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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Panadas and Jellies and things that go bump in the innards

Panadas, bread jellies and other gruesome things to make invalids feel worse better in the Regency era.
My thanks to Nancy Mayer and Elizabeth Bentley who found me recipes for bread jelly; also to Mrs Rundell [1806] and John Farley's London Art of Cookery [1811].
Mrs. Rundell's Domestic Cookery: Formed Upon Principles Of Economy, And Adapted To The Use Of Private Families (1859)

The London art of cookery, and housekeepers' complete assistant, on a new plan: Made plain and easy to the understanding of every housekeeper, cook, and ... a bill of fare for every month in the year

This post is dedicated to Jane Austen’s  Mr Woodhouse who might like a change from gruel if only Emma could manage a panada; also to Georgette Heyer’s  Miss Beccles  who first introduced me to the word.

Bread Jellies
  1. Steep stale bread in boiling water and pass through a fine sieve while hot. It may be flavored and taken alone, or mixed and boiled with milk.
  2. Take a large bread roll, pare off the crust thinly, slice, and lightly toast the crumbs. Cover with 1 quart of water (40 fluid oz), and boil gently till it becomes almost clear and will set on a cold plate. Flavour with a little cinnamon stick or thin yellow rind of lemon. The jelly should be sprinkled with sugar and served with cream in a saucer. It may also be reheated, with milk or wine as a drink. From Dorothy Hartley’s book 'Food in England'.
    Food in England


A Panada is a bread soup from northern Italy composed of left over bread, eggs, beef broth and parmigiano-Reggiano cheese [or in England presumably cheddar or whatever is to hand].

A panada is also a thickening made of breadcrumbs which may or may not be toasted  or flour with milk, stock or water used for making soup or a binder for forcemeats or thickening sauces.

The following recipe comes from James Farley’s London cookbook.

Put a blade of mace, a large piece of the crumb of bread, and a quart of water, into a clean saucepan. Let it boil two minutes, then take out the bread , and bruise it very fine in a bason. Mix as much water as it will require, pour away the rest, and sweeten it to the palate. Put in a piece of butter as big as a walnut, but do not put in any wine , as that will spoil it. Grate in a little nutmeg.

That one is sweet, a different proposition to the savoury Italian dish. 

Mrs Rundell gives four recipes:

1.      set a little water on the fire with a glass of white wine, some sugar and a scrape of nutmeg and lemon peel; meanwhile grate some crumbs of bread.  The moment the mixture boils up, keeping it still on the fire, put the crumbs in and let it boil as fast as it can.  When of a proper thickness just to drink, take it off.

2.      make as above but instead of a glass of wine put in a tea-spoonful of rum and a bit of butter; sugar as above. This is a most pleasant mess [well it may not be pleasant but at least when you’ve drunk it you don’t care any more SJW]

3.      put to the water a bit of lemon-peel, mix the crumbs in, and when nearly boiled enough put some lemon or orange syrup. Observe to boil all the ingredients; for if any be added after, the panada will break and not jelly.

4.      chicken panada  boil it til about three parts ready in a quart of water, take off the skin, cut the white meat off when cold and put into  a marble mortar; pound it to a paste with a little of the water it was boiled in, season with a little salt, a grate of nutmeg and the least bit of lemon peel. Boil gently for a few minutes to the consistency you like; it should be such as you can drink though tolerably thick.  This conveys great nourishment in small compass [if the patient doesn’t get salmonella poisoning for not cooking the chicken all through and then letting it cool and reheating; mind you there was no salmonella then as chickens weren't fed dead ground up chickens as our ancestors would have thought this too gross]

We have no clue which recipe Heyer intended Miss Beccles to be feeding to Nicky; and one might argue either that she pandered to a boy’s sweet tooth or that she went by the traditional concept that men needed meat.  I’m inclined to think that the recipe was one from Mrs Rundell whence I have also the recipe for another of Heyer’s favourites, Dr Ratcliffe’s restorative pork jelly, without  a jar of which Francis Cheviot never stirred and which Frederica thought might do Felix some good.

Dr Ratcliffe’s restorative Pork Jelly

Take a leg of well-fed pork, just as cut up, beat it, and break from the bone. Set over a gentle fire with three gallons of water [nice big pans they had, that’s more than my preserving pan can take] and simmer to one.  Let half an ounce of mace and the same of nutmegs stew in it. Strain through a fine sieve.  When cold, take off the fat.  Give a chocolate-cup the first and last thing, and at noon, putting salt to taste.

And here’s one more bread based recipe for invalid food in addition to all the jellies and broths essential to keep them ill er, make them well. This is from John Farley:

Bread Soup
Set a quart of water on the fire in a clean saucepan, and as much dry crust of bread cut to pieces as the top of a penny loaf, the drier the better, with a bit of butter as big as a walnut. Let it boil, then beat it with a spoon, and keep boiling it, till the bread and water are well mixed. Then season it with a very little salt, and it will be very agreeable to a weak stomach.

And just for Mr Woodhouse, from the same book:

Water Gruel

Put a large spoonful of oatmeal into a pint of water, stir it well together, and let it boil three or four times, stirring it often. Then strain it through a sieve, salt it to the palate, and put in a large piece of fresh butter. Brew it with a spoon till the butter is all melted, and it will be then fine and smooth.

All that salt and butter would horrify a modern nutritionist but at least must have made it tastier…on the whole I’d be inclined to soak the oatmeal first, boil water and pour onto it and then put the whole lot back to come slowly to the boil, same as with milk porridge but there you are.  I’d also be adding honey not salt and butter.


  1. THe flavorings, and the sense of food that would slither is nice...but the butter involved in some of these recipes makes this reader a little bit queasy,,.didn't anyone ever drink a clear broth with a little scotch in it??


  2. I'm not on form this morning.... what I want to do is to point out that butter was a valuable source of vitamins and so on at the time and direct the attention of anyone interested to kathryn Kane's Regency Redingote blog where there's a post on the same. Sorry I can't make this a link....

    Sarah Waldock