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Historical Cookbooks

Women traditionally did most of the home's cooking, so historical cookbooks often shed light on the ordinary lives of women. Recipes show the preparation methods common in historical times. Many cookbook authors were women. Cook books of history included directions for many household activities beyond the preparation of meals. Articles and links from Jone Johnson Lewis.
  1. Julia Child (3)
  2. 1896 Fannie Farmer (3)
  3. Recipes Tried and True 1894 (103)
  4. Advice Books By and For ...

Julia Child
Biography of Julia Child, cookbook author and television personality, who introduced French cooking to average Americans.

Fannie Farmer
Biography of Fannie Farmer, cookbook author and domestic science promoter.

American Girl Pastimes Books
Hands-on history with the American Girls Collection Pastimes books: cookbooks, craft books, paper dolls or theater kits.

How To Destroy the Putrid Smell Which Meat Acquires ...
... During Hot Weather: A how-to from an 18th century cookbook, illustrating a solution to a then-common problem.

How To Make Soap
Directions from Mary Randolph's cookbook, "The Virginia House-Wife," published in 1824 and updated in 1825 and 1828.

How to Prepare Flour - 1884
An 1884 guide to preparing flour from wheat, an interesting perspective on how women's lives have changed. From Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Mrs. D. A. Lincoln, 1884. One of two such recipes, showing different techniques.

Household Words: Women Write From and For the Kitchen
An online exhibit of historical cookbooks, with commentary about the role of cookbooks in understanding women's lives in historical context.

Ideals of womanhood: cookery books as a primary source
Article by Dr. Lynn Abrams on the role of cookbooks in women's history, highlighting a British cookbook and advice book, The Book of Household Management by Isabella Beeton.

Manuscript Cookbook of D. Petre, 1705
Medical and cooking recipes are included in this early 18th century book. There are more "medicinals" than "recipes" in this particular book.

Miss Beecher's Housekeeper and Healthkeeper
Subtitled: "containing five hundred recipes for economical and healthful cooking; also, many directions for securing health and happiness ..." Pages images of 1873 cookbook by Catharine Beecher.

Receipts of Pastry and Cookery For the Use of his Scholars
A facsimile copy online of a 1700s cookbook by "Ed. Kidder." Recipes for pasties, "fish pyes," puddings, pickles, jellies, "potting" as in potted beef and potted pigeon, and many dishes called "made dishes" -- leg of mutton, "pidgeons," chicken, rabbit, sausages, more.

What's Cooking
Article on the gift of Julia Child's kitchen, now part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Behring Center. Includes a link to an interactive tour of the kitchen including commentary on implements and other items in the kitchen.

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