Presbyterian Cook Book

What the Brethren Eat and How the Sisters Prepare It

 Published in Troy, New York, in 1874, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by an unknown women’s charity group is a charming example of a charity cookbook, a post-Civil War cookbook trend  that provided a means for women to express their political opinions and support the causes important to them. 

Published in 1874 in Troy, New York, during the post-Civil War charity cookbook boom, the Presbyterian Cook Book is a fascinating, genuine example of how women during this time were able to express their political influence through the sales of cookbook collections. Besides the fund-raising that the cookbook provided, this culinary collection showcases the cooking talents of local women, what was common fare during the time period, and local community opinions and prejudices. 


The Andrews McMeel edition of Presbyterian Cook Book also features handwritten notes and recipes from the original owner, which offer an authentic and quaint addition to the book. The handwritten notes include recipes such as Wedding Cake, Blackberry Cordial, and Mrs. Roger’s Clam Fritters, along with the individually attributed recipes printed in the book such as Mrs. Nash’s Swan Pudding, Mrs. Vincent’s Coconut Cake, Minnie’s Caramels, and Miss Phipps’s Corn Oysters. With the original handwritten notes, the historical significance of the work, and the charming recipes, Presbyterian Cook Book is truly a piece of culinary history to be treasured.


This edition of Presbyterian Cook 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 lives 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 comprises approximately 1,100 volumes.

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