Great-great Grandmother’s Cookbook

It’s that time of year for resolutions and, for many, dieting. So I dug out my great-great grandmother’s ‘receipt’ book today. (That’s what she labeled it.) These are from Olive Bardwell back in the 1800’s. I share them as written. Her cursive had the typical flourishes of the day, and her writing used the ink and well. So it is somewhat faded and difficult to read in parts. There were only ingredients listed. No mixing directions for cakes. – and of course, they demonstrate an entirely different lifestyle. This is ‘food for thought’.

Number Cake
One teacup full of butter
Two teacups full of sugar
Three teacups full of flour
Four eggs

Cream Cake
Four cups of flour
Three cups of sugar
One cup of butter
One cup of cream
Four eggs
On half pound of raisins
One teaspoon of soda

…and saving one of the most interesting ‘til last… (I’d read about scrapple, but didn’t know what it was.)

At butchering time after making sausages of such portions as are free from bone- head, backbone, etc. – and boil until the meat will fall off the bones: chop the meat fine and return to the liquor in which it was boiled and from which the grease has been skimmed; season with salt, pepper and finely powdered sage; When the mass comes to a boil, stir in cornmeal until as thick as mush; stir constantly until well cooked. When cold, slice and fry like mush.

There are ‘receipts’ for Johnny Cake, Fricandelles (it says it’s a delicious relish), spiced hash, Lemon cream Pie, Wheat Fritters, Mush Balls, Graham Gems, Rice for Breakfast, and even English Plum Pudding. It was an interesting time, no doubt. I’m sure a woman’s daily workout of housekeeping, clothes washing, and cooking was enough to burn off any calories she may have consumed.


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