Posts Tagged: Museums

Research Trip for The Quilted Heart: 1st Stop, Gateway Arch

Me in Arch

In March 2012, after thirteen years, I returned to St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri. This time, as a historical novelist writing for WaterBrook Multnomah, to do research for my new series, The Quilted Heart. The post Civil War mid-1860s provides the historical backdrop for my three Quilted Heart eBook novellas.

First stop: The Gateway Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion in St. Louis. Everything about the grounds and the Arch mesmorized me, but the museum…well, it was like a candy store with all my favorite sweets. Props from American history.

SL Arch in setting

The park at the Gateway Arch

Going Up inside the Gateway Arch

Going Up inside the Gateway Arch

Hubby Bob inside Gateway Arch

Hubby Bob inside Gateway Arch

SL Museum covered wagon

The Quilted Heart novellas, the Prequel to a wagon train series

Already daydreaming for the next series

Already daydreaming for the next series

Less than one year later, Dandelions on the Wind, the first of The Quilted Heart Novellas released, and is now available as an exclusive eBook.

1st of 3 Novellas in The Qilted Heart Series

Dandelions on the Wind

Bending Toward the Sun

Ripples Along the Shore

Do you have a favorite museum? Where is it?

Research, Cookbooks, and Christmas Plum Pudding

PlumPudding[1]

Research can be many things: Fascinating, engaging, time-consuming, surprising, delightful. Even yummy.

If you’ve been reading The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels, you know Miss Hattie attends First Congregational Church in Cripple Creek, Colorado. In Two Brides Too Many, the Sinclair sisters began attending the church. By the end of Too Rich for a Bride, Ida’s husband Tucker Raines served as the church’s new pastor.

Photo Credit: Zarbo Delicatessen & Cafe

Photo Credit: Zarbo Delicatessen & Cafe

As part of my research for a series, I like to visit museums in my setting.

In those museums, I peruse any local books offered in the gift shop.

The Cripple Creek District Museum is one of my favorite hangouts when I’m in Cripple Creek.

Imagine my delight when I came across a red book titled:

Church History Cook Book
First Congregational Church
Cripple Creek, Colo.

The small, thin cook booklet actually lists the names and addresses of the cooks offering the recipes. But there’s more—the year(s) of the cook’s residence in Cripple Creek. The First Congregational Church of Cripple Creek existed for twenty years, spanning the late 1890’s, the time in which the Sinclair Sisters series is set. And now I have a collection of recipes used by women in that time and place. One of the reasons I enjoy researching a time period and setting, its culture and its people.

Since it is December and Christmas is upon us, I thought it would be fun to share three Christmas Plum Pudding recipes from the First Congregational Church cookbook published by the Cripple Creek District Museum.

Christmas pudding is a pudding that was traditionally served on Christmas Day (December 25). It originated in medieval England, and was best know as plum pudding in our Victorian era. Many families had a recipe handed down generation to generation. The early English Christmas pudding was boiled in a pudding cloth, and often presented as a rounded mound of pudding. Victorian tradition involved putting the batter into a basin and steaming it.

Christmas Plum Pudding

One cup currants
1 cup suet, chopped fine
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup sugar
1 cup seeded raisins
1 cup sour milk
1 level teaspoon soda
½ cup candied citron, sliced
1 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt.

Roll fruit in flour and add flour enough to make a stiff batter. Steam or boil four hours. Serve with a sauce.

Mrs. Philbrick, 1899

Christmas Plum Pudding

3 cups bread crumbs
2 ½ cups suet
2 cups sugar
1 lb raisins
3 cups currants
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmegs
1 teaspoon soda
3 cups buttermilk
Flour to thicken quite stiff
Boil four hours.

Dr. B. Murray, 1895

Christmas Plum Pudding

1 cup beef suit, chopped
2 cups bread crumbs
½ cup citron
1 cup English walnuts
1 cup seeded raisins
1 cup currants
1 pint of flour
4 eggs, well beaten
1 heaping cup sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 level teaspoon soda, dissolved in a little warm water

Mix fruit with some of the flour. Put eggs, sugar and salt into the milk and spices, add fruit bread crumbs and suet, then add soda and the rest of the flour. Mix thoroughly. Steam four hours.

Mrs. T. P. Connor, 1895

We’ll want a sauce to go with our pudding.  Favorites include cream, hard sauce, brandy butter, and golden sauce. I’ll share Miss Ella’s recipe for the latter.

Golden Sauce

½ cup butter and 1 cup sugar beaten to a cream. Add 3 egg yolks beaten light, then add the bell beaten whites. Lemon extract to taste. Place in a double boiler, stir till it thickens. Serve hot.  Miss Ella Hummer, 1894-1909

 

Have you ever eaten or made Plum Pudding?

What Family recipe are you most looking forward to this Christmas?

 

© 2012 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

History in Hindsight

Ta-da!

I am now a blogger. What excites me most about the new title is that writing a blog gives me another point of connection with you. Even better, this particular gathering place offers the opportunity to share more on a personal level than is possible on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, the Book Club Network, LinkedIn, or even in my quarterly e-Newsletter.

High School, my yellow phase.

Given my experience with high school history classes, it’s nothing short of amazing that I write historical fiction. Three memories of high school history class stand out. 1) My most memorable history teacher preferred his role as the basketball and baseball coach. 2) I recall a lot of doodling, which included hearts and arrows and the initials of one or more of the wanna-be jocks who sat in front of me. 3) I remember nodding off every time my teacher chased a basketball or baseball rabbit down a trail.

I don’t remember much real “history” being taught. Consequently, I didn’t assign value to much of anything that had occurred in the long-ago. How could the past be important while my present was being shaped by bucket loads of teenage angst? I finished my history studies with a quivering C, doing so on an auto-pilot that annulled most historical names, facts, and dates upon my high school graduation.

Then I met and married Bob Hodgson. He’d had a high school teacher dedicated to demonstrating the relevance of history. Bob thrived on anything related to science and history. Proof, opposites do attract.

Somewhere along the way, history began tickling my subconscious. Bob’s enthusiasm for history swayed me, I’m sure. So did the wistfulness and wonder that came with maturity. My interest in historical fiction grew as I pondered places and circumstances foreign to me. As I wrote nonfiction for adults and fiction for children, my curiosity took on a magnetism that pulled me into the 1800’s. I had to know more about history.

One of my favorite places: The St. Charles Historical Society

Today, I’m the one most eager to peruse history books, visit museums, and ponder archives. I’m now the author of four historical novels in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series and two historical novellas. A mind-boggling fact that points to truth. Beyond our wildest imaginings, dreams, and abilities, God has a plan for you and I (Jeremiah 29:11).

Hindsight is about observation, retrospection, and perception after the fact. Thus, the name and focus of my blog.

I welcome your comments and suggestions as we connect on a more regular basis through Hindsight.

Mona

Get to Know Mona

Stay Connected

Direct to your email inbox, receive Mona’s latest blog posts and her monthly newsletter containing an inspirational article, helpful links, and giveaways.


Let’s Open God’s Word Together

I’d delight in opening God’s Word with your audience. Encouraging and equipping sisters makes my heart sing.

Invite me to speak >

Connect with Mona on Facebook >