawberry season is upon us! The red, ripe berries fill baskets at farmers' market stands, and the Old Dominion celebrates the season with pick-your-own farms and strawberry festivals. It's time for some fresh recipes served with a dusting of culinary history.

The Mediterranean Diet - Che Cos'e'?

Nutrition and weight loss, two hot topics you can't avoid. Pick up any magazine or newspaper, listen to any news show, talk to any doctor, friend, or co-worker and the topic is bound to come up. Oddly, for all our interest in nutrition and weight loss, Americans have never been heavier. Fad diets abound but don't seem to work. How about a new diet—a new diet that's been around for centuries? A diet that lets you eat normal food, is tasty, filling and can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure? Sound too good to be true? Well, the Mediterranean Diet is all of these things.

Christmas Cookie Madness

There are two types of holiday cookie bakers. First, there are those who faithfully recreate their favorite recipes year after year to the acclaim of gift recipients. Yes, tried and true recipes are successful… but they can get a bit boring! Do their friends really wait each year with gleeful anticipation for the same old pecan sandies and rum balls, or do they secretly yearn for coconut lemon macaroons and double fudge bar cookies? If you are one of these bakers, take a breather from your holiday traditions, and try a fabulous new recipe!

Our Apple Harvest Makes for Two Splendid Seasons

Whether they're Galas, Granny Smiths, Yorks, Winesaps, or Ginger Golds, apples are one of Virginia's loveliest and most useful crops and were much enjoyed by the early colonists and pioneers as well as today's families. Crisp, sweet apples-- harvested in the chilly days of October, can be part of your celebrations in November and December.

An October Excursion to a Mountain Orchard

Making the Most of Strawberry Season

First, a Little History

Originally, strawberries were wild things. Their unique flavor and sweetness led to their cultivation. At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson grew Alpine Strawberries, a European import, among other varieties and shared the seeds with his friends. The plants were hardy and delicious, but the berries were tiny. Jefferson remarked that "100 would fill half a pint." Wild strawberries grew freely in abandoned fields and woods and were gathered by Indians and colonists alike.