The cook not mad, or, Rational cookery : being a collection of original and selected receipts ... prevalent with the American publick in town and country ... to which are added directions for preparing comforts for the sick room, together with sundry m...
- In Collections
Feeding America: the Historic American Cookbook Project
- Copyright Status
- No Copyright
- Material Type
- 120 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.
The Cook Not Mad, or Rational Cookery; Being A Collection of Original and Selected Receipts, Embracing Not Only the Art of Curing Various Kinds of Meats and Vegetables for Future Use, but of Cooking in its General Acceptation, to the Taste, Habits, and Degrees of Luxury, Prevalent with the American Publick, in Town and Country. To Which are Added, Directions for Preparing Comforts for the SICKROOM; Together with Sundry Miscellaneous Kinds of Information, of Importance to Housekeepers in General, Nearly All Tested by Experience.
Watertown, NY: Knowlton & Rice, 1831.
This is a most intriguing little book. First printed in 1830 in Watertown, New York, it was reprinted there in 1831 (this copy) and again in 1841. Of more import is that within one year of its first appearance in New York, it was published across the border and became Canada's first printed cookbook. About the only difference between the American edition and the Canadian was a single word - the substitution of the word "Canadian" for the word "American" in the title.
This is strange since the book stresses the importance of American cooking and denigrates foreign influences such as English, French and Italian. The author offers "Good Republican Dishes" (i.e., American) and he/she does in fact present many American dishes. There are recipes for the very American turkey, pompion (pumpkin), codfish, cranberries, A Tasty Indian Pudding, Federal Pancakes, Good Rye and Indian (cornmeal) Bread, Johnnycake, Indian Slapjack, Washington Cake, and Jackson Jumbles.
But there are also many recipes of distinctly English origin such as puddings named Sunderland, Whitpot, Marlborough and Nottingham and cakes called Queen's, Tunbridge, Derby and Danbury. Many of the recipes for both the English and American items are word for word copies of earlier cookbooks printed on both sides of the Atlantic. Plagiarism in culinary works is not a new phenomenon, nor, of course, was it new in the early 19th century.
One of the most intriguing recipes is No. 298 A Moorish Method of Cooking Beef, as Described by Captain Riley, the Ship-wrecked Mariner. This is essentially a recipe for shish-kebab and it is one of the earliest known in American cookbooks.
The author remains anonymous; scholars are working to uncover the name. All editions of this book are rare.