The most recent addition to my cookbook collection arrived in the mail from eBay yesterday – a copy of Every Lady’s Cook Book, by Mrs T.J. Crowen. The date on the cover and title page is 1854, but as it states that it is the new and greatly improved edition, it may be a bit newer than that.
If my edition is the greatly improved edition, I’m glad I don’t have the earlier, inferior edition. I’ve not had time to go through it in great detail, but so far, page 11 (bread making) is on the front of page 8, and page 7 (Making and baking cakes) is on the front of page 12, which makes for a couple of confusing chapters! There also seem to be some out of order pages towards the back.
My edition is missing the spine and back paper cover entirely, and the front cover is pretty tattered. The entire book has been stitched back together at some point, not too recently, from the looks of it, and the cover was stitched to the title page like some sort of Frankenbook. How’s that for a Hallowe’en treat!
Some of the recipes are, by today’s standard, unusual, but interesting. The recipe for Cherry Pie is as follows – Lay a crust in the dish, then put in one or two layers of cherries, without stoning them, sprinkle plentifully with sugar. Dredge flour over, add some water, and cover with a good paste.
Yes, that is the entire recipe.
The peach pie recipe similarly advises leaving the stones in the peaches to improve the flavour. Though it seems odd, I’ve seen stone-fruit recipes in other old books that advise leaving the stones in, or at least suggests it as an option. It’s not something I’ve tried, but who knows, maybe next cherry season I will try it, and see how the flavour differs. Honestly, though, I think the inconvenience of having to eat around the pits may well outweigh any flavour improvements.
Another intriguing recipe:
To Make Pig Taste as Lamb — Take the hind quarter of a large roasting pig, take off the skin, and rub it well with pepper and salt, and pounded herbs, and roast it; serve with a salad.
I’ve roasted any number of pork joints over the years, with many combinations of herbs rubbed in, and never once had one come out tasting at all like lamb. Perhaps I need to keep trying!
This is a lovely, if tattered old book, and has obviously been well used in the past. Many of the pages have stains and spatters that attest to it’s usefulness. There are definitely some recipes in this book that I want to make, crumpets being one. This book will definitely be making another appearance on this blog in the future!