Lowney’s Cook Book 1912

Judith, a new blog friend, recently posted a picture and wrote a bit about an 1894 cookbook that came into her possession. It stirred the memory of one I have tucked away that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, published in 1912, and I thought, “What a great idea for a blog post!” 

Opening Lowney’s Cook Book to the title page, it says it is
                          “ILLUSTRATED IN COLORS.”

Below that it is defined as:


I don’t know about you, but when I pondered “ambitious providers,” I sure was glad it’s almost a century later, and things have changed tremendously in our country in regard to the acquisition of food.  

The next item to catch my eye was “How to care for the Refrigerator.” It says to select a large refrigerator, I’m ok with that; simple construction and of hardwood, um, I don’t recall seeing anything like that in Sears–or any appliance store, for that matter; lined with zinc or marble and shelves of slate or hardwood. Marble? Yes, marble. Inside the refrigerator. The hardwood refrigerator.

Interesting note in the Marketing section when buying poultry:
“Birds are sold with the feathers on, but have the market man remove them.”

Then it was on to the recipes, or “receipts” as per the book.

Irish moss
Irish Moss Image via Wikipedia

Many of the pages bore splatters similar to my cookbooks, but none so much as the dessert section, of which several loose pages had been tucked neatly back inside. I noticed several recipes called for Irish Moss. Moss? Wondering if this was still in use today, I resorted to my friend Google. I learned it is a type of seaweed, from which we get carrageenan. It was used in custards and desserts of that type for its gelatinous properties. 

By the time I got to the Calf’s Foot Jelly, and looked up ‘rennet’ listed in another recipe, I’d lost my appetite for this cookbook!

The glossary in the back defined mayonnaise as “salad sauce.” I found that definition humorous and can’t wait to try it out on someone. 

And finally, the back cover states, “Pure food should be insisted on, it goes further, nourishes more, and saves doctors’ bills.” At least that is still true today.

I think I’ll stop by my favorite grocery store and give my “market man” a hug!







20 thoughts on “Lowney’s Cook Book 1912

  1. That book is a treasure for sure!

    And by the way, a few months ago, I was fortunate enough to purchase an old oak ice box owned by my uncle. Maybe you just gave me an idea for a future blog post about that!


  2. I have various collections of many things, Patti, one of which is old cookbooks! And this is why I adore them–the fabulous pictures and the descriptions of the “recipes.” It’s amazing how food preparation and the actually cooking have evolved, not to mention societal views of women in the kitchen. Though many of yesterday’s recipes might be today’s outdated dinosaurs, I think the whole idea was to make eating time “family time”–something that many families rarely experience anymore in our fast paced world. Eating from a box has become the norm, and fast food a mainstay. Sad.

    Enjoyed this! 🙂


  3. Patti, I love this post! You come up with some great ones.

    Three cheers for modern day cooks, grocery stores, refrigerators, and, yes, even cookbooks for the woman on the fly between work and home. I am glad to be part of this generation of pampered people. I’ve plucked a chicken. It ain’t fun! At least that was good advice. Let the market man remove (nice term) them for you. I’m sure the local meat market employee isn’t removing feathers before he cuts up a bird, if he even does this part. I heard last week that there is a machine that removes the feathers of several birds at one time. FYI in case you want to get into the business. Blessings to you…


    1. Thank you, Carol. I’ve seen enough of chicken from the cage to the plate, and I’m not interested in that business! I will have to look into that machine, as you’ve piqued my curiosity. But maybe I should finish eating the chicken on hand before doing that. Just in case…
      Blessings to you, my dear.


  4. I would enjoy this book. As a history teacher I grew tired of wars and politics and now find delightful the study of the daily routines of people from different eras. In Rome for example, few houses except the wealthiest had a kitchen. Food was a take-out matter to a relief of 3 meals a day of corn or grain mush . American colonial cooking was an all day affair and the diets of medieval Europe was primarily salted fish and the Roman church had so many religious days and had a corner on the salted fish industry to increase profit.


    1. That sounds like a much more interesting study to me, too, Carl. It’s nice to reflect on how things used to be, it reminds us how far we’ve come and how much we have to be thankful for.


  5. Chickens sold with feathers? Not sure how I’d handle that – I don’t even buy chicken with bones 🙂 The calf’s foot jelly doesn’t sound appealing either. It’s interesting how tastes change with the generations. (I bet they would have loved a Big Mac!)


    1. I haven’t bought chicken with bones in a long time, come to think of it. They might have liked pizza, too; but there probably weren’t enough cars yet to offer delivery. 🙂


  6. My grandmother saved me once. Late one school night I announced to my mother I had a special dish project due the next day. My mother was not amused. My grandmother happened to be visiting and suggested we make jello. When I told her everyone would laugh at that…easy jello…she said what it needed was a good “sauce”…I got a good review from the teacher because of the homemade mayonnaise.


    1. That is a wonderful story, Georgette. Grandmother’s come up with some great ideas that get us out of trouble. I can imagine your mother’s disdain at the late notice!


  7. Patti there would be no chicken consumed here if I had to remove the feathers from the bird or had to ask the market man, “market man could you please pluck those feather off that bird?”. I like for that part of my chicken experience to remain a mystery. I know I should and do realize how much is given up for chicken and beef and pork to make it to my table but I am not yet ready to face the facts and not ready to go vegan. Yet. Calf’s Foot Jelly, I am not even going there. Fun post 🙂


  8. What a treasure such an ancient cookbook! I confess to having plucked a few chickens in my days as a young mother. Ducks, too. Way too many ducks. If you try to pluck them at the wrong time of year, or was it when they are too young, you must deal with pin feathers. Very tedious work. Makes a woman want to become a vegetarian! I agree with you, Patti. God bless the Market Man!


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