Mrs. Goodfellow (1767-1851)

Mrs. Goodfellow Recipe Book

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[Library Title: Mrs. Goodfellow and Others Recipe Book]

Holding Library Call No.
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
United States
Date of Composition

This cookbook of approximately 92 written pages is in many different hands. It is primarily of interest for the twenty-three recipes written on pages 1 through 9, which are labeled "Mrs. Goodfellow's Receipts" and which were likely written by one of Mrs. Goodfellow's students. Elizabeth Goodfellow (ca. 1767-1851) was a famed Philadelphia confectioner who operated a cooking school, one of the first in the nation, for some thirty years during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Eliza Leslie, the bestselling and most influential American cookbook author of the second quarter of the nineteenth century, attended Mrs. Goodfellow's school and published a number of Mrs. Goodfellow's recipes in her first two cookbooks, both extremely successful, Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats (1828) and Directions for Cookery in its Various Branches (1837). As detailed in this blog post, eleven of the Goodfellow recipes appearing in this manuscript are manifestly versions of recipes published in Seventy-Five Receipts and two others are versions of recipes published in Directions for Cookery. In addition, five other recipes in this manuscript bear a clear relationship to five recipes in Seventy-Five Receipts. Following Mrs. Goodfellow's death, a woman who identified herself only as “A Good Housekeeper and a pupil of Mrs. Goodfellow,” published a cookbook titled Cookery as It should Be, which the publisher crowed was “sure to be well received” given its source, which was, ostensibly, the noted confectioner. In point of fact, very few of the receipts in this 362-page tome date from Mrs. Goodfellow’s heyday, and many of the book's cake recipes are reliant on chemical leavening, which Mrs. Goodfellow abhorred. Eliza Leslie savaged the book in a review. 

The remaining recipes in this volume range in date. Some are attributed to Dr. Kitchiner, author of The Cook's Oracle, an English cookbook first published in 1817 and republished in numerous expanded editions, both British and American, into the mid-nineteenth century. Other recipes are credited to Mrs. Wigmore, B.S. Emlen, and several persons represented by their initials. 

While recipes for sweet dishes, cakes, and breads predominate, the volume includes a wide range of recipes, including instructions for pickled foods such as "cucumber mangoes" and oysters. There are multiple recipes for doughnuts, "cold slaw," and biscuits, as well as twenty-five recipes for puddings of various types. Some of the recipes are distinctively American, such as "Indian Pickle," "Green Corn Pudding," and "Federal Cake," while others reflect the strong English influence that prevailed on antebellum American cooking, including "Maids of Honour," "A Trifle," "Sally Lunn," and "Yorkshire Pudding." The book also contains notes on housekeeping and two medical remedies, a general-purpose ointment and an allspice-infused tea intended to treat the "summer complaint." Newspaper clippings pasted to the endpapers contain information about tomatoes; recipes for catsup, tomato pickles, and "Indian muffins"; and instructions for making a cement for pottery, a dye, and a cure for colic.

The catalog record contains a link to a useful finding aid. A recipe index for this volume is available in the Manuscripts Division.