Confederate Receipt Book

A Compilation of Over One Hundred Receipts, Adapted to the Times

 Published in Richmond in 1863, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection provides historically significant information about the adaptations Southern cooks and housekeepers used when they had to make do with limited supplies during the Civil War.

With the blockade of Southern ports and the lack of trading between the North and South during the Civil War, the Confederacy found itself in great deprivation, lacking its customary supplies. Showing great resourcefulness, southerners developed new ways to feed and clothe themselves and these adaptations and recipes were pulled together in 1863 by Richmond publishers West & Johnson, to share throughout the region in Confederate Receipt Book. The recipes were assembled from newspapers, staff, and other sources and were “designed to supply useful and economical directions and suggestions of cookery, housewifery, and for the camp.”


Examples of resourceful recipes in Confederate Receipt Book include apple pie without apples, artificial oysters, and coffee substitutes as well as medicinal remedies for headaches, croup, and sore throats and making household items like candles and soap. The nature and extent of the items highlight the degree of difficulty that the Confederates faced and their ability to acclimate to the supplies at hand. Other examples include recipes for making ink, wicks for lamps, fire balls for fuel, and bread from numerous types of flours. The Confederate Receipt Book has as much quaint and amusing charm to present-day readers as it had practical significance to the beleaguered South fighting for its independence. 


This edition of Confederate Receipt Book was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes.

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