Vintage Recipes – Hydropathic Pudding, 1902

Hydropathic Pudding is today’s title, but it was really a toss up between that and “Life’s too short to clean a currant”.

The Liverpool Training School of Cookery was a long established institution in Colquitt St in Liverpool City centre. It eventually turned into the Liverpool Catering College and is now part of Liverpool City College. I found a fascinating little article from 1893 on the way the School was run in an Illinois newspaper of all places, the “Western Rural and American Stockman” –

The School issued a thin volume of basic recipes for use in Elementary Schools, which is where I come in. I have the edition dated 1902, sponsored by Bird’s Custard (a classic brand, right there). I also own a very similar book called “The Essex Cookery Book” from 1930, so perhaps there were a few such regional variations on the theme.

Amongst the collection were the invalid recipes as were standard in cookery books of the time. Here’s an “invalid cake”, presumably designated as such because it’s fairly plain. A perk of being ill, you’ve got your own special cake at least.

But onto the Hydropathic pudding, the recipe which most caught my eye, sounding as it does like a medical treatment rather than dessert. Funny, I thought, (in Dudley Moore’s voice), the recipe only mentions “a little water” but the name of it sounds like it should be awash in the stuff. But no, this was another invalid recipe, or otherwise a health food, as the bread casing was lighter than pastry or suet-based puddings. And it was called “Hydropathic” because it was served in spas of the time.

It’s still a popular dessert now, but we now know it by the infinitely more appealing name of Summer Pudding.

And so to cleaning currants. I’m not sure how they came in 1902 but evidently they needed cleaning. Thank god this isn’t necessary now – presumably? Suddenly I’m worried, have I spent my life missing out a vital stage of food preparation? Do you all clean currants out there?

You need flour for this, water might re-hydrate them and sticky them up a bit. This does explain why currant wrinkles are sometimes a bit floury, I suppose.

Last recipe for now, and always the one I’m happiest to see in the vintage books – raspberry buns. Every old cookery book had a recipe for them, but you never see them these days. It was also the first recipe I vividly remember making in Domestic Science class and so it’s a hugely nostalgic taste for me. I think I’ll make some for a future vintage recipe blog post.

Last, but very definitely not least, this book contains Hidden Treasure. And my favourite kind as well, a scribbled recipe kept there by a previous owner. This one’s on an envelope from the Isle of Wight in 1949 and it’s for various delicious sounding caramel things:

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4 Responses

  1. Katherine Wilkes says:

    I have a recipe book from the Liverpool Training school, dated 1911 and it has the same recipe for Hydropathic pudding. As for cleaning currants or raisins, in the early 20th century these items where sold loose so cleaning was essential as you could never be sure what had been in them, mice etc.

  2. Estelle says:

    Right, well that makes sense! Thank you for the info. Have you ever made anything from the book?

  1. December 1, 2014

    […] Here they are in alphabetical order. Do you know the difference between a currant, a raisin and a sultana? I’m not going to go into it here, it’s far too complicated. Frankly, I’m just grateful I don’t live in a world where you have to clean currants or de-seed raisins as was the way in 1902 –” title=”Vintage recipe…. […]

  2. October 1, 2015

    […] health recipes, served in sanitoriums and spas –┬álike those invented by Dr Kellogg, and Hydropathic Pudding. It was invented by Dr Maximilian Bircher-Benner who considered it to be mainly of use in order to […]

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