The Edwardians sought more civic activites, education, high status, and were essentially the foodies of their day. Studying “the domestic sciences” and “scientific cookery” put a challenging and exciting spin on housework. Women were often rushed in the kitchen, perhaps because they didn’t have the extra household help their pre-Civil War grandmothers had with their big families and neighborhood helpers. The industrial revolution was in full gear with domestic helpers finding employ at factories. People were optimistic until 1918, when the flu took many lives, and WWI took many of the men.

1900s Kitchen.
1910s Kitchen.

The following articles contain details of this time period:

Dr Miles Candy Book, circa 1911.Dr Mile’s Candy Cook Book was published circa 1911, no later than 1914. It has recipes for Salted Almonds, Candy Eggs for Easter, Cocoanut Taffy, Popcorn Balls, Cough Candy, Coffee Fudge, Popcorn Fudge, Maple Wax (made with snow or ice), Rose Drops and Jujube Paste (both recipes call for cochineal to color), and more. Much of the text is a call to try Dr Mile’s medicines.

Dr Franklin Miles was born in 1845 and graduated from Rush Medical College in 1874, and Chicago Medical College in 1875. He practiced medicine for ten years and in c. 1885 established the “Miles Medical Company” in Elkhart, Indiana to make and distribute his patent medicines.


by Rena

Pyrex was invented in 1913, and Corning Glass started selling it in 1915. It was promoted by Sarah Tyson Rover, editor of Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. Rover used demonstrations across the nation to help people get accustomed to cooking with PYREX, a clear borosilicate glass. Now PYREX is made with tempered soda-lime glass. Read The History of Pyrex Glass

When you see Pyrex from 1883, there may be a discrepancy! eBay Auctions

By 1916 Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book was the standard culinary textbook in Oklahoma public schools. Before 1916, the textbook Austin’s Domestic Science was known to be used. Here is a pdf copy of a later edition of the Oklahoma school textbook, Austin’s Domestic Science. Note: The pdf eBook may take a minute to appear.

In another old cook book, Modern Women of America Cook Book, two modern women from 1913 Oklahoma share their “Smothered Chicken” recipes.

Smothered Chicken.

One young chicken, one-half cupful butter, little lard, yolks two eggs, one cup cream, three potatoes, one onion, stalk celery. Dress and cut up a nice young chicken. Put the butter and lard in a deep frying pan and when very hot put in the chicken, dredged in flour. Slice the potatoes and onions one-quarter of an inch thick and lay on top of the chicken and add the celery chopped fine, and the seasoning. Fry until brown, then without turning pour on enough hot water to cover. Cover closely and cook until tender. Beat the yolks of the eggs and add the cream. Be sure the chicken is covered with water, then add the thickening and let boil up once. A year-old chicken can be used.—Mrs. Walter Thrasher, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1913.

Smothered Chicken.

One large chicken, flour, seasoning, butter. Dress and cut up the chicken as for frying. Dredge with flour and place in a dripping pan. Season, add a little butier and cover with boiling water. Put in the oven and bake until tender.—Mrs. Etta Owen, Poarch, Oklahoma, 1913

Remember to catch the Smithsonian’s exhibit at six locations in Oklahoma in 2011-2012, “Key Ingredients: America By Food.”

Thank you to Oklahoma Pastry Clothe Company for duplicating historic recipes from the original Austin’s Domestic Science book.

1906 Kitchen

by Rena

Excerpts from The Complete Home, 1906

The Kitchen
If any one room in the home was conceived solely for the relief of man’s estate, that room is the kitchen, and it has supplied the energy which has sent forth many a one to fight a winning battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil; …it is, alas, too true that it is the rock upon which many a domestic ship has gone to pieces… Full Story –>

The Dining Room and the Kitchen
Many families do no home baking, and where fruit and vegetables are preserved the basement is utilized. Compactness in the kitchen saves hundreds of steps in the course of a day, and though it is difficult for us to forget the spacious room thought necessary by our parents, we may well learn, for our own comfort, to profit by the modern reasoning that opposes waste space. Full Story –>

The Plan
Blessed indeed is the kitchen with opposite windows, which insure a perfect circulation of air. Full Story –>

Location and Finish
A combination of white woodwork with blue walls and ceiling is charming, particularly where the blue-enameled porcelain-lined cooking utensils are used. Full Story –>

The Floor
…the new “colonial” cotton-rag rugs, woven in harmony with the general color scheme, protect the floor and help to relieve the strain of much standing, and can he washed and dried as satisfactorily as any piece of cotton cloth… Full Story –>

The Windows
A dainty valance, or sash curtains of muslin, dimity, or other summer wash goods, give an attractive and homey touch to the room. Full Story –>

The Sink
The sink, unless it is porcelain-lined, should be kept well painted and enameled, white being preferable to any color. Full Story –>

The Pantry
There are usually four shelves, the top one being reserved for articles of infrequent use. On the others are arranged the kitchen dishes, pans, and all utensils which do not hang, together with jars and cans containing food. Full Story –>

The Refrigerator and Its Care
If one cares to invest in the higher-priced refrigerators, of course those lined with tile, porcelain, or enamel are very desirable, as they are easily kept clean and do not absorb odors. Full Story –>

The Stove
A rack behind the stove, on which to hang the spoons and forks used in cooking, is a great convenience and a saving to the table top. Full Story –>

The Table and Its Care
The table should stand on casters and be placed in a good light as far from the stove as may be. The latest product of the manufacturer’s genius in this line contains two drawers—one spaced off into compartments for the different knives, forks, and spoons for kitchen use—a molding board, and three zinc-lined bins, one large one for wheat flour, and two smaller one for graham flour, corn meal, etc. Full Story –>

…A chair of this kind has a cane seat and high back and can be purchased for $1.25, the other chair to be of the regulation kitchen style at 55 cents…. Full Story –>

The Kitchen Cabinets
…the kitchen cabinet, which not only relieves the congestion in the pantry, but adds in no small measure to the attractiveness of the kitchen. These cabinets come in the natural woods, and should, as nearly as possible, match the woodwork of the kitchen…. Full Story –>

Kitchen Utensils
Kitchen crockery is being rapidly supplanted by the porcelain enamel dishes, which, though rather more expensive in the beginning, are unbreakable, and so cheaper in the long run. They are even invading the domain of the faithful yellow mixing bowl and becoming decidedly popular therein, being light in weight and more easily handled. Full Story –>

1906 TABLE FURNISHINGS… Full Article –>

Excerpt from Akin to Love written between 1909-1922 by Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Annie of Green Gables

Josephine misjudged David just as much as he misjudged her. She had really asked him to stay to tea out of pity, but David thought it was because she was lonesome, and he hailed that as an encouraging sign. And he was not thinking about getting a good meal either, although his dinner had been such a one as only Zillah Hartley could get up. As he leaned back in his cushioned chair and watched Josephine bustling about the kitchen, he was glorying in the fact that he could spend another hour with her, and sit opposite to her at the table while she poured his tea for him and passed him the biscuits, just as if—just as if— Full Story –>

In the Foothills of North Carolina in the city of Pinnacle lives the Horne Creek Living Historical Farm, depicting farm life circa 1900-1910. You will see the farmhouse, well house, smokehouse, tobacco curing barn, corncrib, fruit house and a reconstructed fruit and vegetable drying house.

And while you’re in North Carolina, the Historic Oak View County Park has an 1825 summer kitchen building.

Great historic cooking posts about the 1900 farm at the Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa (just North of Des Moines)! At least four time periods are represented at the working kitchens. Below are photos of the 1870s kitchen and the 1850s cabin.

1875 kitchen.

Photo by

The complete history of the Green Giant Co. is displayed at the Le Sueur Museum in Le Sueur, Minnesota. The company was founded in 1903 as the Minnesota Valley Canning Company.