The Orange Judd Cook Book , published in 1914, has a subtitle that describes it rather succinctly: “A Practical Collection of Tested Recipes for Practical Housekeepers.” Beyond that, it was largely intended for rural and farm homes and housekeepers.
Given its early 20th century publication date, the lack of color images isn’t surprising. Still, each picture does present a perfectly created and plated dish, even if some of it is *gulp* jellied. (I know I have serious doubts I could cheese cakes that nice looking on the first try–pastry crusts and I, for example, are old enemies.) And it makes the important point that plating and presentation have always been a factor in serving and eating.
Adeline O. Goessling, the author, wrote a number of related books between 1901 and 1919, including Making the Farm Kitchen Pay, Farm and Home Cook Book and Housekeeper’s Assistant, and The Farm and Home Cook Book: A Practical Collection of Tested Recipes for Practical Housekeepers. It seems safe to say, when it came to authoring cookbooks, Ms. Goessling found her niche and an effective way to package and repackage titles and recipes!
With the emphasis on rural and farm life, the cookbook isn’t without a few recipes that might make a modern reader look twice. We’ve looked before at recipes for various mock and real sea creatures, organ meats, and alternative sources of meat (squirrel, for example). The Orange Judd Cook Book is the first recipes we’ve seen in our collection for raccoon (baked, of course!). Not only are there directions for preparing it, but a rationale as to why raccoon would be good for eating and how to not waste the fat you don’t want to bake it with–by making soap. This lead to more than one discussion in the library about what raccoon would actually taste like and exactly how strong a scent you would need in that soap to not smell like a gamey animal. (Why yes, we librarians and archivists are a fun bunch!) The fact that “Baked Coon” is immediately followed by “Possum and Sweet ‘Taters'” led to discussions of how different the environments we were raised in can be.
Which brings our post this week to a close with this thought: cookbooks can spark cultural conversation and education in any environment, even if its only the shared experience of wonder at a new food or recipe.
Oh, and while Special Collections at Virginia Tech does not have any of Adeline Goessling’s other publications, you can The Orange Judd Cook Book and several others online via the Internet Archive.