Cora Bolton McBryde’s Cookbook

Some of our readers may know (and some of you may not) that Special Collections has a second blog. Launched in January 2014, it highlights materials from all of our collecting areas and features contributions from all our staff. Last week, our university archivist wrote a post about a handwritten cookbook we acquired last year. It was kept by Cora Bolton McBryde, the wife of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College president (from 1891-1907), John McLaren McBryde. It’s a very interesting piece of university history AND food history. So this week, our feature comes from our other blog. You can read about the cookbook, its preservation, and a little about the McBrydes here: http://vtspecialcollections.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/cooking-for-the-president-cora-bolton-mcbrydes-cookbook/. Enjoy!

Celebrating the Food Encyclopedia

July is, among other things, National Culinary Arts Month* ! So, I thought we might look at some culinary arts reference books in the History of Food and Drink Collection–namely, some encyclopedias. They are from the more modern parts of the collection in terms of publication dates, but they represent hundreds of years of culinary arts history. So, it all works out in the end, right? :)

First up, The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink from 1999.

Next, The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, 2003.

And last, but certainly not least, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, 2013. (We also have the 2004 edition of this awesome set, which was issued in 2 volumes. It’s now up to 3!)

As you might notice, none of these volumes cover topics in quite the same way. The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink includes hundreds of recipes scattered among its pages. The Encyclopedia of Food and Culture takes a broad, global look at food and its connection to general culture. And The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America focuses on food/drink items, technology, history, advertising, and more. These approaches are a good thing that reflect the multiple approaches many scholars take to doing research. Some are more comprehensive that others, but they all offer different perspectives on the foods and food cultures that play such important roles in our lives.


July is also National Baked Bean Month, National Bison Month, National Grilling Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National July Belongs to Blueberries Month, and National Picnic Month. July 18 is also National Cavier Day. I promise, I don’t make these things up! There are SOOOO many fun food holidays to know about!

Mrs. Scott’s Seasonal Summer Cooking

Since summer is in full swing, this week we’re again featuring, well, summer recipes. This time, from Mrs. Scott’s North American Seasonal Cook Book: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Guide to Economy and Ease in Good Food, 1921. (Perhaps we’ll revisit other portions of the cookbook later in the year, too!)

Front cover

Front cover

From the introduction:

This is the first cook book ever planned to help the housewife take advantage of Nature’s changing supply of foodstuffs from season to season, tho such timeliness is the chief determining factor in the economy, palatability and healthfulness of many articles of diet…The average woman who never thought of the matter in this light will be astonished at the usefulness of this Seasonal Cook Book. It will enable her to make timely use of what is in market, and by so doing will help not only to reduce the cost of living, but at the same time increase the pleasure of the table.

The summer recipes include recipes for hot and cold soups; fish and clams; beef, lamb and combination dishes; egg dishes; cheese receipts; vegetables; salads and dressings; fruit desserts; puddings; frozen dishes; seasonable cakes; jams; home flavors; breads; beverages; jellies; canning; and sandwiches. Personally, I got stuck in the sandwich section at the end, surprised at how many different things one can combine with cream cheese to make a filling, especially when it comes to olives…

Mrs. Scott’s point, though, is that you can do a great deal with what is on hand during a given season. Good advice for any age where cooks may be seeking economy, simplicity, and efficiency. And there are at least some options for those hot days when turning on an oven might be the last thing on your mind!

Frozen Desserts and Virginia Dishes–Just in Time for July 4th!

While hunting for either a) July 4th themed recipes or b) summery desserts for the holiday, I stumbled upon Frozen Desserts: A Little Book Containing Recipes for Ice Cream. Water Ices, Frozen Desserts Together with Sundry “Famous Old Virginia Dishes,” by Mrs. Clement Carrington McPhail. (Quite a long title for 16 pages!) It probably dates to the early part of the 20th century. What’s more intriguing, though, is the combination…

Front cover

Front cover

It’s hard not to look at this more like two 8 page publications by one author that were sort of stuck together. There isn’t a real connection between, say, Frozen Banana Bisque and Old Virginia Hoecake, but what cook doesn’t have a diverse knowledge of foods. I suppose Mrs. McPhail was just sharing what she knew.

So, whether your three day weekend needs some tutti frutti, pineapple ice, apple dumplings, or wild duck, take a little inspiration from Virginia past. (Though you may want to skip the frozen mayonnaise, whether you’re picnicking or not!)

Happy July 4th!

Peterson’s Pickled Peppers?

It’s been a while since we talked about canning and food preservation. Although we have lots of earlier publications that deal with different aspects of food preservation, this week, we’re looking at the oldest manual dedicated to the subject in our collection (at least for now): Peterson’s Preserving, Pickling & Canning Fruit Manual: Containing A Choice Collection of Receipts for Preserving, Pickling and Canning Fruits, Many of Them Being Original from Housewives of Experience, written in 1869 by Mrs. M. E. P[eterson]. If you weren’t sure what this book was about by the title, the subtitle sure clears it up! I think it also serves as an interesting marketing technique. It emphasizes the idea that this is a book written for housewives by housewives.

And yes, as the blog title suggests, there are recipes for a variety of pickled peppers, too! Throughout the book we can also find “recipes” that are more like household hints: how to dry herbs, remove fruits stains, or make a sealant for canning jars, for example.

In many cases, Mrs. M. E. P. has attributed the recipe to the author, but she is no more specific than “Mrs. C’s.” We don’t really have a way to trace these recipes. Still, I can’t help but wonder if they might be ladies whose names we’ve seen elsewhere. Whatever the case may be, clearly, Mrs. P. knows her stuff. The best part about this manual is its timelessness. The technology may have changed, but the ingredients haven’t. So next time you’re thinking marmalade or pickles, maybe we can help. :)

Cooking with Dromedary (NOT Camels, I promise!)

…Although the idea of cooking with a camel in one’s kitchen (not as an ingredient, but as a helper) is worth a giggle. Rather, our feature this week is from the Hills Brothers Co. of New York. Dromedary was the label of a variety of products, includes dates, figs, coconut, fruit butters, and tapioca. This particular cookbook comes from 1914. At 100 years old, it needs a moment in the spotlight.

Not surprisingly, then, the recipes in this little volume tend to highlight dates, figs, and tapioca. But, we can’t escape without our share of unique fillings (“Sweet Green Peppers Stuffed with Figs” and “Thanksgiving Squash Pie”), fried goodies (date AND fig fritters, plus croquettes), and curiously named recipes (“Golf Balls,” “Camel Fig Mousse”–named after the brand, and “Masked Apples”). Still, there are LOTS of great ideas for dried fruit in here and the recipes are diverse. It wasn’t all desserts, as I expected. So go on, try a “Delicious Sandwich”– It’s camel approved. :)

Betty Crocker & Salads!

It’s back to Betty Crocker and the bright red box for a short Friday afternoon post. There’s something that must draw me to it for these end-of-the-week features. Today’s post focuses on section “D,” aka “Salads for Every Occasion.” Frozen, fruity, meaty, fishy, jellied, dressed, dry…and often some wild combination. (But don’t worry, we’ve spared you the jellied chicken this time…)

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Whether you’re looking for dish to complement a weekend bbq or a way to use up leftovers, this series of cards can help…maybe?

Happy Friday and make something you enjoy this weekend!

A Little About Janet Lowe Cameron

In the last week or so, we’ve had several students here to ask about and work with the collection. The Janet Lowe Cameron Scholarships have been given out for the year and students are starting/continuing their research. Not surprisingly, this has got me thinking about Janet Cameron and her publications. Here in Special Collections, we have a small manuscript collection containing information about her and copies of many of her publications. This week, I’ve scanned a few front pages to share.

 

If you’d like to know more about Janet Cameron, you can read some in the finding aid for her collection in Special Collections. You may also want to visit us, since there’s more information in the collection itself, some of which is online here (and undoubtedly we could find more in our University history materials, too!). And there’s an article in the 2001 Culinary Thymes about her. I’m also planning to write a post or two about her in the future. :)

I know some of our readers may have known Janet Cameron. If you’d like to share something about her, please do so in the comments!

Children’s Chores…in Song?

This week, I found something unique to share–The Kitchen Garden,: or, Object Lessons in Household Work including Songs, Plays, Exercises, and Games, Illustrating Household Occupations by Emily Huntington (1841-1909). It’s a book for children (mostly girls) designed to teach the proper steps for household chores. The book is broken down into six “lessons,” but it also includes additional songs and even a program for public performances of the songs and skits. Each lesson includes a recitation, at least one song, and illustrations.

 

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Emily Huntington authored a number of other titles like The Kitchen Garden, which is the only one of her works in our collection. If you look at the other titles, though, there was a clearly a theme to her books:

  • Kitchen-Garden System of Cookery
  • The Cooking Garden: A Systemized Course of Cooking for Pupils of All Ages, including Plan of Work, Bills of Fare, Songs, and Letters of Information
  • Children’s Kitchen-Garden Book
  • Children’s Kitchen-Garden Book, Adapted from the Original, with Additional Songs
  • How to Teach Kitchen Garden: or, Object Lessons in Household Work including Songs, Plays, Exercises, and Games, Illustrating Household Occupations

Although we certainly have books that are meant to teach lessons to children, this is probably the only one in our collection that does so in this particular way. It seems a good way to reach children. Of course, kids don’t do the same chores in the same way they did in 1890. I guess that must mean it’s time for some new songs!

 

New Guide to Culinary Resources

Procrastinating Archivist Kira here. I’m still working on a post for this week. In the meantime, I wanted to share a resource I started developing last semester. The University Libraries have begun using LibGuides, an online tool that allows us to build topic, subject, and course guides. Since I love to experiment with new toys, I created “Food & Drink History Resources @Virginia Tech (and Beyond!).” This guide combines information about online and physical collections and publications we have here at Special Collections, as well as exhibits, digital collections, and physical collections at other institutions. I’ve also included a short list of sample food blogs (with more to come!). If you’re curious about our collection, this is a fun place to start. And if you’re wondering what other academic organizations are interested in food history, you can see that, too.

This continues to be a work-in-progress, as I add new resources, blogs, information, and soon, some images. Suggestions are welcome! Here’s a screenshot teaser of the first page:

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