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Portugal Grapes

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Ray 
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 8:42 PM
Subject: Portugal Grapes

Checking the radar this evening, I see that the tumult of weather 
(I even saw hail for the first time in about two decades) was passing 
the Maine coast about the same time.  But that's not the point here.

I was afterwards browsing material about the novels of Thomas Love Peacock, 
and in "Headlong Hall" (1837) found:

A very mixed list of supplies and provisions for a winter house party, 
ending with "jars of Portugal grapes."

A little (very little) research did not clear up my puzzlement.  I found 
in an 1844 Cookbook:

A mention of "Portugal grapes," which seem to be joined to fresh winter fruits 
such as certain apples and pears.

But "jars" of grapes seems a bit odd.  I was wondering if a) these were actually 
fresh grapes, somehow at that era shipped in jars, or b) grapes preserved in some 
way, like pickles.

I'd think a fresh grape would have to be pretty sturdy to get from Portugal 
to England in goodish shape, and a "jar" seems a peculiar way to ship them; 
certainly England was not growing grapes in the winter.  Unless "Portugal grapes" 
was a generic term for some kind of long-lasting grape that could be grown in 
England and kept until winter, the way the mentioned kinds of apples and pears could.

Any enlightenment?


Hello Ray,

Good to hear from you. How's the Long Island weather?

I think that I have managed to put together the answer from multiple bits and pieces that I found on the web.

"Portugal Grapes" appear to be a variety of white grape grown in Portugal and popular in Britain in the 19th century. Due to their hard pulp and thick skin, they are particularly long-keeping grapes. They were packed in barrels with sawdust or bran or cork dust for shipping. After reaching Europe and Britain, they were repacked in jars for retail sale in shops.

I don't imagine that they were as tasty as the fresh grapes in our supermarkets today, but they were all that was available in the winter in Britain. Here are my references:

"fresh grapes (exactly like the 'Portugal Grapes' of the London shops),"

The Examiner By Leigh Hunt, Albany William Fonblanque, John Forster (1825): "PORTUGAL GRAPES, of the first quality, in the highest perfection, in Jars at 11. Is. per Jar."

"The Fruit Manual by Robert Hogg : "White Lisbon (White Hamburgh; White Portugal; White Raisin).- Bunches large and loose. Berries oval. Skin greenish-white. Flesh firm and crackling, not very juicy, but with a sweet and refreshing flavour.
It is this grape which is so largely imported from Portugal during the autumn and winter months, and sold in the fruiterers' and grocers' shops under the name of Portugal Grapes."

The New American Orchardist, Volume 2 By William Kenrick
" the same that is annually imported into that country from Portugal, to the value of 10,000, and sold in the shops for Portugal grapes. We may perhaps ascribe its long keeping to its hard pulp and thick skin..."

Vines and vine culture by Archibald F. (Archibald Farquharson) Barron.
"White Chasselas and White Lisbon Grapes, as sold by grocers, are termed dry fruit, and are not included as Grapes proper ; these are received packed loosely in large casks or barrels, which are then filled with bran or cork dust. In this way they arrive in wonderfully fresh condition. When unpacked the bran has to be brushed off before they can be sold or used. "


Chocolate Malted Milk Cake

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The Old Foodie


Malt  Shake  Cake

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. cool water
1 c. sugar
2 c. chocolate malt powder
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts
Maraschino cherries

Combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup malt powder, nuts and cherries. Blend 30 seconds 
then beat 2 minutes at medium speed.  Grease and flour 2 round cake pans.  Bake at 375 
degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove from pans and cool then frost with Cream Malt Filling. 
Refrigerate unused portion.

Creamy Malt Filling:
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. malt powder
1/4 c. cocoa
2 tbsp. sugar

Whip together until stiff.  Frost between layers and outside of cake. Decorate with 
nuts and cherries.
chocolate malt cake

1/2 c. Crisco, not liquid
2 sticks butter
3 c. sugar
3 c. flour
4 tbsp. cocoa
5 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend shortening with butter.  Add cocoa to sugar and cream together with shortening. 
Add eggs separately and blend well after each.  Mix baking powder with flour and 
milk alternately at a low speed.  Add vanilla. Butter and dust with granulated sugar 
one 10 inch tube pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.  Let stand in pan 
for 10 minutes before turning out to cool.
Malted  Milk  Cake

1/2 c. shortening
1 1/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. cocoa
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. soda

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add eggs.  Add and alternate flour, salt and buttermilk. 
Add melted cocoa and water.  Add vanilla, vinegar and soda.  Bake at 350 degrees for 
30 minutes.

Straub's Chicken Salad

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Straub's Chicken Salad

"Straub's chicken salad is a traditional St. Louis favorite, made with poached chicken, a creamy mayonnaise and lots of pepper;"


Shrimp Slaw

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Southern Shrimp Cole Slaw

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