This volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection, published in New York in 1877, is a cookbook, patent medicine advertisement, and medical manual all combined in one small volume published by the manufacturer of a well-known and widely used nineteenth century home remedy, Atwood’s Bitters.
Historical records assert that in 1840 Moses Atwood of Boston created what became a widely used and very popular patent medicine, Atwood’s Quinine Tonic Bitters. Rights to the product were eventually bought by John Henry, who added another remedy, Dr. Roger’s Compound Syrup of Liverwort, Tar & Canchalagua, to his collection and created the Manhattan Medicine Company to manufacture and sell the concoctions.
The Manhattan Cook-Book is a small volume that is essentially a promotional flyer for the company’s patent medicines. Recipes and recommendations for hair care and personal toiletry are threaded throughout with patent medicine ads, so that page 1 of the content touts Dr. Rogers’ Compound Syrup, and page 2 lists “receipts” for Tea Biscuit, Delicious Lemon Jelly Cake, and Rusks. Every page is headed by an exhortation to, “Take Spalding’s Pills for Costiveness,” “Take Dr. Johnson’s Bitters for Indigestion,” “Use Phalon’s Hair Invigorator for the Hair,” and many more. Recipes for tapioca, coffee cake, and strawberry tartlets are sandwiched in between medical advice (using many of the medicines advertised) for whooping cough, asthma, pneumonia, and other diseases. This charming example provides fascinating insight into contemporary cooking, medicine, and lifestyles.
This edition of The Manhattan Cook-Book by the Manhattan Medicine Company 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.