Published by R.C. Barnum Co. Original copyright date of publication is 1910. This was a subscription book and had to be purchased from a salesman (according to the inside cover page). Approximate size is 10 inches by 7 inches and its about 3 inches thick.
It includes 3 books in 1 – The People’s Home Medical Book by T.J. Ritter, MD, The People’s Home Recipe Book by Mrs. Alice Gitchell Kirk, and The People’s Home Stock Book by W.C. Fair, VS. At this current time it is my oldest authentic book. I have reproductions of earlier cookbooks but nothing else that is actually as old or older than this one.
Each picture is linked to its full size counterpart so if you want to read them you certainly should be able to do so. If you see something you would like to read further or know more about please leave a comment or email me (information is on my About Me page). I really don’t mind sharing.
I was given this book for Christmas from my mother. And I’m going to be honest, I have never made a single recipe from this book. Most are very old-fashioned, don’t appeal to my taste, are too difficult to use (no oven temperatures and sometimes no measurements) or in a lot of cases the recipe is just plain gross and inedible. However, I am thinking about trying a few of the cookie and cake recipes posted further down.
Above we have the pages highlighting the necessary kitchen tools/supplies and a chart of the measurements used within this book, not too bad actually compared to some cookbooks from this era and before. The author clearly drew from The Boston Cooking School cookbook, the first of its kind using level measurements of ingredients.
A general instruction guide on meat. What cracks me up though is the first sentence of the third paragraph – “Pork should never be used by anyone who desires the best of food…”!! I had no idea I was so low brow!
This is a bento blog besides just the foodie stuff so I had to include a picture of this page. Some interesting food combinations on these pages, most notably sandwiches most children would never eat, even if being bribed! You’ll notice a lack of peanut butter and jelly and a few other “modern” sandwiches.
I thought this section was interesting. Veganism in 1913. Who knew?
On the right are 2 recipes that I find absolutely revolting. I have no idea how people could eat those. Honestly.
This is an interesting section (and is the rest of the book in fact) as it highlights cooking skills that everyone needed to know at that time. Then it spins off into various different recipes. Basically a long list separated by type with an introduction for each. Each recipe is listed in a paragraph of what to do. See the following picture at the top of the right page for the details.
By far my favorite page in the book. I have it copied and blown up in a frame in my kitchen (I’ve decorated in a vintage style). A “modern” kitchen cabinet so it states – a Hoosier Cabinet actually. And the calendar on the wall is set for December 1909.
This section is just after the cookies and cakes. I’m afraid to say that the cookies section is somewhat dreadful. Things like Ginger Drop, Oatmeal, Molasses, Rocks, Cornstarch and Mince Crisp. Very old fashioned. For your amusement the following recipes are posted exactly as written:
Molasses Cookies-One cup of molasses, 1 teaspoonful of soda beaten in 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of butter, 2/3 cup of sour cream, 3 well beaten eggs, 1 teaspoonful of ginger, 1 teaspoonful of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoonful of salt and flour to make soft dough; bake in a quick oven.
Rocks-One cup of butter, 2 cups of brown sugar, 1 teaspoonful of baking soda, 1/3 cup of hot water, 3 eggs beaten together, 1 1/2 cups of raisins or currants, 1 1/2 cups of English walnuts, 3 cups of flour, 1 teasponnful of cinnamon; drop on pans and back in a quick oven.
Cornstarch Cookies-Two teacups sugar, 1 teacup butter, 1 teacup sour cream, 1 teacup cornstarch, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoonful soda, flour sufficient to thicken; drop from spoon on greased tins and bake.
Cookies-Two eggs, 1 cup sour cream, 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoonfuls soda, and sufficient flour to roll out.
Mince Crisp Cookies-One cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 well-beaten eggs, large spoonful of milk, 2 teaspoonfuls of baking powder, enough flour to make quite stiff dough; flavor with lemon or nutmeg. Brush tops with milk and sugar.
The cake section on the other hand is extensive but consists mostly of fruit cakes and thicker types of butter cakes. For example:
Devil Cake-One small cake Baker’s chocolate, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup butter, 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk, 3 cups sifted flour, 1 level teaspoonful soda dissolved in hot water, 6 eggs beaten separately. Put chocolate in bowl, set in boiling water and dissolve, add sugar and butter and beat light; add yolks of eggs, then milk and soda; add flour and beateen whites of eggs once and beat till well mixed. Bake in layers and ice.
Nut Cake-One cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 3 cups flour, 2 teaspoonfuls baking powder, 1 cup nut kernels.
Spice Cake-One cup of sugar, 1 cup molasses, 1/2 cup of butter and lard mixed, 1 cup of sour milk, 2 eggs, 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoonful each of cloves and cinnamon, 2 teaspoonfuls of soda. Bake in 4 layers.
The interesting part of this page is in the second paragraph after the header – “The writer, having had years of experience and having now retired from business, makes known for the first time candy secrets obtained from confectioners whose whole lives have been devoted to the work and who are now operating some of the finest stores in the East.” I’m not sure if this would actually be the first time in print but her methods are very good, though a tad outdated, of course.
A couple of the candy recipes on the left side and an interesting photo of common kitchen tools on the right.
Another interesting photo of a few more common kitchen tools.
A complete section in the back on how to do things like clean carpets, mend things, make commonly needed items, etc. Very helpful to a housewife of that era I’m sure.
Within this book someone, or someones, at some point or points, put in leaves, flowers and important newspaper clippings and papers. Some I can date, most I can’t. But take a look for yourself:
Of all of them I love the police blotter the most. Nice way of indicating that someone put up a fight about being arrested!!