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 Sure some ideas might be out of date, but you never know what you might find when you explore these books.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!
“What ! ” the reader may exclaim “Another book on cookery ! Have we not Careme and Francatelli, Yatel and Soyer, Ude and Gouffe, Miss Acton and Mrs. Beeton, Meg Dodds and Mrs. Hale, and scores of other authorities on the same subject ? Must every cook be an author, and we be asked to read his book, as well as to eat of the dishes he prepares?” Gentle reader, it is to anticipate this possible state of mind, and to answer these probable questions, that this explanatory preface is submitted. Many a dish is cooked that is not worth the time and trouble, even by an ordinarily educated palate, given to its discussion, and many a book written especially on the subject of Cookery the reading of which is worse than time wasted. There have been innumerable Cook Books for popular use published, I grant you ; but if you ask nine out of ten persons who consult them, they will tell you they become more and more perplexed as they attempt to follow their guidance. The housekeeper will confess she has been led into errors by their vague recipes, injurious to the family health, and, at the same time, expensive to the family purse. It is to dissipate this fog enveloping the literature of the kitchen that the publication of the BOOK OF AMERICAN PRACTICAL COOKERY is undertaken. The author claims that the work is the result of a lifetime of study, constant observation, and practical experience in the best culinary establishments of both Continents. He, therefore, brings to his task a thorough knowledge of the subject, and asserts, fearless of successful contradiction, that the result of his labors will be the only competent, treatise applying culinary science especially to the material conditions of this country ever written. He intends it for a trustworthy guide to all what to eat and drink, and what to avoid.
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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library