Safari Friday searching the web for writers and readers — a writer’s research site
Tine Hreno is an author and creative consultant and she keeps her blog Writers in London in the 1890s as a place to record and share her research on Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and many others. It’s fun to read even if you don’t share her interests.
I enjoyed this recent entry about a long lost soft drink:
Saloop was originally a kind of milky tea that dated back to the seventeenth century and was made from ground orchid roots. The stuff you would buy on the streets of 1890s London was made from sassafras bark and sweetened with sugar. I want to try some because “sassafras” and “saloop” are both words that are fun to say. Sassafras bark thickened the drink and worked as a stimulant in place of coffee. Saloop’s popularity declined when people started thinking of it as a remedy for venereal disease, making public consumption of the beverage a little awkward.
I think Tine may be Canadian (the blog has a Canadian address so it’s a good bet.) She’s not a Londoner that’s for sure – I’m not making a criticism – being an outside observer is a good place to be for a writer and sometimes looking at things with fresh eyes can be very revealing. But I don’t think a Londoner would have titled the following food as creepy. Horrible, yes. I’ve never had the courage to try eels, but creepy?
plum duff (basically Christmas cake),
donkey or ass’s milk,
I’m intrigued by the blood. Would that be in liquid form or something like blood sausages which I think could well be black pudding by another name? And wonder if she is wrong about sheep’s trotters. I’ve never heard of them, but pigs’ trotters were enormously popular (the Irish dish is called cruibins). Anyway, it’s fascinating to have a chance to see and comment on another writer’s research notes. Thanks Tine.
Have you eaten any of this takeaway food from the 1890s (apart from ginger beer and bloaters which Sainsbury’s still sells?) Can you throw any light on the more unusual items?
Safari = Swahili for long journey.I am on the look out for anything accessible from a keyboard that educates, entertains, intrigues, raises a smile. Anything that helps a reader get through the day or a writer the next draft. Let me know if you write a website that you’d like featured or discover something that really should be shared.