American cookbook, 1850

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Manuscript Location
University of Iowa Main Library, Special Collections, Szathmary Culinary Archive
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#
Place of Origin
United States
Date of Composition
This notebook begins with what appears to be a record of the manumission of Margaret Smith, who, in 1836, at the age of 35, was freed, along with "her child," by the terms of the will of Margaret Waters. This record is followed by a list of expenses for Margaret Smith for the years 1836 to 1849, which were apparently paid by a third party, perhaps the family of Margaret Waters. In the back of the notebook, on pages 145-146, there is a summary of the same list of Margaret Smith's expenses for the years 1836 to 1849 under the heading "Recapitulation Margaret Smith." This record notes that Margaret bore a "fourth child" in February, 1847, when she would have been 45 or 46 years old, and that this child died a month later. The record concludes with the note, "We could hear nothing [there?] till January 1854, when she got coz Ellen to write." It is not clear if "she" refers to Margaret Smith.

Recipes follow the manumission record and list of expenses. The recipes section begins with an index covering entries through page 21; both the index and the recipes it covers are written in a single hand, as are a few medical recipes appearing near the end of the (approximately) 170-page notebook. The recipes through page 21 include: The Science of Fruit Syrups, To Can Peaches, Dover Cakes, Water Sponge Cake, Liquid Yeast, Jelly, Cucumber Catsup, Cocoa Nut Cake, Soft Jumbles, Chicken Salad, Olio, Meats, Corn Meal Sally Lunn, Devilled Tomatoes, Oatmeal Porridge, and Corn Flour Bread. The precise mechanics of the "canning" of the peaches are unclear, but if a Mason jar is meant, the recipe cannot be earlier than 1858, when the jar was patented. The recipes following page 21 are in multiple hands and are mostly laid in or pasted in. In addition, numerous newspaper clippings are pasted in and some drawings and poems are laid in. Curiously, the same recipe for chicken salad, correctly credited to cookbook author Eliza Leslie (and outlined her 1837 cookbook Directions for Cookery), appears three times in the manuscript, on page 12 of the original recipes section and on two slips of paper laid in or pasted in.