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Ale Posset

On 27 Nov 2007 at 16:03, Jan wrote:

> Sir,
> I am looking for a poor man's punch recipe. I only know that it
> contains a small loaf of bread, ale, milk, egg?, and spices
> (nutmeg,cinnamon,etc. It seemed a popular drink at Christmas Thanks,
> Jan

Hello Jan,

A more common name for it is "ale posset". Ale posset is an ancestor of "eggnog." "Nog" is an old word for ale, and both ale posset and eggnog were originally mixtures of ale and sweetened milk. The drink was brought to America by English settlers and other liquors such as rum came to be used instead of the ale, just as the bread was left out and replaced by eggs.

This is from a book called: "A Righte Merrie Christmasse: The Story of Christ-Tide" by John Ashton (London, 1894)

"At nine or ten o'clock is brewed a large bowl of 'poor man's punch'--ale posset! This is the event of the night. Ale posset, or milk and ale posset as some call it, is made in this wise. Set a quart of milk on the fire. While it boils, crumble a twopenny loaf into a deep bowl, upon which pour the boiling milk. Next, set two quarts of good ale to boil, into which grate ginger and nutmeg, adding a quantity of sugar. When the ale nearly boils, add it to the milk and bread in the bowl, stirring it while it is being poured in."

"The bowl of ale posset is then placed in the centre of the table. All the single folks gather round, each provided with a spoon. Then follows an interesting ceremony. A wedding ring, a bone button, and a fourpenny piece are thrown into the bowl, and all begin to eat, each dipping to the bottom of the bowl. He or she who brings up the ring will be the first married; whoever brings up the button will be an old maid or an old bachelor; and he or she who brings out the coin will become the richest. As may be imagined, this creates great fun. When seven shilling gold pieces were in circulation, this was the coin always thrown into the posset."

Another recipe is this from "The Household Cyclopedia", published in 1881:

"Ale Posset"

"Take a small piece of white bread, put it into a pint of milk and set it over the fire. Then put some nutmeg and sugar into a pint of ale, warm it, and when the milk boils pour it upon the ale. Let it stand a few minutes to clear."


Bean Hole Beans

On 26 Nov 2007 at 14:42, Joyce wrote:

> What is the procedure/instructions for making beanhole beans? Any help
> would be greatly appreciated. All I know about them is they are cooked
> in a hole in the ground.Thank you. Joyce

Hello Joyce,

There are lots of recipes for these See the two below and these sites:

University of Maine

Recipe Circus

Portland Maine



Beanhole Beans  

Soak 2 pounds of yellow eye beans overnight. 

Using seasoned wood- Accumulate live coals until hole is 3/4 full. 

Parboil beans over the open fire until the skin peels away by blowing 
on a few beans in a spoon. 

1 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard 
1/2 cup molasses 
1/2-1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup water 
1 large onion cut in half

Add the mix to the beans and stir slightly. 
Slice 1 pound salt pork into sections. Cut each section 
partly through in a criss-cross pattern and place pieces on top of the beans. 
Cover the beans and set to one side. 
Shovel out the coals leaving about 3 inches of live coals in the bottom of 
the hole. 
Set the bean pot in the hole on top of the 3 inch bed of coals. 
Shovel the rest of the coals around and on top of the pot. 
Cover with dirt and check for escaping steam and making sure none is leaking 
out. If steam is leaking out, cover area with more dirt. 
Leave in the ground for 8 hours or overnight. 

Note: You may eliminate soaking beans overnight if you parboil them. Also,
make sure the beans are completely covered with water before putting in 
ground. If you have to add water, add only boiling water. 
Bean-Hole Beans

10 cups dried great Northern beans 
1 pound salt pork 
2 onions 
2 1/2 cups molasses 
1 teaspoon black pepper 
4 teaspoons dry hot mustard 
1/2 cup butter 
The bean hole should be 2 1/2 to 3 feet deep, depending on your pot. 
The hole should be big enough around to have a 6 inch space between 
the pot and the edge of the hole on all sides. To help hold heat, put 
some old tire chains or stones in the hole before starting the fire. 
Start the fire and keep it filled with good dry hardwood. Let it burn 
for about 3 hours. The hole should be at least 3/4 full of hot coals. 
After the fire has been going for about an hour, place the beans in a 
large pot, on the stove with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 
until skins roll back when you blow on them, about 45 minutes. Watch 
closely, because they will get mushy if left too long. 
When the hole is ready, cut the salt pork in to 2 inch wide and 1/4 
inch thick slices. Place them into the bottom of the bean pot. Peel 
and cut the onions in half; lay them on top of the pork. Pour the beans 
and their liquid into the pot, then mix in the molasses, black pepper 
and dry mustard. Slice butter and place on top. Add enough boiling water 
to cover the beans by one inch. Cover the top of the pot tightly with 
aluminum foil so that it goes down over the sides by at least 2 inches. 
Place lid onto bean pot. Before putting the pot into the hole, remove 
about 1/3 of the coals using a shovel. Remove and discard any burning 
pieces of wood. Place the bean pot into the hole, and put the coals 
from the hole back in around the sides and over the top of the bean pot. 
Now start filling the hole in with the dirt, packing it down with your 
feet as you go. You should end up with about 2 feet of dirt covering the 
pot. Cover the place where the beans are buried with a tarp or piece of 
metal to keep out rain. 
Let the beans stew overnight in their bean hole. Carefully dig them out 
the next day and enjoy! 

Mincemeat Fruitcake

On 29 Nov 2007 at 14:09, Linda wrote:

> Yes, years ago I used to make a fruit cake recipe using these two main
>  ingredients:
> 1)  Pillsbury  Date Nut Bread
> 2)  None Such  Mince Meat
> Over time I have misplaced the recipe and wonder if you can help to
> locate  it for me.  I would be greatly appreciative if you can.
> Sincerely,
> Linda 

Hello Linda,

Below is the only one that I can find. I no longer search for fruitcake recipes as a rule, but this one had such specific ingredients that I made an exception.


Holiday  Fruit  Cake  With  Mincemeat

2 eggs
1/4 to 3/4 c. water
2 pkgs. Pillsbury Quick Bread Mix (date bread or nut bread)
2 2/3 c. (one 28 oz. jar) Non-Such ready to use mincemeat
2 c. nuts, chopped
2 c. candied fruit

Generously grease and flour 10 inch (12 cup) Bundt fluted tube pan. 
In large bowl combine eggs and water.  Add - remaining ingredients by 
hand. Stir until well combined (mixture works better if stirred after 
each addition of ingredients).  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 
degrees for 70 to 80 minutes or until tested in center comes out clean. 
Cool 15 minutes, invert on cooling rack, cool completely.  Wrap in foil 
and store in refrigerator.

St. James Oysters

The cookbook is "Hollywood du Jour - Lost Recipes of Legendary Hollywood Haunts" by Betty Goodwin. (Available at

This book contains recipes made famous by the famous - at Hollywood restaurants like the Cocoanut Grove and the Brown Derby.


California Oysters St. James (The Cocoanut Grove)

18 California oysters
St. James Butter (recipe below)
Parmesan cheese

Open the oysters on the half shell. Set them in a baking dish, covering 
each completely with St. James Butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 
Bake until browned and serve very hot. Serves 3.
St. James Butter

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon shallots
dash paprika
pinch of parsley
1 drop Tabasco sauce
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/4 pound salted butter at room temperature

Combine garlic, chives shallots, paprika, parsley, Tabasco, and pepper. 
Blend into softened butter.

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