Excelsior Cook Book and Housekeeper’s Aid

 Published in New York in 1863, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection is a comprehensive homemaking and cookbook reference compiled by the author to bring “excelsior” (excellence) into every housekeeper’s kitchen and home.

There is no information available about Laura Trowbridge, but her goal in compiling Excelsior Cook Book is clear. Using her twenty-five years experience and selections from the “best and most approved authors,” she wished to encourage contemporary homemakers to achieve excellence in the “skillful discharge of domestic duties.” As cited on the title page of her encyclopedic reference, the book includes: cooking of all kinds of meats, fowl, fish; recipes for gravies, soups, sauces, bread, cakes, pastry, puddings, custards, preserves, and essences; canning fruit; methods for making butter, cheese, and soaps; antidotes for poison, cookery for the sick; a family physician’s manual; advice on gardening, care of house plants; and many “receipts” for items necessary to the “personal toilet.” As was the custom of the day, a number of the various sections of the book are word-for-word reprints from other books and compiled by many different authors.


This edition of Excelsior Cook Book by Laura Trowbridge 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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