Buckeye cookery, and practical housekeeping : compiled from original recipes
- In Collections
Feeding America: the Historic American Cookbook Project
- Copyright Status
- No Copyright
Cooking, American--Midwestern style
Formulas, recipes, etc.
- Material Type
- 464 pages
The introductory texts reproduced here were written by the original Feeding America team to contextualize the books that were selected for inclusion as part of the 2001 digitization project.
Buckeye Cookery, And Practical Housekeeping: Compiled From Original Recipes.
Minneapolis, Minn.: Buckeye Pub. Co., 1877.
This was the great mid-American cookbook of its day. It began life as a charity cookbook when, in 1876, the women of the First Congregational Church in Marysville, Ohio, published a cookbook to raise money to build a parsonage. They named it The Centennial Buckeye Cook Book, in honor of America's Centennial.
The author, Estelle Woods Wilcox, who grew up in Marysville had moved with her husband to Minneapolis, where he managed the Minneapolis Daily Tribune. From Minneapolis, Mrs. Wilcox edited the contributions of the Marysville women and wrote the introductory essays to each section. The book was published in Minneapolis and the ladies of Marysville accomplished their goal by raising two thousand dollars for the parsonage.
The Wilcoxes, who recognized the ongoing potential of the book, bought its copyright and established themselves as the Buckeye Publishing Company. Thus began a long and varied publishing saga. Estelle Wilcox continued editing, revising and publishing the book for the next twenty-eight years. The book was sometime published as the Dixie Cook Book, to reach a southern audience. It was published in German to reach the largest ethnic group in the Upper Midwest. An edition was published almost every year in Dayton, Atlanta, Denver, Chicago and St. Paul as well as many in Minneapolis. At least thirty different printings have been recorded. As early as 1880, the title page indicated "Eightieth Thousand." It is interesting to note that only the first Marysville edition benefitted the First Congregational Church; most later editions were part of the Wilcox publishing business.
Why was the book so popular? Clearly, it met the needs of thousands of women looking for advice on how to feed their families and manage their households. It kept up-to-date by revisions covering newly introduced foods and equipment. It contains about 300 pages of cookery recipes and another 125 or so of household hints, suggestions for caring for the sick, for doing laundry, for the cellar and the ice-house, for "Hired Help", for preserving, gardening - and everything else within the housewives' sphere of responsibility.
There are economical recipes and recipes for company. Among the latter are an elegant Peach Pyramid, Bina's Strawberry Shortcake, and Christmas Plum Pudding. There are Catsups made with Cucumber, Currant, Cherry, Gooseberry, and Tomato. There is an interesting chapter on seasonal bills of fare.
All in all, this is one of America's most popular cookbooks - and it is an American classic.