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Boil a Christmas Pudding

Not all homes had ovens in 1841. So people ate boiled puddings for Christmas, instead of cake. A Victorian cookbook called Modern Cookery, written in 1846, has a whole chapter with over 40 pudding recipes, including some for beef pudding and partridge pudding!

Here is a recipe for 'The Author's Christmas Pudding', from Modern Cookery

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How to Make Damper

In colonial Australia, 'damper' and sheep meat were the daily food for settlers and travellers in the bush (like Cabbagetree Bill in Letty's Christmas). Damper got its name from being cooked on a fire which had been 'damped' down with water so the dough could roast on hot coals.

Damper dough is easy to make. In 1841 it would usually be made without butter and milk, but here is a tastier version, a bit like scones:

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Noodle Soup Recipe

In northern China, where Year of the Tiger is set, people don't eat much rice. In the past, ordinary families like the Li's thought they were lucky if they had noodles. In bad times, they ate porridge made from the husks (that is the outside) of the grain. That's about as tasty as potato peel. Meat was only for special occasions like Chinese New Year.

This recipe gives you a taste of Beicheng:

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Curl your hair Victorian-style

In Victorian days, girls and women always wore their hair long. Ringlets were very fashionable - see the curls in this 1849 portrait? (On the girl on the right, that is. The child on the left is a little boy.) Jemima and Lavinia both have corkscrew curls like these.

But neither perms nor electric hair tongs had been invented in 1841. So how did they do it?  

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