Stories

how to cook husbands. Recipes for a successful marriage.“They are really delicious—when properly treated.”

A while ago I came across a newspaper clipping—a recipe written by a Baltimore lady—that had long lain dormant in my desk. It ran as follows:

“A great many husbands are spoiled by mismanagement. Some women go about it as if their husbands were bladders, and blow them up; others keep them constantly in hot water; others let them freeze, by their carelessness and indifference. Some keep them in a stew, by irritating ways and words; others roast them; some keep them in pickle all their lives. Now it is not to be supposed that any husband will be good, managed in this way—turnips wouldn’t; onions wouldn’t; cabbage-heads wouldn’t, and husbands won’t; but they are really delicious when properly treated.

Read full article—>

Kitchen Theater

by Rena

New version: Between the Soup and the Savoury with a Twist…. http://www.merrymeeting.com/historiccooking-ebooks/English-soup-and-savory.mp3

Since the 1800s food manufacturers often publish booklets to promote their product. In the 1980s Kraft and Disney produced this puppet kitchen theater. Click the link for the full script.

1912 Mary Frances Cook Book: Adventures among the Kitchen People (children’s audio cookbook)

We’re experimenting with internet radio on blogtalkradio today. The show is broadcast on Thursdays at 3:30-4:00 PM central time. Join me for a reading from the 1912 children’s cookbook The Mary Frances Cook Book: Adventures of the Kitchen People.
— Rena Goff

Valentine Wish

by Rena

Valentine Day cooking.

When I think of the pies and
the puddings you make,
And all of the hundreds of steps
that you take,
With hands ever skillful
no pains do you spare
To make all those happy who
chance to be there
May your life be quite rosy
and read like a book
And give as much pleasure
as the good things you cook.
— anonymous

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 –>

Excerpt from TRIALS AND CONFESSIONS OF A HOUSEKEEPER (fiction) by T. S. Arthur; PHILADELPHIA: 1859.

WAS there ever a good cook who hadn’t some prominent fault that completely overshadowed her professional good qualities? If my experience is to answer the question, the reply will be—no.

I had been married several years before I was fortunate enough to obtain a cook that could be trusted to boil a potato, or broil a steak. I felt as if completely made up when Margaret served her first dinner. The roast was just right, and all the vegetables were cooked and flavored as well as if I had done it myself—in fact, a little better. My husband eat with a relish not often exhibited, and praised almost every thing on the table.

For a week, one good meal followed another in daily succession. We had hot cakes, light and fine-flavored, every morning for breakfast, with coffee not to be beaten—and chops or steaks steaming from the gridiron, that would have gladdened the heart of an epicure. Dinner was served, during the time, with a punctuality that was rarely a minute at fault, while every article of food brought upon the table, fairly tempted the appetite. Light rolls, rice cakes, or “Sally Luns,” made without suggestion on my part usually met us at tea time. In fact, the very delight of Margaret’s life appeared to be in cooking. She was born for a cook…. Full story –>

A journey to Ohio in 1810: as recorded in the journal of Margaret Van Horn

East of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

“At last we stopt at Mansfield at an Inn kept by Philip fits ( a little f). We found it kept by 2 young women, whom I thought amazoons— for they swore & flew about “like witches” they talk & laugh’d about their sparks &c &c till it made us laugh so as almost to affront them– There was a young woman visiting them who reminded me of Lady Ki Spanker–for spring from the ground to her horse with as much agility as that Lady could have done– They all took their pipes before tea…Their manners soften’d down after a while & the appear to be obliging & good natur’d…”

West of Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania:

“…about 60 rods near the top [of the mountain] was excessively steep– We found a house at the foot of the steepest part–A woman & her 2 sons live there & keep cakes & beer…”

“Saturday morn…We have nothing to eat & can get nothing but some slapjacks at a baker’s some distance off, & so stormy we cannot get there…”

I have learn’d…to eat raw pork & drink whisky…

“I have such an enormous appetite the whole time, that I have been in some fear of starving…”

Between Laurel Hill and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

“The landlord & his wife…gave us a great many apples & some cherry bounce…”

[Bold text is not in original]

Map shows modern approximation (google directions via walking) of 1810 journey:


View A journey to Ohio in 1810 in a larger map

–A journey to Ohio in 1810: as recorded in the journal of Margaret Van Horn, by Margaret Van Horn Dwight, pp. 14-15, 34, 39.