The White House Cook Book

Uses for Lemons- 1902 Style

I love Annie Gregory's 1902 jewel of a book titled 'The Woman's Favorite Cook Book' where she states on the 1st page that she was assisted by 1000 housewives in compiling all of the recipes and tips in this very hefty book. (Wow) I especially love this little (and still useful) article called The Varied Uses of Lemon, It goes on to say:
" Every toilet table should be liberally supplied with lemons. The uses are so varied and so valuable that no one can overlook them. Among them is the fact that a teaspoon of lemon juice in a cupful of black coffee will drive away a headache. But if, on rising, the juice one half of a lemon be squeezed into a cupful of very hot water and drank with no sugar there will be no headache to drive away. A slice of lemon rubbed on the temples and back of the neck will also cure the headache. A solution of lemon juice should always be at hand. A little rubbed on the skin at night will whiten and soften it's texture. A fine manicure acid is made from a teaspoonful of lemon juice in a cupful of warm soft water. It will whiten discolored and stained fingernails. Lemon Juice in water will loosen the tartar that accumulates on the teeth. It makes the breath sweet. A slice of lemon rubbed over tan shoes which are then wped off with a soft cloth will remove black stains from their surface." Bessie Hill Porter

Antique Household and Reciept Books-A little info

I'd like to share some info about a type or category of cookbook that sometimes get overlooked but is an absolute favorite of mine. Sometimes refered to as books for the young housekeeper, cookery, or domestic receipt books, they are a true goldmine of information. They are for the most part classified as usually being published before 1901 (tail-end of the Victorian age) and almost always having 1 or more sections included other than recipes. The sections can include home remedies, housekeeping tips and schedules, home laundering instructions, marketing and menu planning, childbirth and nursing information, and the very common etiquette or social rules chapter. There's a reason I refer to these babies as the "one stop shops" or "all in one" antique cookbooks.

There's definitely cookbooks with subjects like these being published after 1901 and they are fabulous in their own right, there's also with later printings of the old hard to find originals that do have a place in a collectors world, but for now lets focus on the . Word of caution though, everybody has their own definition of the word "antique" and "vintage" and even though "generally" vintage is known for being 20 years or older. "Antique" is a little harder to nail down, being divided into 50% of collectors thinking 50 years or older and 50% thinking it's 100 years and older, but to the general public, the ones that have the bulk of the market, it seems to be anything older than yesterday. Please be forewarned that there are some (non-collector) sellers throwing the word "antique" on their 70's BH&G's and Taste of Home cookbooks, and really it IS inevitable that you will have to just hunker down and weed out all the Atkins and Jenny Craig's if your looking to purchase old cookbooks online to save money.

Speaking of weeding out, also be on guard for all the *expletive* Pdf files of download able cookbooks some nasty and unethical sellers are trying to get you to buy, trying to make it seem like your buying an actual printed book but after purchasing finding out it's only a cesspool of typos and bad grammar that would make Mrs. Beeton herself want to strangle someone. A general rule of mine though is "if it doesn't have a picture of the actual book itself, I'm not buying". That weeds out generally about 75% of them as the majority usually have (the same) stock cover photo attached to the listings along with INSANE prices leading you to think it's the real deal. This goes for current reprints as well, available at big box book stores.

So let's say you found one, YAY! and it's one that you've been looking for or maybe it just looks cool, the next step is to determine the condition, and yes it matters, as finding it is just half the battle. Condition is what really puts a value to the cookbook and tells you what you should spend. The rarer the cookbook, the more forgiveness is allotted to the condition. Same generally goes for age, the older it is, obviously the more wear it will have. BUT and this is a big but, and I understand it will be different for every collector but I will almost never buy a cookbook with loose pages or detached covers. Unless we're talking a 1700's Hannah Glasse or another one of a kind equivalent, where I shall not even think twice, generally these specific issues are too big to forgive. Remember these are investments! I recommend having an idea in your head and also price limits beforehand, as it's EXTREMELY easy to get excited and get caught up in that "omg, I have to buy it now before someone else does" feeling. Next thing you know you have it in your hands and are trying to hold back tears because it smells like mold, missing 12 pages and the cover came off while trying to open it. In my opinion, if I'm going to spend the kind of money that comes with some of these precious books, I'm going to get exactly what I want and then some, and if that means I might have to wait another 6 months until all the stars align and the right copy is available to me at the right time then so be it, it's what makes it exciting and I love that "treasure -hunting" feeling!

I'll be going into the 2nd half of this post and what's exactly found in these historic cookbooks, along with recipes, some household tips and remedies and more pics later tonight:)

What's your favorite part of the Holidays?

With the upcoming holidays and everyone thinking about heritage and history, are there any very special recipes you could share from your past? Please comment with any recipes or memories you and your family hold dear. My favorite part of Christmas is staying up SUPER late with my hubby on Christmas eve getting everything ready while devouring cookies:) Just playing the part of Santa exceptionally well!

1909 The Good Housekeeping Woman's Home Cookbook by Isabel Gordon Curtis

Isabel Gordon Curtis is one of my absolute favorite cookbook authors and this cookbook is an example of why. Her recipes are simple, classic and easy to follow. The history that sorrounds her makes her seem spunky yet classic, I love that. She came to America all the way from Scotland and in her lifetime she had quite a few very popular magazine editing jobs under her belt, Collier's Weekly, the Delineator and Success Magazine being just a few. While getting her start in the highly competitve magazine field she used to say that "No wider experience can be gained than in answering the questions that come from housekeepers to a home magazine. In learning how to solve problems for other people, you absorb a multiplicity of knowledge that cannot be achieved in one home." So combining a special lady like Curtis and a big name like Good Houskeeping, they made cookbook history.
This peticular cookbook was promoted as being the first to come out with the new slender size to help the housewife with it's space saving design, it also has blank sheets for notes on every other page. Good Housekeeping also prided itsef on it's recipes being tested by not only Curtis but company paid testers and it's magazine subscribers as well. It's a great example of one of Good Housekeeping's ideals as a company, to try and make housekeeping more efficient and buisness-like to take some of the stress out of running a house in the early 1900's. A true original and very special antique cookbook to collectors.

Looking for a lost Cookbook?

Have you lost or become seperated from your most beloved and favoritest cookbook? We all have our favorites and the memories that come with them. Losing them can be devasting especially wth the upcoming holidays fast aproaching. I'd love to help with hunt and also help another cookbook lover, so please feel free to comment below with as much information about your cookbook as you can and myself and maybe a fellow cookbook fan or two (and all of our combined resources) will put the word out and hopefully reunite you with your cookbook faster!

One from my Personal Collection

Wait for it....

Lol It starts off unassuming, almost dare I say ugly... then KABAM! Pages and pages of God knows how old, amazing, treasured, beautiful recipes. It's an accordian style folder-ledger and I just kept unfolding and unfolding...and then I realized that each page had it's own notepad! I have no idea how many actual recipes are in this gorgeous cookbook, but does it really matter...? It still makes me giddy looking at it!

New Vintage Recipes are Up

I just posted 2 recipes I found written in the back of a copy of The Rumford Cookbook in the "Just Recipes" page. One is for Wockey Cake with a recipe for the frosting, and one for Cranberry Pie just in time for the holidays! Let me know what you think!

Oh Mr Cleve Carney, how I love you...

I LOVE this cookbook! 1927 The Master cake Baker by Cleve Carney. I'll be listing it tomorrow but for now here's some sneak peek pics:)

Look at what I found!

Here's a peek at my findings, soon to be offered of course. I got TONS of great graphic booklets (including 2 early Virginia Roberts yay!) An early Meta Givens and a paperback of Spice Islands, I've only seen Hardcover so I want to do some research on it, should be interesting!

I also came across some patterns for my craftlover fans which I sometimes do, so I'll be posting those as well probably as a group.

Madison's Cookbook Road Trip

Had a great time,
more to come

Madison Here I Come!

Going to Madison today to dig up some lost treasures, stay tuned for pics and updates. Road trips are always fun, if I manage to get there!


Want to learn more about me and collecting vintage cookbooks....and maybe win a free 1941 Household searchlight recipe book? Check out out PrariewindDesigns great blog and read the interview and rules on how to enter!

*New Recipes*

New delicious treats posted in the "Just Recipes" page! Check them out and let me know what you think! Somebody really needs to try out that Peanut Butter Soup recipe and let me know how it turns out, I saw it and thought it sounded very interesting. If I am able to make it I'll let you know what the family thought:)

Kitchens of the 1930's

This post got me to go in a little different direction than the usual pics and writings about just the kitchens of the different eras, I was thinking more about the home life of the 1930's in general. When I hear "1930's", I automatically think about the great depression. I think about having to do without and the overwhelming pressure to feed loved ones with just your creativity and the little food you were able to scrape together. Researching this post though I have realized that there's another side. I learned that the depression to some was a time of cutting back but not neccessarily going without.

"In times of famine, war, and extreme hardship people have been known to eat things they might not consider during "normal" times. According to the food historians, the Great Depression was not such a period. Why? There was an ample, inexpensive food supply. People struggling to make and put food on the table had the option of purchasing lesser grades of meat (chuck instead of sirlion beef), cheaper cuts of animal (heart, brains, feet), and manufactured substitutes (Crisco instead of butter). Folks who needed help were served by private soup kitchens and government programs. These services were in place throughout the country."

You hear the word "soup kitchen" and I automatically think about long lines of starving people waiting desperately for relief from their hunger. But what surprised me was reading that people had a good hearty bowl of soup along with bread and you were even able to go back for seconds and thirds. The hardtimes are only addressed in alot of 1930's cookbooks with "cutting back" and "streatching your dollar" chapters but no shocking ingredient recipes or stories and the same goes for magazine articles and other publications. Some of what I read was that people were "for the most part" playing it safe, as in not eating at fancy gourmet resturants but instead choosing family-type ones, or having coffee and milk over wine but I didn't realize that people were going out to eat all.
"The Depression also changed the way many Americans entertained at home. Except for the upper echelons of society, most families were now maidless, which made grand, formal dinner parties impossible. Instead, hostesses gave luncheons, teas, and cozy Sunday Night Suppers around the chafing dish...The Thirties aslo ushered in an era of women's clubs--whether dedicated to charitable activities, gardening, or the fine art of bridge"--Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads, Sylvia Lovegren [Macmillan:New York] 1995 (p. 41-44)

But what about the scary newsreel reports and all of the haunting photos? Writing this post has completely gotten me intrigued, completely confused and wanting to talk to people that have actually been through this difficult time in American history. There seems to be only 2 views, one is how mind-numbingly terrible it was and the other is a "still bad but on a much lesser level". I cant help but wonder what the majority of America was experiencing on an everyday level. I know there are tons of differences(dustbowl,income,etc.) that affect peoples situations during this time but how bad was bad for the majority of people. There're are stories sorrounding my grandmother growing up in the 30's and having to eat lard sandwhiches and getting in big trouble with her father for making a peanut butter butter AND jelly sandwich as a child when she should've made just one or the other. The same lady who now hoards canned goods "just in case". Who better to talk to and get some answers, as thankfully and gratefully she's still with us and wants nothing more to visit and talk! Which gets me thinking about Grandparents and people from past generations in general. Being a huge history fan, what better resource to learn from than the ones that have gone through it first hand and have thier own unique perspective to share, what a precious resource we have and take for granted. Why do we not know more about exactly what it was like? Alot of people from my generation (late 70's:)seem to have a vauge generalization (including me) about the depression era and there's something so sad about that. Why are we not getting all of the normal everyday stories down, while the people that lived through them are still here? Their lives were not like ours today. To the people that lived through 2 world wars and the introduction of CARS, What were your dreams? What were YOUR grandparents days like? How did your parents meet? It's not enough just to have geneology lines drawn, there's stories that go with every single name on your family tree. Know them, write them down! There is DEFFINATLY more to come!

One of the reasons I do what I do....

Ok, I was flipping through one of my favorites and saw a recipe for Springerlie. I've seen this recipe before and know it's a cookie that comes from Germany and is usually made around Christmas time but I was wondering about the lady that wrote this recipe book and when I was reading this paticular recipe all of a sudden at the bottom read; "This recipe has been in our family for 50 years and came from Germany." Now mind you this was written in the early 40's. I'm not even joking when I say I got the chills. I feel like a great part of collecting these treasures is to save these family heirlooms for future generations. It's kinda our responsibility, anybody else feel the same?

Kitchen's of the 1920's

The 1920's kitchens were created with the thought that being modern, sanitary, and efficient were very important like women of the past decade had, the difference though was the loosening of the rules of any non essential decor being allowed, it was truly a period of sweet and in my opinion, really pretty kitchens.

Light and bright cheerful colors were used often and made the space seem bright and in many cases bigger than they were.

The invention of electricity made appliances absolutely mandatory and ad agencies made sure you (the consumer) knew that too.
Vacuum cleaners, washing machines, toasters, electric stoves, and fans were just a few of the fancy new tools designed to save time and add comfort to daily tasks.
Until the 1920s, appliances were popular, but during the 1920's, they became a MUST. Electric refrigerators replaced the ice box by the end of the decade, it was a huge shift that literally changed the way families ate.

The kitchens and recipes of the 1920's are one of my absolute favorites and I hope you can see why. In my opinion it's such a great balance of simplicity with warmth and comfort. To me they inspire me to combine sweet and homey with functionality and create a space that will make and my friends and family feel at home.

Vintage Cookbooks are for everyone who has ever wanted to bake something special and turned to a modern cookbook and realized they never seem to have all the ingredients at the same time, there're for history lovers that want to feel connected to the past in a way that's missing in history books, there're for the people that love that musty old book smell and laugh at kindle's, they're for people that feel like we as a society have gone a little too far, a tad off course with life and want to get back to the simple and the real, and they're for the people that want to pay homage to all the grandma's and great aunts that did it best!

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