Domestic cookery, useful receipts, and hints to young housekeepers
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Feeding America: the Historic American Cookbook Project
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- 310 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.
Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers.
Baltimore: Cushings and Bailey, 1869.
In 1845, Elizabeth Ellicott Lea published this volume in Baltimore, at her own expense. It is subtitled "Hints to Young Housekeepers" and was meant to serve as a handbook for the inexperienced bride, who knew little or nothing about domestic arts. The book met with great success; it was in print for twenty-five years, with at least 19 editions. It was also reprinted in facsimile in 1982.
The book is a unique blending of recipes from the Tidewater South, from Anglo-American cookery as practiced by the Quakers of Pennsylvania and from the Pennsylvania Germans. Many of the recipes are plain and unadorned, perhaps, befitting Quaker norms. Mrs. Lea tells us in her preface that "whilst receipt books for elegant preparations were often seen, those connected with the ordinary, but far more useful part of household duties, were not easily procured." Thus, she has set out to offer just such "ordinary" recipes.
These do appear, but there are also others which require more finesse. Take the Bacon Fraise recipe; it sounds delicious and requires some care in preparation. The same can be said for her Pot Pie, A Rich Oyster Pie, Baked Egg Plant, Superior Boiled Milk Rolls, Maryland Biscuits, Indian Bread with Butter Milk, Farmers' Mince Pies, Snow Fritters, and Pickled Black Walnuts.
There are also instructions for making cheese, roasting coffee, rendering lard and tallow for soap and candles, washing, mending, dyeing, making matresses - and many other things a 19th century housewife was responsible for doing.
This book is a fine example of a mid-19th century cookery and household manual and bears careful examination.