Vintage Wisdom

February 11, 2016


And now for something truly vintage: this 1876 “manual of household duties.” As you can plainly see, this is no ordinary recipe book. Here’s the table of contents: FullSizeRender-2

Toilet recipes? That would be shampoo recipes, more or less.

In the first section on carving, the book addresses itself to the man of the house:

“When you attempt to carve do the best you can every time. Never allow yourself to be careless about it, even should the only spectators be your wife and children.” 

It even offers diagrams. Here’s one on carving deer:FullSizeRender-6

The practical (if esoteric) wisdom doesn’t stop there. Here’s an extremely useful manual for seasonal eating: FullSizeRender-1

And here’s a recipe. This one, for Boston brown bread looked especially appealing to me. Think of it as New England in a can.

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  • Ruth, I would definitely have needed a staff 140 years ago! Thanks for the reminder of Boston brown bread — haven’t had it since I was a child.

  • Lisa Saitz-Sokol says:

    Enjoyed… Would love to read the chapter on marketing; bring a bag/basket, dealing with store clerks…

  • ff says:

    Why is there a period after the title of the list? The colon apparently hadn’t yet come into its own in 1876.

  • Joy Kramer says:

    Ah, brown bread. Came in a can when I was a kid and we ate with cream cheese on it. Yum! However, a lot easier to undo a can than to make it with that recipe. I’m voting for the can. I think it’s even still out there and available. And I didn’t notice the period after the titles. Good eye!

  • Joy Kramer says:

    Oh, I see, it’s dots. Well, I do recall using dots to scroll across to the number, but it surely isn’t helpful, rather busy, a bit confusing. I can imagine this is a fun cookbook to read.

  • Jamie Knorr says:

    I appreciate the seasonal food list. I still recall, as a child, that there were certain food items that we only enjoyed at certain times of the year.


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