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Serve It Up: Works on Cookery and Household Management in America’s Historical Imprints

Posted on 05/08/2017

3a30207r.jpgAmerica’s Historical Imprints features dozens of valuable books on cookery and household management which provide essential insight into the diet and etiquette of earlier times. Contemporary readers may find some of the recipes disconcerting although advocates of the nose-to-tail movement should applaud the economy of our forebearers. They wasted little when slaughtering animals, making use of lungs, brains, thyroid glands, heads and other parts which are not so widely regarded as desirable now.



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The experienced English housekeeper, for the use and ease of ladies, housekeepers, cooks, etc. Written purely from practice, and dedicated to the Hon. Lady Elizabeth Warburton. Whom the author lately served as housekeeper: consisting of near nine hundred original receipts, most of which never appeared in print (1801)

By Elizabeth Raffald

Turtle was a popular dish in earlier times. Most of the cookbooks include instructions for preparing them. Here are excerpts from the elaborate recipe Raffald provides:

To dress a TURTLE of a hundred weight

Cut off the head, take care of the blood, and take all the fins, lay them in salt and water, cut off the bottom shell, then cut off the meat that grows to it, (which is the callepee or fowl) take out the hearts, livers, and lights [lungs], and put them by themselves, take out the bones and the flesh out of the back shell (which is the callepash) cut the fleshly part into pieces, about two inches square, but leave the fat part, which looks green, (it is called the monsieur) rub it first with salt, and wash it in several waters to make it come clean, then put in the pieces that you took out, with three bottles of Madeira wine, and four quarts of strong veal gravy, a lemon cut in slices, a bundle of sweet herbs, a tea-spoonful of Chyan [Cayenne] six anchovies washed and picked clean, a quarter of a pound of beaten mace, a tea-spoonful of mushroom powder, and half a pound of essence of ham if you have it, lay over it a coarse paste, set it in the oven for three hours; when it comes out, take off the lid and scum off the fat, and brown it with a salamander. – This is the bottom dish.

Then take the guts (which is reckoned the best part of the turtle) rip them open, scrape and wash them exceedingly well, rub them well with salt, wash them through many waters, and cut them in pieces two inches long, then scald the maw or paunch, take off the skin, scrape it well, cut it into pieces about half an inch broad and two inches long, put some of the fishy part of your turtle in it, set it over a slow charcoal fire, with two quarts of veal gravy, a pint of Madeira wine, a little mushroom catchup, a few shalots [sic], a little Chyan, half a lemon, and stew gently four hours, till your gravy is almost consumed, then thicken it with flour, mixed with a little veal gravy, put in half an ounce of morels, a few forcemeat balls, made as for the fins; dish it up, and brown it with a salamander, or in the oven. – This is a corner dish.

Then take the head, skin it, and cut in two pieces, put into a stew-pot with all the bones, hearts and lights [lungs], to a gallon of water, or veal broth, three or four blades of mace, one shalot [sic], a slice of beef beaten to pieces, and a bunch of sweet herbs, set them in a very hot oven, and let it stand an hour at least, when it comes out strain it into a tureen for the middle of the table. – This is the fourth corner dish.

Another fairly common dish which has faded from the contemporary American diet is the cod’s sounds [air bladders or swim bladders].


Steep your sounds as you do the salt cod, and boil them in a large quantity of milk and water, when they are very tender and white take them up, and drain the water out, then pour the egg sauce boiling hot over them, and serve them up.

It is difficult to imagine many contemporary home cooks slaughtering a pig before roasting it, but recipes from earlier times assume that the cook will do so. Most of the cookbooks include the direction for accomplishing this task.

To roast a PIG.

Stick a pig just above the breast-bone, run your knife to the heart, when it is dead put it in cold water for a few minutes, then rub it over with a little resin beat exceedingly fine or its own blood, put your pig in a pail of scalding water half a minute, take it out, lay it on a clean table, pull off the hair as quick as possible, if it does not come clean off put  it in again, when you have got it all clean off, wash it in warm water, in two or three cold waters, for fear the resin should taste; take off the four feet at the first joint, make a slit down the belly, take out all the entrails, put the liver, heart, and lights to the pettitoes [pig’s feet], wash it well out of cold water, dry it exceedingly well with a cloth, hang it up, and when you roast it, put in a little shred sage, a teaspoonful of black pepper, two of salt. Add a crust of brown bread, spit your pig and sew it up; lay it down to a brisk clear fire, when your pig is warm, put it in the middle of the fire; when your pig is warm, put a lump of butter in a cloth, rub your pig often with it while it is roasting; a large one will take an hour and a half; when your pig is a fine brown, and the steam draws near the fire, take a clean cloth, rub your pig quite dry, then rub it well with a little cold butter, it will help to crisp it; then take a sharp knife, cut off the head and take off the collar, then take off the ears and jaw bone, split the jaw in two, when you have cut the pig down the back, which must be before you draw the spit out, then lay your pig back to back on your dish, and the jaw on each side, the ears on each shoulder, and the collar at the shoulder, and pour in your sauce, and serve it up: garnish with a crust of brown bread.


Take up the heart, liver, and lights [lungs], when they have boiled ten minutes, and shred them pretty small but let the feet boil till they are pretty tender, then take them out and split them; thicken your gravy with flour and butter, put in your mincemeat, a slice of lemon, a spoonful of white wine, a little salt, and boil it a little, beat the yolk of an egg, add to it two spoonsful of good cream, and a little grated nutmeg, put in your pettitoes, shake it over the fire, but do not let it boil; lay sippets [dried toast or fried bread] round your dish, pour in your mincemeat, lay the feet over them the skin side up, and send to table.

In the American west Rocky Mountain Oysters are not uncommon. The name is a euphemism for the testicles of bulls, sheep, or pigs. In earlier times, they were often referred to as stones. They are frequently included in cookbooks from centuries past. They were prepared in many ways. Mrs. Raffald provides several recipes.

To fricassee Lamb Stones

Skin six lamb stones, or what quantity you please, dip them in batter, and fry them in hog’s-lard a nice brown, have ready a little veal gravy, thicken it with flour and butter, put in a teaspoonful of lemon pickle, a little mushroom catchup, a slice of lemon, a little grated nutmeg, beat the yolk of an egg, and mix it with two spoonfuls of thick cream, put in your gravy, keep shaking it over the fire till it looks white and thick, then put in the lamb stones, and give them a shake; when they are hot dish them up, and lay around them boiled forcemeat balls.

Another animal part which was common in the past but less common today is palates defined as the roof of the mouth. Mrs. Raffald offer several ways to prepare ox palates. Fricando is essentially the equivalent of fricassee.

To fricando OX PALATES

When you have washed and cleaned your palates as before, cut them in square pieces, lard them with little bits of bacon, fry them in hog’s lard, a pretty brown, and put them in a sieve to drain the fat from them, then take better than half a pint of beef gravy, one spoonful of red wine, half as much of browning, a little lemon pickle, one anchovy, a shalot [sic], and a bit of horse-radish: give them a boil, and strain your gravy, then put in your palates, and stew them half an hour, make your sauce pretty thick, dish them up, and lay round them stewed spinage [spinach] pressed like sippets, and serve them up.

Julia Child exhorted her audience to eat more rabbit. She extolled its deliciousness and the healthful benefits of its lean meat. Still, it does not appear to be a common meat for many Americans. The cookbooks featured here feature many recipes for preparing rabbit. Even for those who enjoy this food, the following recipe may be a bridge too far when it comes to its presentation.

To florendine [sic] a HARE

Take a grown hare, and let her hang up four or five days, then case her, and leave on the ears, and take out all the bones except the head which must be left on whole, lay your hare flat on the table, and lay over the inside a forcemeat, and then roll it up to the head, skewer it with the head and ears leaning back, tie it with pack thread as you would a collar of veal, wrap it in a cloth and boil it an hour and an half in a sauce-pan, with a cover on it, with two quarts of water; when your liquor is reduced to one quart, put in a pint of red wine, a spoonful of lemon pickle, and one of catchup, the same of browning, and stew it till it is reduced to a pint, thicken it with butter rolled in flour, lay round your hare with a few morels, and four slices of forcemeat, boiled in a caul of a leg of veal: when you dish it up, draw the jaw bones, and stick them in the eyes for horns, let the ears lie back on the roll; and stick a sprig of myrtle in the mouth, strain over your sauce, and serve it up; garnish with barberries and parsley. – Forcemeat for the hare; take the crumb of a penny loaf, the liver shred fine, half a pound of fat bacon scraped, a glass of red wine, one anchovy, two eggs, a little savory, sweet marjoram, lemon, thyme, pepper, salt, and nutmeg to your taste.

Eating the hearts of mammals was once common, and the cookbooks contain many recipes for cooking this organ. Mrs. Raffald suggests the following:

To roast a CALF’S HEART

Make a forcemeat with the crumbs of half a penny loaf, a quarter of a pound of beef suet shred small, or butter, chop a little parsley, sweet marjoram, and lemon peel, mix it up with a little nutmeg, pepper, salt, and the yolk of an egg, fill your heart and lay over it the stuffing of a caul of veal, or writing paper, to keep it in the heart, lay it in a Dutch oven, keep turning it and roast it thoroughly, when you dish it up, pour over it good melted butter, and lay slices of lemon round it, and send to table.

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The compleat housewife: or, Accomplish'd gentlewoman's companion: being a collection of several hundred of the most approved receipts, in cookery, pastry, confectionary, preserving, pickles, cakes, creams, jellies, made wines, cordials. And also bills of fare for every month in the year. To which is added, a collection of near two hundred family receipts of medicines; viz. drinks, syrups, salves, ointments, and many other things of sovereign and approved efficacy in most distempers, pains, aches, wounds, sores, &c. never before made publick in these parts; fit either for private families, or such publick-spirited gentlewomen as would be beneficent to their poor neighbors (1742)

By E. Smith

Eliza Smith begins her compendium with these words:

It being grown as unfashionable for a Book now to appear in Publick without a Preface, as for a Lady to appear at a Ball without a Hoop-petticoat, I shall conform to Custom for Fashion sake, and not through any Necessity. The Subject being both common and universal, needs no Arguments to introduce it, and being so necessary for the Gratification of the Appetite, stands in need of no Encomiums to allure Persons to Practice it, since there are but few now-a-days who love not good Eating and Drinking. Therefore I entirely quit those two Topicks; but having three or four Pages to be filled up, previous to the Subject itself, I hall employ them on a Subject I think new, and not yet handled by any of the Pretenders to the Art of Cookery; and that is, the Antiquity of it, which, if it either instruct or divert, I shall be satisfied, if you are so.

At the outset, Smith provides menus for each month of the year. For October, she suggests:

First Course

Westphalia-Ham and Fowls

Cod’s Head with Shrimps and Oysters

Haunch of Doe with Udder a-la-force


Chine and Turkey

Bisque of Pigeons

Roasted Tongues and Udders




Second Course

Wild-fowl of Sorts

Chine of Salmon broiled

Artichoke Pye

Boiled Eels and Smelts


Dish of Fruit

Dish of Tarts and Custards

Her recipe for “A Soop [sic] or Pottage begins “Take several Knuckles of Mutton, a Knuckle of Veal, a Shin of Beef…” and concludes “…have in Readiness some Sheeps [sic] Tongues, Cox combs, and Sweetbreads, sliced thin, and fried, and put them in, and some Mushrooms, and French Bread dried and cut in little Bits, some forc’d meat Balls, and some very thin Slices of Bacon, make all of these very hot, and garnish the Dish with Colworts [cabbage] and Spinnage [spinach] scalded green.”

The use of butter was lavish in many old recipes.

A Ragoo of Oysters

Put into your Stew pan a Quarter of  Pound of Butter, let it boil; the take a Quart of Oysters, strain them from their Liquor, and put them to the Butter; let then stew with a Bit of Eschalot [sic] shred very fine, and some grated Nutmeg, and a little Salt; then beat the Yolks of three or four Eggs with the Oyster-liquor and a half Pound of Butter, and shake all very well together till it ‘tis thick, and serve it up with Sippets; and garnish with sliced Lemon.

The author includes a recipe for potting a swan. In Great Britain these graceful birds have all been the property of the monarch for hundreds of years and are seldom, if ever, eaten today. However, in times past, they were a singularly prestigious food.

To pot a swan

Bone and skin your Swan, and beat the Flesh in a Mortar, taking out the Strings as you beat it; then take some clear fat Bacon, and beat with the swan, and when ‘tis of a light Flesh Colour, there is Bacon enough in it; and when ‘tis like Dough, ‘tis enough; then season it with Pepper, Salt, Cloves, Mace, and Nutmeg, all beaten fine; mix it well with your Flesh, and give it a Beat or two all together; then put it in an Earthen Pot, with a little Claret and fair Water, and at the Top two Pounds of fresh Butter spread over it; cover it with coarse Paste, and bake it with Bread; then turn it into a Dish, and squeeze it gently to get out the Moisture; then put it in a Pot fit for it; and when ‘tis cold, cover it over with clarify’d Butter; the next Day paper it up. In this Manner you may do Goose, Duck, or Beef, or Hare’s flesh.

Most of the old cookbooks include many recipes for pudding. While some of them will be familiar to contemporary cooks, others have largely faded into obscurity.

Very fine Hogs Pudding

Shred four Pound of Beef-suet very fine, mix with it two Pounds of fine Sugar powder’d, two grated Nutmegs, some Mace beat, and a little Salt, and three Pounds of Currants wash’d and pick’d; beat twenty four Yolks, twelve Whites of Eggs, with a little Sack; mix all well together, and fill your Guts, being clean, and again thus, coco, Boil them as others, and cut them in Balls when sent to Table.

Mrs. Smith also provides many recipes for pie or “pye.” Some are sweet while others are savory.

To make a Hare Pye

Skin your Hare, wash her, and dry her, and bone her; season the Flesh with Pepper, salt, and Spice, and beat it fine in a Stone Mortar. Do a young Pig at the same Time, and in the same Manner; then make your Pye, and lay a Layer of Pig, and a Layer of Hare, ‘til ‘tis full; put Butter at the Bottom and on Top. Bake it three Hours; ‘tis good hot or cold.

Merriam-Webster defines umbles as “the edible viscera of an animal (as a deer or hog).” This has been also called humble pie and lumber pie.

To make a Lumber Pye

Parboil the Umbles of a Deer, clear all the Fat from them, and put more than their Weight in Beef-suet, and shred it together very small; then put to it half a Pound of Sugar, and season with Cloves, Mace, Nutmeg, Salt to your Taste; and put in a Pint of Currants, washed and picked; mix all well together, and bake it in Puff or other Paste.

In addition to cookery, the author provided the directions for preparing a number of concoctions for treating diseases. These include “A Milk-water for a cancerous Breast,” “Cock-water for a Consumption,” “A Water to Strengthen the Sight,” “Rue-water, good for Fits of the Mother,” and “For a Distemper got by an ill Husband.”

For a Pain in the stomach, or Heaviness of Heart.

Take a Pint of Rose-water, put to it some double-refin’d Sugar, and a Pennyworth of saffron ty’d up in a Piece of Lawn; let it stand 2 or 3 Days, and then at any Time take 3 Spoonfuls.


For the Hemorrhoids inflam’d.

Let the party dip their Finger in Balsam of Sulphur made with Oil of Turpentine, and anoint the Place two or three Times a Day.


For the Hickup

Take 3 or 4 preserved Damsons in your Mouth at a Time, and swallow them by Degrees.


For the Cramp

Take of Rosemary leaves and chop them very small, and sew them in fine Linen, and make them into Garters, and wear them Night and Day; lay a Down-pillow on your Legs in the Night.


An Ointment to cause Hair to grow.

Take two Ounces of Boar’s grease, one Drachm of the Ashes of burnt Bees, one Drachm of the Ashes of Southernwood, one Drachm of the Juice of a white Dilly root, one Drachm of Oil of sweet Almonds, and six Drachms of pure Musk; and according to Art, make an Ointment of these; and the Day before the full Moon shave the Place, and anoint it every Day with this Ointment. It will cause Hair to grow where you’ll have it.

The book concludes with a few directions on housekeeping which include how “to Take Mildew out of Linen,” “A receipt for destroying Buggs,” and “Directions for Painting Rooms or Pales.”



The new art of cookery, according to the present practice; being a complete guide to all housekeepers, on a plan entirely new (1792)

By Richard Briggs, many years cook at the Globe Tavern Fleet-Street, the White Hart Tavern, Holborn, and now at the Temple Coffee-House, London

Briggs’ tome is 577 pages. He was English, but this book was published in Philadelphia for the American market. We include a few excerpts. His rules for trussing are extensive.

After they are properly picked, break the leg-bone close to the foot, and put it on a hook fastened against a wall, and draw out the strings from the thigh; cut the neck off close to the back, but mind and leave the crop skin long enough to turn over to the back, take out the crop, and with your middle-finger loosen the liver and gut at the throat-end; gut off the vent and take out the gut, pull out the gizzard with a crooked sharp-pointed iron, and the liver will follow, but be careful you do not break the gall…


Cut the four legs off at the first joint, raise the skin off the back, and draw it off the hind legs, leave the tail whole, draw it over the back, and slip the fore-legs out; with a knife cut the skin off the neck and head, but mind to leave the ears on and skin them, take out the liver, lights, &c. and be sure to take the gut out of the vent, cut the sinews underneath the hind-legs, bring them up to the fore-legs, put a skewer through the hind-leg, then through the fore-leg under the joint, run it through the body, and the same on the other side; put another skewer through the thick parts of the hind-legs and body, put the head between the shoulders, and run a skewer through to keep it up, and one in each ear to make them stand up; tie a string round the middle of the body over the legs, and that will keep them in their place.

N.B. A young fawn is trussed in the same way, only the ears are cut off.



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New American cookery, or, Female companion [microform] containing full and ample directions for roasting, broiling, stewing, hashing, boiling, preserving, pickling, potting, fricasees, soups, puff-pastes, puddings, custards, pies, tarts, &c. also the making of wines and cheese peculiarly adapted to the American mode of cooking (1805)

By an American lady

In her preface the American lady states:

Upon this subject numerous treatises have been published in Europe, and many of them have been imported into the United-states; but from the abstruse style in which they are written; the complicated and sometimes contradictory directions which they contain, and the difficulty of procuring many of the ingredients, they can be of little or no utility in this country.

To remedy these inconveniences has been the main object in view by the editor of the present little volume. Great care has, accordingly, been taken to exhibit every receipt in terms impossible to be misunderstood; to select nothing except what was practicable and easy to be accomplished, and to lay before our fair countrywomen a system which, if duly attended to, will not only entitle them the character of excellent housewives, but also greatly contribute to render their husbands, and those who partake of the hospitality of their tables cheerful, contented, and happy.

As in the previous imprint, the recipes include many which have fallen out of general approval. After providing the directions for hashing a calf’s head served with brain cakes, the lady presents a recipe for the cakes.

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To make the Brain Cakes

Take a handful of bread crumbs, a little shredded lemon-peel, pepper salt, nutmeg, sweet marjoram, parsley shred fine, and the yelks [yolks] of three eggs. – take the brains and skin them, boil and chop them small, so mix them all together; put a little butter in your pan when you fry them, and drop them in as you do fritters.

In order to make a White Portable Soup the recipe begins:

Take a leg of veal, bone it, and take off all the skin and fat; take likewise two dozen of fowl or chicken feet, washed clean, and chop to pieces: put all into a large stove-pot, with three gallons of soft water, and let it stove gently till the meat is so tender as to separate.

The list of ingredients for Independence Cake seems daunting.

Twenty pound flour, 15 pound sugar, 10 pound butter, 4 dozen eggs, one quart wine, 1 quart brandy, one ounce nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mace, of each 3 ounces, two pound citron, currants and raisins 5 pound each, 1 quart yeast; when baked, frost with loaf sugar; dress with box and gold leaf.



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A new system of domestic cookery, formed upon principles of economy, and adapted to the use of private families (1807)

By a Lady

In addition to recipes similar to those in the excerpts above, the author includes a section on “Useful directions to give to servants.”

To clean Floorcloths

Sweep, then wipe them with a flannel; and when all dust and spots are removed, rub with a waxed flannel, and then with a dry plain one; but use little wax, and rub only enough with the latter to give a little smoothness, or it may endanger falling.

Washing now and then with milk after the above sweeping, and dry rubbing them, give as beautiful look, and less slippery.


To clean stone Stairs and Halls

Boil a pound of pipemakers clay with a quart of water, a quart of small beer, and put in a bit of tone blue. Wash with this mixture, and when dry, rub the stones with flannel and a brush.


To give a fine Colour to Mahogany

Let the tables be washed perfectly clean with vinegar, having first taken out any ink stains there may be with spirits of salt; but it must be used with the greatest care, and only touch the part affected, and be instantly washed off. Use the following liquid: into a pint of cold drawn linseed oil, put four penny worth of alconetroot [alkanet root—a dyeing agent which adds a red color to wood among other things], and two penny worth of rosepink, in an earthen vessel; let it remain all night, the stirring well, rub some of it all over the tables with a linen rag; when it has lain some time, rub it bright with linen cloths.



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Hotel keepers, head waiters, and housekeepers’ guide (1848)

By Tunis G. Campbell

Mr. Campbell expands significantly on the instructions to servants in the preceding imprint. He introduces his guide:

This work is intended for hotels and private families. As, truly, “order is Heaven’s first law,” it becomes our duty to aim at, if we cannot attain it, in all things. And it is nowhere more required than in the domestic circle. There can be nothing of more importance to a family than the careful attention of faithful servants, in whom confidence can be placed, with the assurance that to the utmost of their ability, both of will and deed, they will work for your benefit. What you put in their care you know is safe as in your own hands; and in fact they will take better care than you would, for they feel that you have placed confidence in them, and at once they make up their minds that nothing on their part shall fail, if they have to watch when they ought to sleep…

…A dining-room should be well ventilated, and so arranged that no odor from the cooking department could reach it. Yet the kitchen should be so near that meals may be passed up by forming men in a line, as they come up much better than when brought up by trays.

The author concludes with recipes and advice about his system.

The amount which will be saved in a hotel, by giving each person his branch of work, and holding him responsible for it, need not be mentioned, for it s perfectly obvious to the most careless eye, that no drones can insinuate themselves by any means… And by having a place for everything, you always know what you have. When a thing is unfit for use, have it sent to the person who has charge of the store-rooms, who will report to the steward; and if anything is lost, a new article is to be obtained in the same manner. Do the same as with a clock or watch, - the moment it does not keep good time, have it put in complete repair at once. By this means you have no old broken rubbish about, taking up room; and if you have anything that you do not want, it can be disposed of to advantage. The saving in a hotel will amount to fifty per cent., and in a private house to twenty-five, upon the usual system.

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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 in the year (1802)

By Susannah Carter, of Clerkenwell, London

A chine is defined by Wiktionary among others as “A piece of the backbone of an animal, with adjoining parts, cut for cooking.” Carter offers a recipe for stuffing a chine of beef,

Make a stuffing of the fat leaf of pork, parsley, thyme, sage, eggs, and the crumbs of bread; season it with pepper, salt, shallots, and nutmeg, and stuff it thick; then roast it gently, and when it is about a quarter roasted, cut the skin in slips. Serve it up with apple sauce, as in the foregoing recipe.

She also adds to the recipes for cooking the heads of domestic animals, in this case a lamb’s head.

Boil the head and pluck [offal] a quarter of an hour at most, the heart five minutes, the liver and lights [lungs] half an hour. Cut the heart, liver, and lights, into small square bits, not bigger than a pea. Make a gravy of the liquor that runs from the head with a quarter of a pint of the liquor in which it was boiled, a little walnut liquor or catsup, and a little vinegar, pepper, and salt. Then put in the brains and the hashed meat, shake them well together in liquor, which should be only just as much as to wet the meat. Pour all upon the sippets in a soup-dish; and, having grilled the head before the fire, or with a salamander, lay it open with the brown side upwards upon the hashed liver, &c. Garnish with pickled cucumbers, and thin slices of bacon broiled. 

Here is her recipe for fricasseeing pigs’ ears.

Take three or four pigs ears, clean and boil them very tender, cut them in small pieces the length of your finger, and fry them with butter till they are brown; put them in a stew-pan with a little brown gravy, a lump of butter, a spoonful of vinegar, and a little mustard and salt, thickened with flour. Take two or three pigs feet, and boil them very tender, fit for eating, then cut them in two, and take out the large bones; dip them in eggs, and strew over them a few bread crumbs, season them with pepper and salt. Then either fry or broil them in the middle of the dish with the pigs [sic] ears.

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The art of cookery made plain and easy; excelling any thing of the kind ever yet published. Containing directions how to market the seasons of the year for butchers’ meat, poultry, fish, &c. How to roast and boil to perfection every thing necessary to be sent up to table. Also, the order of a bill of fare for each month, in the manner the dishes are to be placed upon the table, in the present taste (1805)

By Mrs. Glasse

Mrs. Glasse opens her comprehensive book by stating “As Marketing must be the first branch of Cookery, I shall begin with that Table first.”


And the seasons of the Year for Butchers’ Meat, Poultry, Fish &c.


To chuse [sic] Lamb

In a fore-quarter of lamb mind the neck-vein if it be an azure blue, it is new and good; but if greenish or yellowish, it is near tainting, if not tainted already. In the hinder-quarter, smell under the kidney, and try the knuckle: if you meet with a faint scent, and the knuckle be limber, it is stale killed. For a lamb’s head, mind the eyes; if they be sunk or wrinkled, it is stale; if plump and lively, it is new and sweet. Lamb comes in in April, and holds good till the end of August.


If the mutton be young, the flesh will pinch tender; if old, it will wrinkle and remain so; if young, the fat will easily part from the lean; if old, it will stick by strings and skins; if ram-mutton, the fat feels spungy [sic], the flesh close-grained and tough, not rising again when dented with your finger; if ewe mutton the flesh is paler than wether-mutton, a closer grain, and easily parting. If there be a rot, the flesh will be palish, and the fat a faint whitish, inclining to yellow, and the flesh will be loose at the bone. If you squeeze it hard, some drops of water will stand up like sweat. As to the newness and staleness, the same is to be observed as by lamb.

The author gives advice on which game birds to select according to the season as she does for choosing fish and shellfish.

Once the marketing is accomplished, she moves on to instructions on roasting and boiling.

To roast a Pig.

Spit your pig and lay it to the fire which must be a very good one at each end, or hang a flat iron in the middle of the grate. Before you lay your pig down, take a little sage shred small, a piece of butter as big as a walnut, and a little pepper and salt: put them into the pig and sew it up with coarse thread, then flour it all over very well, and keep flouring until the eyes drop out, or you find the crackling hard… When the pig is enough, stir the fire up brisk; take a coarse cloth, with about a quarter of a pound of butter in it, and rub the pig all over till the chrackling [sic] is quite crisp, and take it up. Lay it in your dish and with a sharp knife cut off the head, and then cut the pig in two, before you draw out the spit. Cut the ears of the head and lay at each end, and cut the underjaw in two and lay on each side; melt some good butter, take the gravy you saved and put it, boil it, and pour it into the dish with the brains bruised fine, and the sage mixed altogether, and send it to table.


To roast a Tongue and Udder

Parboil them first for two hours, then roast it, stick eight or ten clove about it; baste it with butter, and have some gravy and gallintine-sauce, made thus; take a few bread crumbs and boil in a little water, beat it up, then put in a gill of red wine, some sugar to sweeten it; put it in a bason [sic] or boat.

One dish which was clearly popular appears in many of the cookbooks, namely calf or sheep’s head. Mrs. Glass provides several recipes. The one for baking a calf’s head instructs the cook to “stick pieces of butter in the eyes” and concludes:

When the head is enough, lay it in a dish, and set it to the fire to keep warm, then stir all together in the dish, and boil it in a sauce-pan; strain it off, put into a sauce-pan again, add a piece of butter rolled in flour and the sage in the brains fine, a spoonful of catchup, and two spoonfuls of red-wine; boil them together, take the brains, beat them well, and mix them with the sauce; pour it into the dish, and send to table. You must bake the tongue with the head, and do not cut it out. It will lie the handsomer in the dish.

Her recipe for dressing a lamb’s head includes this instruction.

Take half the liver, the lights [lungs], the heart and the tongue, chop them very small, with six or eight spoonfuls of gravy or water; first shake some flour over the meat and stir it together, then put in the gravy or water, a good piece of butter rolled in a little flour, a little pepper and salt, and what runs from the head in the dish; simmer all together a few minutes, and add half a spoonful of vinegar, pour it into your dish, lay the head in the middle of the mince-meat, have ready the other half of the liver cut thin, with some slices of bacon broiled, and lay around the head. Garnish with lemon and send to table.

One striking element of the recipes is the frequent use of oysters and anchovies. The casual inclusion of oysters suggest that they were plentiful, generally available, and inexpensive. The anchovies seem to have been the whole fish but it isn’t always clear.

Many of the cookbooks feature recipes for preparing sweetbreads which are the thymus or the pancreas. They can also include the parotid glands, the sublingual glands, ovaries, and testicles. Mrs. Glasse has instructions on preparing these sorts of offal.

Do not put any water or gravy into the stew-pan, but put the same veal and bacon over the sweetbreads, and season as under directed; cover them close, put fire over as well as under, and when they are enough, take out the sweetbreads; put in a ladleful of gravy, boil it, and strain it, skim off all the fat, let it boil till it jellies, then put in the sweetbreads to glaze; lay essence of ham in the dish, and lay the sweetbreads upon it; or make a very rich gravy with mushrooms, truffles and morels, a glass of white wine, and two spoonfuls of catchup. Garnish with cox-combs forced and stewed in the gravy.

Cut your tripe in two square pieces, somewhat long; have a force meat made of crumbs of bread, pepper, salt, nutmeg, sweet herbs, lemon peel, and the yolks of eggs, mixed altogether; spread in on the fat side of the tripe, and lay the other fat side next it; then roll as light as you can, and tie it with packthread; spit it, roast it, and baste it with butter; when roasted, lay it in your dish, and for sauce melt some butter, and add what drops from the tripe. Boil it together, and garnish with raspings [fine bread crumbs].

Many of the recipes include directions which are unlikely to appeal to 21st-century cooks. Black pudding offers an example.

First, before you kill your hog, get a peck of grits, boil them half an hour in water, then drain them, and put them into a clean tub or large pan; then kill your hog, and save two quarts of the blood of the hog, and keep stirring till the blood is quite cold; then mix it with your grits, and stir them well together….The next day take the leaf of the hog and cut into dice, scrape and wash the gut very clean, then tie one end, and begin to fill them; mix in fat as you fill them; be sure [to] put in a good deal of fat, fill the skins three parts full, tie the other end, and make your pudding what length you please; prick them very softly an hour; then take them out, and lay them on clean straw.

There is a section in the book featuring “several new receipts adapted to the American mode of cooking. Here we find “receipts” for Indian pudding, mush, buckwheat cakes, and doughnuts.

The amount of labor required to follow the recipes can seem arduous as is seen in the material excerpted above. Here is a recipe for Marmalade of Eggs the Jews Way:

Take the yokes of twenty-four eggs, beat them for an hour; clarify one pound of the best moist sugar, four spoonfuls of orange-flower-water, one ounce of blanched and pounded almonds; stir all together over a very slow charcoal fire, keep stirring it all the while one way, till it comes to a consistence, then put into coffee-cups, and throw a little beaten cinnamon on the top of the cups.



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The house servant's directory. Or a monitor for private families: comprising hints on the arrangement and performance of servants’ work, with general rules for setting out tables and sideboards in first order; the art of waiting in all its branches; and likewise how to conduct large and small parties with order; with general directions for placing on table all kinds of joints, fish, fowl, &c. With full instructions for cleaning plate, brass, steel, glass, mahogany; and likewise all kinds of patent and common lamps: observations on servants’ behaviour to their employers; and upwards of 100 various and useful receipts, chiefly compiled for the use of house servants; and identically made to suit the manners and customs of families in the United States (1828)

By Robert Roberts. With friendly advice to cooks and heads of families; and complete directions how to burn Lehigh coal

It was considerably more common for moderately well-off people to employ servants in the 19th century than is today. The lengthy title is fairly comprehensive in laying out the author’s intent. Roberts includes a preface in which he further describes his purpose and his qualifications for publishing his directory.

If the public have applauded Dr. Kitchener for improving the minutiae and economy of the larder, what praise is not due to an humble attempt to amend the morals and awkwardness of domestics? In school-learning generally our native servants surpass foreigners, but in manners, deportment, and a knowledge of the duties of their station, it must be admitted they are considerably inferiour [sic]. To borrow a phrase from the kitchen, our oboriginal [sic] servants need grilling; they require much instruction and an apprenticeship to the art and faculty of unbending. Like certain “woolens imported in a raw state,” noticed in a late congressional debate, it is requisite, in order to giving them a proper gloss and finish, to send them to a “brushing establishment.”

He concludes his preface personalizing his advice by addressing himself to “my young friends, Joseph and David.” Throughout he uses you and your in an intimate manner. Roberts begins by discussing how to dress according to one’s duties.

In the next place, I shall give you some directions on your dress for dinner. You should make it a general rule always to have a good suit of clothes or two, for attending at dinner, as a servant should always at this time look neat and tidy, but not foppish; what I mean by being foppish is, to wear a great bunch of seals to your watch, and a great pin sticking out of your bosom. There is nothing looks more ridiculous than to see a servant puff out above his ability….you should always have a good suit for dinner, and I shall here give you a few hints on a suit which is very genteel and becoming. For the winter season you should have comfortable clothing, such as a good superfine blue body coat, blue cassimere trowser [sic], and a yellow cassimere vest. This is a very neat and becoming dress to wait on dinner. You should have at least two or three suits of light clothes for the summer season; as they require to be changed once or twice per week, if they are light coloured; but black bombazine is preferable.

The author discourses on waiting at table which includes these excerpts.

So much time is often lost in putting every thing in applepie [sic] order, that long before dinner is announced, all becomes lukewarm, and, to complete the mortification of the grand gourmand, his meat is put on a sheet of ice in the shape of a plate, which instantly converts the gravy into jelly, and the fat into a something which puzzles his teeth and the roof of his mouth as much as if he had birdlime to masticate…

…When your dinner is on the table, and every thing that is necessary, stand at the bottom and cast your eyes along the table, and you will perceive in an instant if any of your dishes are not properly placed. You should observe to have your side dishes in a straight line, and at a regular distance from each other, and also match in size and colour, cross corners, your four corner dishes should go rather on a square, and to match each other cross corner; as a middling dinner when well served up, and the dishes well matched, and at a proper distance from each other, has a more pleasing aspect that double as large a one, when crowded, and improperly put on table; you should pay the greatest attention to this rule.



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Unusual meats (1919)

Recipes prepared by Mrs. Harriet Ellsworth Coates

The recipes we have highlighted above all derive from cookbooks of earlier centuries. Here we have a pamphlet sponsored by the Swift meatpacking corporation in 1919 which features recipes for preparing offal in the 20th century.

In her preface, Mrs. Coates avers:

Some meat foods that have always been considered delicacies by the most discriminating epicures of Europe, and that have been used in many delicious dishes by famous hotel chefs in the United States, have been neglected by the American housewife.

Fancy Meats, as they are known to the trade, consisting principally of livers, hearts, brains, melts, and kidneys, have not been given the place on the menus in this country that they deserve. Because of their perishable nature, it was not until recent years possible at all times to deliver them in perfect condition. With the use of modern refrigeration in plant, car, and branch house, we are able to promise prompt delivery, at all seasons, of these meat products at the very height of their perfection.

It is clear that with refrigeration the Swift company sought to profit from those parts of slaughtered animals which had previously been wasted.

The use of Fancy Meats, in attractive ways, such are herein described, will give a pleasing variety to the home menu, will result in a very decided reduction in the cost of the meat item of the family budget, and will help the solution of the present world problem of food production.

Mrs. Coates features recipes for beef and pork melts [lungs], calf and pork livers, beef and pork hearts, pork brains and kidneys, braised sweetbreads, and pork lips among others.

Pork Lips—Favorite

Scald pork lips, scrape, wash and put into stewpan of cold water and bring to a boil; strain, cover again with cold water, simmer till the lips are tender; take up, wash two quarts of spinach thoroughly and put into stewpan in the pork lips liquor. When cooked, drain thoroughly, add salt, pepper, a little grated onion, juice of half a lemon; turn out onto a hot dish in a mound shape, arrange pork lips in circles, sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve mustard sauce for the pork lips in a separate dish.

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She also revives old recipes for preparing pork feet, calf’s head, and pork tongue. The pamphlet includes a list of all the Fancy Meats available from Swift. Among others: Lamb and beef fries [testicles], pork heads, pork snouts, and pork jowls.

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America’s Historical Imprints is a wide-ranging family of individual collections providing online access to more than 150,000 printed works in more than 400 genres Among its individually available collections are Early American Imprints, Series I; Early American American Imprints, Series II; Afro-Americana Imprints and American Pamphlets—all four of which are sources for the works cited above. In addition to cookbooks, the collections include scores of menus from hotels, memorial and celebratory banquets, train and ship travel. For more information, please contact

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