In the mail yesterday I got this amazing book, Practical Recipes for the Housewife, from one of my dearest college friends, Jeanne-marie. A few weeks ago, she'd found this old book of her grandmother's in a box of cookbooks in the basement. This book was published by the Chicago Evening American with the help of 13,000 housewives who contributed recipes. No copyright date. After doing a little bit of internet research, she discovered this amazing web site and sent me the link to download the pdf of the whole book. For free. W.O.W.
This site is so cool, kind of overwhelmingly cool. If you click on the children's library, wow again. All I could think was WHO WAS THE POOR SOUL WHO HAD TO SCAN ALL OF THIS? I feel so sorry for that intern. Except that possibly the books are just so incredibly cool that they didn't mind. All the better for us. There is so much there I couldn't even scratch the surface. Really quite incredible that it's just . . . available, waiting. I'm tongue-tied with wonder.
Eeeeenyhow, I finally picked up my mail from the P.O. yesterday and in it was the real book from JM! Thank you JM! I love stuff like this. Menus for Sunday Dinner and Cold Weather Breakfasts ("Hot Baked Apples with Cream, Omelet [Spanish], Corn Meal Muffins, and Coffee," with Xs next to many menus, indicating that our housewife had tried them, I expect), tips on how to clean piano keys and pasteurize milk, recipes for banana ice cream and Marigold Cake. Andy brought me some heart-shaped silicone cupcake bakers from the grocery store the other night and I'm thinking this batter for them:
I love old cookbooks. This book is so fragile, and has little cut-outs, notes, recipes literally written on the backs of envelopes all fluttering from between the pages, fragile as moth-wings crumbling between my fingers. I wish Jane were here so I could show it to her because anyone who is writing a book called Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer would probably love to see a real-life recipe for Nesselrode Pudding, don't you think? Oh well, the pdf will have to do! I love you, sweet Jane, but I can't part with this valentine.
Thanks again, Jeanne-marie. Now can you come visit me and I'll bake something for you? Puhleeeeeeeeese, pretty?