Post-Civil War and the Gilded Age added home-canning to the preservation practices, instead of just drying and pickling. This industrial age brought more gadgets into the kitchen, and began the abundance of store-bought processed foods.

1870s Kitchen.
1880s Kitchen.
1890s Kitchen.

The following articles contain details of this time period:

Chafing Dish

by Rena

Cooking with a chafing dish is ancient, but was popular in America, beginning c. 1880s — considered fashionable on dining tables, and a necessity in dorm rooms. First heated with a fueled wick, they became electrified around the turn-of-the-century. Here is a postal stamp depicting a fashionable c. 1930s couple using an electric chafing dish, now that electricity was available in more homes.

Fact-checking and accuracy of Boston Cooking School Cook Book editions and reprints is gradually in-progress here. Links will bring you to free online copies of the book:

  • 1st edition, first printing, 1896. 567 pp. (3,000 copies; rewrite of Mary Lincoln’s 1884 Boston School Kitchen Text-Book)
  • 1st edition, 1904. 666 pp. plus 20 pp. ads, reprinted with appendix of 300 recipes and addendum of 60 recipes
  • 2nd edition, 1906. 648 pp. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; revised by Fannie Farmer)
  • 2nd edition, revised, 1910 (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; revised by Fannie Farmer; added 125 new recipes)
  • 2nd edition, revised, 1914 (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; possibly last revised by Fannie Farmer)

Fannie Farmer was alive for the above editions. Before her death on January 14th, 1915, more than 360,000 copies sold of 21 printings of the book. She owned the copyright and made a fortune–being nationally known for her lectures, newspaper and magazine articles. After her death, her sister Cora was executor of the estate, and her parents, the heirs, and the following editions were released:

  • 3rd edition, 1918. 656 pp. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; said to be partially revised by Fannie Farmer before her death in 1915 (she wouldn’t have included the War-time supplement), also said to be edited by Mary Farmer; includes War-time recipes supplement, cold-pack method of canning, drying of fruits and vegetables, and food values)
  • 3rd edition, reprint, between 1919 and 1922. 656 pp. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; said to be revised by Fannie Farmer before her death in 1915, also said to be edited by Mary Farmer; includes War-time recipes supplement removed)
  • 4th edition, 1923. 808 pp. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; probably revised by Fannie’s sister/executor of the estate, Cora Farmer Perkins; incorporates Fannie Farmer’s 1912 book, A New Book of Cookery, and about 40 additional ages at the back of book.)
  • 4th edition, reprint, 1927 (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; probably revised by Cora Farmer Perkins)
  • 5th edition, 1930. 831 pp. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; probably revised by Cora Farmer Perkins)
  • 6th edition, 1936. 838 pp. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; probably revised by Cora Farmer Perkins, with her son Herbert and Herbert’s wife, Wilma Lord Perkins.)
  • 7th edition, 1941. 824 pp. (Publisher: Little, Brown & Co., Boston, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto; revised by Wilma Lord Perkins)
  • 8th edition, 1946. 879 pp. (Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cook Book; Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; revised by Wilma Lord Perkins)
  • 9th edition, 1951. 878 pp. (The New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking-School Cookbook on cover; Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.; revised by Wilma Lord Perkins)
  • 10th edition, 1959. 596 pp. (The All New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking-School Cookbook; Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.)
  • 10th edition, reprinted 1964
  • 10th edition, reprinted 1965
  • 10th edition, reprinted 1972
  • 11th edition, 1965. 624 pp. (Title changed to The Fannie Farmer Cookbook; Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.)
  • Bantam Reference Library edition, 1965, 648 pp. (Title changed to The All New Fanny Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook)
  • Facsimile edition of 1896 edition, 1973, 568 pp. plus 18 pp. period ads (Publisher: Weathervane Books; title changed to The Original Boston Cooking School Cook Book, 1896
  • 12th edition, 1979. 811 pp. (“Revised by Marion Cunningham with Jeri Laber”; publisher: Knopf; first year sold 400,000 copies)
  • 13th edition, 1990. 874 pp. (“By Marion Cunningham”; publisher: Knopf)

Here is an adaptation by American Profile Magazine of the possible first brownie recipe. Fannie Farmer may have been the first to publish a brownie recipe in a cookbook.

Here’s Farmer’s original Brownie recipe from the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, 1906 edition:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg, unbeaten
2 squares Baker’s chocolate, melted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup walnut meats, cut in pieces

Mix ingredients in order given. Line a seven-inch square pan with paraffine paper. Spread mixture evenly in pan and bake in slow oven. As soon as taken from oven turn from pan, remove paper, and cut cake in strips, using a sharp knife. If these directions are not followed, paper will cling to cake, and it will be impossible to cut it in shapely pieces.

Never-Break Steel Cooking Utensils.

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c. 1889: “Never-Break” Steel Cooking Utensils, Always Clean, Neat and Nice, A Complete Revolution, The Chef’s Delight. The Bronson Supply Co., New York and Cleveland.


“A Good Mother Tests Her Little One’s Food Herself and Finds Pleasure in Using the “Never-Break” Steel Cooking Utensils.”

Purchase original booklet:

One c. 1889 original book is available, “Never-Break” Steel Cooking Utensils. $25.00. Condition: This brochure is in good condition with split fold on spine and staples with a rust stain, edges worn. 8-page brochure for pots and pans including covers. Click “Add to Cart.”

Home Comfort Cook Book.

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1896: Home Comfort Cook Book.
Wrought Iron Range Co., Sole Manufacturers and Patentees of the Renowned Home Comfort Steel Ranges for Private Families, Hotels, Restaurants, Public Institutions, Army Posts, Dining Cars and Steamboats.


Sample Text:

If you live in the city where oranges are abundant and cheap, at least during the winter months, begin [breakfast] with this fruit, which is healthful and pleasing to the eye, replacing this in the summer with berries or even a dish of nice apples.

  • Anything made with sugar, milk and eggs should not be allowed to reach the boiling point.
  • One-third of a teacupful of molasses is a good substitute for a wineglassful of brandy in fruit cake or pudding.
  • Molasses to be used for gingerbread is greatly improved by being first boiled, then skimmed.
  • …fish may be scaled much easier by first dipping them into boiling water for a minute.
  • …milk which has changed may be sweetened or rendered fit for use again by stirring in a little soda.
  • …salt will curdle new milk, hence, in preparing porridge, gravies, etc., salt should not be added until the dish is prepared.
  • In pickling, alum helps to make the pickles crisp, while horse-radish and nasturtium seeds prevent the vinegar from becoming muddy.
  • ..pickles should be well salted in strong brine or they will be tasteless and insipid. Better too much than too litlle salt, as they can be freshened in weak vinegar.
  • Flour cannot be too cold for pastry, cookies or kindred doughs, while for yeast bread it should be warm enough to favor the growth of the yeast plant….cream of tartar and soda…cold liquids only are allowable.
  • Crusts and pieces of bread should be kept in a granite bucket, closely covered, in a dry, cool place.
  • Every good housekeeper browns and rolls or grates her stale bread, thus having it in readiness for scallops or frying meat, fish, croquettes. If, after being rolled, it is put through the flour sieve the additional fineness will amply repay the trouble.
  • …in cooking string beans, peas and spinach a grating of nutmeg much improves their flavor.
  • …soup is very economical, and for that reason should appear on the table at least once a week.
  • …to make soup or broth, put the meat or vegetables in cold water. But if the meat is to be eaten, then the water must be boiling before the meat is put into water.
  • …ears of sweet corn…with a linen cloth, remove all the silk between the rows of kernels.
  • One teaspoonful of soda and two of cream tartar are equal to three teaspoonfuls of baking powder.

Baked Beans

When other men tell of their edible pleasures,
Rehearsing the praise of some favorite dish,
I think of my own horticultral treasures–
As good and as wholesome as mortal could wish.
The beets and the peas and the early potatoes,
The tear-starting onions, the corn, ever green;
The squash for pie timber, the blushing tomatoes,
And, peer of them all, the delectable beans.

The beans that are swelling and hunger dispelling;
The internal cavity filling baked beans.

The fish has its bones, which impede mastication;
The flesh and the fowl may be often antique,
But if in their youthful and tender relation,
Baked beans are a dish that I every time seek.
How sweet to the nose the aroma arises,
How good to the eyes is the sight to be seen,
When hot from the oven, in bulk that suffices,
There comes to the table a pan of baked beans.

It wears on the outside a healthy brown color,
Like damsels who often are kissed by the sun,
And has an enticing interior flavor,
Which tempts us to eat ere the cooking is done.
The pork, like an island in richness abounding,
A welcome combine of the fat and the lean,
Lies crisp in the edible ocean surrounding,
Completing the charm of a pan of baked beans.

Take beans, not too old and without imperfection,
Immerse in cold water to stand through a night;
Then boil in a moderate way, ’till inspection
Shall find them to touch and taste tender and right.
Now transfer for baking, your condiments adding–
Don’t leave out the pork! such omission were strange–
And last, to conclude the important proceeding,
Let them bake slow and sure in a Home Comfort Range.

…to make a cup of coffee almost as nourishing as a meal stir into it an egg well beaten. First beat the egg in the cup, add a little cream, and then the sugar, and lastly the coffee poured in gradually. When adding the coffee beat constantly with a small egg beater.

The proportions of sugar and fruit used in canning and preserving vary greatly. The amount of sugar given below is about an average for canning when a very rich preserve is not desired. These canned fruits are excellent for pies, etc.

Sugar to a Quart Jar:
Cherries, 6 oz.
Strawberries, 6 to 8 oz.
Raspberries, 4 oz.
Blackberries, 5 to 6 oz.
Quinces, 8 to 10 oz.
Pears, 4 to 6 oz.
Grapes, 6 to 8 oz.
Peaches, 4 oz.
Pine-apples, 4 to 6 oz.
Crab-apples, 6 to 8 oz.
Plums, 4 oz.
Pie-plant, 8 to 10 oz.

Marion Harland’s Dollar Dinners.
A standard dinner, according to Marion Harland, costs one dollar. From that one easily grades up or down. If your meanswill allow, there are additions that iwll enhance the attractiveness of the meal; and if one dollar is beyond your means, the lopping off process is not difficult. The standard family is five…

Home Comfort Range Dinner.
Seventy-five Cents.

3 pounds roast ….$0.30
Canned corn…….. .10
Stewed tomatoes…. .10
Potatoes……….. .05
Celery…………. .05
Pudding………… .15

Useful Knowledge
10 eggs are one pound.
16 large tablespoonfuls are 1/2 pint.
8 large tablespoonfuls are 1 gill.
2 gills are 1/2 pint.
a common-sized tumbler holds 1/2 pint.
a common-sized wine-glass holds 1/2 gill.
a teacup holds 1 gill.
a large wine-glass holds 1 gill.
a large tablespoonful is 1/2 ounce.
Forty drops are equal to 1 tablesponful.

Take two ounces of fine white powdered gum arabic, cover it with eight tablespoonfuls of water, stand it aside for one hour, then stand the vessel in boiling water and stir until the gum is dissolved, strain through a cheese cloth into a double boiler and add seven ounces of powdered sugar. Stir this over the fire until the mixture is white and stiff. This will take at least forty-five minutes. Then stir in hastily the well beaten whites of four eggs, take it from the fire, beat rapidly for about two minutes and add a teaspoonful of vanilla. Dust a square tin an with corn starch, pour in the mixture and stand in a cool place. When cold cut into squares.

Purchase original booklet:

One 1896 original book is available, Home Comfort Cook Book. $9.00. Book includes sales list of hotels and people in the country that have endorsed or purchased a Majestic Range. CONDITION: The paper covered book is in Poor Condition with detached and highly damaged cover, back cover and maybe back pages missing, high degree of black and rust stains, moisture damage, but no mildew smell, paper creases, chipped edges, loose or partially detached pages, mellowed interior. 124-page book. Click “Add to Cart.”

Warsaw Illinois cookbook recipes.

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1899: Warsaw Choice Recipes, compiled for the Benefit of the Warsaw Free Public Reading Room, by The Woman’s Club, March 1899. Warsaw Milling Co., Warsaw, Illinois.


Sample Text:

He that eats and saves sets the table twice.”

Athenaeus affirms,
Worthy tribute to bring,
That a man among men,
Who can cook is a king.

Now if that is the case,
And ’tis plain to be seen,
A cook among women
Must walk as a queen.

How to Cook Beefsteak.

Pound well your meat until the fibres break;
Be sure that next in turn you broil the steak;
(Good coal in plenty; nor a moment leave).
Now turn it over, this way and then that,
The lean should be quite rare, not so the fat,
The platter now which will the juice receive;
Put on the butter, place on it your meat,
Salt, pepper, turn it o’er, then serve and eat.

Mrs. Robert McMahan.

Fish, Meats and Their Appropriate Sauces.

Roast Beef: Grated Horseradish; Tomato Catsup; or Worcestershire Sauce.
Boiled Mutton: Caper Sauce.
Roast Mutton: Stewed Gooseberry.
Roast Lamb: Mint Sauce.
Roast Pork: Apple Sauce.
Roast Turkey: Cranberry Sauce; or Celery Sauce.
Roast Chicken: Plum or Grape Catsup; or Currant Jelly.
Boiled Turkey: Oyster Sauce.
Roasted Venison or Duck: Black Currant Jelly.
Pigeon Pie: Mushroom Sauce.
Broiled Steak: Mushrooms or Fried Onions.
Roast Goose: Stewed Gooseberries; or Apple Sauce.
Broiled Mackerel: Stewed Gooseberries.
Fried Salmon: Egg Sauce; Cream Sauce; or Stewed Tomato.
Boiled or Baked Cod: Egg Sauce; or Tomato Sauce.
Boiled or Baked Fish: White Cream Sauce; Old Zealand Sauce; or Drawn Butter Sauce.

Purchase original booklet:

One 1899 original booklet is available, Warsaw Choice Recipes. $5.00. The booklet is in poor condition with missing covers, stains, paper creases, chipped edges, loose or partially detached pages, mellowed interior. All pages except for covers appear to be present, or one page with ad may be missing in back to make a 32-page book. 30-page booklet. Click “Add to Cart.”

1890 Wehmans Cook Book.

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1890: Wehman’s Cook Book, A Complete Collection of Valuable Recipes suited to Every Household and All Tastes. Wehman Brothers, New York.


Sample Text:

Robin Pie.
Cover the bottom of a pie-dish with thin slices of beef and fat bacon, over which lay ten or twelve robins, previously rolled in flour, stuffed as above, season with a teasponful of salt, a quarter ditto of pepper, one of chopped parsley, and one of chopped eschalots, lay a bay-leaf over, add a gill of broth, and cover with three quarters of a pound of half puff paste, bake one hour in a moderate oven, shake well to make the gravy in the pie form a kind of sauce, and serve quite hot.

Fried Eels.
Cut your eels into pieces three inches long, dip the pieces into flour, egg over with a paste brush, and throw them into some bread-crumbs; fry in hot lard…

Fried Rabbit.
After the rabbit has been thoroughly cleaned and washed, put it into boiling water and let boil for about ten minutes; drain, and when cold, cut it into joints, dip into beaten egg, and then into fine bread-crumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper. When all are ready fry them in butter over a moderate fire fifteen minutes, thicken the gravy with an ounce of butter and a small teaspoonful of flour, give it a minute’s boil, stir in two tablespoonfuls of cream, dish the rabbit, pour the sauce under it, and serve quickly.

Mint Sauce.
Take three tablespoonfuls of chopped leaves of green mint, three tablespoonfuls of brown sugar, and put into a basin with half a pint of brown vinegar; stir it well up, add one saltspoonful of salt, and serve.

Parsley Sauce.
Wash the parsley well, boil it six or seven minutes till tender, then press the water well out of it; chop it very fine; make half or a quarter of a pint of melted butter as required (the less butter the less parsley, of course), mix it gradually with the hot melted butter.

Lobster Salad.
Take one hen lobster, lettuces, endive, mustard and cress, radishes, beetroot, cucumber, some hard boiled eggs. Pour the salad mixture into the bowl, wash and dry the lettuces and endive, and cut them fine; add them to the dressing, with the picklings from the body of the lobster, and part of the meat from the shell cut into small pieces. Rub the yolks of two or three hard-boiled through a sieve, and afterward the coral of the lobster, then place the salad very lightly in the bowl, and garnish it with the coral, yolks of the hard-boiled eggs, sliced beetroot, cucumber, radishes, and the pieces of leaves of the celery and endive between them.

Cold Slaugh.
Shave cabbage fine; scald half pint vinegar, mix one small teaspoonful corn-starch in two-thirds cupful of cream (or condensed milk a very little thinner), with one egg well beaten, and a little salt; pour the scalded vinegar on the mixture very slowly, so as not to break the egg, then boil until thick; pour hot on the cabbage; a few capers and olives will improve the slaugh for thiose who are fond of such things. The above is a very nice dish to eat either with fried or escolloped oysters.

Grape Pie.
Pop the pulps out of the skins into one vessel, and put the skins into another. Then simmer the pulp a little and run it through a colander to separate the seeds. Then put the skins and pulp together and they are ready for jugging, or for pies. Pies prepared in this way can hardly be distinguished from plum pies.

Orange Pie.
Take four good sized oranges, peel, seed, and cut in very small pieces. Add a cup of sugar, and let stand. Into a quart of nearly boiling milk stir two tablespoonfuls of corn starch mixed with a little water, and the yolks of three eggs. When this is done, let it cool, then mix with the ornages. Put it in simply a lower crust. Make a frosting of the whites of the eggs and one-half cup of sugar. Spread it over top of pies, and place for a few seconds in the oven to brown.

Original booklet:

One 1890 original booklet is available, Wehman’s Cook Book. $47.00. The booklet is in good condition with scuffs, spots, worn edges, highly mellowed interior. All pages present. 7″ x 5″, 98-page booklet. Click “Add to Cart.”

Victorian Trade Card from scrapbook.

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c. 1890s Trade Card
Granite Iron Ware


Original Granite Iron Ware Tradecard, c. 1890s, no date. Condition is poor on back side with text trimmed off and ink removed by former scrapbook tape. front side in good shape, as pictured.