March 15

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Mar 15 - 3:14:1766 New-Hampshire Gazette
New-Hampshire Gazette (March 14, 1766).

“Sallad Oyl and Malligo Raisons.”

John Newmarch listed only four items in his advertisement: “Sallad Oyl and Malligo Raisons, LEMONS, and good OATMEAL.” While modern readers probably recognize the lemons and oatmeal, I suspect that “Sallad Oyl and Malligo Raisons” may be a bit less familiar (even putting aside eighteenth-century spellings that had not yet been standardized).

What were “Malligo Raisons”?! Most likely they were raisins (produced by drying muscat grapes) from the Malaga region along the Mediterranean coast in southern Spain. Over the centuries Malaga raisins have gained a reputation as the black pearls of Andalusia, a description that testifies to both their taste and economic value. Today Malaga raisins have been incorporated into marketing campaigns as part of the region’s tourism industry, as in this article that promotes them as part of “the most traditional vintage in Europe” and details harvesting the grapes, one by one, and transporting them over difficult terrain on the backs of mules.

Mar 15 - Malaga Raisins
Malaga Raisins.

Given that “Sallad Oyl and Malligo Raisons” were grouped together in the advertisement, I imagine that “Sallad Oyl” refers to olive oil that also originated in Spain. Today, “salad oil” refers to any edible oil used in salad dressing, but the context here suggests Newmarch stocked olive oil in particular.

These grocery items – “Sallad Oyl and Malligo Raisons, LEMONS” – bring to mind the transatlantic networks of trade in the eighteenth century, but this is not a story exclusively about commercial exchange. These items also reveal transformations in taste as residents throughout the Atlantic world incorporated new foods into their diets as part of an ongoing Columbian Exchange.

January 6

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago today?

Jan 6 - 1:6:1766 New-York Gazette
New-York Gazette (January 6, 1766)

“Right Yorkshire MUFFINS, hot twice a Day.”

This anonymous advertiser most likely sold what is today known as Yorkshire Pudding.  These “muffins” were made from a batter of eggs, flour, and milk or water, cooked beneath meat (usually beef) roasting on a spit above a fire, thus allowing fats and juices to drip into the muffins and flavor them.  William Kenrick’s The Whole Duty of a Woman included a recipe, called “Dripping Pudding,” in 1737.  Hannah Glasse published a similar recipe in The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy a decade later, bestowing the name “Yorkshire Pudding.”

Yorkshire_Pudding
It’s easy to see why Yorkshire Pudding could sometimes be called “Right Yorkshire MUFFINS.”

I would hazard to guess that Yorkshire Pudding is not a familiar food for most Americans today, though it seems to be quite common, even a traditional part of Sunday dinner, in England.  On both sides of the Atlantic, it is no longer known as “Right Yorkshire MUFFINS” or “Dripping Pudding.”  Today’s featured advertisement helps to evoke not only the smells and flavors of foods sold in colonial New York, but also the sounds of what they could have been called in the eighteenth century before “Yorkshire Pudding” became the standardized name.

Ellen Castelo offers this history of Yorkshire pudding, including a recipe.

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In researching this entry, I was delighted to discover that Yorkshire Muffins made an appearance in a late-nineteenth- or early-twentieth-century advertising campaign:  on a cigarette card included in the “Cries of London” series issued by John Player & Sons, a branch of the Imperial Tobacco Company of Great Britain and Ireland.  A street vendor hawked his wares, exclaiming, “Buy My Right Yorkshire Cakes.  Buy My Muffins.”

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47de-4a0b-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w

Visit the New York Public Library Digital Collections for more information and to view both sides of the cigarette card.

January 4

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Jan 4 - 1:3:1766 New-Hampshire Gazette
New-Hampshire Gazette (January 3, 1766)

“Loaf Sugar to be sold for CASH … by the Loaf.”

Advertisements and other eighteenth-century sources demonstrate that some staple foods that seem very familiar to us today were packaged much differently in the colonial era.  Granulated sugar and cubes were introduced in the late nineteenth century, but prior to that the sugar loaf was the traditional form in which refined sugar was produced and sold.

Sugar LoavesEnjoying this product required investing in other household goods, especially sugar nippers.  Advertisements for sugar often conceal other purchases consumers needed to make, specialized equipment they needed to buy and possess in order to make use of some everyday grocery items.  Some consumers may have purchased utilitarian sugar nippers to meet their basic needs, but others likely moved beyond mere practicality to collect and display accoutrements that adhered to the latest fashions or matched companion pieces in a tea set.

Still Life with Fruit and Sugar Loaf, ca. 1720.jpg
Still Life with Fruit and Sugar Loaf (Unknown Artist, ca. 1720)

As part of my ongoing research, I am interested in all kinds of media used to market goods in the eighteenth century, including labels.  Sugar loafs were wrapped in paper.  If you happen to know of any loaf papers with printed labels, please let me know.

Follow these instructions if you would like to make your own sugar loaf.