Putting the “Umble” in “Humble Pie?”

To conclude, and that I may not trespass too far on your Patience and good Nature, or take up too much of your Time from the more important Affairs of your Families, I hereby ingenuously acknowledge, that I have exerted all the Art and Industry I can boast of, in compleating this Pocket-Book, complied for your Service, and intended as your daily Remembrancer; and that I an not conscious to myself of having omitted one Article of any real Importance to be further known…

This morning, I had a plan.  A really good plan for today’s post and the idea to also prep one for next week (and see if I can get back on a weekly posting schedule after a busy last few months). While scanning materials for the second post, I discovered some new culinary history tidbits that were too good not to share today. So next week, I’ll tell you about our new agricultural ephemera collection. This week, we’re going back to the mid-18th century, to Sarah Harrison’s The house-keeper’s pocket-book, and compleat family cook : containing above twelve hundred curious and uncommon receipts in cookery, pastry, preserving, pickling, candying, collaring, &c., with plain and easy instructions for preparing and dressing every thing suitable for an elegant entertainment, from two dishes to five or ten, &c., and directions for ranging them in their proper order. First published somewhere in the late 1730s (probably, our recently acquired copy is the later 7th edition from 1760. The quote at the above comes from Harrison’s own introduction to the book.

tx705h37_1760_tp

Yes, another one of those books with a lengthy title that takes a whole page. (I”ll stick with The House-Keeper’s Pocket-Book for the sake of my typing skills today.) Mrs. Harrison manages to pack of lot of information into 215 pages (plus another 36 for the added Every One Their Own Physician by Mary Morris).

tx705h37_1760_contents1 tx705h37_1760_contents2

Primarily, she provides recipes and suggested menus (bills of fare) for a year. Then, toward the end, we get a some of the more “housekeeping” or “household recipe” side of things: directions for removing stains, cleaning dishes, managing animals and livestock, and even a bit of distilling/brewing. Much in the British style, there is a significant section in the book on pies (not just the sweet, but the savory). And as chance would have it, I stumbled on to page 60 and the word “umbles.”

tx705h37_1760_60

While working this this culinary history materials here has provided this archivist quite an education, I, too, get stumped on occasion. For those of you who already know the word, kudos! For those of you bit less acquainted with the term, “umbles” refers to the organ meats of deer (and comes from the French “noumbles”). In this case, we have a recipe for “Umble Pie.” This recipe for “umble pie,” with its humble ingredients of deer innards, very likely led to the phrase “humble pie.” From dinner recipe to idiomatic expression in a single bound!

The House-Keeper’s Pocket-Book also includes a few illustrations, like these plans for placing parts of a dinner course:

tx705h37_1760_110 (The small “L2” at the bottom of the page was used to help construct the book, whose pages would have been printed in large sheets, then folded, cut, and sewn together.)

It wouldn’t be culinary history if we didn’t talk about one of our favorite topics: pickling. In 1760 (and when the earlier editions of the book were written), this was a main method of preservation. So, you could (and would!) pickle just about everything. Below is one of the page spreads on the subject and includes some items we recognize today, as well as a couple of ingredients (or at least terms) that are a bit less so. tx705h37_1760_178“Codlins” (also codlings) refers to a family of apples with a particular shape, usually use for cooking. “Samphire” is a plant that grows on rocks near the sea. Its leaves were often used pickling.

Sarah Harrison’s book would go on to have several other editions after this 7th one, but eventually, it was a cookbook that became more rare or unique to collectors and collections. We were lucky and happy to acquire this copy several months ago and we hope some one of you take the opportunity to come use it, too! Sadly, it hasn’t been scanned in its entirety for public viewing, but that may be a future task for us to undertake. In the meantime, you can always send us your (h)umble queries on Mrs. Harrison’s work.

Selection, Preparation, & a Physicians’ Ready Reference for the Non-Professional

Last week I taught three instruction sessions relating to Special Collections in three days (which is a lot for me, who usually averages maybe three such sessions over the course of a single semester). Two of those had to do with aspects of food history and elements of the third touched on the topic as well. Add that to the guest lecture in another course about food history in late September, and the students from those classes who have followed up with me or the department to do research, and, when I can spare a few moments, improving and/or creating some new resources guides on some food and drink topics, it’s safe to say this is turning out to be a food history-full semester. You’d think all of that would make it easy to find something to blog about this week, but with so many items in hand lately, well, choosing is never easy. But, since I pulled several volumes by this woman and mentioned her in another writing project, I thought we’re revisit an author and educator we last featured back in 2014: Sarah Tyson Rorer. More specifically, her Mrs. Rorer’s Diet for the Sick: Dietetic Treating of Diseases of the Body, What to Eat and What to Avoid in Each Case, Menus and the Proper Selection and Preparation of Recipes, Together with a Physicians’ Ready Reference, 1914 (available online: http://digitalsc.lib.vt.edu/HFDBooks/RM219.R7_1914). Below are the cover, title page, and two sample pages from the table of contents.

pages-from-rm219-r7_1914 pages-from-rm219-r7_1914-2 pages-from-rm219-r7_1914-3 pages-from-rm219-r7_1914-4

Mrs. Rorer was, over the course of her lifetime, was an author, educator, lecturer, columnist, and radio program host. She took all of these roles seriously and this book highlights that. Many recipes books/cookbooks dating back to the early publishing of such books in America included content on diets for the sick or invalid. The same is true of household management guides. Though these sections, as they often appeared as separate chapters or topics in books,  largely consisted of recipes for beef teas, milk toast, and other simple dishes, they were a key skill for household managers. Some of Sarah Rorer’s other books include such chapters, too. But in Mrs. Rorer’s Diet for the Sick…, we find a far more specific, detailed book, as indicated in the forward (along with some beef teas and gruels, of course):

      This book has been written especially for the sick. The foods here recommended for special diseases are not suited to the well…Simple, easily digested foods recommended for the sick are not necessarily good for even children or invalids; in fact, foods for the well and foods for the sick are not interchangeable.

My sole desire in writing this book has been to assist those persons who must care for their sick  at home, and the doctor and the nurse, without trespassing on the domain of either. In disease each case requires special attention, and the knowledge that comes from observation cannot be supplanted by any dictated rules. Book directions are valueless unless modified by common sense.

The fact of the matter is that, in this volume, Sarah Rorer has packed in the information. At well over 500 pages, there are suggested and restricted foods for a range of diseases and hundreds of recipes.

There are a lot of things that make this book different. It isn’t usual for a non-medical professional to study up and impart this degree of food and medical knowledge in a book of the time period. Plus, with all the expected recipes, we find a wide variety of the unexpected: directions for vegetable dishes like cardoons; the use of “Edible Weeds” (common and uncommon herbs); surprisingly “luxury” foods like coconut or oysters (depending on where on lived); and even some remedies whose roots are more on the “home” than professional side, like “Irish Moss Water.” In short, Mrs. Rorer’s Diet for the Sick… is one diverse household manual, designed to prepare anyone providing home care to an ill family member.

Women’s History Month, Part 17: Susannah Carter (fl.1765)

Since there are FIVE Thursdays in March this year, you’re getting a bonus gift: Another women’s history month profile!

We only have one book at the University Libraries by Susannah Carter, The Frugal Housewife: or, Complete Woman Cook: Wherein the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Viands, with Cleanliness, Decency, and Elegance, is Explained in Five Hundred Approved Receipts…to Which are Added, Various Bills of Fare, and a Proper Arrangement of Dinners, Two Courses, for Every Month of the Year.  Of course, there’s a good reason we only have one book–it’s the only one she wrote…sort of. On the surface, it’s not as clear as a good broth. The thing about The Frugal Housewife is that is appeared on both sides of the pond with variant titles, most of which have either the same subtitle, or at least part of the same subtitle. Yes, it’s bit confusing, but there’s quite a story to come. But first, the book!!

Oh, and apologies for the use of pictures that includes weights this week. Our 1802 text block is wonderful condition. It was rebound, probably some time in the last 75 years. This will help to continue to preserve the text, but it’s also a very tight binding and using a flat surface (aka a scanner) would be detrimental to the book. I had to get creative.

So, back to the story of this book’s many titles. For example, you might also see The Universal Housewife: or, Complete New Book of Cookery. Wherein the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Viands, with Cleanliness, Decency, and Elegance, is Explained in Five Hundred Approved New Receipts, … Together with the Best Methods of Potting, Collaring, Preserving, Drying, Candying, and Pickling. To which are Prefixed, Various Bills of Fare, for Dinners and Suppers in Every Month of the Year; and a Copious Index to the Whole (1770), which was the first version of the book. Or, there’s The Experienced Cook, and Housekeeper’s Guide. Giving the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Viands, with Cleanliness, Decency, and Elegance, is Explained in Five Hundred Approved New Receipts. With the Best Methods of Potting, Collaring, Preserving, Drying, Candying, Pickling, Making English Wines, and Distilling of Simples, with Twelve New Prints for the Arrangement of Dinners of Two Courses, for Every Month of the Year, etc. (1850).

Let’s take a step back for a moment. The first edition of The Universal Housewife probably appeared around 1765 in London and Dublin. The first appearance of the text in America was in Boston in 1772. This early colonial version included engraving by Paul Revere (how cool is that??). Variations on The Frugal Housewife title began as early as 1772. The only versions of The Experienced Cook and Housekeeper’s Guide variants appear to have been published in 1850. While we know nothing about the life of Susannah Carter, she was probably deceased by then. Assuming that she was at least 20 when the first edition came out in 1765, in 1850, she would have been 105 years old. These variants were not always the same book, as some elements were improved upon or edited for different versions. The year after our 1802, another edition was published in America that contains a whole new appendix of receipts specifically for the “American mode of cooking” (both processes and ingredients). Why all the changes? That’s a hard question to answer, but there were probably a lot of factors. Many hands go into writing, editing, printing, and publishing a volume like this, and many people might have been inclined to take liberties with a text. It may have been an attempt to appeal to different audiences, too.

There’s another reason we’re looking at Susannah Carter’s book this week, too. And it has a lot to do with some of the previous posts in this series. The Frugal Housewife: or, Complete Woman Cook was extremely influential in America. Remember Amelia Simmons and American Cookery, or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards, and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes, from the Imperial Plum to Plain Cake: Adapted to this Country, and All Grades of Life (1796)? Part of that title might look familiar now. As it turns out, entire passages of American Cookery came from The Frugal Housewife: or, Complete Woman Cook. (Copyright and publishing was a different business in the late 18th century!) The 1803 appendix to the American edition of The Frugal Housewife: or, Complete Woman Cook that I mentioned? That same appendix appears in an 1805 edition of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery. And it is probably not original to Carter. It appears to have been translated from a Swedish text called Rural Oeconomy. And, to further complicate things, as you may recall, in 1829, Lydia Maria Child authored a cookbook called The Frugal Housewife. Child’s book was published in different editions America and the UK, which, as you might expect, let to even more confusion. In 1832, under pressure, she changed the title to The American Frugal Housewife (though the old title didn’t disappear abroad until after 1834). This book has quite a history to it, right?

You can view the 1803 American edition of The Frugal Housewife at the Michigan State University Libraries’ Feeding America project, complete with the Swedish translated appendix. You can also see an 1823 London edition through the Internet Archive.

We’ll be back with another post next week. In the meantime, though, remember to make your gravies and sauces a priority. They are, after all,the “chief excellence of all Cookery!”

Women’s History Month, Part 15: Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880)

In our last episode (aka, Women’s History Month, Part 14), we looked at the Eliza Leslie, cookbook and fiction writer. This week, we’re picking up with that trend. Eliza Leslie was not the only cookbook author who wrote in multiple genres and who started in a different format first. This week, we’re featuring Lydia Maria Francis Child (1802-1880). She started out writing history, moved into household management/cooking, and then expanded even further, producing stories, poetry, novels, abolitionist tracts, and materials for children. Both during her life and after her death, her letters were also published. The volume of writing she produced goes well beyond the bibliography of books available here (see below).

While I won’t make any attempt to reproduce her entire life here (I’ve included links to some biographical resources below), there are some interesting things to point out about Lydia Maria Francis Child, including some interesting ties to food. Her father, David, was a baker. After her mother’s death, she lived with her sister and was educated to be a teacher, a profession she took up by 1821 in Massachusetts (where she met the Transcendentalist movement). Her first novel was published in 1824–she was 22. In 1828, she marred David Lee Child, a lawyer who, among other things, introduced her to issues surrounding Native American rights and abolitionism. Lydia’s writing continued extensively to support the couple, especially when David launched an unsuccessful attempt at sugar beet farming. His motives were true (producing an alternative to slave-produced sugarcane),  but his efforts did not pay off. In the 1840s, Lydia also tried her hand at editing, working for an abolitionist paper for a short time. Although this didn’t last long, it failed to diminish her passion for the issue, which became the focus of her activities and writings during and after the Civil War. She died in 1880, having produced volumes of stories, household advice, reform tracts, poems, and essays.

Bibliography of Lydia Maria Child publications at Virginia Tech University Libraries (items in bold are in Special Collections):

  • Hobomok: a tale of early times. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1824.
  • The rebels, or, Boston before the revolution. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1825.
  • The frugal housewife: dedicated to those who are not ashamed of economy. Boston: Carter & Hendee, 1830.
  • The coronal: a collection of miscellaneous pieces, written at various times. Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1832.
  • Philothea: a romance. Boston: Otis, Broaders; New York: George Dearborn, 1836.
  • Anti-slavery catechism. Newburyport: C. Whipple, 1839.
  • Letters from New York. New York: Charles S. Francis ; Boston: James Munroe, 1843. (Also, two editions from 1845.)
  • The American frugal housewife: dedicated to those who are not ashamed of economy. New York: S. S. & W. Wood, 1844, c1835.
  • Correspondence between Lydia Maria Child, and Gov. Wise and Mrs. Mason, of Virginia. Boston: The American Anti-slavery Society, 1860. New York: S. S. & W. Wood, 1844.
  • The mother’s book. 6th ed., with corrections and additions by the author. New York, C.S. Francis, Boston, J.H. Francis, 1844. (Also, 1987 reprint of 1831 edition.)
  • Fact and fiction: a collection of stories. New York: C.S. Francis ; Boston: J.H. Francis, 1846.
  • Isaac T. Hopper: a true life. Boston, J.P. Jewett & Co.; Cleveland, O., Jewett, Proctor & Worthington; [etc., etc.] 1853.
  • The duty of disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act: an appeal to the legislators of Massachusetts. Boston: Published by the American Anti-slavery Society, 1860.
  • Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the life of a slave girl. Written by herself … Ed. by L. Maria Child. Boston, Pub. for the Author, 1861. (Also, 1987 reprint.)
  • A romance of the republic. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, [1997], c1867.
  • Looking toward sunset. From sources old and new, original and selected. Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1883.
  • Letters of Lydia Maria Child. New York, Arno Press, 1969.
  • Right way the safe way, proved by emancipation in the British West Indies, and elsewhere. New York, Negro Universities Press [1969]. (Reprint of 1831 edition.)
  • The American frugal housewife. Edited and with an introd. by Alice M. Geffen. New York, Harper & Row [1972]
  • Lydia Maria Child, selected letters, 1817-1880. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1982.
  • Hobomok and other writings on Indians. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, c1986.
  • Over the river and through the wood. Boston: Little, Brown, c1989.
  • An appeal in favor of that class of Americans called Africans. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, c1996.
  • The frugal housewife: dedicated to those who are not ashamed of economy. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2013.

If you’d like read more about Lydia Maria Child, we referred to the American National Biography Online, but you can also find additional biographies from the National Women’s History Museum, the Poetry Foundation, and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum. There’s also a print biography of her, The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child (1994) that is available in Newman Library.

On a food related note, be sure to check out the latest post on our “In Special Collections @Virginia Tech” blog. In honor of March 17th, it’s all about St. Patrick’s Day dining! And come back next week, when we’ll talk about Hannah Glasse.

Women’s History Month, Part 10: Mrs. (Harriet Anne Bainbridge) de Salis (1829-1908)

This week, we’re taking a look at the work of Harriet Anne (Bainbridge) de Salis (or, as she usually published, “Mrs. de Salis”). She was a prolific British writer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, authoring more than 20 books (many of which went through more than one edition). While most were about cooking and household management, she also wrote a book on dogs, one on raising poultry, and her first publication was a history of kissing! Harriet Anne Bainbridge married William Salis in 1872, the year before her kissing book was published. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.

Although it isn’t explicitly clear why she added the “de” to her moniker, one wonders if she wanted to add a little something extra to match her “a la Mode” series of books. While her “reference” type books had a broad audience, her tastes (and topics) often ran to the higher end: she produced an entire volume on oysters, even her “small” meal plans were complex, and her main ingredients were unlikely to be found in homes of those on a limited income. However, that failed to detract from her popularity!

Currently, we have only two of her titles in our collection, and until I started researching this post I had no idea quite how active she was. Now, however, I know to be on the lookout!First up, there’s Drinks a la Mode from 1891. This title includes cups and punches, as well as cocktails, notes on beer and wine, and simpler drinks for invalid.

Our second of her titles is The Housewife’s Referee: A Treatise on Culinary and Household Subjects from 1898. This is reminiscent of the many household management guides in our collection. It includes sections on what you have in your kitchen (and why), plenty of recipes, and a variety of meal plans for every season and occasion.

Bibliography:

  • Kissing: Its Origin and Species, 1873
  • Entrees a la Mode, 1887
  • Dressed Game and Poultry a la Mode, 1888
  • Dressed Vegetables a la Mode, 1888
  • Oysters a la Mode, or, The Oyster and Over 100 Ways of Cooking It: To Which are Added a Few Recipes for Cooking All Kinds of Shellfish, 1888
  • Soup and Dressed Fish a la Mode, 1888
  • Sweet and Supper Dishes a la Mode, 1888
  • Cakes and Confections a la Mode, 1889
  • Tempting Dishes for Small Incomes, 1890
  • Wrinkles and Notions for Every Household, 1890
  • Drinks a la Mode: Cups and Drinks for Every Kind of Every Season, 1891
  • Floral Decorations: Suggestions and Descriptions, 1891
  • New-Laid Eggs: Hints for Amateur Poultry-Rearers, 1892
  • Dogs: A Manual for Amateurs, 1893
  • Puddings and Pastry a la Mode, 1893
  • New Things to Eat and How to Cook Them: Fancy Dishes and Relishes Not to be Found in Ordinary Cook Books, 1894
  • Gardening a la Mode: Fruits, 1895
  • Gardening a la Mode: Vegetables, 1895
  • Savouries a la Mode, 1894
  • National Viands a la Mode, 1895
  • The Art of Cookery Past and Present: A Treatise on Ancient Cookery with Anecdotes of Noted Cooks and Gourmets, Ancient Foods, Menus, etc., 1898
  • The Housewife’s Referee: A Treatise on Culinary and Household Subjects, 1898
  • A la Mode Cookery: Up to Date Recipes, 1902

If you’re looking for more information, I found a couple of helpful links along the way. Cooksinfo.com has a short biography, bibliography, and even includes some quotes about and reviews of her works. The Internet Archive has about 15 of her books available in digital form (including Drinks a la Mode and The Housewife’s Referee in their entirety).

Next week, we’ll be talking about Malinda Russell, a freed slave who authored the first African-American cookbook, published in 1866. In the mean time, find a reason to cook something “a la mode” this weekend…or you could settle for some ice cream and pie, if you prefer the modern use of the phrase. 🙂

Meal Planning For Every–Err, Some Occasions!

This week, we’re back a favorite topic around here: meal planning! Today’s feature (or special, if you will) is “More Menus” for Luncheons, Dinners, Etc. from 1933.

book cover with pheasant, boar's head, and lobster on a platter and title More Menus for Luncheons, Dinners, etc.
The image on the cover certainly catches your attention!
 Recipes for asparagus rolls, fresh pear salad, and marshmallow pie
At least two menus in this book have an “Emergency Soup” listed and it’s not the same recipe! Apparently “Emergency Soup” is defined by the meal it’s part of and not a specific recipe!
meal plan and recipes
It can be hard to find all the recipes for a single meal on the same two pages, but this one comes close. The dessert looks to be the most intricate part of this meal.
two meal plans with recipes
Some menus feature classic dishes like pot roast…
meal plan with recipes
Others can include items like “canned green turtle.” While turtle as an ingredient isn’t new on the blog, canned turtle certainly is!
recipes for lobster newburg, tongue aspic with eggs filled with lobster, eggs stuffed wit lobster, oysters and mushrooms, lobster a la king, and molded caviar and egg salad
Clearly, our author wasn’t afraid to show off the diversity of an ingredient, either.

As “More Menus” for Luncheons, Dinners, Etc. suggests, this isn’t the first title by Mrs. Lang. Nor it is the first one about meal planning. In 1929, she wrote Choice Menus for Luncheons and Dinners, and in 1939 published a third book, The Complete Menu Book. Sadly, we don’t have either of these in our collection (I’ll be on the lookout now, though!).

More Menus” for Luncheons, Dinners, Etc. is full of a mixture of dishes and menus. They appear to be a little more on the upscale side, though “Emergency Soup” (either variation) doesn’t have the same ring as “Molded Caviar and Egg Salad.” There’s a recipe for “Green Turtle and Puree of Pea Soup” with the intriguing ingredient of “canned green turtle.” Turtle isn’t new to the blog, but this is the first time we’ve come across canned turtle. One wonders how wide the availability of that might have been in 1933. In general, however, the meals are balanced, each one including main dishes, sides, and desserts. They vary in complexity, both as menus and within menus, but books like this always offer us some great insight into what people were consuming (as diners and buyers of ingredients).

Tune in next week for our next culinary treasure. And in the meantime, we hope you plan some good meals!

Efficiency in All Things

In case you haven’t noticed it before, we don’t really tend to post about items in any particular order. Last week, we featured a U. S. Food Administration publication from 1918. Next week, we’re going to look at a book from the 1930s. But today, we’re jumping backwards a few years, to 1915. Georgia Robertson, the author of Efficiency in Home-Making and First-Aid to Good Cooking, might find it, well, inefficient. However, if you ask me, it sure is fun!(We certainly hope you learn something, too, but we want to have a good time sharing with you!)

This book is all text (sorry, no illustrations this week) and it’s almost difficult to call it a cookbook. There are plenty of recipes, but this is primarily an instruction manual. A vast and moral instruction manual, at that. You can’t quite call it prosaic, since there a fair share of descriptive language (I recommend the section on cooking with alcohol on pages 56 and 57 above), and the question-and-answer style that most of the volume uses is quite unique.

Efficiency in Home-Making and First-Aid to Good Cooking covers topics like daily and weekly activities for household staff (it presumes you have at least two maids, a cook, a coachman, three bedrooms, and a library), what to serve, and how to serve it. You’ll find sections like “Labor Saving Devices that are Worth While” (the vacuum, the dish drainer, and the electric or gas iron among them) and underlying principles of bread-making. There are all kinds of helpful hints for storing kitchen items and kitchen organization,  as well as recipes (all without alcohol, of course). On the whole, it’s a practical, if dry, volume that clearly has a home with our collection of household management materials. You can find a full copy of the book online through the Internet Archive.

Next week, we’ll take a look at a book full of recipes and planned luncheons, dinners, and special occasion meals from the 1930s. It’ll be different from this week, so be prepared for a bit decadence, alcohol, and, of course, a few odd ingredients.