Hoffman Cook Book : manuscript, circa 1835 - 1870
Holding Library Call No.MS.
Manuscript Cookbooks Survey Database ID#120
Place of OriginUnited States ➔ Maryland
Date of Compositionmostly ca. 1835, with later additions
DescriptionThe first section of this manuscript, which comprises the bulk, was composed by a woman of the Hoffmann (later, Hoffman) family, which operated a paper mill in what is now Hoffmanville, Maryland since 1775. This section was attributed to Susanna Weinbrech Hoffmann (1742-1803) by an earlier owner of the book. However, the use in several recipes of the chemical leavening saleratus, which emerged in the 1830s, suggests that the author was some other individual.
Written with a single squib in an unvarying handwriting mood, the first section of the manuscript appears to be a fair copy of recipes that the writer had accumulated during the course of her kitchen career. In one recipe, she directly addresses her "dear little motherless grand grandchildren," and it seems likely that she undertook the project of this book for their benefit. The writer was originally German-speaking; her syntax, word choice, and spelling are irregular. Most of the approximately 135 culinary recipes are German in origin and are reminiscent of recipes now identified with the "Pennsylvania Dutch" and other ethnically German communities in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. These recipes include boild cheas; warm cucumbar sallet for dinar; nudles with sowar gravi on for dinar; sydar soup; soft rivals in milk supe; and sowar crout. There is also a smaller selection of Anglo-American recipes, some of which include the writer's notes on how to deal with unfamiliar American ingredients or culinary procedures. Among these recipe are flannal cakes; first-rate pount cakes; how to boil what is caled a pepar pot its made of a calfs head; and pumpkin pie another way.
Following the main body of the manuscript there are approximately fifty-five recipes on 15 pages written in other hands. Almost all of these recipes are for American desserts popular around the time of the Civil War. Most of these recipes are in the hand of one individual, possibly Lydia A. Hoffman Snyder, except for two, which were possibly written by Mary E. F. Hoffman, one of which, Queen of Puddings, is marked as from Godey's Lady's Book, November, 1867. These recipes are followed by six medicial receipts in the hand of the principal writer of the book.