American Recipe Book, 1850s or 1860s

View Catalog Record
[Library Title: Recipe book : [manuscript].]

Manuscript Location
University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Kislak Center for Special Collections - Manuscripts
Holding Library Call No.
UPenn Ms. Codex 795
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
United States
Date of Composition
likely 1850s or 1860s
This book contains 138 pages of culinary, medical, and household recipes, the first 127 of which are numbered. It includes an index with hand-cut tabs. The book is in a single hand except possibly for the final few pages, which may have be in later hands. The book's original cover is missing. It is now wrapped in a yellow paper cover inscribed "Manuscript Cook Book Maine." 

The culinary recipes in the book are organized according to type, as follows: cakes; puddings; pies; biscuits, muffins, and shortcakes (including many using Indian meal); jellies; colorings; fruit preserves and cordials; and meats, curries, and eggs. There are recipes calling for cranberries and salt cod. The book's recipe for Jenny Lind Shortcake suggests that the book was compiled in the 1850s or 1860s, following the Swedish soprano's triumphant American tour in 1850-52. Other cake recipes in the book, such as Lincoln Cake, Washington Cake, and Railroad Cake, were likewise in their heyday in the mid-19th century. 

The medical recipes include a cough syrup using the North American plant Sanguinaria canadensis and a remedy attributed to Dr. Stone of New Orleans. Household recipes include soap, starch, and a method for mending china.