The New-York Historical Society Is Sharing Historical Recipes From Its Archives

Knud Winckelmann, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Knud Winckelmann, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

With stay-at-home orders in effect across the country, many people are cooking now more than ever. If you've already exhausted your favorite cookbooks and recipe websites in quarantine, you can now get culinary inspiration from an unlikely source. As The New York Times reports, the New-York Historical Society has started sharing recipes dating back to the 19th century.

On Tuesday, April 14, the first recipe of the new initiative was sent to subscribers of the historical society's email list. Transcribed from a handwritten cookbook, the lemon cake recipe calls for the juice and peel of one lemon and 2 1/2 tumblers of powdered sugar. (In the 1800s, a tumbler was roughly equivalent to a cup.)

By sharing a new recipe from its archives every week, the N-YHS aims to tap into the home cooking boom that's developed during the COVID-19 crisis. Every piece that's spotlighted comes from the Duane Family Cookbooks, which feature recipes handwritten by Eliza Duane, Mary Wells, and Fanny T. Wells between 1840 and 1874. The "manuscript cookbooks" were used as guides for private chefs, and they better reflected the diets of upper-class households than those of middle-class families. In addition to baked goods like lemon cake and fruit cake, the collection also includes medicinal remedies like a "cholera mixture"—a reminder that our current experience with a pandemic isn't unprecedented.

Navigating a recipe with antiquated or missing conventions isn't as easy as looking one up on a food blog, but it can be a rewarding opportunity to connect with the past. And if the final product doesn't turn out quite as promised, it's still an entertaining way to spend time at home. If you're curious to see what people ate during another time of national hardship, here are some historical recipes from the Great Depression.

[h/t The New York Times]

Blue Apron’s Memorial Day Sale Will Save You $60 On Your First Three Boxes

Scott Eisen/Getty Images
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

If you’ve gone through all the recipes you had bookmarked on your phone and are now on a first-name basis with the folks at the local pizzeria, it might be time to introduce a new wrinkle into your weekly dinner menu. But instead of buying loads of groceries and cookbooks to make your own meal, you can just subscribe to a service like Blue Apron, which will deliver all the ingredients and instructions you need for a unique dinner.

And if you start your subscription before May 26, you can save $20 on each of your first three weekly boxes from the company. That means that whatever plan you choose—two or four meals a week, vegetarian or the Signature plan—you’ll save $60 in total.

With the company’s Signature plan, you’ll get your choice of meat, fish, and Beyond foods, along with options for diabetes-friendly and Weight Watchers-approved dishes. The vegetarian plan loses the meat, but still allows you to choose from a variety of dishes like General Tso's tofu and black bean flautas.

To get your $60 off, head to the Blue Apron website and click “Redeem Offer” at the top of the page to sign up.

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Why Did Noon Used to Mean 3 p.m.?

3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
Mckyartstudio/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re a late sleeper, you might find yourself thinking 12 p.m. seems way too early to be considered midday, and the word noon would much better describe, say, 3 p.m. It turns out that ancient Romans would have agreed with you, if only for etymological reasons.

As Reader’s Digest explains, the days in ancient Rome were split into four periods of three hours each. The first hour was at sunrise around 6 a.m.—called prime, for first—followed by 9 a.m. (terce, denoting the third hour), 12 p.m. (sext, for sixth), and 3 p.m. (none, for ninth).

According to Merriam-Webster, Middle and Old English borrowed the time-keeping tradition, along with the Latin word for ninth, which was changed to nōn and eventually noon. Though we’re not sure exactly when or why noon started referring to 12 p.m. instead of 3 p.m., it could have something to do with Christian prayer traditions. In the Bible, Jesus’s crucifixion is said to have taken place at the ninth hour, and that’s when worshippers partook in their second of three daily prayers; the others were in the morning and evening. It’s possible that hungry monks were behind noon’s gradual shift from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m.—since their daily fast didn’t end until after the midday prayer, they had a built-in motive for moving it earlier.

While we didn’t exactly stay true to the original Latin meaning of noon, there’s another important remnant of ancient Rome hiding in the way we tell time today. Romans referred to 12 p.m. as meridiem, for midday, and so do we. A.M. is an abbreviation for ante meridiem, or before midday, and P.M. means post meridiem, or after midday.

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