Helpful hints from the Husted collection

Colorado from the outside world

In How America Eats (Scribner, 1960), a section on the far West, titled “Mountain Air Appetites,” features a recipe for Colorado Game Sauerbrauten by Mrs. Jessie Sprague Claycomg of Gateway, Colo.


The outside world from the United States

The World Wide Cook Book (Tudor Publishing Co., 1944) offers recipes from the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Africa (referred to as the “Dark Continent”), Indochina and Siam.


Odd measurements and interesting advice

Mrs. Rorer’s Cook Book: A Manual of Home Economics (Arnold and Co., 1914) calls for one “gill” (five ounces) of sherry or madeira in its recipe for stewed terrapin and adds this: “Terrapins are always sold alive, and are in season from November to March. Diamond backs are the best, but are very expensive, costing from thirty to thirty-six dollars per dozen for cows.”

The television age

In Granny’s Hillbilly Cookbook (Prentice-Hall, 1966), Irene Ryan, of “The Beverly Hillbillies” fame, offers recipes with translations from the argot of the hills: Some tins o’ eatin’ toads = 2 cans mushrooms, and a whit o’ fragrant wormwood = 1 teaspoon tarragon. Take a gander at the book jacket and you find that the book’s co-author, Cathey Pinckney, also co-authored The Fallacy of Freud and Psychoanalysis.


Interesting juxtapositions

Next to Granny’s book is a true book that hails from the hills: Carolina Housewife (W.R. Babcock, 1851). The first item in the table of contents is “An excellent mode of making Domestic Yeast.” The cookbook contains two yeast recipes, one made with hops and one with Irish potatoes.


The gentle art of cooking

The Small Family CookBook (McBride, Nast and Co., 1915) offers mannerly instructions for pickle sauce: “Into half a cupful of drawn butter stir four teaspoonfuls of minced cucumber pickle, a suggestion of mustard, and a few drops of onion juice.”


On the manly side

Men in Aprons: If Only He Could Cook (M.S. Mill, 1944) includes a menu for Sunday night tea, cooked by the husband: chicken casserole, fruit salad with cashew dressing and whipped cream cake. A footnote at the bottom of the preface explains the cookbook’s mission: “This opus is for the husband, brother, sweetheart who knows nothing about cookery. Expert male housewives, stay away from our dough!”

In Cooking As Men Like It (The Business Bourse, 1930), author J. George Frederick opines: “I have never been able to understand why most women do not ‘savor’ food as men do. Food represents merely a technical task — often a bore — to most women, and they rarely have a real personal aesthetic feeling — the gourmet feeling — about food. … The dear creatures seem, like nuns, to have renounced all the joys of appetite, of savor and flavor.”


For when you’re feeling poorly

The Invalid’s Tea Tray (James R. Osgood and Co., 1885) contains a recipe for a fortifying fibrous beef tea: “Cut nice round or sirloin steak into cubes an inch or so square. Dry in the warming oven for thirty-six hours; it will then be perfectly hard, and can be broken into small bits. Grind in a clean coffee mill, and allow one tablespoonful of the powder to a tumblerful of hot water. It will all dissolve. Add salt to taste, and butter, if desired.” If that doesn’t fix you up, there’s always barley water, water gruel or oatmeal jelly.


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