Welcome to our blog, SavoringthePast.net. The purpose of this blog is to open dialog with readers and to share insights regarding the history of food.

Food is a universal connection between people of differing cultures, locations, and ages. It’s easy to take for granted the foods we regularly enjoy, giving little thought to the origins of our favorite dishes or how they may have impacted history or evolved over time. The dinner table has always been a place for friends to gather to exchange ideas and engage in dialog ever since…well…ever since there were dinner tables.

While producing our video series called “18th Century Cooking with Jas. Townsend & Son,” we quickly realized there was simply too much interesting food history and information to share in our 10-minute productions. So we’ve started SavoringThePast.net as a means to share authentic recipes, foodie history, and all of the details we found most interesting from our research and experimentation. We invite you to join us at the table as we savor the flavors and aromas of centuries past.

By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with our video presentations, you can watch them on our channel at Youtube.com/jastownsendandson.

Our Facebook Page is https://www.facebook.com/jas.townsend

You can also visit our website http://jas-townsend.com  and request a print catalog here: http://jas-townsend.com/catalog_request.php


24 Responses to About

  1. John Marcum says:

    Since I’ve ordered Jas Townsend & Sons catalogue; you have been an inspiring resource to me, now with the discovery of your videos I have spent hours watching. I was wondering if in your neighbourhood if you have opened up a little cafe for the public to enjoy your 18 century cooking?

  2. Dear ★ Savoring the Past ★,
    I have nominated you/your lovely/shining blog, for the Sunshine Award!
    Please pick up your badge and information/rules on how to pass the torch and pay it forward at: http://faestwistandtango.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/sunshine-award/
    Wonderful Holiday Season to you and yours!
    😀 Fae.

  3. I was so pleased to find your blog! As a traditional Southern foods blogger I often delve into old recipes and techniques. As a customer of Jas. Townsend for many years I’m equally as likely to be found in a waistcoat and breeches. 🙂 I’ll be dropping in frequently to explore my favorite century and my favorite pastime with you!

  4. Charles Longfellow says:

    Have you at anytime posted up design plans for building a raised hearth w/oven as you feature in your videos?

  5. What a cool concept for a blog, I’m so glad to have stumbled across this 🙂

  6. Another well-deserved award nomination for you: the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! No obligation, but if you’d like to read more about it, see: http://revolutionarypie.com/2013/05/01/awards-day/#more-1100

  7. Dave says:

    Very nice blog and set of videos.

    Thanks for all the time and energy you put into sharing your knowledge with us. I ordered your Jas Townsend & Sons catalog, and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. My wife and I garden and do a lot of self sufficient things and your knowledge is adding greatly to our way of life and I really appreciate that.

    I wonder if you could do a walk around “show and tell” video of your indoor and outdoor kitchens. We are going to be building a remote home in the next year and would to incorporate the old world cooking set up like you have in your videos.

    Thanks a lot,
    Traditional Skills Blog

  8. Joanne Maley says:

    I really have enjoyed the cooking videos that I have seen, I an sharing your site with
    Others who enjoy cooking and learning more of the old foodways
    Thankyou so much, Joanne

  9. Pingback: Historic Heston / Jas. Townsend & Son | Enfilade

  10. Kingsley says:

    I was wondering if you could help with this recipe from “Mackenzie’s 5000 receipts in All the Useful and Domestic Arts” (1830), pp. 114 “Yorkshire oat ale.” ~

    “Grind a quart of oat malt, made with the white sort, and dried with coke, and mash with forty-four gallons of cold soft water, let it stand twelve hours; then allow it to spend in a fine small stream, and put two pounds of fine pale hops, well rubbed between the hands, into it; let it infuse, cold, for three hours, then strain and tun it; put yeast to it, and it will work briskly for about two days; then stop it up, and in ten days it will be fit to bottle. It drinks very smooth, brisk, and pleasant, and looks like white wine, but will not keep.”

    Do you know what “allow it to spend in a fine small steam” means? Keep it cool in a brook? Pour it out slowly? Furthermore a quart of oat-malt to 44 gallons of water seems very much a tea-bag in a bath-tub.


  11. Ronald Deal says:

    Jon, have you ever thought about having a PDF file for download of your recipe articles? This would be a great way for people that follow to download and save your fine recipes! Really enjoy your videos and fine articles, thank you very much, Ron

  12. I just discovered your blog and am in awe!
    Simply love it, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

  13. Marilyn says:

    Hello, Mr. Townsend,
    I have recently come upon your YouTube Channel and love it! Thank you. Quick question about Dutch Oven cooking as I would like to purchase your set. My hesitation is that I cook a lot of tomatoe based stews and am concerned that the Dutch Oven would not be appropriate becaus of a metallic taste. If I temper the Dutch Oven enough (6 times) will that solve the problem?
    Thank you kindly,

  14. Tom Toole says:

    Can you shoot me an email I would like to discuss some research into lost recipes. I am having a hard time finding anything to help and your site has been the most informative.

  15. Tamara Burke says:

    I can’t find a “I have a question” spot.. so.. I do have a question. I love your blog, but I find myself wondering when the camera goes off and the clearing up happens, how did 18th century housewives clean their pots, pans, plates, and countertops? I suspect they did not (yet) use knit dishcloths. Nor synthetic sponges. Real sponges would have been terribly pricey.. Perhaps a post on “tidying up?”

  16. Susie Treat says:

    Hi Mr Townsend, i have a recipe that has been in my Family for 6 or 7 generation.It was made every Christmas by my Grandmother. She called it a raisin pig, Grama rolled out a flaky crust and i would fill it up with sticky raisins. She would roll up jelly roll style put in a clean dish towel pin it in with straight pins.It was put in a dutch oven covered with water and boiled 3 hours. The pig was put in refrigerator, it was sliced and served cold with a warm sauce. There is only 2 of us left that makes this. I would like to leave this recipe with you. E-mail if you are interested. Susie

  17. Maria Yepez says:

    Do you have a cook book available?

  18. I like what you done here. Can you find any pennsylvania / germany 18C cooking.

  19. Oh! I love your blog! You are doing a great job! It’s amazing, beautiful, interesting, informative … I hope you will continue with this! A big thanks!

  20. Pat McMillion says:

    I really do enjoy your emails/blog about historic cooking since I am a historic cook at a historic site in Alabama. In your most recent blog on cornbread, I did notice a common misunderstanding about hoe cakes and thought you might want to correct it.
    Have you read Mary Miley Theobold’s book, Death by Petticoat and other Historic Myths? It is full of well researched historic misconceptions, including the name “hoe cakes.” She also has a blog to which I have subscribed for many years. You might find it very interesting. Here is a link where you can sign up to receive it. https://historymyths.wordpress.com/?blogsub=subscribed#blog_subscription-3
    Pat McMillion
    Burritt on the Mountain
    Huntsville, Alabama

    Another name for a griddle is a hoe!!!! Since it resembles a garden hoe the myth took off! Below is a group of historical COOKING utensils. (How can I send you the pictures that were scrubbed from my comments?)

    Myth #26: Hoe Cakes Revisited from Mary Miley Theobold’s blog of historic myths.
    March 5, 2011

    I received an e-mail from Rod Cofield, Director of Interpretation and Museum Programs for Historic London Town and Gardens in Maryland, taking issue with Myth #26 on Hoe Cakes. He attached an article he wrote on this topic that was published in the Food History News in 2008 (link below). (Unfortunately, this link is now out of date and not available, but you can find the article at a good historical library.)
    Rod was too much the gentleman to say I was flat out wrong about hoe cakes, but the fact of the matter is, I was. According to his exhaustive research, the name hoe cake comes not from the slaves cooking the cornmeal on a metal hoe, but rather from an earlier meaning of the word hoe, which was synonymous with griddle. Slaves cooking hoe cakes were probably cooking them over a fire near their fields on a griddle or in a skillet. Nothing says they couldn’t use a flat hoe if they were griddle-less, but that isn’t the origin of the term.
    In a nutshell, Rod’s thorough survey of documents and pictorial evidence led him to conclude that a hoe was the name of a cooking implement, another word for griddle or peel. “From a naming standpoint, the term hoe used for a cooking implement as early as the 1670s strongly suggests that when colonists baked a mixture of Indian corn (or wheat) and liquid on a peel or griddle, this food item became known as a hoe cake. The name stuck even when a hoe cake was cooked in a skillet or pan.”
    With Rod’s permission, I’m directing you to his impeccably researched and documented article. (Click on the title.) It even has illustrations! Yes, it’s long, but worth every minute. Do I sound impressed? I am. And I’m sure you will agree when I nominate Rod Cofield for Hoe Cake King.
    How the Hoe Cake (Most Likely) Got Its Name

  21. None of the links seem to work. Are catalogs no longer available? An active facebook page?

  22. Wonderful fundamental recipes and videos are terrific! Thank you.

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