separator accentbar
main header

DESSERTS & SWEET TREATS

Click Photos for Larger Image

image image

Period paintings offer valuable authentic information about foodways of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Among the most vivid are those of Raphaelle Peale, the Philadelphia painter who pioneered the art of American still lifes. Near photo-like in their detail, his works are an extraordinary primary source. Above, left, our faux "Peale cakes" are modeled on his still life. At left, a traditional Christmas cookie platter includes faux springerle, gingerbread, pfeffernusse, tarts and sugar cookies. All are made from Crayola's Model Magic or Activa's Celluclay Instant Papier Maché.
image image

Plum pudding, a traditional holiday food made even more famous in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," is curious in that it contains absolutely no plums. In the 17th century, "plums" actually referred to raisins and other dried fruits. This faux version (left) is made of plaster over a carved styrofoam core. An acrylic glaze gives it a "sticky" look. At right are the pizzelle-like wafers also popular as holiday treats for affluent families. Cooked on flat irons in the hearth, they were also curled into cones called cornets. Those shown here are made from Crayola's Model Magic and filled with Parrish's PermaIce artificial icing to simulate rich cream.
image image

In his 1759 travels through Southern New Jersey, Dr. Israel Acrelius wrote that "Apple pie is used throughout the whole year, and when fresh apples are not longer to be had, dried ones are used." Our faux version of the American staple (left) was created for display in an open hearth kitchen. The shell is made of Model Magic while the nearby walnuts were molded in latex and cast in plaster. At right is another long-time regional favorite: fresh blueberries in cream. Purchased faux blueberries were floated in a thin bed of Elmer's white glue that serves as the "cream" in the popular blue-willow China bowls.
image image

Because they could afford both the fruit and the sugar required to candy it, our well-to-do ancestors frequently offered their guests "sweetmeats" or "suckets," both terms that would mean candied fruit. At left, is a faux candied orange peel platter from New Jersey's historic Pomona Hall mansion. The peel strips were made of model magic; artificial snow was used for dusted sugar. At right, a purchased papier maché watermelon was cut and re-engineered with Amaco Wireform contouring mesh and Activa's Celluclay to represent a ready-to-eat faux melon and wedge with hand-painted texture and seeds.
image image

Prior to the 1850s, Twelfth Night was a more important winter holiday than Christmas, and the Twelfth Night cake was its central symbol. The cakes were grand affairs, often 14 inches high with hard sugar coating and trimmed with all manner of fanciful spun sugar creations. This faux Twelfth Night Cake was made from stacked rounds of styrofoam covered with spackle icing and seven plastic, matte finish swans-a-swimming resembling sugar constructions. At right, are 19th-century sugar treats cast from antique candy molds with Polyform's Sculpey oven-baked clay and colored with acrylic paints. They are part of a Victorian parlor display.

All Rights Reserved © 2008-2013, HistoricFauxFoods.com

Sandy@HistoricFauxFoods.com

share icons

FAUX FOOD
CATEGORIES

pointer bug Meat & Fish
spacer
pointer bug Smokehouse Items
spacer
pointer bug Side Dishes
spacer
pointer bug Cheese
spacer
pointer bug Desserts
spacer
EAL button
Media Coverage

NPR button
NYT button
Inquirer button
SJ magazine button
New Jersey Monthly button
DAR button
EAL xmas button
Patch

Sandy Levins
Articles

pointer bug The Use, Value and Theft of 18th-Century Garden Tools
spacer
pointer bug Exploring The Unknown History of Ancora: The Not-So-Spooky Facts of a Fabled Psychiatric Hospital
spacer
pointer bug The Herb Garden Then and Now: Plant Life at an 18th-Century Mansion
spacer
pointer bug Stalking the Wild Asparagus
spacer
pointer bug Was Death by Fire Common in Colonial Kitchens? A Top Authority Says No
spacer
pointer bug A Taste of Civil War Foods
spacer
pointer bug Understanding Twelfth Night: The Holiday Time Forgot
spacer
pointer bug The Little Beaded Bag: History's Favorite Fashion Accessory
spacer