Cooking in Old Creole Days, 1904, 1928: This wonderful cookbook is the only cookbook I know of–and I’ve read a LOT of cookbooks–that mixes music and cooking. Written in both English and French by Celestine Eustis, the cookbook has eight exquisitely detailed illustrations by Harper Pennington. Each illustration goes with a short Creole song printed on a semi-transparent page tipped over each picture. I think Eustis explains the songs in her introduction to the cookbook, but that introduction is in French and my French is extremely limited. However, there’s an English introduction, too, by S. Weir Mitchell. He tells us that the black cooks of the South sang in 1928 certain songs when they prepared certain dishes, and that Eustis includes the songs in an effort to preserve the folklore of the Southern cook. There’s also a second introduction to the second edition by Harry Worchester Smith.
The original hard cover cookbook was published by R.H. Russell in 1904, although it has four additional pages of a’dvertisement for books published by Harper & Brothers, Publishers. This edition was published by the Derrydale Press, New York, in 1928. Uncut back pages explain that only 500 copies of this second edition were printed. The book is nearly perfect antique condition. The cover is has some slight shelf wear, especially on the edges, and some very light, very small stains. The front and back hinges are both in perfect condition. The pages are of heavy cotton, with deckled edges. Every page is clean and clear. The binding is firm. An undated newspaper article about “Louisiana’s Roadside Savories” is inside the the front pages. Most importantly, the tipped-in pages with songs appearing over Pennington’s illustrations are perfect. This is a very special cookbook.
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