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.

Emma Wilson's cooking class, c. 1907.

Born five years before the Civil War as the daughter of an enslaved cook, little Emma Wilson wanted to go to school with her white friends. She was told she couldn’t because of her race, and after the Civil War she was told she couldn’t because she was a girl. Through her determination, she kept pace with the class outside of school. When the time finally came that she could attend school, she was placed within her grade.

Emma Wilson, c. 1900.

Emma Wilson, founder and principal of the Maysville Industrial and Educational Institute

Wilson’s commitment to education and her great desire to assist others of her locale and race made her change her plans from ministering in Africa to building a local school in her hometown of Maysville, South Carolina. The school began in the kitchen of her mother’s cabin in 1885. It quickly grew and was incorporated as the Maysville Industrial and Educational Institute. After a few years Wilson became committed to teaching not only liberal arts, but also skills such as blacksmithing, sewing, and cooking.

The first cookbook known to be authored by an African-American woman is the 1866 book, A Domestic Cook Book: Containing a Careful Selection of Useful Receipts for the Kitchen by Malinda Russell.

Pray what do they do at the club?
Tis ever the question they ask; But to answer it fully, I fear, Were rather a serious task; And yet, if you’ll listen to me, And pardon my rhyming with “grub,” I’ll venture a bit of a song To tell what they do at the club.

Imprimis, I’ll tell you they cook.
Oh, thoughtful and careful the eyes
That study the recipe book.
With glances so eager and wise!
Or they listen, as if In a trance,
To lectures and hints and the rules
From their sisters, their cousins and aunts
Who have learned in experience schools.

Then they measure, they pound and they sift,
They bake and they stew and they fry;
They roast and they stir and they lift,
They mold and they shake and they try–
Till from cellars and pantries and fire,
From kitchens and ovens and shelves
Come dainties I’m sure you’d admire.
And say they were made by the elves.

With a flutter of fans and of lace,
They meet for their “six o’clock tea”
With a smile of content on each face
And appetites startling to see.
They have jellies that melt like a dream
And patties and salads and meat
And coffee and biscuit and cream
And pickles and “sweets for the sweet.”

Then the cooks all laughingly chat.
As the moments so merrily fly.
Not forgetting their duty and-—that
Is to taste every dish passing by.
And they talk upon frivolous fun,
Or on subjects as grave as the “Hub,”
And they eat and they eat and they eat
And that’s what they do at the club.

— from Cook book of the Young Ladies Cooking Club, Monroe, Michigan,

Wood-burning Stove cooking class at Living History Farms, 2012.Today kicked off the first class of 2012 at the Living History Farm near Des Moines, Iowa. The class was “Cooking on a Wood-burning Stove.” Besides learning how to build a fire in the 1871 cast iron stove, complete with working the drafts, the 5 adult students made Beef Stew, French-style Green Beans with lemon, Braided Onion Bread, and a chocolate dessert–all while working under lights of the oil lamps. Like

…more Living History Farm

The Historical Museum Bern in Switzerland portrays Caleb Bradham, inventor of Pepsi Cola, at his North Carolina drugstore. Pepsi was first called Brad’s Drink, and in 1903 Bradham changed the name to Pepsi (referring to pepsin) Cola (referring to the original ingrediant Kola nuts). Like

Chris Kimball took two years planning this one reenactment dinner proposed in an 1896 book by Fannie Farmer, legendary cook book writer and cooking instructor and principal of the Boston Cooking School. Farmer opened her own school, Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery in 1902. The reenactment dinner was held at Kimball’s home in the same area of Boston where Fannie Farmer had lived over 100 years earlier. His preparations started from the ground up, supplying his kitchen with a built-in wood-burning range built into the fireplace. Kimball lived to write about it in his book, Fannie’s Last Supper: Re-creating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Cookbook.

Tributes to Fannie Farmer
What Fannie Farmer Means to Me from In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens