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!”
Below that it is defined as:
“A NEW GUIDE FOR THE HOUSEKEEPER, ESPECIALLY INTENDED AS A FULL RECORD OF DELICIOUS DISHES SUFFICIENT FOR ANY WELL-TO-DO FAMILY, CLEAR ENOUGH FOR THE BEGINNER, AND COMPLETE ENOUGH FOR AMBITIOUS PROVIDERS.”
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.
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!