Thursday, August 4, 2011

Food Friday: Cookery for the Sick

Community cookbooks were more than just books of recipes.  Early cookbooks served as reference guides for women in which they were given instructions for how to prepare food for the sick, how to clean their homes, and medicinal remedies. Often, these cookbooks provided a wealth of knowledge for the women who owned them.

Today's cookbook is no different. The Third Presbyterian Cook Book and Household Directory (Chester, Pennsylvania, 1917) includes almost 300 pages of helpful advice and recipes for the women of the Chester community.  In addition, a multitude of ads provides a virtual "phone book" of places that the lady of the house may want to visit to purchase supplies of services.

Consider the following ad complete with the board of director's names and some ideas about the nature of  women and men. 

page 64

The recipe for today is from the "Cookery for the Sick" section of this cookbook.  While some of the recipes seem questionable as "curative" foods like Hamburg Steak, Cocoa and Chocolate Cream, others are pretty standard for the day, like Beef Tea, Milk and Rice Gruel and Soft Boiled Egg.

page 220
This is a great recipe with the name, occupation, and workplace of the contributor listed with the recipe.  There is also some medical history within the recipe and the name of another nurse who contributed additional recipes.