Archive.org has a host of old cookery books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. I happened across a few in my Pinterest feed and gone completely down the rabbit hole in this treasure trove of information. Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books. I’ll be sharing more books as I find them in the coming weeks. –Douglas
Want a print copy of “Six Little Cooks”? There is a reprint available on Amazon and perhaps at your local library!
“Oh, Annt Jane,” said Grace, looking up quickly from the story-book she was reading, ” I wish you would teach us all how to cook! “
But here am I, the author, plunging at once into the middle of my story without a word of explanation, not even a preface. Of course, no one can understand anything about it unless I go back a little, and tell you how it began.
Aunt Jane had come to make a visit to Mrs. Yernon, Grace’s motlier, and had brought her own little girl. Amy, to spend the vacation. Next door lived Edith Lane, a very intimate friend of both the girls, and just across the street, Rose and Jessie Carroll, Grace’s cousins; and these five, witli little Mabel Vernon, made a happy company who were almost always together. Mabel was just nine years old, and the others were from ten to twelve, so there was not difference enough in their ages to prevent their being the best of playmates.
Well — as I began to say, Grace was reading about a wonderful little girl who made such remarkable things in the way of cakes and puddings, that our . young person was seized with a desire to do likewise without delay. Aunt Jane was the kindest of aunts and the best of cooks, and Grace knew that if she would take the trouble to teach them, they would be well taught.
“I should like that of all things,” said she, in answer to Grace’s exclamation, “provided your mother consents.”
“Oh, she’d be perfectly delighted,” cried Grace; “she often says she wishes she had time to teach us herself.”
“Very well, then; run and ask her if we may begin this afternoon.”
“And can’t Rose and Jessie and Edith come too?” inquired Grace eagerly. “They all want to learn, just as much as I do.”
“Not quite so fast,” said Aunt Jane, smiling. ” Suppose we begin with those in the house first, and if it works well we can invite the others afterwards.”
And now there is one thing more I should like to have you do. Bring a little blank book, in which you can write down the recipes we try, and if any of them should prove not to be good, we’ll cross them off without mercy.”
The book was quickly brought, and Grace wrote down from her aunt’s dictation, as follows:
No. 1. — Susan’s Cake.
Three cups flour, two of sugar, two-thirds of a cup of butter, one cup of sour milk, three eggs, one teaspoonful soda, two of cream tartar. Two cups seeded raisins, or one of well- washed currants, added, makes a delicious fruit cake.
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† Available from the LA Public Library