Thursday, February 7, 2013

1905 Cookbook Food for Body and Soul by Judy Steiger Howard

What led me to discover Judy Steiger Howard's writings, I can't say right now.  All I remember is a few months ago while reading blogs or surfing the net, I came across her name and the fact she had written two books with short quilt-based memories and this title which documents early Oklahoma homesteading women and some of their recipes.  I found that I could obtain copies of the Heavenly Patchwork books very cheaply second hand (love that feature of both BN and Amazon), so I ordered them.  I did order my copy of 1905 Cookbook: Food for Body and Soul as a new copy because all profits are donated to programs that feed needy children.

As a cookbook collector, I have looked at "antique" cookbooks before, and frankly, I am surprised that anything they made ever turned out!  The directions are so sparse, or conversely, so specific that I doubt that   recipes ever easily passed from one person to another.  So let's be honest, I will probably never be breading and frying up any brains for hubby's supper nor will I be steaming a suet pudding for dessert. I may however try Catherine Rodkey's recipe for an iced tea with oranges, strawberries and one teaspoon rum that she called Russian tea.  Catherine liked to serve this tea to her friends as they sat in the wicker furniture of her porch.

I do love reading these recipes, especially when they are accompanied with the kind of local history that Judy Steiger Howard has compiled.  Most of the recipes come from a 1905 cookbook put together by the women of Edmond, Oklahoma as a  community fundraiser.  When the author stumbled on a copy of that cookbook in antique store, she saw a great potential for retelling of the hardy pioneer spirit of these women, many who were among the first homesteaders in Oklahoma.  Remember learning about the "sooners" in US history? Howard has used local museums and archives to reconstruct the stories of the women of Edmond and surrounding areas and has republished their recipes along with vintage photographs and many of the commercial ads which adorned the pages of the first cookbook.

If you're a cookbook collector, like I am, or a history buff, you might like a copy of this title.  Some of you might run across a similar book compiled for a different community and time period.  Stop and give them a read.  History is not all about wars and political movements.  We also need to take time to remember and cherish the ordinary people who make up our past.

And a few words from a favorite ad found in the book --- just in time for Valentine's Day, in case you're thinking you should shy away from chocolate this year.

Walter Baker & Co.'s Chocolate and Cocoa   1788-1905 - The leader for 125 years

It is a perfec food, highly nourishing, easily digested, fitted to repair wasted strength, perserve health and prolong life.  
M. Brillat-Savarin says: Those who make constant use of chocolate are the ones who enjoy the most steady health, and are the least subject to a multitude of little ailments which destroy the comfort of life"

Well, I don't know who Brillat-Savarin was, and I know there were no truth in advertising laws then, but I still think this ad gives me permission to eat CHOCOLATE next week.!

1 comment:

  1. Have at it, February was made for chocolate lovers! I love looking through books from another era. I love the history that looks into the everyday life. Hope you aren't buried under too much snow!