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 Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books.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
What might you find in these old cookbooks? What special recipes have been handed down to you? Share in the Comments!
This is not a cookery book. It makes no attempt to replace a good one ; it is rather an effort to fill up the gap between you and your household oracle, whether she be one of those exasperating old friends who mad- dened our mother with their yagueness, or the newer and better lights of our own generation, the latest and best of all being a lady as well known for her novels as for her works on domestic economy — one more proof, if proof were needed, of the truth I endearor to set forth — if somewhat tediously forgive me — in this little book : that cooking and cultivation are by no means antagonis- tic. Who does not remember with affectionate admira- tion Charlotte Bronte taking the eyes out of the pota- toes stealthily, for fear of hurting the feelings of her purblind old servant ; or Margaret Fuller shelling peas ?
The chief difficulty, I fancy, with women trying recipes is, that they fail and know not why they fail, and so become discouraged, and this is where I hope to step in. But although this is not a cookery book, insomuch as it does not deal chiefly with recipes, I shall yet give a few ; but only when they are, or I believe them to be, better than those in general use, or good things little known, or supposed to belong to the do- main of a French chef, of which I have introduced a good many. Should I succeed in making things that were obscure before clear to a few women, I shall be as proud as was Mme. de Genlis when she boasts in her Memoirs that she has taught six new dishes to a Ger- man housewife. Six new dishes ! When Brillat-Sava- rin says : ” He who has invented one new dish has done more for the pleasure of mankind than he who has discovered a star.”
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† Available from the LA Public Library